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Reading the Old Testament with the Ancient Church: Exploring the Formation of Early Christian Thought (Evangelical Ressourcement: Ancient Sources for the Church's Future) Paperback – September 1, 2007
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From the Back Cover
"Ron Heine has written this book for a wide variety of readers: pastors, New Testament and patristics scholars, and general lay readers. This is a very helpful introduction to the ways the ancient Christian writers viewed the Scriptures. Heine comes to the subject with a significant grasp of both primary sources and contemporary scholarship. The argument is illuminating and inspiring."
--Thomas C. Oden, general editor, Ancient Christian Commentary on Scripture
"Heine's overview of the uses of and attitudes toward Jewish Scripture in the ancient church is offered as a corrective to a very common neglect of and lack of appreciation for this topic among lay and leadership audiences in evangelical churches. His lucid prose is eminently readable and his concise summaries include a wide array of authors from Christian late antiquity. This handy volume seems well designed for its audience, who will benefit greatly from Heine's scholarship on this topic."
--Michael A. Williams, University of Washington
"This book fills a gap in the history of biblical interpretation. The work is comprehensive in scope, yet it provides carefully crafted, succinct treatments of major patristic writers that reflect close, informed reading of the primary sources. Only someone who has lived with these patristic authors and pored over their writings could produce such a lively, sympathetic treatment. Both specialist and nonspecialist readers will benefit from this richly detailed exposition."
--Carl R. Holladay, Candler School of Theology
"Ronald Heine brings together two contemporary interests: renewed attention to the Old Testament as Christian Scripture and rediscovery of the church fathers. He offers the reading of the Old Testament with the church fathers as guidance for the contemporary church's use of the whole Bible. The early church's example is a call to do more than understand the text; it is a call to live in and to mold life by the text. I recommend this excellent book to a wide readership."
--Everett Ferguson, Abilene Christian University
About the Author
- Item Weight : 11.9 ounces
- Paperback : 208 pages
- ISBN-10 : 0801027772
- Dimensions : 6 x 0.52 x 9 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801027772
- Publisher : Baker Academic (September 1, 2007)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #1,005,901 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- Customer Reviews:
Top reviews from the United States
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Somewhat academic and in some ways similar to 'Exploring the Origins of the Bible' by Evans and Tov in it's discussion of the early church's reliance on the Septuagint, it also deals with the 1st and 2nd century church's use of the Scriptures (read O.T.) in affirming the gospel and deity of Jesus and His ministry and plan. When we read in the Bible, "In accordance with the Scriptures..." or "As it is written..." we have to realize that the only Bible the 1st century believers had to study or understand Jesus was the Old Testament. Even in the second century the assertion is made that believers still relied on the O.T. almost exclusively as their 'Scriptures' even though they accorded great respect to the written gospels, later accepting them as equal to the O.T. inasmuch as they recorded the words of Jesus and lastly, gave equal respect to the epistles, yet until 300 or so, even though most agreed to the canon of N.T. 'books' we have today, some others were included (Shepherd of Hermas, The Epistle of Barnabas, 1 Clement,...) while others were excluded (Jude, Hebrews, James, sometimes Peter...) and all did not have global circulation due to persecution and lack of the printing press. Regardless of these claims, (for which a good case is made) we are left to understand that the early church relied heavily on the Old Testament when reading, learning of, and following Jesus under the guidance and direction of the Holy Spirit inside them. (This later case is not made strongly enough IMHO)
The book then launches into the understanding of the gospel and N.T. writers as well as some of the church fathers in their understanding and interpretation of the Scriptures (read O.T.) in understanding Christ. On this, all I can say is "Did not my heart jump within me as he explained the Scriptures?!" It esp. looks at the Law as it applies to the Believer under the New Covenant, the exodus, the gospel in the books of the Prophets (Esp. the 'proofs of Jesus according to the fulfillment of prophecies concerning 1. The Deity and Preexistence of Christ 2. The Incarnation/time/place 3. The healing ministry of the Messiah 4. The suffering and death of the Messiah 5. The resurrection and glorification of the Messiah 6. The calling and redemption of the Gentiles, and how each of these prophecies were understood by the Jews in relation to their coming messiah/king)
Without coming to grips with the early church not having a New Testament to read or rely on as we have today, or even reliable access to the apostles themselves except for short periods, and that the spoken testimony was considered more crucial to them than writings (which could be misunderstood without being able to ask the writer his thought), the O.T. was the touchstone, prover, and the ender of arguments as to who Jesus was and what He came to do...Without understanding this, we show less respect or value to the Old Testament than we should. We also misunderstand the N.T. writers' use of the texts, their interpretation and the proper use of the O.T. under the new covenant. That record which speaks of Christ and that Jesus used to explain His coming and said testified of Himself. That record that the first disciples relied on to learn of Him. Those Scriptures that the early church used to affirm their theology and orthodoxy.
This is a long review and clearly not written well enough to validate this book. Ronald Heine has done a great service to the church in the writing of this book. Do yourself a great service in reading it, meditating on it, and letting Christ speak to you through the Scriptures as He did the first and second century believers!
Overall, it is a fair and balanced study. But, it seems Professor Heine continues to cling to the idea of scripture as a sole authority outside the guidance of the church as interpreter. The entire series seems to suffer the same Evangelical Protestant assumptions. On the one hand they correctly identify the Church as our interpretative guide - and on the other they all continue to assert the concept of scripture alone. The contradiction seems obvious but is seldom addressed. The quotation from Jerome in this volume seems to fly in the face of those assumptions, "You are not able to enter into the Holy Scriptures without a guide to show you the way."
Overall, a great work and an important addition to the study of scripture. Very highly recommended. The curious student will also find the Yves Congar classic, The Meaning of Tradition very helpful in rounding out this topic.