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The Torah's Vision of Worship (Overtures to Biblical Theology) Paperback – July 30, 1999

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Paperback, July 30, 1999
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About the Author

Samuel E. Balentine is Professor of Old Testament at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond, Virginia

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Product Details

  • Series: Overtures to Biblical Theology
  • Paperback: 284 pages
  • Publisher: Fortress Press (July 30, 1999)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0800631552
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800631550
  • Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 0.6 x 8.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 11.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #505,280 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Ron Clark on June 30, 2000
Format: Paperback
Ballentine gives a good explanation of the Torah in a Persian context. He is critical of the traditional historical-criticism of the Torah and suggests a political context. He believes that the Torah was written after the Jews had returned from captivity and were still under the occupation of the Persian government. The goal of the Torah (according to Ballentine) was to continue the encounter with Yahweh in worship while supporting Persian politics.
I think that the strength of this book is on the emphasis of worship in the Torah. The Persian context gives rise to the need for an experience of Yahweh in a restored nation. The Sabbath, tabernacle, and Decalogue are bedrock events in Israelite history that the Torah appeals to in the life of the Jews. These events are rehearsed during festivals and the Sabbath worship. The goal of the Torah was to create a community that continually encountered Yahweh and His people in cult worship.
This perspective makes Leviticus become a book that prepares the Israelite to meet and worship God. The concepts of holiness and ritual purity remind the community that worship is a central part of their life and walk with Yahweh.
I think that this book has made a tremendous contribution to worship in the Hebrew and Greek Scriptures. Traditionally worship has been understood as a response of the community to a powerful God. Balentine indicates that worship became the community's method of remembering and reliving the history and covenant of God. For Balentine worship should become that central part of the community's lifestyle. Worship is not an event to attend but a reenacting of the grace and power of God and His community. Worship should play a more important role in the believer's life since it is a reminder of the reason and purpose in their life.
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