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Urban Legends of the Old Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions Paperback – December 1, 2019
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—Richard E. Averbeck, director, PhD in Theological Studies, professor of Old Testament and semitic languages, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
“Unfortunately ‘urban legends’ grow like weeds in the garden of biblical interpretation. In this volume the authors do some much-needed weeding. Using sound interpretive principles and insightful contextual exegesis, they expose forty common misconceptions about Old Testament passages. Each chapter is clearly written and concise. The epilogue to the book, though short, is especially helpful. The authors here explain how interpretive misconceptions get started. In the process, they identify several key principles for proper biblical interpretation which, if followed, will go a long way toward weed prevention.”
—Robert B. Chisholm, Jr., department chair, senior professor of Old Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
“I have sometimes thought about writing a book called ‘What the Bible Doesn’t Teach,’ but now I will forget the idea; David Croteau and Gary Yates have done it. This book is a magnificent debunking of forty mistaken ideas about the Old Testament. It will be great if pastors, Sunday school teachers, and Bible study leaders read it, causing some of these urban myths to die.” — John Goldingay, professor of Old Testament and David Allen Hubbard Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary“It is important to know what the Bible says, but it is also important to know what the Bible does not say. Croteau and Yates have produced a very informative and fascinating book to help us disentangle fact from fiction in a number of OT passages. This is an outstanding book and I highly recommend it; but—spoiler alert—be warned, you just may run into some of your own favorite [mis]interpretations here! That is all the more reason for all of us to read it.”
—J. Daniel Hays, dean, Pruet School of Christian Studies, professor of biblical studies Ouachita Baptist University
“As a veteran of battling poor thinking about Scripture on the front lines of the internet and in the classroom, it is hard to express how much this book is needed and how it succeeds in hitting the mark. The authors are seasoned Bible scholars and professors with a heart to nurture clarity and faithfulness to the biblical text among their students. Readers who find among its pages one of their own cherished myths about something the Bible “teaches” might be miffed. Others—and I count myself among them—will cheer its direct yet irenic and engaging rebuttals and debunkings. This book will be a recommended antidote to careless Bible study and the propensity to impart its flawed results to others.”
—Michael S. Heiser, scholar-in-residence, Faithlife
“It’s rare to come across a book that is as engaging as it is scholarly, and as fascinating as it is edifying. Whether read cover to cover or used as a reference book, Urban Legends of the Old Testament will serve casual readers, study groups, and scholars well.”
—Karen Swallow Prior, professor of English, Liberty University
“The authors of this book have done a remarkable job of choosing just the right issues to address, and they have offered thoughtful, balanced, well-researched, and gracious suggestions to help us adjust our thinking. Leaving behind these ‘urban legends’ will aid us on our quest to be faithful interpreters of God’s Word who are accountable to the inspired Scripture. Reading this book will help pastors, Bible study leaders, and Sunday school teachers avoid these traditional pitfalls. Laypeople will find it readable and practical. In short, I recommend this book for anyone who wants to become a better reader of the Old Testament.”
—John Walton, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College
About the Author
Gary E. Yates is professor of Old Testament at Liberty University.
- Publisher : B&H Academic (December 1, 2019)
- Language: : English
- Paperback : 288 pages
- ISBN-10 : 1433648326
- ISBN-13 : 978-1433648328
- Reading age : Baby and up
- Item Weight : 12.8 ounces
- Dimensions : 6.01 x 0.76 x 9.01 inches
Best Sellers Rank:
#407,748 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
- #1,426 in Old Testament Bible Study (Books)
- Customer Reviews:
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The book is really incredibly readable. For me, many times when I near the end of the book, I really want to just finish it. With this one, I found myself enjoying each chapter as they were stand-alone in a quite entertaining way. At the same time, they’re incredibly informative.
This doesn’t mean that I agree with every assessment the authors have. For instance, I am still prone to see the Angel of the Lord as a Trinitarian precursor. Some items in particular I was very pleased to see. I was pleased to see the Harbinger and Isaiah 9:10, the Isaiah passage about how God’s word will not return void, and of course, Jeremiah 29:11.
Others I think they did a good job on but still left open to a kernel of truth. Perhaps Psalm 22 is not a prophecy of the crucifixion, but perhaps it can depict Jesus as the ultimate unjust sufferer who is handed over to His enemies as is the case in the Psalm. Perhaps Ezekiel bread really is a very healthy bread, but it might not be that just because it’s a meal described in the Bible we should eat it.
Some I think many people might be astounded by today, but the case I thought made was quite good. Could it be that Genesis 3 really doesn’t contain a prophecy of the virgin birth (Which I do affirm)? Could it be that maybe the Arabs aren’t the descendants of the Ishmaelites and that wars between Muslims and Christians today aren’t a result of that dispute thousands of years ago?
Some of these correct false teachings that need to be corrected, but at the same time provide a better teaching. What about training up a child in the way he should go? Does Proverbs 31 give a mandate for every wife to be like that woman? Is Song of Songs really best seen as describing dating?
Also, the authors don’t really try to go after controversial debates in the Old Testament as urban legends. How old is the Earth? Nothing said about it, although there is something said about NASA supposedly finding Joshua’s missing day. The issues here should be ones that Christians largely can agree on.
I really found this book to be a fascinating and engaging read and I highly recommend it. You’re bound to find something of interest in here and I have deliberately left out many of the conclusions just so you can discover them for yourselves. The book is also definitely layman-friendly and would be a great resource for small groups.
The volume is a compilation of forty hermeneutical missteps that have been propagated over many years. The authors’ intent is to debunk the myth with a more accurate biblical interpretation. You may or may not agree with their conclusions but they do make their case with excellent logic with all conclusions coming from Scripture.
If you are used to hearing these forty “myths” from the pulpit, be prepared to be miffed. If it will upset your theological bearings to learn that the Trinity is not directly taught in Genesis 1.26, then shy away from chapter 2. If you are frequently “putting out the proverbial fleece,” please read chapter 18 with an open mind. These are the types of “Urban Legends” that Croteau and Yates examine.
This book can be engaged in two ways: You can read it straight through analyzing the verse(s) as you go or it can be used for straight reference when studying a particular verse or passage, sort of like a commentary (but it’s not really a commentary). It seems that much more can be gained by employing it strictly as a reference book although it is fascinating to peruse the table of contents and read about the authors’ view on a particular verse(s) that we might hold theologically dear to our hearts.
Urban Legends of the Old Testament is a must for every pastor and teacher of God’s Word if they desire to be accurate in their teaching. It is valuable also for serious Bible students who can’t get enough of digging into Scripture. And it is also recommended for longtime pew-sitters who have been fed lazy hermeneutics over the years. So, in short, it’s for every Christian.
Disclaimer: This volume was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair and honest review.