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July 18, 2018


Hermina Janz

I read this book last year, and here's what I thought then:
I misunderstood, from the title (I [Still] Believe), descriptions of this book ("Is serious academic study of the Bible a threat to faith?"), and from the dedication ( "For all who have struggled, wrestled, been discouraged,...lost hope,...but sill believe"), the nature of this book. It's more of a collection of autobiographical descriptions of the academic and publishing careers of a number of biblical scholars, than a group of stories about threatened faith somehow recovered. I was expecting descriptions of real spiritual turmoil, but read instead a series of what might be called "biographies of belief".
By no means would I call this a waste of time to read. There were valuable insights to be had. But it felt a little dated, as many of the contributors describe an academic world of the past, and use theological language and church-specific terms that may be difficult to understand, to anyone who has not a similar church background.
I read many passages that I sincerely appreciated, though, such as this one by Morna D. Hooker:
"The fact that I still dare to call myself a Christian, then, is because this foolish gospel about a God of love who reveals himself in self-sacrifice and love for others is the only thing that makes sense of the human situation and finds meaning where there appears to be none, and because it rings true to my experience. The word "God" I find difficult; the word "love" I understand." (P. 127)

Jim Gordon

Good comment Hermina. I suspect the book was produced for other academics and particularly students at or planning to go to seminary. For them it matters that such senior scholars have had their struggles and are still in there. Also, though not always spelled out, several of those who write have indeed struggled especially with an earlier form of narrow evangelicalism; one or two have even found their tenure questioned. But I agree that the dedication suggests a different kind of book or at least a book in a different key. I thought you might be interested - the endorsement of Peter Enns is I think, telling. Good wishes from over here to you over there!

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Currently reading

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