Against the Gods [eBook]
The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament
Did the Old Testament writers borrow ideas from their pagan neighbors? And if they did, was it done uncritically? A respected Old Testament scholar and archaeologist engages with this controversial question by carefully comparing the biblical text to other ancient Near Eastern documents. Well-researched and thoughtfully nuanced, Currid aims to outline the precise relationship between the biblical worldview and that of Israel’s neighbors.
John D. Currid (PhD, University of Chicago) is the Carl McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, North Carolina. He lectures worldwide and preaches in the Associate Reformed Presbyterian Church. Currid is the author of several books and Old Testament commentaries and has extensive archaeological field experience from projects throughout Israel and Tunisia.
“A clearly written account of a centrally important issue—the influence (or not) of ancient Near Eastern thought upon Old Testament writers. John Currid’s books and commentaries have proven invaluable, and in this additional volume, his thorough research, theological acumen, and nuanced argumentation makes it an essential requirement for ministers, theological students, and serious students of Scripture. This is an invaluable aid in furthering our understanding of the Old Testament and a loud affirmation of the Bible’s utter trustworthiness and inerrancy. A marvelous book.”
—Derek W. H. Thomas, Minister of Preaching and Teaching, First Presbyterian Church, Columbia, South Carolina; Professor of Systematic Theology and Historical Theology, Reformed Theological Seminary, Atlanta
“This is a splendid introduction to the use that the Old Testament makes of the religious ideas of Israel’s ancient neighbors. Currid compares the biblical accounts of creation and the flood with the versions from neighboring cultures and shows how the Bible puts down and rejects the theological ideas of Babylon, Egypt, the Hittites, and the Canaanites. This process, which Currid terms ‘polemical theology’, serves to demonstrate the unique sovereignty of the God of Israel. This is a very positive approach to the issues raised by the extrabiblical parallels and is greatly preferable to seeing the parallels as showing the Bible as simply borrowed pagan ideas and myths.”
—Gordon Wenham, Adjunct Professor, Old Testament, Trinity College, Bristol, England
“In this vital work John Currid presents an enormously useful approach to understanding the relationship of the Old Testament to the literature and thought of Israel’s ancient Near Eastern neighbors. This book is certainly a must read for any Old Testament scholar, yet it also provides a relevant and readable introduction for every student of Scripture.”
—David W. Chapman, Professor of New Testament and Archaeology, Covenant Theological Seminary; author, Ancient Jewish and Christian Perceptions of Crucifixion
“A rising influential voice in Old Testament studies is asserting that the biblical worldview, while monotheistic, often parallels and at times pirates with minimal discrimination the pre-enlightened religious ideas and rituals of ancient Israel’s neighbors. In contrast, John Currid persuasively demonstrates in Against the Gods that the Bible’s tendency is not to appropriate but to dispute and repudiate pagan myths, ideas, identities, and customs. This important introduction to Old Testament polemical theology provides a balanced corrective to many current comparative studies.”
—Jason S. DeRouchie, Associate Professor of Old Testament, Bethlehem College and Seminary
“If you’re like me, you need to know a lot more about biblical backgrounds and how to think about them. John Currid’s Against the Gods is a great place to start.”
—James M. Hamilton Jr., Associate Professor of Biblical Theology, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary; author, God’s Glory in Salvation through Judgment