Cross Vision: How the Crucifixion of Jesus Makes Sense of Old Testament Violence

Gregory A. Boyd. Fortress, $24.99 (292p) ISBN 978-1-50642-073-8
Boyd (Benefit of the Doubt), theologian and senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in Maplewood, Minn., argues that Old Testament brutality reflects the culture of the time rather than God’s eternal character. Ten years ago, Boyd began writing (but never finished) a book that justified violence in the Old Testament, concluding that instances of slaughter are fundamentally contradictory to Christianity because “God’s nature is love.” Here, amending that claim, he advocates for interpreting the Bible backwards from the crucifixion, as in the tradition of Martin Luther’s cross-centered theology. In this dense text, Boyd successfully explains how Old Testament depictions of God mirror those of ancient Near Eastern warrior deities. Taking on such a persona was, Boyd contends, proof of God’s willingness “to stoop to accommodate [the Hebrews’] fallen and culturally conditioned beliefs.” Only later, when his people were ready, would he reveal—ultimately, through the cross—how different he was from other gods. Intriguing case studies suggest new interpretations of the Flood (God allowing forces of chaos back in, rather than actively destroying the world) and Abraham’s near-sacrifice of Isaac (God subverting the ancient practice of human sacrifice by providing an alternative—a prefiguring of Christ). To some this may all seem like hair-splitting, but this well-reasoned layman’s theology of Old Testament violence will find an audience with readers of popular Christian theology. (Aug.)
Reviewed on: 07/31/2017
Release date: 08/01/2017
Genre: Nonfiction
Paperback - 294 pages - 978-1-5064-3260-1
Open Ebook - 280 pages - 978-1-5064-2074-5
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