Thursday, December 08, 2005

Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After the Collapse of History

I have been reading Leo Perdue's Reconstructing Old Testament Theology: After the Collapse of History at my lunch hour for a while now. I normally have two books going at any given time--one at home and one at work. When work gets busy, like it has been of late, the one I'm reading there seems to take forever.

Anyway, this book basically picks up where his earlier book, The Collapse of History, leaves off. What he does is give an overview of the various methodologies for reading the Old Testament that are currently available. He will take a methodology, say Feminist readings, and examine the leading practitioners of that methodology and interact with them. Currently I am on the Postmodern chapter. Leo is not very sympathetic to postmodernism, claiming that many of their accusations against classic methodologies are simply straw men, rightfully so in many cases, I would say. He does interact extensively with Brueggemann, (who is the editor of the series) acknowledging his contributions. But, he claims that Brueggemann comes to the precipice of postmodernism, looks over and backs off. I must confess that currently Brueggemann is my favorite Old Testament theologian, so I am not a good one to critique Leo here, but to an extent I think he is right. I'm not sure where I come down on the whole "postmodern" thing, since it has become such a catchall term that it really is difficult to pin down. Of course that is what postmodernists would like it to be :)

If you are looking for a book that overviews all the recent trends in Old Testament theology, this is a good book to get. Introductory uppper level OT classes would probably find it to be a good basic text, to be supplemented by others, such as (of course), Eisenbrauns own Old Testament Theology: Flowering and Future.

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