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Exploring the Religion of Ancient Israel
Prophet, priest, sage and people
by Aaron Chalmers
Publisher:SPCK (Society for Promoting Christian Knowledge)
It may be a casualty of the busy age we live in or a reflection of the slow eradication of inherited faith, but Christians probably know less about the scriptures than would have been true a generation or two ago. This is particularly true of the Old Testament, which can be relegated to a secondary place in the hearts of Christians whose love of Jesus overshadows everything.
Yet we need to study! And we need to study the Hebrew scriptures as they reveal to us so much about the nature of God and of faith. Aaron Chalmers has produced for us precisely the kind of study guide we need. Focusing on four specific communities within the tradition: prophets, priests, sages and the common people, Chalmers writes in a style that makes - what might be otherwise a heavy academic work – readily accessible.
Each chapter addresses basic questions – How did you become a prophet? What did priests do? – and the answers may sometimes challlenge our assumptions. The book is simply yet generously illustrated with plentiful opportunities for the student to 'go deeper'. Multiple indexes will satisfy the most curious reader.
True, this book will not appeal to a mass market in the way religious fiction might. However for the hard-pressed preacher or earnest student, there is endless material here to stimulate reflection or provide nuggets of detail for a sermon or essay. An excellent gift too for those exploring ministry.
Reviewer: David Ford (07/01/13)