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Seriously Dangerous Religion

Iain Provan (Baylor University Press: August 26, 2014), 512 pages.

The Old Testament is often maligned as an outmoded and even dangerous text. Best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, and Derrick Jensen are prime examples of those who find the Old Testament to be problematic to modern sensibilities. Iain Provan counters that such easy and popular readings misunderstand the Old Testament. He opposes modern misconceptions of the Old Testament by addressing ten fundamental questions that the biblical text should–and according to Provan does–answer: questions such as “Who is God?” and “Why do evil and suffering mark the world?” By focusing on Genesis and drawing on other Old Testament and extra-biblical sources, Seriously Dangerous Religionconstructs a more plausible reading. As it turns out, Provan argues, the Old Testament is far more dangerous than modern critics even suppose. Its dangers are the bold claims it makes upon its readers.

Table of Contents

  • 1 Of Mice, and Men, and Hobbits Stories, Art, and Life
  • 2 The Up Quark, the Down Quark, and Other Cool Stuff What Is the World?
  • 3 Slow to Anger, Abounding in Love, and (Thankfully) Jealous Who Is God?
  • 4 Of Humus and Humanity Who Are Man and Woman?
  • 5 It Isn’t Natural Why Do Evil and Suffering Mark the World?
  • 6 On Living in a Blighted World  What Am I to Do about Evil and Suffering?
  • 7 Even the Stork Knows That How Am I to Relate to God?
  • 8 Love All, Trust a Few, Do Wrong to None How Am I to Relate to My Neighbor?
  • 9 On Keeping the Earth How Am I to Relate to the Rest of Creation?
  • 10 I Saw the New Jerusalem Which Society Should I Be Helping to Build?
  • 11 A Bird Perched in the Soul What Am I to Hope For?
  • 12 Further Up and Further In New Dimensions in the Old Story
  • 13 On the Judicious Closing of the Mind The Question of Truth
  • 14 Risk Assessment Is the Story Dangerous?
  • Postscript: Biblical Faith for a New Age
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Scripture Index
  • Index of Authors
  • Subject Index