This volume explores the theological heartbeat of the Old Testament by examining three big ideas that communicate the Old Testament’s redemptive theology. Highly respected scholar Mark Boda shows how three creedal expressions—the narrative, character, and relational creeds—recur throughout the Old Testament and express its core redemptive theology, in turn revealing how the redemptive pulse of God expands to all of creation. He also traces these redemptive and creational pulses into the New Testament and shows their relevance for today’s Christian community.
“I am going to argue for three basic rhythms that compose the heartbeat of the OT, identified with three basic creeds that can be discerned throughout the OT: the narrative, character, and relational creeds. In OT theology we will see that the three basic creedal rhythms reflect, on the one side, God’s plan to form a redemptive community (Israel) and, on the other side, God’s plan to transform all creation.” (Pages 7–8)
“‘I am Yahweh.’1 One focuses on Yahweh’s historical action, a second on Yahweh’s active character, and a third on Yahweh’s relational identity.” (Page 77)
“The narrative creed represents the first rhythm in the heartbeat of the OT. In this rhythm we feel the declaration of the redemptive action of God toward Israel. This declaration comes either in the form of divine revelation, as already seen in Josh. 24, or in the form of human confession, as seen in Deut. 6 and 26.” (Page 15)
“The narrative creed reminds us that God’s great acts of salvation in the past are foundational for our faith. Christian faith is intertwined with historical reality. God has intervened in human history and worked salvation for his people.” (Page 126)
“What has clearly dominated these three traditions is their focus on redemption. Each of them assumes that sin is a reality in this world and depicts Yahweh as the God whose historical action, active character, and relational identity reflect his passionate resolve to redeem a particular community on earth, that is, Israel. However, though all the creedal traditions in the OT are dominated by this focus on the redemption of Israel, all of the creeds ultimately make a connection to the rest of creation, showing that the revelation of Yahweh to Israel has global implications. Yahweh’s redemptive plans are intended to transform all of creation in and through his people.” (Page 85)
Boda has demonstrated great insight and learning in his numerous previous publications. In The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology, he now illumines the overall theological message of the Old Testament. This book is must reading for all serious students of the Bible.
—Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Old Testament, Westmont College
Wonderfully grounded in close readings of biblical texts, this work is an impressive presentation of key theological trajectories that reveal the person and acts of God across the canon. Boda explores what he labels the narrative, character, and relational creeds of Israel and then connects them to the redemptive purposes for all of creation. His carefully articulated method establishes the Old Testament’s own voice before demonstrating its rich and complex ties to the New. Informed, creative, and robust, The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology is an important contribution!
—M. Daniel Carroll R. (Rodas), Blanchard Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College and Graduate School
Boda, who has penned a number of important biblical-theological studies, here demonstrates his considerable control of the biblical texts in pursuit of what he calls the heartbeat of Old Testament theology. The result is a useful presentation of three creedal rhythms: narrative, character, and relational. Not content to restrict the discussion to the Old Testament, Boda also relates these rhythms to the New Testament and to Christian life more broadly. A sermon and a lengthy appendix round out the volume and show his ideas at work and in action.
—Brent A. Strawn, professor of Old Testament, Emory University
Boda has written a contemporary Old Testament theology worth reading--learned, reflective, insightful, and relevant. His emphasis on the creedal affirmations that constitute the ‘pulse’ for theological formulation links back to the fountain of Gerhard von Rad but carries that proposal forward for today. Students and ministers alike will benefit from this work, and it is one I warmly commend.
—Heath A. Thomas, dean, Herschel H. Hobbs College of Theology and Ministry; professor of Old Testament, Oklahoma Baptist University
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