Religious Studies Essay on The Collected Essays of James Barr

DISCUSSION BOARD 3

Introduction

            The Old Testament patriarchs are the symbol of faith in all religions. The story of Abraham and other Old Testament patriarchs can be traced back to Twentieth century B.C.[1]. According to Yamauchi, Abraham, Moses, Isaac, and Jacob are regarded as the ancestors of faith[2]. The modern people believe in many religions including Islam, Buddha, and others worship idols. Faith is imperative in any belief and the Old Testament patriarchs were connected to God through faith.

            The call of Abraham was accompanied by promises that would be fulfilled to Abraham’s descendants and generations to come. God called Abraham to stop worshipping moon idol and to start practicing monotheism. Abraham and his family originally came from the city of Ur, Abraham’s father, Terah, moved from Ur to Haran, and settled there[3]. Many theologians have come up with conclusions that, it was due to Abraham’s faith in God that made him leave Haran and his family. God made Abraham two promises, first, God would make Abraham’s name famous and he would have many descendants. The call of Abraham shows that the relationship of God and Abraham was personal and not formal, as in many Bible archeological stories.

            They are archeological aspects in the Old Testament narration of Abraham and the Patriarchal. The scripts record that camels that were reared including dromedary were present in the period when Abraham existed[4]. Yamauchi argues that the camels were reared between the Fifteenth century B.C and the Twentieth century B.C, the period that Abraham lived. In addition, Abraham entered into a covenant with God and God promised to bless Abraham’s descendants and make Abraham the father of all nations. Abraham agreed to honor the covenant by circumcising all the males and himself. Circumcision was carried out in the past as a sign of an important tradition.[5]The mythological aspects help believers to differentiate the story of Abraham and the patriarchal narratives from other ancient mythical folk tales.

            Abraham and God had a personal relationship and the bible mentions various theologies that are in the Patriarchal narrative and the story of Abraham. The known incident showing the trustworthiness, relying self-giving love of God is when God wanted to destroy Sodom and Gomorra. According to Oswalt, God asked for Abraham’s decision before destroying Sodom and Gomorrah[6]. God appeared in form of three humans and paid the special visit to Abraham. Abram while relaxing at his house saw the three visitors and welcomed them to his house. After the meal with the visitors, God appeared to Abraham and promised that Sarah would have a baby. It was at this time that God marveled about Abraham’s faith and decided to tell him of the intention of destroying Sodom and Gomorra. Abraham interviewed with God and after praying God agreed to save Lot from destruction.

            The narration of Abraham is an important lesson about faith and believing in God. The call of Abraham and the relationship to Yahweh teaches believers the need for personal relationship with God and not just relate to Him formally and superficially. Nurturing a personal relationship with God requires deep faith in Him, thus Faith is imperative and every person should be faithful and submissive. With great faith and believe in God’s love and all-knowing nature, it becomes possible to dialogue with God.

Bibliography

Barr, James. Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr. Oxford: Oxford          University Press, 2013.

Coogan, Michael. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University        University Press, 2008.

Hendel, Ronald. Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible.      Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.

Hill, Andrew and Walton, John. A Survey of the Old Testament. New York: Zondervan, 2010.

Hunt, Steven. Perspectives on Our Father Abraham: Essays in Honor of Marvin R. Wilson.           London: Eerdmans Publishing, 2012

Moore, Megan and Kelle, Brad. Biblical History and Israel’s Past. London: Eerdmans, 2011.


[1] Hunt, Steven. Perspectives on Our Father Abraham: Essays in Honor of Marvin R. Wilson. Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing, 2012

[2] Coogan, Michael. The Old Testament: A Very Short Introduction. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2008.

[3] Ibid, 201.

[4] Moore, Megan and Kelle, Brad. Biblical History and Israel’s Past. Eerdmans, 2011.

[5] Barr, James. Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr. Oxford University Press, 2013.

[6] Hendel, Ronald. Remembering Abraham: Culture, Memory, and History in the Hebrew Bible. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005.