Archive | December, 2012

Meta-Pile #3 2013-2015 Draft Proposed COOS Book Review Schedule

16 Dec

As my latest Phile (“#4 Bibliographies and Blogs”) stated, I am preparing myself to re-enter the education process. At the same time, in order to meet my commitment to my Episcopal parish for book reviews, I created for myself (and for the editor of our newsletter) a three year schedule of reviews (A fourth, provisional year has also been drawn up, but not finalized), and since I am in the habit of sharing bibliographies, as a symptom of my biblilolunacy, I offer it to my readers, as a way to gauge my progress. (The fact that I intend to adapt these parish reviews for a Pile entry has nothing  everything to do with the sharing. 🙂 )

The following key will help make sense of my entries:  C for  a work from the parish library, P for a work from my personal collection,  L  for a work from the public (or other) library, B for a work borrowed from an individual

2013 Reviews

Jan.  Doors of Perception: Icons and their spiritual significance / John Baggley. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press. 1988.  xi, 160p. Includes Bibliographic References and Index. -C-, submitted

FebJesus through the centuries ; Mary through the centuries / Jaroslav Pelikan. With a new preface by the author. NY:  History Book Club. 2005. xxi, 267 p. : ill.  Includes bibliographic references and indexes.  [“Jesus through the centuries originally published 1985 by Yale University Press; Mary through the centuries originally published 1996 by Yale Univesity Press”] –n.b. the actual review is for Jesus through the centuries: his place in the history of culture; Mary through the centuries was previously reviewed therein and will soon appear here in the Piles -P- submitted

MarWhy the cross? / Edward Leen. Princeton, NJ: Scepter Press.  2001 327 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. [“First published in 1938 by Sheed and Ward”]  -P-

AprDeath of the Messiah from Gethsemane to the grave : a commentary on the passion narratives of the four Gospels. 2v. / Raymond E. Brown. NY: Doubleday. 1994.  xxvii, xix, 1608 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

May   The precious blood : Or the price of our salvation. new edition / Frederick Wolliam Faber. Rockford, Ill: TAN Books and Publishers. [1978] 278 p. [“Originally published by the John Murphy Company, Baltimore,  Maryland. This edition published in 1959 by the Peter Reilly Company, Philadelphia.”] -P-

JunImagination shaped : Old Testament preaching in the Anglican tradition / Ellen F Davis. Valley Forge,  PA: Trinity Press. 1995. xiii, 289 p. Includes bibliographic references. -P-

Jul.  New Testament Theology / G.B. Caird. Completed and edited by L. D. Hurst Oxford: Clarendon. 1994.  xix, 498 p. Includes bibliographic references and index.  -P-

Aug.  Mary and the fathers of the church : the Blessed Virgin Mary in patristic thought / Luigi Gambero. Translated by Thomas Buffer. San Francisco: Ignatius Press. 199 9. 436 p. Includes bibliographic references and index.  -P-

Sep.  Victorian reformation: the fight over idolatry in the Church of England, 1840-1860 / Dominic James. Oxford: University Press. 2009. xii,  237 p.  “Religion, Culture, and History Series” Includes bibliographic references and index.  -P-

Oct.  English heritage book of church archaeology / Warrick Rodwell. London: B.T. Bastford/English Heritage. 1989.  2058 p. Includes bibliographic references and index.   [“First published 1981. Revised  edition 1989”]  -C-

Nov.  Living the church year / Harry Boone Porter, Jr. New York: Seabury Press. 1977 xi, Includes index. [“Originally published in a monthly column in the magazine The Living Church.”]  -C-

Dec.  Birth of the Messiah : a commentary on the infancy narratives in Mathew and Luke / Raymond E. Brown. NY: Image.  1977. 594 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

2014 Reviews

Jan.  Anam Cara : a book of Celtic wisdom / John O’Donohue. NY: Cliff Street Books. 1997.  xx, 234 p.  Includes bibliographic references [“A hardcover edition of this book was published in 1997 by Cliff Street Books. an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers”]  -B-

Feb.  Spirit of penance, path to God : how acts of penance will make your life Holier and Your Days Happier / Hubert van Zeller. Manchester, NH: Sophia Institute Press. 1998. v, 130 p. Includes bibliographic references. [“Spirit of penance, path to God : how acts of penance will make your life Holier and Your Days Happier was originally published in 1958 by Sheed and Ward under the title Approach To Penance. This 1998 edition by Sophia Institute Press contains minor editorial revisions throughout the text”]   -P-

Mar. In the shadow of the temple: Jewish influences on early Christianity / Oskar Sharsaune. Downers Grove, IL: Intervarsity Press. 2002. 455 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

AprThe shape of the liturgy / Gregory Dix. London: A & C Black. 1945. xx, 764 p.  Includes bibliographic references and index. [“Twelfth reprint of the second edition 1993”] -P-

May  Authenticity: a biblical theology of discernment. Updated Edition / Thomas Dubay. San Francisco: Ignatius. 1997 179 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. [Original edition published in 1977 by Dimensions Books. Published with ecclesiastical approval. Revised edition published with permission of the author.”] -P-

JunA cheerful and comfortable faith:  Anglican religious practice in the elite households of Eighteenth-Century Virginia / Lauren F. Winner. New Haven, CT:  Yale University Press. 2010.  ix, 272 p.  Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

JulBlessed Sacrament or, the ways and works of God / Frederick William Faber. Rockford, Ill: TAN Books and Publishers. [1978] viii, 463 p. [“Originally published by the John Murphy Company, Baltimore, Maryland. This edition published in 1958 by the Peter Reilly Company, Philadelphia.”] -P-

Aug.  Mother of the saviour and our interior life / Reginald Garrigou-Lagrange. Translated by Bernard J Kelly.  Rockford, Ill: TAN Books and Publishers. [1993] 290 p. Includes bibliographic references [“First U.S. publication was in 1948 was B. Heerder Book Company, St. Louis, Missouri”]

Sep.  Commentary on the American Prayerbook / Marion J. Hattchet. San Franciso: HarperSanFranciso. 1995. xiv, 670 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

OctScribal culture and the making of the Hebrew bible / Karel Van Der Toorn. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press. 2007. x, 401 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

Nov. a. The Glenstall book of icons: praying with the Glenstall icons / Grregory Collins. Collegeille, MN: The Liturgical Press. 2002. 138 p. Includes bibliographic references. -P-
b. Praying with icons / Jim Forest. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books. 1997 xx,  171 p. Includes bibliographic references. -P-

Dec.  Bethlehem / Frederick William Faber. Rockford, Ill: TAN Books and Publishers. [1978] ix, 432 p.  [“Originally published by the John Murphy Company, Baltimore, Maryland. This edition published in 1955 by the Peter Reilly Company, Philadelphia.”] -P-

2015 Reviews

Jan.  Fire within: St. Teresa of Avila, St. John of the Cross, and the Gospel -on Prayer / Thomas Dubay. San Francisco:  Ignatius. 1989.  vii, 358 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

Feb.  Church of Facebook: how the hyperconnected are redefining community / Jesse Rice. Colorado Springs, CO: David C Cook. 2009. 231 p. Includes bibliographic references. -P-

Mar. At the foot of the cross : or the sorrows of Mary. new edition / Frederick William Faber. Rockford,  Ill: TAN Books and Publishers.[1978]  x, 406 p.  [“Originally published by the John Murphy Company, Baltimore, Maryland. This edition published in 1956 by the Peter Reilly Company, Philadelphia.”] [“Third printing 1978.”] -P-

Apr. The Spiritual Man: in three volumes / Watchman Nee. New York: Christian Fellowship Publishers. 1968. 207, 258, 231 p.  [“Printed as a combined volume 1977”] -P-

May. a. Resurrection reconsidered: Thomas and John in controversy / Gregory J Riley. Minneapolis. Fortress Press. 1995. x, 222 p. Includes bibliographic references and index.   -B-  with
b. Gnostic Gospels / Elaine Pagels. NY: Vintage Books. 1979.  xxxix, 214 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. [Vintage Books edition 1981″] -P-

Jun.  a. Luminous Eye: the spiritual world vision of Ephrem the Syrian / Sebastian Brock.  Kalamazoo, MI:  Cistercian Publications. 1992.  209. p. “Cistercian Study Series ; 124”. Includes bibliographic references.  -P-
           b. Hymns on paradise / St. Ephrem the Sryian ; translated, with an introduction by Sebastian Brock. Crestwood, NY: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press.  1990. 240 p. Includes bibliographic references and index -P-

Jul.  Catena Auroa: commentary on the four gospels collected out of the works of the fathers 4vols / Thomas Aquinas ; translated and edited by John Henry Newman; With an introduction and translation of the dedicatory epistle of St. Thomas to Pope Urban IV by Aidan Nichols. London: Saint Austin Press. 1951. 4vol: xiii, 990; vi, 349;  xv, 795;  631 p.  [volume 1: St. Matthew; volume 2: St. Mark; volume 3: St. Luke; volume 4: St. John] -P-

Aug. a. Marian Shrines of the United States: a pilgrim’s travel guide / Theresa Santa Czarnopys and Thomas M Santa. Ligouri, MO: Ligouri. 1998. xiv, 224 p. Includes index. -P-
b. Shrines of Our Lady: a guide to fifty of the world’s most Marian shrines / Peter Mullen. Foreword by Janice T. Connell. NY: St. Martin’s. 1998. 184. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

Sep. Early Church Doctrines. Revised edition / J.N.D. Kelly. New York: HarperOne. 1978. 511 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

Oct.  The Bible and the liturgy / Jean Danielou. Notre Dame, IN: University of Notre dame Press. 1956. x, 372 p. Includes bibliographic references and index. [Liturgical studies (University of Notre Dame) ; v. 3.] -C-

Nov. Yeshua: a guide to the real jesus and the original church / Ron Moseley ; Foreword by Marvin Wilson. Clarksville, MD: Lederer Books. 1996. Kindle edition. Includes bibliographic references and index. -P-

Dec. Original blessing : a primer in Creation spirituality presented in four parts, twenty-six themes and two questions / Mathew Fox. Santa Fe NM: Bear & Company.  348 p. Includes bibliographic references.  [“Seventh Printing August 1986”]  -C-

Until next time, Read on my friends!

edited on 16 December 2012 for tagging and consistency

Phile #4 Bibliographies and Blogs

15 Dec

or  “What do you do with a drunken blogger…early in the mornin?”

As is evident from previous posts, I am not shy about sharing bibliographies (whether or not I ever get around to reading the books on said bibliographies (though it is always my intention to do so), the fruits of my biblio-lunacy. I collect books like certain people collect fortune cookies fortunes, like  women collect shoes and purses, like otaku collect anime goods, and like dust-bunnies collect …well, more dust bunnies (I could add, “like tribbles produce other tribbles, but that’s stretching things a bit)

To prepare myself for undertaking formal (distance-learning) academic study again I  have taken up the noble and occasionally gentle art of blogging, of which Piles and Philes was but my first down-payment. At the same time, in order to meet my commitment to my Episcopal parish I have drawn up a three year schedule of book reviews (A fourth, provisional year has also been drawn up, but not finalized)

I hope to introduce these other blogs over the course of  the next year as I build up my intellectual stamina so to speak in preparation for this return to school for graduate-level work in the fields of history, humanities, philosophy, theology, and science (probably a combination of biology and evolutionary psychology).  I’m also going to share recently acquired bibliographies:  from Cobb  County Public Library, from Amazon, from other bookstores (especially Used or Secondhand bookstores) and from within the bowels of my preexisting personal library, targeted toward the blogs in question, to be added as meta-piles.

The Soul of Understanding

What this means is I’ll get to share more and more lists of books, so that together our gathered intellectual ambition can exceed  our reach. It also means  that, as the number of posted reviews in certain areas increases, I’ll be able to return to these books, organizing and integrating them into literature reviews and bibliographic essays for more comprehensive understanding With that said, my upcoming blog projects for 2013 include.

1 Earmarks and Porn: A Christian review of political culture  A blog which relies on book review of current and historical works on political philosophy, political events, biographies, and agendas, as well as the occasional scriptural commentary to build up a Christian understanding of politics in an age of increasing globalization and interconnectedness.

2 The Strange Affair of the Evolutionary Creationist:  A study in ideas that will review books along the creation-evolution, mind-body, science-religion, faith-reason divide (and just perhaps, supply me with research material and leads for an eventual dissertation), primarily pursued through (you guessed it) reading and reviewing other books in the hyphenated fields above, to build up my own understanding of issues,

3 Miihaa – The Clueless Fanboy Anime Review : for the love of Japanese and Anime culture -This little gem (the product of my major non-academic interests, (aside from fiction writing) offers for the interested reader reviews of anime series as well as books (and the occasional blog) about Japan and Japanese culture and society (including anime and other art forms), history, language, literature and religion, in an attempt to develop a proper understanding and context for the continued enjoyment of anime (at least insofar as a Gaijin like me can understand it. I plan, and hope, to include guest posts from fellow members of the AWA Video Room Staff (if not wider AWA Staff)

4 Walsingham Way: Pilgrim Thoughts on the Journey of Faith –  A personal devotional and theological blog (actually an existing, though dormant blog) where I could gather my thoughts on Jesus and Faith  framed by a threefold chord of Marian, Patristic, and Hebrew modes of understanding, naturally complemented by more reading and more reviews.

The Three Constants

The end of the matter is that I will be constantly seeking understanding, constantly studying, constantly putting to use the fruits of my reading in the pursuit of true wisdom. And if, at the end of another 40 years of life, I can claim a little increase of understanding of the ways of God and men, I will count those years well spent.

So, until we meet again, Keep reading, my friends!

Pile #5 The Essene Book of Everyday Virtues by Kenenth Hanson

12 Dec

The Essene Book of Everyday Virtues: Spiritual Wisdom from the Dead Sea Scrolls / Kenneth Hanson.  San Francisco: Council Oaks Books. 2006. 201 p.  Includes bibliographic references and index

The original review is here  “The Essene Book of Everyday Virtue” http://www.amazon.com/review/RY9XXORXX8U9E/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

“How are we then, to live?”

Ever since the days of of Plato and Socrates, this question above all others -the question of values and purpose- follows each person throughout his or her life, and has been the constant refrain of reformers, ascetics, families, communities, nations, and religions the world over, down through the millenia. Answers are sought through philosophy, religion, and  science. As far back as ancient Greece, India, and China, founders of philosophical schools and religions have enshrined a way of life in their teachings. In the present day answers abound across faith traditions:  the Christian perspectives are to be found in the Evangelical Counsels of the Gospels, in the examples of  The Acts of the Apostles, and in the models of monasticism, as well as from numerous sermons, spiritual books, and retreats. The answer from the Jewish perspective requires active, lifelong study of Torah and Talmud. Islam combines adherence to the 5 Pillars (the arkān-al-Islām (Pillars of Islam) or  arkān ad-dīn (Pillars of Religion) with the study of Qu’ran and Hadith. Confucianism and Taoism both have answers to a fulfilled life that celebrate either  the well-ordered life, or a balance of order and randomness  Buddhism offers it’s Four Noble Truths and the Noble Eightfold Path.  Less religious answers have included American transcendentalism., British Utilitarianism, even Marxist socialism.

An alternate answer is offered by Dr. Kenneth Hanson, of the Judaic Studies department of the University of Central Florida.

In his book, The Essene Book of Everyday Virtues, Professor Hanson offers us, as his subtitle suggests “Spiritual Wisdom from the Dead Sea Scrolls”, which he has studied for over 30 years. Professor Hanson takes from the Scrolls and the community of which they formed a part the following ten virtues: Simplicity, Community, Vision, Labor, Time, Learning, Perseverance, Silence & Right Speech,  Manna, and Abundance and presents them as valuable and viable virtues to be followed even today, as a path toward a more meaningful lives.

The book is comprised of a short personal introduction, ten chapters (one for each virtue to be covered) a (minimal) section of notes, and an index.  He combines historical accounts, archaeological findings and his own paraphrase translations of source documents (designed to make the text more readable to a general audience).

Horizontal Living

Its more a meditation on a way of life and an assertion on how to live,  than a scholarly assessment of the Qumran community’s accomplishments. As he admits, “I have attempted to draw from [the Scrolls] some of the most meaningful, graspable and spiritually suggestive passages and to construct a series of ten disciplines from the ancient world that are relevant to contemporary life.” (p5-6). It is also, though, more a secular approach then a religious, for of his enumerated virtues, not one is primarily ‘religious’ in nature  -that is, relating to the vertical dimension of life (there are for instance, no virtues associated with prayer, or sacrifice, or conversion and repentance)- though this is not necessarily in itself a weakness, more an observation.

Take precautions

What is missing from the text, though,  is a precaution against taking any one virtue to the extreme, or warnings about taking a virtue (or virtues) out of context, or even an analysis of the weakness of the virtue in isolation, or what part of a broken life the particular virtue fills, although this weakness is mitigated, as after the first “Simplicity” every virtue builds on the one preceding it. The implicit conclusion is that the fullest expression of any one virtue requires the living out of all the virtues.

A Place to Start

These are, then, not necessarily the traditional virtues of an institutional monasticism (Christian or otherwise), and readers should be aware that this is not a Christian presentation or understanding of the enumerated virtues, but one that springs from a lifetime of scholarship on the sectarian documents of the Jewish sect of Essenes found at Qumran (without necessarily being a Jewish response to “how shall we live?”).  Hanson’s book has many worthwhile insights and does provide the outline of a program for right living, but it should not be taken in isolation, apart from the (written, oral, social,  and emotional) resources of a supportive community, but it is a good first step.

Until next time then,  Read on my friends, and stay thirsty

 

edited on 12 December for consistency sake

Pile #4 The Meaning of Creation by Conrad Hyers

7 Dec

The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science / Conard Hyers.  Atlanta: John Knox Press. 1984. vi, 203 p.  Includes Bibliographic References.

The original Amazon review is found here : “The Meaning of Creation” http://www.amazon.com/review/R20W108MQ5RWE7/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm

In the beginning…..

“Where did the world come from?”  “Why are we here?” are two of the oldest questions of mankind, probably asked since he first began to speak and gaze up at the sky.  He has sought answers from theology, philosophy, and nature itself, and has apparently received different answers from all three at different times, no two answers necessarily being in harmony, which of course gives birth to long running controversies.  At least since the 18th century the different answers became confrontational, with science overtaking philosophy and, from the mid-twentieth century, actively overtaking the religious answer, though not without a fight.

In today’s world then, we appear to have two competing answers to the origin of the world, of species, and of mankind itself, one being a religious answer (represented most prominently by the “Creationist” label of Evangelical Christian theology), and the other being a scientific answer going by the label “Evolutionary Theory”. And then there are the “shades of gray” answers that seek to combine the two, such as “Theistic Evolution” or “Intelligent Design” -but they tend to collapse into one or the other of the main two

Controversy?  What Controversy?

Christianity itself is no stranger to controversy -and in truth, the Church has never been free from  conflict with the surrounding culture:  this is as true  of the twenty-first century as the fourth, fifth, and sixth centuries A.D. (the period of the first Ecumenical Councils), as it is of even the beginning of the faith’s separate existence (Paul’s conflict with Jewish believers over expected and acceptable behaviour for Gentile believers in Messiah). Every age in fact has its unique set of controversies which Christianity and the Church must work through to proclaim the Gospel. (The current set of controversies just strikes a little closer to home).

The longest running controversy of modernity is this self-same apparent conflict between Religion and Science -the opposition of “faith” to “reason” as it is sometimes styled- and in particular over the question of origins.  From the middle of the 19th century and the publishing of Charles Darwin’s On The Origin of Species and The Descent of Man, portions of Christianity have been fixated on the question of human origins….”Creation” vs “Evolution”  arguments rage back and forth, and the resulting bitterness and entrenching of positions has all too often fueled criticism and rejection of Christian Faith as delusional, irrational and unpractical. Yet it is not a foregone conclusion that “Science” and “Religion” must be at odds, and Professor Conrad Hyers of Gustavus Adolphus College in Minnesota, in his book The Meaning of Creation: Genesis and Modern Science through a commentary on the two creation narratives in the first part of the Book of Genesis seeks to show how this can be so.

Hyers wants us to leave his text believing that the controversy between Faith and Reason, Science and Religion is a false dichotomy, because the questions asked are not the same -so of course the answers given cannot be the same- that in fact the two ‘sides’ have become trapped in a pit of their own making.

Reading Genesis

Written in 1984, “The Meaning of Creation” offers a different perspective on the conflict, and takes to task the assumptions  inherent in the literalist reading and interpretation of the creation narratives from both the religious and scientific interpreters, as misunderstanding the real issues that the creation narratives wrestled with. Instead of trying to harmonize the Genesis creation accounts with current scientific theory, he puts forward a religious reading of the texts.  Eight chapters, a prologue, and notes  bring his argument to life -that a literalist approach to the creation narratives does a disservice both to and to science, and that such an approach was not what the original authors intended.

The first chapter sets out the difference between religious language and scientific language and applies this difference to the biblical texts for the rest of the book.  Chapters 2-4 bring out the imagery of Genesis 1, and chapters 6-7 do the same for Genesis 2,  Chapter 5, standing between these discussion of Genesis 1 and of Genesis 2 and beyond, introduces symbolic imagination and the religious uses of symbols and the contrast between scientific use of symbols.

The final chapter “The Controlled Accident” is an exploration of three problems that arise out of the creation narratives and the doctrine of Creation:  ,1) chance versus design in nature, 2) the existence of evil and suffering, and 3) the use of patriarchal language, and how their reconciliation can be effected first of all by recognizing that such questions were not addressed by the author(s) of Genesis, and that to truly take in the meaning of creation we must accept both the order and ambiguity that it represents.

Asking the right Questions

For Hyers, it is not a question of reconciling science and religion in the realm of human and cosmic origins, but of acknowledging that the two accounts (biblical and scientific) speak to different audiences using different languages, addressing different issues, and further, that they may not even be asking the same questions, separated as they are by some 2500 years and geography. Hyers maintains, for instance that the primary motivating issues facing the writers of the two creation accounts was the rejection of polytheism and idolatry from within Judaism, and that each account is written from a different perspective: an agricultural perspective (the Priestly account, which celebrates and elevates an orderly creation) for Genesis 1 and a pastoral perspective for Genesis 2 and beyond (an account that critiques unfettered advances of civilization, the Yawhist account).

Dialogue or Commentary?

Hyers sets his book up to be a dialogue between the Book of Genesis and the results of modern science, especially biology and evolutionary theory (along with astronomy) concerning the beginning of the world, and the origins of life, but there is very little of science in the text, even for a work that dates from 1984. Hyers is more concerned to distinguish the different type of questions that Genesis and Science asks and answers, and then spends the rest of the work focusing on the the former, making sense of the  two accounts of Genesis, in effect making the book a a commentary.

Based on the above descriptions, Hyer’s book is best described as a commentary on Genesis, as opposed to a book that seeks to reconcile science and religion on the origins of the world. As a commentator then, he would have done well to remember the modes of interpretation of the text -the 4 senses of the text that Aquinas speaks of-, that the literal-historical sense always had primary emphasis, followed by the spiritual -broken down into the moral, allegorical, and spiritual senses, and not assume that only one mode can be in play for any one particular passage at any one time.

Since the book was written in 1984, and is thus more than 30 years old, the question could be asked why read it now?  The most honest answer is, it was in my reading stack, the title struck my interest

Where’s the Science?

Okay, so maybe I’m being a little harsh on Dr. Hyers. Or maybe I’m not. Dr Hyers is a theologian, not a scientist, true; however, a sketch of the expanding scientific questions and answers would have been helpful for comparison purposes, and not just a theory of scientific imagination, to use as a foil of the Genesis account.

With this in mind, the greatest weakness of the work becomes clear: the paucity of interaction between ‘Science’ and ‘Religion’. His actual discussion of Genesis 1 and 2 (and beyond) was quite meaningful, and helps put many of the subsequent theological themes of the rest of Scripture into context, but this comes at the expense

The closest that Hyers comes to engaging with science  (which in my mind is also the most unique contribution to the “origins” controversy that Hyers brings to the table) is the notion of a dual biblical-scientific literalism that frames the question in the same way, but even this more of a philosophical and literary argument, not an engagement with science itself. He  then raises the issue in the last chapter  (which looks back to the accusation of the dual literalisms previously mentioned) the conflict over chance versus design (order versus randomness) and determinism versus free-will  in creation, and questions whether we demand too much order (following the Taoist critique of Confucian art) in creation both from theologians and scientists at the expense of creative randomness and ambiguity, of whether we view God and creation  in overly masculine terms at the expense of the feminine that is the other half of humanity.

Enriching, if not definitive

Not everyone will be comfortable with Professor Hyers’ treatment of the creation narratives, of course, or of his resolution of the problem (such as it is) and yet, compared with another nearly contemporaneous work that rejects a simple literalist reading of the creation narratives -John Shelby Spong’s Rescuing the Bible From Fundamentalism- Hyers offers a more readable, erudite, and sympathetic argument. Whether or not you  agree with his assessment though, reading his book will enrich your  understanding and appreciation of the meaning of Genesis 1 and 2, even if it does not bring a rapprochement, or even the outlines of such, between Science and Religion.

Until next time then,  Read on my friends, and stay thirsty

 

edited on 12 December for consistency sake