Opening Israel’s Scriptures
Ellen F. Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Distinguished Professor of Bible and Practical Theology at Duke Divinity School, has written a new book offering comprehensive theological readings of the whole Hebrew Bible in thirty-six essays.
The book, Opening Israel's Scriptures, will be published in July 2019 by Oxford University Press. The essays, from Genesis to Chronicles, give powerful insight into the complexity and inexhaustibility of the Hebrew Scriptures as a theological resource.
Based on three decades of lectures on Old Testament interpretation, Davis offers a selective yet comprehensive guide to the core concepts, literary patterns, storylines, and theological perspectives that are central to Israel's Scriptures. Underlying the whole study is the main assumption that each book of the canon has literary and theological coherence, though not uniformity.
In her close readings of individual texts and broad demonstrations of the coherence of whole books, Davis, an internationally recognized scholar, models the best practices of contemporary exegesis, integrating the insights of contemporary scholars with those of classical theological resources in Jewish and Christian traditions.
Throughout the work, Davis keeps an eye to the experiences and concerns of contemporary readers, showing through multiple examples that the critical interpretation of texts is provisional, open-ended work — a collaboration across generations and cultures. Ultimately what she offers is an invitation into the more spacious world that the Bible discloses, which challenges ordinary conceptions of how things “really” are.