Logo

 

Banner Image:   Baptist-Times-banner-2000x370-
Template Mode:   Baptist Times
Icon
    Post     Tweet

The Invention of God by Thomas Römer 

A reconstruction of the history of Israel, of the origins of the Old Testament and particularly what the Israelites thought about God 

Invention of God300The Invention of God
By Thomas Römer
Harvard University Press
ISBN: 9780674504974
Reviewed by Pieter Lalleman

Behind the provocative title of this book lies a rather ordinary book. Professor Römer offers a reconstruction of the history of Israel, of the origins of the Old Testament and particularly what the Israelites thought about God. Like many critical scholars, he does not believe what the Old Testament says about itself, Israel and God.

And of course he argues on every page that the Old Testament is full of contradictions. So, instead, Römer taps into other sources which he regards as more reliable. Thus he denies that there is much historical reality behind the stories about Abraham. Moses, Samuel, David and Solomon.

Only when we get to the kings Hezekiah and Josiah does the professor begin to accept some truth in the biblical narratives. He reproduces the 150-year old hypothesis that it was the Midianites who first worshipped the God Jahweh and that they influenced Moses (about whom we know next to nothing). It was then Saul and David who introduced Jahweh to Jerusalem, but for a long time Israel worshipped more gods than one and there was a statue of Jahweh in the temple.

The book reads well, so if you want to know what is generally taught in universities, here is a good introduction. If you want to know what the Old Testament itself says and what Israel believed, a more orthodox book would be a better choice. I would suggest Richard S. Hess, Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey (Leicester: Apollos, 2007, ISBN 978-0-8010-2717-8).
 
 

The Revd Dr Pieter J. Lalleman teaches Bible at Spurgeon's College

Baptist Times, 26/08/2016
    Post     Tweet
Lessons learned from and empathy for lesser known women in the Bible, whose stories can resonate with the lives of women today
Highlights five hidden themes our culture can’t stop talking about - and how to connect them to Christ
In socialising dinosaurs for a Christian audience, the Carrolls are making an important contribution and also raising deep questions
An excellent book about building children's emotional wellbeing for parents, family workers, teachers and preachers, thoroughly based on current research and advice by experts in the field
Excellent book for children with questions about the universe and what it means to be human, and interesting for adults too
Powerful study of Christian communities in Iraq, Gaza, Syria, and Egypt which goes far beyond mere statistics
     Reviews 
    Posted: 24/06/2022
    Posted: 18/05/2022
    Posted: 21/01/2022
    Posted: 08/10/2021
    Posted: 17/09/2021