Seeking What Is Right
The Old Testament and the Good Life
600 pages, 6.00 x 9.00 in
- ISBN: 9781481312882
- Published: November 2020
The question of the good life—what it looks like for people and societies to be well ordered and flourishing—has universal significance, but its proposed solutions are just as far reaching. At the core of this concern is the nature of the good itself: what is "right"? We must attend to this ethical dilemma before we can begin to envision a life lived to the fullest.
With Seeking What Is Right, Iain Provan invites us to consider how Scripture—the Old Testament in particular—can aid us in this quest. In rooting the definition of the good in God’s special revelation, Provan moves beyond the constraints of family, tribe, culture, state, or nature. When we read ourselves into the story of Scripture, we learn a formative ethic that speaks directly to our humanity. Provan delves into Western Christian history to demonstrate the various ways this has been done: how our forebears identified with the narrative of God’s people, Israel, and how they applied the Old Testament to their particular times and concerns. This serves as a foundation upon which modern Christians can assess their decisions as people who read the whole biblical story "from the beginning" in our time.
Provan challenges us to grapple with ethical issues dominating our contemporary culture as a people in exile, a people formed by disciplines steeped in the patterns and teachings of Scripture. To come alongside ancient Israel in its own experiences of exile, to listen with Israel to the utterances of a holy God, is to approach a true picture of the good life that illuminates all facets of human existence. Provan helps us understand how we should and should not read Scripture in arriving at these conclusions, clarifying for the faithful Christian what the limits of the search for "what is right" look like.
Iain Provan does it again! Here is another big book with a wide-ranging theme that reflects equally wide reading and evidences the careful thinking that the subjects deserve. You may not agree with all his assessments as he traces what people have done with the Old Testament over the centuries, but you will learn a lot and be stimulated into thinking through a host of important issues.~John Goldingay, Professor of Old Testament and David Allan Hubbard Professor Emeritus of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
What is the biblical vision of ‘what is right’? Iain Provan, one of the most important biblical scholars of our generation, brings his expertise not only in the Bible, but also history and contemporary issues of public life to answer this critical question. He addresses questions like right government, warfare, the status of modern Israel, abortion, the environment, sexuality, and more, and he provides a road map for proper reading of Scripture in order to discern the good life.~Tremper Longman III, Distinguished Scholar and Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College
In his masterful volume, Seeking What is Right: The Old Testament and the Good Life, Iain Provan artistically navigates his way through complex ethical issues facing the contemporary church with the steadfast conviction that the Old Testament functions authoritatively in the life of the church today. Exegetically robust and thoroughly biblical, Provan brilliantly weaves into the conversation ancient Christian theologians and historians that results in a tour de force on what it means to live the ‘good life.’ Comprehensive in its scope, this book is essential for pastors and serious Christians who seek to live biblically informed lives amid an increasingly post-Christendom world.~Carol M. Kaminski, Professor of Old Testament, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary