The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment
The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment

The Old Testament Is Dying: A Diagnosis and Recommended Treatment

in Theological Explorations for the Church Catholic

by Brent A. Strawn

Pages 336
Publisher Baker Academic
Published 2017
ISBN-13 9780801048883
The Old Testament makes up the majority of the Christian Bible and provides much of the language of Christian faith. However, many churches tend to neglect this crucial part of Scripture, leading to the loss of the Old Testament as a resource for faith and life.

This timely book shows how the Old Testament is like a language--a language is used and learned or it falls into disuse and eventually dies. Brent Strawn details a number of ways the Old Testament is showing signs of decay, demise, and imminent death in the church and criticizes common misunderstandings of the Old Testament that contribute to its neglect. He also shows that it is possible for a language to be recovered. Drawing fresh insight from recent studies of how languages die and are revived, Strawn offers strategies for renewing the use of the Old Testament in Christian faith and practice. This clearly written book will appeal to professors and students of the Old Testament as well as pastors and church leaders.

  • Contents
  • Testimonia
  • Part 1: The Old Testament as a Dying Language
    • 1. The Old Testament Is Dying
      • A (Non)Telling Vignette
      • The Diagnosis, in Brief, with a Caveat
      • The Old Testament Is (Like) a Language
      • Plan of the Book and Two Additional Caveats
    • 2. Initial Testing
      • The U.S. Religious Knowledge Survey
      • The "Best"(?) Sermons
      • The Psalms in Mainline Hymnody
      • The Revised Common Lectionary (and the Psalms)
      • Conclusion
    • 3. On Language Growth and Change, Contact and Death
      • Language Change and Language Contact
      • Pidgins and Creoles, Pidginization and Creolization
      • Language Death
    • Conclusion
  • Part 2: Signs of Morbidity
    • 4. The New Atheism
      • Dawkins and the New Atheists on the Old Testament
      • Answering Dawkins
      • Pidgin versus Pidgin
    • 5. Marcionites Old and New
      • The Old Marcion
      • Tertullian contra Marcion
      • Von Harnack pro Marcion, or the New Marcion(ism)
      • Contra von Harnack, or the Deadly Ramifications
    • 6. New Plastic Gospels: The "Happiologists"
      • The Bible and Your Best Everything Right Now!
      • Assessing Osteen "and Company"
    • Conclusion to Part 2
  • Part 3: Path to Recovery
    • 7. Recommended Treatment
      • On Saving Dying Languages
      • Resurrecting Hebrew
      • Learning First, New, and Very Old Languages
      • Bilingualism and Code-Switching
      • It Could Happen to You (Us)
    • 8. Saving the Old Testament
      • Evidence of Further Decline
      • Deuteronomy as a Model of/for Second-Language Acquisition (SLA)
    • 9. Ways Forward and Not
      • The Most Basic (and Obvious) Recommendation: Regular Use
      • The Need for Adequate Linguistic Training
      • Intentionality in Language Practice and Language Learning
      • On Creating Bilinguals
      • On "Bothness"
      • The Challenge of Future Change
      • Music, Memory, Poetry, . . . and Children (Again)
    • Conclusion
  • Appendix 1: Newton Series
  • Appendix 2: Butler Series
  • Appendix 3: Cox Series
  • Appendix 4: Size of Testaments
  • Appendix 5: Sermon Data from Walter Brueggemann
  • Appendix 6: Old Testament Texts Used by Walter Brueggemann
  • Indexes


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