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Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God
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Disturbing Divine Behavior: Troubling Old Testament Images of God

3.84  ·  Rating details ·  43 Ratings  ·  8 Reviews
How should we understand biblical texts where God is depicted as acting irrationally, violently, or destructively? If we distance ourselves from disturbing portrayals of God, how should we understand the authority of Scripture? This book explores these questions and more.
Paperback, 360 pages
Published August 1st 2009 by Fortress Press
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Sep 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
This book promises much but delivers nothing.

Seibert's main thesis is that Jesus is the ultimate revelation of God, and so any portrayal of God that appears to be different must of necessity be false. This sounds reasonable and fair.

However, Seibert proposes a "Christo-centric" hermeneutic, which depicts Jesus as and was a man of peace and love, and then uses this approach to review the validity of portrayals of God in both Old and New Testaments.
In this way Seibert concludes that most of the O
Nathan Hobby
Jan 06, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: evangelicals who struggle with the OT & are willing to go beyond the boundaries of evangelicalism
A dangerous book - but probably in the best possible way. I came away thinking, 'Oh wow, you mean I don't have to believe that God actually commanded the Israelites to commit genocide against the Caananites?' Of course, for some people, they may feel like this book is crumbling the foundations of their faith - if their faith is built on the Old Testament being completely true, ethically and historically. (Even the bits which don't agree with the other bits.)

Seibert brings the conclusions of cont
Jul 04, 2012 rated it really liked it
Very good book on dealing with troubling images of God from the Old Testament. I am not sure that it goes quite far enough in calling divine violence into question (Seibert leaves open the possibility of eschatalogical violence with the caveat that this kind of violence would not mean that God was violent in the here and now, thus securing the idea of God's present nonviolence), but it definitely gets the conversation going in the right direction. I'm also not as confident as Seibert that a numb ...more
Nov 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2009
Calls attention to most of the texts that link God with sanctioning or performing violent acts. But Seibert's conclusion was pretty anti-climactic. On page 200 he gives in and says something to the effect of: "Well, Jesus wasn't violent and he was God, so the Old Testament depictions of God's involvement with violence are distorted and unreliable." That seems a bit too simplistic to me.
Janelle Zeeb
Apr 16, 2016 rated it did not like it
I am giving this book 1 star because I find Seibert’s approach to Biblical interpretation seriously flawed. He argues that we do not have to accept any verse in the Bible as true if it might give the impression that God is anything less than perfectly good. While he tries to use a number of approaches to justify his selectivity, I was not convinced by any of them. I find he is overly influenced by liberal, postmodern approaches to scripture which attempt to preserve some “meaning” in scripture w ...more
Anthony Lawson
Dec 24, 2012 rated it really liked it
Seibert’s work is divided into three parts, consisting of twelve chapters, and two appendixes. The first two sections outline the problems related to various biblical texts and narratives from the Hebrew Bible regarding “disturbing divine behavior.” Such behavior includes God’s genocide of people, directly killing individuals, commanding others to kill, causing natural disasters, etc. These sections are done fairly well. He then works through some of the approaches that have been proposed throug ...more
Bob Price
Aug 03, 2013 rated it liked it
The Old Testament is problematic. This is a given.

How we deal with....well, that's a different story.

Disturbing Divine Behavior is Dr. Eric Seibert's attempt to come to a compelling way to read the Old Testament in a way that helps the reader make sense of the disturbing ways God acts in the OT. He provides a very good book, but ultimately nothing truly new to help the reader.

Seibert begins by acknowledging that the Old Testament is a problem for many readers. He provides texts and anecdotes o
Daniel J. Weber
May 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Disturbing divine behaviour is a well thought out book. It is very concise and easy to understand what the author is trying to say. Eric is clearly knowledgeable and we'll researched on this topic. It takes quite a while to get to the point as Eric chose to use the first 2/3s of the book to explain the issue of troubling portrayals of God in the OT and why they can be disturbing. He also spends a lot of time speaking to some of the other views that people hold. It never feels like the author is ...more
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