Evolution of Adam Blog Tour: Day Two

Joy Bennett posted her review in a post titled “‘The Evolution of Adam': In Which Science and Faith Are Allies, Not Enemies.” She concludes:

You may or may not agree with Dr. Enns’s theories regarding Adam, Israel, the Pentateuch, and Paul’s letters. However, whether you identify yourself as a young-earth creationsit, an old-earth creationist, or a theistic evolutionist, you will find this book has great value as you seek to better understand the people who wrote/received/heard the sacred Scripture – how they viewed the world and themselves and how they interacted with sacred Scripture, particularly as contrasted with how we do. (emphasis hers)

Joy currently blogs at “Joy in this Journey”.

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Gregory Smith has posted his first blog entry for the tour. He writes:

I recognize that “The Evolution of Adam” will be controversial in certain theological control centers of orthodox Protestantism.  Detractors will argue that the gospel is at stake. However, as a scientist and Christian I respond very positively to Enns’ contribution to the creation-evolution dialogue.  Enns’ writing style is engaging, clear and direct, yet humble and pastoral.  As far as I am concerned, Enns’ contribution is timely precisely because the gospel is at stake: we cannot effectively share Christ while denying what has become incontestable: a long history of life on earth, common ancestry, and descent with modification.

Dr. Gregory Smith is Associate Professor, Department of Applied Science at The College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, VA.

He currently blogs at “Jesus Loves Darwin”.

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James McGrath posted his second blog entry for the tour. He writes:

The first chapter in Paul Enns’ book Evolution of Adam, The: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins focuses on the evidence and approaches that emerged in the 19th century, which forced Christians to reconsider their assumptions about Genesis. [...]

This information is important because it highlights that challenges to certain ideas about the nature and character of Genesis and of Adam result from study of the Bible, and from discovery of ancient texts, quite apart from any considerations raised by the natural sciences.

James McGrath currently blogs at “Exploring Our Matrix”.

Evolution of Adam Blog Tour: Day One

As we posted earlier, Peter Enns kicked off the blog tour for The Evolution of Adam with a blog post titled “Why I Wrote The Evolution of Adam“.

Two other bloggers posted reviews of the book today.

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James McGrath posted the first of three blog entries today. He writes:

“[...] Enns provides not merely a book about Adam, but also a good general introduction to the history, methods and essence of scholarly study of the Bible, using Adam as an example.

It is thus reasonable to hope that this book will do more than just address concerns that some Christians have related to modern biology. This book may help a larger number of Evangelicals to grasp and embrace Biblical scholarship to a greater extent and less selectively than tends to be the case at present.”

Dr. James F. McGrath is Clarence L. Goodwin Chair in New Testament Language and Literature at Butler University. He currently blogs at “Exploring Our Matrix”.

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Justin Topp will also be posting three times this week. He posted his first entry today:

“[...] I believe the book to be a great contribution to the field of science and religion (as you’ll see in the upcoming posts as well). After my first reading of it I labeled it a great conversation-starter and thinking about it longer hasn’t changed my mind one bit. It’s a well-written, well-reasoned, and timely book that will illuminate yet leave you asking questions. It’s not the end all be all on this topic, but it wasn’t designed to be. It was written to show Christians what the Bible doesn’t say about Adam.

And once you know what it doesn’t say, perhaps you can then begin to realize what it actually does say.”

Dr. Justin Topp is Associate Professor of Biology at Gordon College in Wenham, MA. He currently blogs at “A Biologist’s View of Science & Religion”.

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Don’t forget about our giveaway. The grand prize winner will receive a book package from Brazos Press – including The Evolution of Adam.

Behind the Book: Peter Enns’s The Evolution of Adam

Today begins the week-long blog tour for Peter Enns’s new Brazos book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins. Check back all week as we will be updating as various bloggers review and engage with this important book.

To kick-off the tour, we asked Peter Enns to write a brief post for us on how the book came about.  Here is his reply:

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“Why I Wrote The Evolution of Adam” by Peter Enns

Many Christians are looking for ways to think clearly, deliberately, and differently about evolution and the Bible. There are several angles one can take to talk about this (e.g., theological, philosophical), and they all come into play. But I feel the most pressing issue Christians face is the hermeneutical one: if evolution is true, what do I do about what the Bible says about Adam and Eve?

I know many Christians who understand the scientific issues and are convinced that evolution explains human origins. They are looking for ways to read the Adam story differently. Many more—at least this is my experience—are open to the discussion, but are not ready simply to pull the trigger on evolution. They first need to see for themselves that the Adam story can be read with respect and reverence but without needing to read it as a literal account of human origins. Both groups are thinking hermeneutically, though they approach the issue from different sides.

So, as a biblical scholar who has always been keenly interested in the interface of ancient faith and contemporary life, I thought I would paint a bull’s-eye on my back and write a book trying to do just that.

I never really gave the topic of evolution any serious thought until 2009. I had just read Karl Giberson’s Saving Darwin and I was struck by how helpful it was, but also how much more convincing his arguments could be if they were in conversation of biblical scholarship and hermeneutical issues. He and I began corresponding, which eventually lead to my working at The BioLogos Foundation—first under Giberson and then under the current president Darrel Falk.

As I got deeper into the issue and began reading widely, I could see that, despite the many tremendous books out there on science and faith, few, if any, books were taking on the hermeneutical issues surrounding evolution—they weren’t dealing head on with the question, “How specifically do I read Genesis and Paul now that you’ve convinced me that evolution is true and that science and faith can live in harmony?”  In other words, the uneasy, awkward, piecemeal approach sometimes seen when Christians (especially evangelicals) talk about evolution stems from a failure to have an overt hermeneutical strategy for handling the Bible.

From the vantage point of academic biblical scholarship, I felt that such a strategy was sitting there all along, waiting patiently for someone to name it: read the Bible in historical context and see for yourself that the Bible is not remotely set up to contribute to any modern scientific discussions, including evolution.

This conclusion is, I feel, obvious: the pink elephant, 500-pound gorilla, and emperor with no clothes all rolled into one. And one needs no secret academic decoder ring to see it. A simple Google search will quickly yield a lot of information. We know enough today about the religious traditions of the ancient Mesopotamian world, of which Genesis was a part, to know that Genesis was produced by storytellers, not historians, anthropologists, or biologists. Ancient Israelites produced the story of Adam and Eve, and however you think of God’s role in inspiring these storytellers, the ancient Near Eastern-ness of it all must be kept front and center.

Likewise, astute readers of Paul in his historical context see clearly that he, like others of his time, felt quite free to appropriate and adapt creatively his scriptural tradition (our Old Testament) to serve his rhetorical and theological purposes. This is precisely what Paul does with Adam. Here too—however we might explain Paul’s being moved by God’s spirit—we must remember that the Paul that was so moved was a first century Jew who thought like a first century Jew, not a western evangelical.

As I see it, these observations about Genesis and Paul cannot be sidelined but must be brought front and center into the hermeneutical discussion over evolution. I say this for two reasons. First, these observations are hardly idiosyncratic or resting on thin ice, but are well-documented staples of biblical studies. Any discussion of the Bible and evolution that ignores or minimizes these factors in favor of defending familiar theological categories should be given no quarter. Second, these observations are well positioned to help provide the “theological vocabulary” for many Christians to begin their own hermeneutical journey of reading Genesis and Paul responsibly.

Of course, there is a downside to this type of discussion. Many readers seeking alternate ways forward experience tremendous cognitive dissonance and social pressure, for they are part of ecclesiastical communions that historically have not looked kindly at the kind of hermeneutical synthesis the evolution/Bible discussion requires. In fact, not to overstate, but there are theological and ecclesiastical bodies that have a vested interest in seeing to it that these conversations don’t happen.

I do not take the fact lightly, but I do think that a self-preservationist mindset is wrong, and, ironically, self-defeating in the long run.

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Peter Enns (PhD, Harvard University) teaches biblical studies at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania.  He has taught at several schools, including Princeton Theological Seminary, Fuller Theological Seminary, Temple University, and Westminster Theological Seminary. Enns has authored or edited numerous books, including Inspiration and Incarnation: Evangelicals and the Problem of the Old Testament.

Lectionary Reflection for the Fourth Sunday after Epiphany

From Deuteronomy (BTCB) by Telford Work, commenting on Deuteronomy 18:15-20

“What God foretold by the mouth of all the prophets, that his Christ should suffer, he thus fulfilled” (Acts 3:18 RSV). Moses has long been indispensable to Israel. Now his tenure is ending. If he is anxious about how Israel will fare without him (→3:23–25; →31:1–8), the people must be terrified (→31:24–30). So Moses reassures Israel that his office will not cease with him. YHWH appointed Moses to mediate the Torah that Israel could not yet stand to hear (5:30–31), and God has promised so to act again. Yet of all the Old Testament prophets God sends Israel, none has a comparable legacy (Luke 20:10–12), and this promise stands unfulfilled at the time of Deuteronomy’s finalization (→34:10–12). Moses’s legacy is fully refreshed only with the sending of “the Christ appointed for you [ Jews], Jesus” (18:15–20 in Acts 3:20 RSV), whose signs and wonders accomplish what Moses’s turned out only to anticipate. God’s words in the prophets’ mouths (Jer. 1:9) turn out to herald his coming: “All the prophets who have spoken, from Samuel and those who came afterwards, also proclaimed these days” (Acts 3:24 RSV).

The emphatic pronoun I in 18:19 stresses that only YHWH disciplines his people who reject his prophet (cf. 1 Sam. 28:15–19; 1 Kgs. 20:35–36). They are not to be punished immediately, like false prophets (→18:20–22) and even those who stand in contempt of judges (→17:8–13). Usually their reckoning is eschatological, for heaven has received the prophet like Moses “until the time for establishing all that God spoke” (Acts 3:21 RSV). As the interval between Moses’s return and the exodus was a time of signs and wonders of judgment during which God overlooked the Hebrews’ grumbling (Exod. 5:19–6:1), the interval between Messiah’s ascension and his return is one of gracious signs of mercy that invite everyone to enter his kingdom and gain its blessings (Acts 3:25–26).

©2009 by Telford Work. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: January 27, 2012

Peter Enns’ new Brazos book The Evolution of Adam has received a lot of attention this week. As we mentioned earlier in the week, Enns posted an article on The Huffington Post titled “Once More, With Feeling: Adam, Evolution and Evangelicals”.

At the “Jesus Creed” blog, RJS posted on Enns’ book and HuffPo article.

Be sure to also check out Peter Enns’ blog where he has been posting about The Evolution of Adam.

 

John Polkinghorne’s Testing Scripture: A Scientist Explores the Bible continues to generate some excellent discussion by RJS at the “Jesus Creed” blog. The most recent post is titled “Why Would a Scientist Believe the Virgin Birth?”

Previous posts by RJS:
Testing Scripture 1 (RJS)
Testing Scripture 2 (RJS)
Testing Scripture on Creation and Fall (RJS)
Is There Ambiguity in the Bible? (RJS)

Testing Scripture was also blogged about over at “The Internet Monk”: “The Bible, through a Scientist’s Eyes”

Psalms for All Seasons: A Complete Psalter for Worship debuted this week at the Calvin Symposium on Worship.

It was featured in an article in the Grand Rapids Press.

Check out the website for the psalter.

 

 

 

The Englewood Review of Books recently featured reviews of two Brazos titles:

Broken Hallelujahs by Christian Scharen

Be Not Afraid by Samuel Wells

The Vampire Defanged Ebook $2.99!

For just a limited time, you can purchase an ebook copy of The Vampire Defanged: How the Embodiment of Evil Became a Romantic Hero by Susannah Clements for only $2.99.

It is available at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Christianbook.com.

The Evolution of Adam Blog Tour and Giveaway

All next week we will be hosting the Evolution of Adam blog tour.

For a list of participants, click here.

Don’t forget to enter our giveaway where you could win The Evolution of Adam and other books from Brazos Press. Enter here.

Evolution of Adam Blog Tour Line-Up & Giveaway

We are excited to announce the line-up for next week’s blog tour for Peter Enns’ The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins (hosted right here at The Brazos Blog).

Here is the official list of bloggers who will be engaging with Peter Enns’ new book next week:

Joy Bennett –  “Joy In This Journey
Nate Claiborne – NathanielClaiborne.com
Rachel Held Evans – RachelHeldEvans.com
Tripp Fuller – “Homebrewed Christianity”
James McGrath – “Exploring Our Matrix”
Gregory Smith – “Jesus Loves Darwin”
Jacob Sweeney – “Jacob Sweeney’s Blog”
Justin Topp – “A Biologist’s View of Science & Religion”
Kurt Willems – “The Pangea Blog”

Each of these bloggers will be posting on The Evolution of Adam next week. Be sure to check The Brazos Blog all next week for links and highlights from each stop on the tour.

In anticipation for next week’s blog tour, we will be giving away copies of the new book with one grand prize of five great books!

Beginning today and running all next week, you can enter to win The Evolution of Adam Blog Tour Book Giveaway!

One grand prize winner will receive the following books from Brazos Press & Baker Academic:



Five runner up winners will receive a copy of The Evolution of Adam.

To enter, fill out the form here:

This giveaway has ended.

Today Only: Free “The Vampire Defanged” Ebook

We are running a special promotion today, offering a free ebook of Susannah Clements’s The Vampire Defanged: How the Embodiment of Evil Became a Romantic Hero.

 Get a digital copy at:

Amazon

Barnes & Noble

CBD

Sony

Peter Enns on Adam, Evolution, and Evangelicals in The Huffington Post

Peter Enns, author of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins, has written an article for The Huffington Post titled, “Once More, With Feeling: Adam, Evolution and Evangelicals.”

Dr. Enns writes:

“Evolution is a threat, and many evangelicals are fighting to keep Adam in the family photo album. But in their rush to save Christianity, some evangelicals have been guilty of all sorts of strained, idiosyncratic or obscurantist tactics: massaging or distorting the data, manipulating the legal system, scaring their constituencies and strong-arming those of their own camp who raise questions.

These sorts of tactics get a lot of press, but behind them is a deeper problem — a problem that gets close to the heart of evangelicalism itself and hampers any true dialogue.

It has to do with what evangelicals expect from the Bible.”

To read the entire article, click here.

The Weekly Hit List: January 20, 2012

We have some exciting news and resources to share in this edition of The Weekly Hit List. To fit it all in, we are dividing this post into three sections:

Around the Web:

“Jesus Creed” blogger “RJS” posted two entries this week referencing Brazos books:
In “Adam in Genesis and Paul,” the blogger looked at some introductory issues explored in Peter Enns‘ new book The Evolution of Adam.
Continuing a series of posts on the book, RJS also looked at John Polkinghorne’s Testing Scripture in a post entitled “Is There Ambiguity in the Bible?”.

Rachel Held Evans began blogging through Christian Smith’s The Bible Made Impossible.
The book was also featured on two other blogs: “Bournagain” and “Nita’s Book Club”.

Three blogs reviewed Miroslav Volf’s A Public Faith:    “Religion in the Balance”, “Journey with Jesus”, and “iCrucified”.

Byron Borger at Hearts & Minds listed his top books of 2011 - including Volf’s A Public Faith and Brian Walsh’s Kicking at the Darkness.

Finally, Peter Enns was mentioned in a Huffington Post article by Brandon Withrow. Enns’ book The Evolution of Adam was also reviewed on the “Disoriented Theology” blog.

Announcing “The Evolution of Adam Blog Tour”

We are excited to announce that The Brazos Blog will be hosting a blog tour for Peter Enns’ new book The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say about Human Origins from Jan. 30th to Feb. 3rd.

During that week, we have enlisted some wonderful bloggers to review and interact with this important book. As these bloggers post about the book, we will be linking their reviews on this site (and possibly hosting a few blog entries ourselves!). We will also be giving away copies of The Evolution of Adam and other titles.

Check here next Wednesday for more details on the book giveaway and a full list of participants.

Kicking at the Darkness Giveaway Winners

Congratulations to Bryan Gormley, Agus Sadewa, Phillip Waters, Tom Fagan, and Mindy McAuley on winning a free copy of Brian Walsh’s Kicking at the Darkness: Bruce Cockburn and the Christian Imagination from The Brazos Blog. Check your inboxes for an email on how to receive your book!

 

Lectionary Reflection for the Third Sunday after Epiphany

From Jonah (BTCB) by Phillip Cary, commenting on Jonah 3: 1

It all starts again, just as before, with the very same words we read at the be­ginning except for the added phrase reminding us that it is the second time. The Lord is nothing if not persistent, always ready to begin again. But this time things should be different. For Jonah is not just starting over again; he has been given a new life out of the depths of Sheol, like Israel freed from exile in Babylon, like a man buried with Christ in baptism and raised to newness of life. The second half of the book of Jonah tells the story of one reborn from the dead.

So we go back to square one, yet expect a very different story. In the first half of the book of Jonah, the man of God runs away from God but ends up saving a whole boatload of Gentiles in spite of himself. In this half he will actually cooper­ate in carrying out his mission as a prophet. At least to some degree, his reborn will is in conformity with the word of the Lord.

 

©2008 by Phillip Cary. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.