An Introduction to Biblical Theology This is an introduction to the study of the Bible, written from the standpoint of the biblical theology of the Eastern Orthodox Church. The book contains a careful and thorough survey and discussion of the content and meaning of the Bible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
Glad to see this avaiable again!17 Aug. 2013
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The best short book of its type ever written, and as a teacher I've tried lots of books on Bible introduction. I hope it stays in print so that I can assign it to my students. Chapters on Prophecy and Gospel of John are exceptional.
6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Except for the front matter, basically indistinguishable from any other guide to the Bible from any other press8 Oct. 2008
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George Cronk's THE MESSAGE OF THE BIBLE: An Orthodox Christian Perspective was published by St. Vladimir's Seminary Press in 1982. The author, a college teacher of philosophy and comparative religion, sought to provide an introduction to the Scriptures that would reflect the role they play in the entirety of Orthodox tradition. In his introduction, Cronk makes clear that in the Orthodox Church, the reading of Scripture must be influenced by the life of the Church--the Church after all existed before the Bible. This is an important point to grasp for the American Protestant converts for whom Cronk was writing. Cronk also makes clear that the Orthodox Church does not take a literal reading of Scripture like those who believe in, say, a literal six-day creation. Rather, the contents of the Bible contain all that is spiritually true in the context of ancient storytelling.
After the introduction, however, Cronk's book becomes very generic, with little Orthodox content in it. He describes the construction of the Bible: Old Testament laws and history, wisdom literature and prophets, New Testament gospels, Pauline epistles, catholic epistles and Relevation. But this is all in the most elementary and "non-denominational" terms. The book could have lived up to its title had it actually talked more of the meaning of certain key passages in the life of the Orthodox Church. The burning bush has often been seen in the Orthodox Church as prefiguring the life of the Theotokos, and this has influenced iconography, but Cronk doesn't discuss this. Nor does he speak of the three angels whom Abraham served at the oak of Mamre, who are seen to represent the Father, Son and Holy Spirit and who inspired one of the greatest of all icons, the Holy Trinity of St. Andrei Rublev.
As a basic introduction to the organization and content of the Bible, Cronk's book works. However, there was such a wasted opportunity to explain the meaning of the Bible in the fullness of Orthodox tradition.
1 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Caveat11 May 2010
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If you prefer a mixture of traditional Orthodox (and orthodox) teaching of the Scripture and what appears to be a touch of modernism and deconstructionism, then this may be your book. It turned out not to be mine. In dealing with Old Testament material in particular, Cronk is fond of making sure his audience is aware that ancient accounts of the Flood, for example, have been reworked from "legends" now for the purposes of interpreting the events of Noah and his experiences. Regardless of Cronk's intention, the way this is presented it has the feel of a palpable design to persuade readers of Genesis much as a rhetorician develops a shaky argument. At best, such passages are murky. It is not clear exactly where Cronk wants to go on these occasions in his book. When he says we should not look for a scientific account of Genesis, does he mean not look for accuracy? He agrees with modern scientists who say the Flood only had a local effect, not covering "the world". Okay, perhaps, but what's the point? Why go there? There are other reputable scientists who find evidence all over the world of a global deluge at about the time Moses recalls. If he meant by "science", "fundamentalism" and "literalist" reading of the Bible with no historical and poetic sense of life, then that is a credible and common observation. But he insists that we understand what is written in Genesis be understood as "legend" (how is he using this word?), and that we also understood such figures as the Ark as "symbol". It is not always clear to me that this is a typological reading in the tradition of the Early Fathers, and beyond. It is only after the fact, we can see that the Ark is a divine icon of Christ and His Church. You cannot cast a shadow of a doubt on the truth of first the literal meaning before you can have the typological understanding. The benefit of the doubt should always go to the author, like Cronk, who has impressive credentials and experience in reading texts. Perhaps one can say, well, maybe it's just a matter of semantics. Right. And semantics are important. Very.