Scripture and Its Readers

Readings of Israel's Story in Nehemiah 9, Ezekiel 20, and Acts 7

By (author) Vincent K. H. Ooi

Paperback - £29.95

Publication date:

13 February 2015

Length of book:

256 pages

Publisher

Eisenbrauns

ISBN-13: 9781575063522

That readers and biblical texts are somehow linked in a mutually transformative relationship is hardly a novel perception, especially in contexts where the Christian Bible has been received as normative Scripture for faithful worship and living. This study focuses on an aspect of this relationship and wrestles with it not only in theory, but also in practice by asking: How may a reader who wishes to read the Christian Bible as Scripture well today be formed; and how may interpretations of Scripture themselves inform such concern?

Vincent Ooi begins by showing that such concern is not only contemporary but integral to Christian traditions of reading Scripture, and that it is only recently receiving some renewed scholarly attention. He reviews some of these recent works before setting out his own approach from the perspective of theological interpretation of Scripture. He then demonstrates his approach via close exegetical engagement with three biblical texts, namely Nehemiah 9:6–37, Ezekiel 20:5–32, and Acts 7:2–60, which offer different inner-canonical readings of Scripture in the form of distinctive retellings of Israel’s story. He first considers how these texts portray readers of Scripture and use scriptural traditions in relation to the wider context of the Christian canon; he then discusses what they, individually and in concert, might suggest as significant for shaping readers seeking to faithfully appropriate Scripture today. The posture of prayer, the pulse of liturgy, and the patterning of Christ are among the things proposed as formatively significant.

“The overall discussion surrounding the central question is helpful, and it forms an interesting development in understanding of a neglected area of research. . . . Ooi’s exegetical engagement with the texts was, in places, stimulating, leading to several interesting observations; it is commended to readers interested in the three texts it approaches, especially if they have an interest in the retelling of the story of Israel.”

—Steve Smith, Review of Biblical Literature