Iain W. Provan

Seriously Dangerous Religion

What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters

Baylor University Press 2014

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The Old Testament is often maligned as an outmoded and even dangerous text. Best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, and Derrick Jensen are...

The Old Testament is often maligned as an outmoded and even dangerous text. Best-selling authors like Richard Dawkins, Karen Armstrong, and Derrick Jensen are prime examples of those who find the Old Testament to be problematic to modern sensibilities. In his new book Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters (Baylor UP, 2014), Iain W. Provan counters that such easy and popular readings misunderstand the Old Testament. He opposes modern misconceptions of the Old Testament by addressing ten fundamental questions that the biblical text should–and according to Provan does–answer: questions such as “Who is God?” and “Why do evil and suffering mark the world?” By focusing on Genesis and drawing on other Old Testament and extra-biblical sources, Seriously Dangerous Religion constructs a more plausible reading. As it turns out, Provan argues, the Old Testament is far more dangerous than modern critics even suppose.

Since 1997, Iain Provan has been the Marshall Sheppard Professor of Biblical Studies at Regent College, located in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. He is a co-author, with V. Philips Long and Tremper Longman, of A Biblical History of Israel (John Knox Press, 2003), and the author of Convenient Myths: The Axial Age, Dark Green Religion, and the World that Never Was (Baylor University Press, 2013). Provan received his MA in Medieval history and archaeology from Glasgow University, his BA in theology from London Bible College, and his PhD from Cambridge University. His academic teaching career has taken him to King’s College London, the University of Wales, and the University of Edinburgh, where he was a senior lecturer in Hebrew and Old Testament Studies. Provan is an ordained minister of the Church of Scotland; a life member of Clare Hall, Cambridge; and the recipient of an Alexander von Humboldt Research Fellowship.

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