The Old Testament: To Read or Not to Read?

Speaker: Categories: Sep 11, 2004

 

[56min, 59sec / 55min, 32sec]

ABOUT THE TOPIC:

"Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy ....."- and that's just the beginning with thirty-four other books yet to follow in what the Western Christian church has come to know as the Old Testament. That's two-thirds of the Bible. And those books may, for some at least, portray a rather insistent, almost contradictory, picture of God. Individuals have been heard to say, after reading and studying portions of this major part of the Bible,'Well, if God is like that, I'm not sure I want to be a part of his family!"

Have you heard such signals of distress? Might they have come from your lips?

Others, after studying a given book in depth and learning what modem Bible scholars have concluded about the OT, its authors and origins and dates, question why it is still considered to be God inspired?

What questions have been generated in your thinking as you have read/studied books of the Old T testament? Have you found the Sabbath School Lesson Quarterly to be helpful as selected OT books have been explored, more or less in depth, in recent years?

Dr. Kim's observations which follow may offer some, though slight, solace."The Old Testament is an extremely complex mixture of .. , well, just about everything under the sun. It is as complex as ... Iife itself, especially life with God.

It is not for those who think that life with God is a simple matter, say, of faith. It is for those who acknowledge and accept, courageously and passionately, the challenges of the complexity that is life, therefore, faith."

Do you find those words encouraging, coming from a scholar who has made the Old Testament the major focus of his studies? Or are you still wondering whether one ought to read the Old Testament - and, if so, why?

Wonil Kim helps to add context to his upcoming presentation by noting:"I'll first talk about what it means to teach Old Testament at LSU. This is a confessional statement on what I perceive the Old Testament to be. I will then give one or two short passages to illustrate the statement -- perhaps something on 9-11."

ABOUT THE SPEAKER:

Wonil Kim was born in Seoul, Korea a year before the Korean War. His mother was Korean; his father a Scottish American. At age two he was adopted by a Korean Adventist couple. For grades K-12 he was a student in the Adventist system at Saam Yook Elementary and Academy, Seoul, Korea.

He immigrated to the U. S. with his parents as a young adult in 1970, attended Walla Walla and Pacific Union Colleges and graduated from Southern Missionary College (now Southern Adventist University) with a B.A. in Religion. Graduate studies were at Candler School of Theology at Emory University, Atlanta, Georgia, in that school's Theological Studies Program.

Continuing graduate work was done at Loma t Linda University where he took classes from Dave Larson, Charles Teel, and Jim Walters. At Claremont Graduate School (now Claremont Graduate University), he earned a Ph.D. in Religion (Old Testament Studies) with areas of emphasis: Exegesis, Theology, and Hermeneutics of the Old Testament. Dr. Kim joined the faculty at LSU in 1994. He has assisted in editing:Reading the Hebrew Bible for a New Millennium: Form, Concept& Theological Perspective.

He is especially interested in liberation, feminist, Minjoong, and creation theology. His hobbies include Korean literature, classical music, jazz, impersonating Beethoven (not very successfully), and hiking.

He and his wife, Nancy Follett, who is librarian at Redlands Adventist Academy, have three children: Jessica Mee Young, a labor activist; Elliott Nahroo, a labor organizer; and Johanna Soe Young, a sophomore at LSU.

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