by matthew j. ramage
cua, 312 pages, $39.95
Benedict XVI’s letter Verbum Domini refers to “dark passages” of the Old Testament that contradict the ethical teachings, monotheistic claims, or assertions about the afterlife presented in the Gospels. In his new book Dark Passages of the Bible, Matthew J. Ramage, assistant professor of theology and biblical studies at Benedictine College, shows how these passages can be illumined by historical-critical exegesis and the light cast by the revelation of Christ.
In keeping with the subtitle, Ramage divides most prior thought on this question into two groups, which Benedict XVI calls “Method A” (patristic and medieval exegesis) and “Method B” (historical-critical exegesis). Many Christian readers of the Old Testament today slip into a Method A hermeneutic without knowing it. For example, rather than allowing for the polytheism apparent in early Jewish writings, they impose fully developed Christian readings onto the mentions of other gods.