Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament
“Did the Old Testament writers borrow ideas from their pagan neighbors? And if they did, was it done uncritically? A respected Old Testament scholar and archaeologist engages with this controversial question by carefully comparing the biblical text to other ancient Near Eastern documents. Well-researched and thoughtfully nuanced, Currid aims to outline the precise relationship between the biblical worldview and that of Israel’s neighbors” (Crossway).
Did Moses plagiarize the Flood story from surrounding cultures and put a monotheistic twist on it? Did the surrounding pagan cultures have it correct from the get-go? Moses grew up in Egypt so it would be easy to carry over a few details to create a well-crafted story about the creation of the world to the now-freed people of Israel. Or, more likely, Moses wrote from the perspective of monotheism as a polemic to put down the incorrect notions of the pagan cultures.
In his newest book, Against the Gods, John Currid talks about topics from Creation to the Flood, to Moses’ life in Egypt, to the plagues, and on Yahweh’s supremacy over Pharaoh and the gods of Egypt.
I’ve listened to his three 40 minute lectures from iTunesU, and while listening to Ancient near eastern facts might not sound like fun, after I finished the three tracks I was eager for more. Currid speaks on the significance of the plagues (how each one was against either the Pharaoh or a god of Egypt), the importance of the serpent in Egyptian eyes, and what ‘hardening Pharaoh’s heart’ meant for the original readers, to name a few.
If you’ve ever wondered what’s so great about the first 15 chapters of Exodus, then be on the lookout for this book.