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Tuesday, January 20, 2009
  Conversations with Scripture: 2 Isaiah: Introduction
Stephen begins his "Introduction" with human experiences that challenge comfortable easy images of God: "God exists and God cares, 2 Isaiah claims, but God's uncanny ways sometimes defy our human categories of rationality and morality" (xvi) is a good introduction to the claim that this work (Isaiah 40-55) focuses on reverence - see my post introducing the book.

To a reader whose faith was challenged in teenage years by a father's nervous breakdown, to centre the presentation on Is 45:15: "Truly you are a God who hides himself, O God of Israel, the Savior" draws me in. For this is not a book for pentecostals and charismatics, convinced weekly by signs and wonders of God's power and glory; it is for "Anglicans" (and others) to whom the "uncanny, fiery side of God" does not appear easily. (xv)

On the next page Stephen quotes twice from Aelred of Rievaulx, a Cistertian writer I have not come across since the days of research for my thesis! A clear indication that this book has an erudite writer who writes for intelligent, explorative and imformed readers. It is deeper than the average "popular" book on biblical studies, and so should fill a gaping hole in the market for such readers. If they find it, the main barrier to publishing such works is that in the 20th century book market few of them could discover such books, so few sold... perhaps in the 21st century we will see a rennaisance in such works, as digital communications puts readers and writers in contact - maybe through reviews on blogs like this, since I assume that my readers are "intelligent, explorative and imformed" ;)

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