Jesus and the Land: How the New Testament Transformed 'Holy Land' Theology

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9780281059522: Jesus and the Land: How the New Testament Transformed 'Holy Land' Theology

The relationship of 'land' to 'theology' has been a motif living within the Jewish tradition since the patriarchal era: one mark of the covenant with Abraham was the promise of land. Gary Burge explores what the New Testament says about 'the land' and outlines the various ways in which these passages have been interpreted.

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"Gary Burge has made a valuable contribution to the ongoing matter of the 'Holy Land' so contested by Israelis and Palestinians. He recognizes the powerful impulse to a territorial dimension in much of Judaism. But then he reflects on New Testament texts--notably those by Luke, John, and Paul--to see that Jesus and the early church distanced themselves from any territorial dimension of faith. This leads Burge to offer a powerful, compelling critique of 'Christian Zionism,' to which 'the NT says: No.' Clearly a faith that intends to reach Gentiles must, perforce, refuse any closed tribalism that makes exclusive territorial claims. Burge's reading of Scripture is persuasive and provides a fresh way to think about 'faith and land.'"--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"Burge writes out of a deep knowledge of Scripture and personal acquaintance with the Middle East to demonstrate how the concern for the geographical land in the Old Testament is transmuted into concern for a spiritual inheritance for God's believing people, both Jewish and Gentile, in the New Testament. His exposition of the biblical material offers a gracious corrective to some inadequate and misinformed ideas about the role of Israel in the plan of God and about the Palestinian-Jewish situation and has important consequences for Christian belief and behavior. I warmly commend this thorough and scholarly but nevertheless clearly and simply written presentation."--I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen

"Burge may be American evangelicalism's foremost expert on a biblical theology of the land of Israel. This book reintroduces sanity, common sense, and exegetical acumen into a discussion that often sadly lacks these traits. Absolutely essential reading for any Christian who wants to hold a biblically defensible position on the topic."--Craig L. Blomberg, Denver Seminary

"Burge's accessible consideration of 'holy land theology' in relation to New Testament texts cannot be overlooked. From now on, Christians who wish to engage responsibly with this highly charged and controversial issue will need to interact fully with Burge's careful, constructive, and challenging presentation."--Bruce W. Longenecker, Baylor University

About the Author:

Gary M. Burge (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is professor of New Testament at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. His published works include The New Testament in Antiquity: A Textbook for Students; The Bible and the Land; Jesus, the Middle Eastern Storyteller; the NIV Application Commentary on the Letters of John; and the NIV Application Commentary on the Gospel of John. He has also been active as a speaker and writer evaluating Christian Zionism within the evangelical world.

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