A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Account
This book by a leading scholar of Christian theology and exegesis is a capstone of years of research on the history and theology of the doctrine of providence. Addressing a topic of perennial interest in Christian theology, Mark Elliott offers a constructive account of the doctrine of providence and shows that, contrary to received opinion, the Bible has a lot to say about providence as a distinct doctrine within the wider scope of God's acts of salvation.
Elliott explains that providence operates outside the range of knowledge and full comprehensibility, eluding faith and transcending revelation. Therefore, readers must look for traces of God's action in the stories and philosophies of the biblical authors, which appear in the biblical corpus in such themes as the hand of God, the face of God, the kingdom, the plan of God, blessing, life, breath, enduring order, judgment, protection, and the hidden God. Elliott explores these themes in such a way that the entirety of the Bible across both Testaments bears witness to the theme of providence. He concludes by showing how the findings of his analysis speak to the concerns of systematic and practical theologians.
1. Is Providence Topical or Even Biblical?
2. Alternative Themes to Providence in the Bible
3. Providence and Divine Action, Viewed Biblically
4. Finding Providence across the Old Testament Genres
5. Providence as Set Forth in the New Testament
6. Systematic Considerations in the Light of Biblical Theology
"The subtitle of this book is an apt summary of its treatment of providence: biblical, historical, and theological. I don't think there are but a half dozen or so scholars writing in English who would be capable of such a comprehensive and synthetic treatment of this major problem in modern theology. This is an intellectual achievement of the highest order and will greatly reward the diligent reader."
Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Thought, University of Notre Dame
"Mark Elliott's latest study completes a remarkable trilogy of works on divine providence. Fluent in biblical studies, historical theology, and systematics, he shows the ways in which Scripture is permeated with a broad range of providentialist notions. This sustained discussion of providence as a central biblical theme and of its reception in the history of theology is set to become an indispensable point of reference for future scholarship on the subject."
David Fergusson, professor of divinity, University of Edinburgh
"Ranging through ancient and modern theology, the sweep of the Bible, and, most pressingly, the breadth of human experience in pain and joy, Elliott opens us to a reflection on divine providence that is astonishing in its richness, challenge, and, finally, mystery. Does God order our lives? Accompany them? Heal them? Inhabit them? Demand them? Elliott's synthetic study shows how all these questions, which rumble so deeply in most hearts, can be fruitfully pursued along the threads of the most sophisticated and sometimes exquisite reflection of scriptural readers, doctrinal expositors, and religious critics. This is a book for mature, but searching, souls, gracefully written by a master among them."
Ephraim Radner, professor of historical theology, Wycliffe College
"Mark Elliott presents the rich tapestry of reflective trust in divine providence as a persistent feature of the biblical testimonies and a continuing concern throughout the history of Christian teaching and living. Resisting both a radical skepticism with regard to God's providence in nature and history and the temptation to collapse faith in providence into belief in creation or salvation, Elliott attempts to make connections between providence as an article of faith and all the other dimensions of Christian faith and life. Adverse to all simplifications, this book does not make the task of the theologian easier. However, engaging with its questions and answers will make any attempt to speak responsibly and responsively of God's providence richer and more appropriate to the giftedness and fragility of our personal and communal lives."
Christoph Schwöbel, University of St. Andrews
"Mark Elliott has always championed the bridging of biblical scholarship, church history, and systematic theology, overcoming disciplinary boundaries and facilitating theological discussion between scholars of different disciplines. This remains true for his Providence, which is a fresh approach to a challenging topic. Putting the Bible into conversation with many scholars from the past and present alike, Elliot explains the possible biblical and theological dimensions of what Deus providebit means."
Konrad Schmid, professor of Hebrew Bible and ancient Judaism, University of Zurich
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