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The Supernatural in the Old Testament, by John Rogerson

The Supernatural in the Old Testament

By John Rogerson


A study of the treatment of the miraculous in the Old Testament, focusing not on the literal truth or otherwise of the events depicted, but on what they mean and what they tell us about God.

Available as: Paperback

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About this Book

When people read the Old Testament they are sometimes puzzled by the supernatural stories: animals that talk, jars of oil that are never empty, dead people restored to life, seas that divide and rivers that dry up. Some have no difficulty with such stories. This is the world of the Bible and the reader must expect such like. Those who cannot believe that have either abandoned the Bible and its world altogether or else they have devised ways of explaining (or explaining away!) events that puzzle them.

John Rogerson does neither. Instead of asking what happened and how it happened he chooses instead to ask what it meant. Why did the early church relate and record these tales? And what did they mean? What did they say about God? So the reader begins to see that beyond the stories themselves there is truth about God and his world for every generation.

Teachers will find useful lesson materials here, discussion group leaders will find something to start folk talking, and preachers will find a new approach to familiar passages.

A companion volume, The Supernatural in the New Testament by Bruce Kaye, is also published by The Lutterworth Press.


I. Introduction
1. Natural and Supernatural
2. Myth
3. 'Ultimate Questions'
4. Folklore
5. 'Presence' and 'Power'
6. Third-hand and First-hand Tradition
7. Sources and Traditions
8. Miracles and Historicity

II. Select Passages
1. The Creation
2. The Fall
3. Abraham's Three Visitors
4. The Sacrifice of Isaac
5. Jacob at Jabbok
6. The Burning Bush
7. The Plagues in Egypt
8. The Pillar of Cloud and Fire
9. The Crossing of the Red Sea
10. The Brazen Serpent
11. Gideon's Fleece
12. The Call of Samuel
13. The Plagues brought upon the Philistines by the Ark
14. Elijah's Drought
15. Various Miracles of Elijah and Elisha
16. The Ascension of Elijah
17. The Healing of Naaman
18. The Vision of Waters flowing from the Temple
19. The Burning Fiery Furnace

III. Activity Suggestions

About the Author

Dr. John Rogerson is a Senior Lecturer in Theology at the University of Durham, and Home Secretary of the Society for Old Testament Study.

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