For centuries, biblical scholars as well as lay Christians have been intrigued by the somewhat enigmatic Imago Dei references in the book of Genesis. Much theological ink has been spilled mulling over the significance and meaning of these words: “Let us make humanity in our image, according to our likeness . . .”
In The Liberating Image, J. Richard Middleton takes on anew the challenge of interpreting the Imago Dei. He argues that the study of the Imago Dei might function as a theological and ethical resource in the contemporary world. Reflecting on the potential of the Imago Dei texts for developing an ethics of power rooted in compassion, he relates their significance to the Christian community’s calling in an increasingly violent world.
The Liberating Image presents a careful exegesis of Genesis 1:1-2:3, reading the role of human beings as “royal-priestly mediators of God’s presence and power on earth, entrusted with the task of shaping earthly life in accordance with the Creator’s purposes.” Following a deft discussion of the Ancient Near East contexts and parallel texts, Middleton outlines “the distinctive challenges represented by the worldview of Genesis 1.”
Scholarly and fresh, with pages of rich and fascinating footnotes, The Liberating Image explores a relevant, deeply informed take on an important Christian doctrine. It will appeal to theologians and laypeople alike and will be useful as a text in courses on systematic or biblical theology, or studies in Ancient Near East contexts of scripture.
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In the escalating vitriol in our culture, “science” and “faith” have found each other on opposite sides of a polarized divide. Truth and community are under attack.
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