New Release: This Strange and Sacred Scripture

Cover ArtThe Old Testament can seem strange and disturbing to contemporary readers. What should Christians make of Genesis 1-3, seemingly at odds with modern scientific accounts? Why does the Old Testament contain so much violence? How should Christians handle texts that give women a second-class status? Does the Old Testament contradict itself? Why are so many Psalms filled with anger and sorrow? What should we make of texts that portray God as filled with wrath?

Combining pastoral insight, biblical scholarship, and a healthy dose of humility, gifted teacher and communicator Matthew Schlimm explores perennial theological questions raised by the Old Testament. He provides strategies for reading and appropriating these sacred texts, showing how the Old Testament can shape the lives of Christians today and helping them appreciate the Old Testament as a friend in faith.


“In plain language, without taking theological shortcuts, Schlimm shows why Christianity needs the Old Testament.” – Ellen Davis, Duke Divinity School

“Schlimm…is a gifted guide in showing readers that the Old Testament’s alien qualities do not render it useless for Christian faith. To the contrary, he reveals how often the Bible’s strangeness leads us into deeper understanding of God and of ourselves.” – Jacqueline Lapsley, Princeton Theological Seminary

“With pastoral sensitivity, Schlimm provides an excellent case for understanding the Old Testament as our friend and not our enemy.” – Terence Fretheim, Luther Seminary

“Seminary and university Old Testament professors: make sure you have your students read this text.” – Victor P. Hamilton, Asbury University

“I give my friends the benefit of the doubt when they say things that are outrageous. Matthew Schlimm invites us to do the same with the Old Testament.” – John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary

“At a time when many critique and marginalize the Old Testament, Schlimm argues that we need to appreciate it as a friend–a friend who is at once odd, insightful, complicated, controversial, and realistic.” – M. Daniel Carroll R., Denver Seminary


Matthew Richard Schlimm (PhD, Duke University) is assistant professor of Old Testament at University of Dubuque Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. He previously taught at Duke Divinity School and has held various ministry positions in United Methodist churches. He is the author of From Fratricide to Forgiveness: The Language and Ethics of Anger in Genesis and coeditor of the CEB Study Bible.

For more information on This Strange and Sacred Scripture, click here.