Society of Biblical Literature

Families of the Bible: A New Perspective

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Blessing, Kamila, Families of the Bible: A New Perspective (Westport, CT: Praeger, 2010).

Families of the BibleReinterpreting the Bible through Family Systems Theory, this fascinating exploration shows how the theology of creation, restoration, and salvation can be meaningfully and uniquely understood through the lens of the biblical family.

The most often mentioned and most profoundly alone being in the Bible is God. The second is Jesus. In fact, the single person turns out to be of central importance in the Bible, despite the overwhelming emphasis on extended biological families. Since the only consistent definition of “family” in the Bible is “covenant,” the orphan, the single person, the gay person, and others who are often on the fringes of the Church are just as much part of the family of God as the husband-wife-child unit.

It is not possible to recreate a “biblical” family in the modern world. Thus, we must think of the principles of faithful family life demonstrated in the Bible and express them in a new way. That is the idea underlying Families of the Bible: A New Perspective. Examining themes related to family health, connection, spirituality, and psychology, the author relates stories from the Bible to modern-day experience in an effort to help readers strengthen and heal their own families, whatever their structure.

While the book addresses the family of the patriarchs and other major traditional families in the Bible, it also specifically examines Jesus’ new definition of family, showing how his psycho-spiritual family has a different—and more inclusive—shape than the “natural family.” The author, who is an Episcopal priest, insists that the Bible shows God as faithful in providing for his people. The many disadvantaged in our society, as well as those who are alone and those who have found that wealth does not provide satisfaction, will benefit from this thoughtful reinterpretation. (publisher)

Kamila Blessing has been a long-time participant in the Psychology and Biblical Studies Section, and will be presenting at the 2010 meeting in Atlanta.

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