The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament

Scholars disagree on the relationship between portions of the Old Testament and similar ancient Near Eastern accounts. Many believe Moses simply plagiarized material from existing literature. In this episode, we welcome Dr. John Currid to speak about his book Against the Gods: The Polemical Theology of the Old Testament. In this book, Dr. Currid questions the higher critical trend by highlighting the highly polemical nature of Moses’ writings. From the Genesis creation account to the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt, Currid shows how the biblical author’s continually emphasized the futility of paganism in contrast with the unparalleled worldview of the Hebrews.

Dr. Currid is the Carl MacMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte. Prior to coming to RTS, he served as Associate Professor of Religion at Grove City College, as Byington Hebrew Teaching Fellow at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and as a member of the faculty at Jerusalem Center for Biblical Studies in Jerusalem, Israel. Dr. Currid serves as Project Director of Bethsaida Excavations Project in Israel (1995-present). He lectures and preaches in many countries including Russia, Ukraine, Great Britain, Australia, and Brazil.

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Christ the Center focuses on Reformed Christian theology. In each episode a group of informed panelists discusses important issues in order to encourage critical thinking and a better understanding of Reformed doctrine with a view toward godly living. Browse more episodes from this program or subscribe to the podcast feed.

Jason D

7 years ago

Great show guys, in fact… fascinating show! Keep up the great podcast.

Tim Bulkeley

7 years ago

On the usage of the term “polemical theology” you might like to moderate the claim to have perhaps invented it. Google Books shows 9,650 results for the term. Including several references to Schleiermacher, but others perhaps dating back earlier. (Just a detail, I’m not disagreeing with your use of the term, it’s a good description of much OT writing!)

Craig Hurst

7 years ago

I cannot wait to read this book!

Chris Matthews

7 years ago

I found an English translation of the “Book of the Heavenly Cow” online by E. A. Wallis Budge, but didn’t find the statement “I AM WHO I AM”. The closest wording I could find in the translation was ” “I am what is in me,” which I presume is the reference. This was a really interesting program. I also recently found a very good article by Dr. James White at aomin.org on the εγώ εϊμι references by Jesus in John 8 and elsewhere and the parallels of God’s self designation in many places in the OT besides simply the burning bush. http://vintage.aomin.org/EGO.html

Great topic and show
P.S. what’s up Jason D!

Benjamin L. Smith

7 years ago

This was a really excellent show and very encouraging. The book sounds excellent. In particular, it really helped to highlight the unique Biblical doctrine of God, which is so important for apologetics. Biblical religion is not just one style among others; it is a completely unique religion.

In Christ,



6 years ago



7 years ago

One thing not discussed is the role of Satan in all this. He is the one who is ultimately worshipped, when one worships a false god. He is the one who creates false mythology so that unbelievers are not saved. Ephesians 6:12 states that we fight not with flesh and blood, but with hierarchy of evil powers. Satan can communicate with those that worship him. He leads people astray. He knows things that humans don’t. This knowledge would seem magical to humans. Dr. Currid seemed to intone that (false)mythology is written by the pagan writers. Is he seeing that God’s history is always written first? In Isaiah, in the five “I wills” of satan, satan says that he will be like the most high. He mimics certain aspects of the true God, but changes things slightly so that the follower of the false god has false information and thus is not saved. Think Joel Osteen. Satan knows the history of man as he has seen it from the beginning. Instead of saying hmm, the Jews must have copied that story from earlier societies, maybe we should say impossible as there aren’t any earlier societies.


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