Richard J. Clifford, S.J.
A question often posed to biblical scholars is how they can insist that God is merciful and trustworthy when in many Old Testament texts God is harsh and punitive. The article proposes to interpret such hard texts by examining the biblical scribes’ habits of composition—what they noticed, how they saw God revealed in history, and how they told their stories. In the light of these conclusions, the second part of the article examines several difficult Old Testament texts.
[Many Christians find the Christian Bible, comprised of the Old and New Testament, diffuse, lacking unity, and therefore difficult to use in systematic theology. Yet the Bible itself uses a powerful organizing principle that spans both testaments and unites them, namely the Exodus in its dual aspects of liberation and formation. There are three Exodus