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Critique of Steven L McKenzie’s How To Read The Bible

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In the area of canonically intended recipients, McKenzie is quick to advise readers of a need to comprehend the Bible first by exegeting intent of biblical authors themselves and what sort of texts they thought themselves to be writing and how they might have been understood by those intended audiences.

Outside traditional auspices, ‘intended audiences’ is an interesting admission; indeed, if one considers the particular area and constituency, the implication would be to a limited, if any, modern import. This advice prompts us to ask: if not modernly intended, then, to whom was the Bible intended? Inadvertently, the author’s book title becomes non-significant, its import misleading, and modern audiences clearly out of sync with his book content.

McKenzie peers write glowing accolades praising this Professor of Hebrew Bible at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. A renowned scholar, according to furnished cover information and brief bibliography, the Professor garners many commendations as a true scholar. Or, Is his work a mere reflection of traditional rote with a smattering of denominational fervor?

Author McKenzie, considers it ludicrous that Jonah would resist his God and journey to Tarshish on the coast of Spain. Contrary to his geographic misapplication, Tarshish existed as a municipality both in West Mediterranean Spain and near the East Mediterranean Coast; obviously, the author wrongly assumes Jonah to embark toward Spain instead of the biblically stated destination beyond the Assyrian coast at Nineveh. But it is not to Assyrians but captive Israelites Jonah travels to investigate, to check on the disposition of non-covenanted captives, house of Israel tribesmen, lost to their God, but to be restored in the time of Messiah (their number indicative of captives, not the huge city population [much cattle]). Jonah is angry and resentful because the Israelites will be restored as prodigal sons, and as promised to receive the same reward he and his house of Judah semi-faithful have merited.

McKenzie raises an important issue as it concerns understanding of the Jonah story. But he ignores the Ten Ages as fulfilling episodes in the Chosen Peoples’ march to oblivion, as illustrated in Daniel and Ezekiel. McKenzie and other volunteers of Bible exegesis expose the great interpretation difficulty incurred with casual reading, when attempting to penetrate the symbolic maze confusing Bible intent.

Like many would-be translator-writers, McKenzie misses the point of all biblical text and therefore context; he fills columns with little more than non sequitur traditional rhetoric and fails to recognize the Bible’s obscure purpose; indeed, only in recent research can we discover the bottom line in Jonah cabal and other coded references to theocratic infractions and ultimate disposal of unfaithful participants obligated in the Covenant-marriage episodes, often their status annulled and renewed by the God-husband head of His Chosen People wife. Recent writings expose the trickiness of cabal in this age-old dilemma lived out to its final Messianic conclusion: “For in the resurrection they neither marry nor are given in marriage.” Should readers know when the final marriage vows were terminated for all time? Do any intercept solution to the Sadducee mystery at Matthew 22:24, as it relates to the enquiry into Seven Marriage vows and termination to the practice when all became dead entities?

This was the destiny of those observed from Jonah’s shade under the gourd vine in Nineveh, but overlooked in McKenzie’s analysis. Still, his book is a good read.