Thursday, December 2, 2010

Resource Review: Paul Copan’s "Is God A Moral Monster?"

For a long time, Glenn Miller’s ThinkTank articles on OT ethical issues has been my gold standard for that subject, but they’ve often been too complex or long for many readers to handle. This new resource by Paul Copan bridges the gap and can be a good resource for someone not quite ready for Miller’s heavy-detailed approach, but also needing something to say to those merely passing off the pap they get from the New Atheists (who are the ones who inspired this response by Copan).

Copan uses a number of arguments that the reader of Tekton and ThinkTank material will find familiar. I went through the book yesterday while waiting for my car’s oil change to get done (yep, I keep busy even then with this sort of thing) and was glad to see that Copan had done an effective job in bringing out some of the more important points such matters as ritual purity, “weird” Biblical laws, slavery, women in the OT, and the alleged “genocide” texts.

I would not use all of the arguments Copan does, and I think it would have been helpful for Copan to delve into the agonistic tenor of the Biblical world, as the dialectic of honor and shame can go a long way towards supplementing some of the arguments he uses. And of course, having just issued my response to Stark’s petulant Human Faces of God, I will have to note that Stark offers some attempt at reply to Copan and one of his sources, Christopher Wright (though not necessarily very well). But if we take this book the way Copan intended – as an accessible, popular-level investigation – it succeeds admirably. I’ve included it in Tekton’s resource listings for OT books.


  1. Thanks, JP. I appreciate your giving a nice plug for my new book!

    Best wishes,

    Paul Copan

  2. Paul's book caught my eye when it popped up in a blogfeed (may have been Triablogue or Challies or similar), but it looks like it doesn't come out in the UK until 2011. Regardless, added to my wish list.

  3. Thanks for the review. I just decided to purchase this as a Christmas present for someone I know--Kevin.