My next book is a change in direction. I will not be reading a classic work of fiction.
I have been blogging about the Bible’s Book of Genesis for a little bit over a year. Some parts of the book are frankly weird and hard to follow. A talking serpent? Giants? More giants? Where did Melchizedek come from and who is he? Why does the text seem to confuse God with The Angel of the Lord so frequently?
Dr. Michael Heiser’s book, The Unseen Realm, is a non-fiction scholarly examination of the Bible. Heiser’s focus is on the “weird” parts of the Bible and providing the original context of the Bible’s authors to place those weird parts into a context wherein they can be understood by a modern reader. He states that he wants to place the reader into the mind of an ancient Israelite or into the mind of a Second Temple Period Jew.
Heiser received an MA in Ancient History from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MA and PhD in the Hebrew Bible and Semitic Languages from the University of Wisconsin–Madison (with a minor in Classical studies). [Note: Those are *really* good schools.]
Here is the Publisher’s Summary:
In The Unseen Realm, Dr. Michael Heiser examines the ancient context of scripture, explaining how its supernatural worldview can help us grow in our understanding of God. He illuminates intriguing and amazing passages of the Bible that have been hiding in plain sight. You’ll find yourself engaged in an enthusiastic pursuit of the truth, resulting in a new appreciation for God’s word.
- Why wasn’t Eve surprised when the serpent spoke to her?
- How did descendants of the Nephilim survive the flood?
- Why did Jacob fuse Yahweh and his angel together in his prayer?
- Who are the assembly of divine beings that God presides over?
- In what way do those beings participate in God’s decisions?
- Why do Peter and Jude promote belief in imprisoned spirits?
- Why does Paul describe evil spirits in terms of geographical rulership?
- Who are the glorious ones that even angels dare not rebuke?
After listening to this book, you may never read your Bible the same way again.
There is a world referred to in the scripture that is quite unseen, but also quite present and active. Michael Heiser’s The Unseen Realm seeks to unmask this world. Heiser shows how important it is to understand this world and appreciate how its contribution helps to make sense of scripture. The book is clear and well done, treating many ideas and themes that often go unseen themselves. With this book, such themes will no longer be neglected, so listen to it and discover a new realm for reflection about what scripture teaches.
I am already familiar with Heiser through his podcast and from YouTube. I started running into him as a source when looking up answers for “problematic” passages in Genesis and other parts of the Bible. I have referred to him (usually via YouTube) in some blog posts. That said, I have never actually read the book for which he is most well known. So… I will remedy that. I am not looking forward to the possibility of amending a lot of my 100+ blog posts on Genesis so far but I am prepared to be wrong in the past tense if it means being correct later.