The Unfolding Mystery of the Divine Name

The Unfolding Mystery of the Divine Name

The God of Sinai in Our Midst

by Michael P. Knowles

The Unfolding Mystery of the Divine Name
  • Length: 254 pages
  • Published: September 24, 2012
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-3985-8
  • Item Code: 3985
  • Case Quantity: 40

When Moses asked God to show him his glory, the Lord passed before him and proclaimed his name. And from that name cascaded a promise of grace and love, compassion and faithfulness, forgiveness and slowness to anger. The story is told in Exodus 34:5-7, but the resonant name reverberates through the corridors of Scripture.

Michael Knowles teases out the rich dimensions and implications of this name by listening carefully to Exodus 34 and its biblical echoes. He particularly tunes his ear to the spiritual meditations of later sages. In tracing the unfolding mystery of the divine name throughout the span of Israel's story, he finds it startlingly resolved in the God of Sinai becoming present in our midst.

The manifold name of God has long captivated those who trace their spiritual ancestry to Abraham, whether they are Jewish, Christian or Muslim. This book brings this spiritual quest into dialogue with Scripture and tradition, and invites us to experience this God of the eternal name.

"A fascinating and erudite study. Don't be misled by the title: Knowles's goal is to get at the very heart of the Bible's presentation of God through a careful survey of selected texts. His work will surely be of interest to scholars and lay readers alike."

James Kugel, author, The Bible As It Was

"Michael Knowles has organized his theological reflection around the self-disclosure of God in Exodus 34, a wise decision indeed. The result of his close textual study is a full, free-ranging theological exposition that probes not only the biblical text but the use to which the text has been variously put in the Christian tradition. The book teems with fresh insight and will reward a careful reading."

Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

"How marvelous it would be if Christians started believing that God is as Scripture portrays him, and as Dr. Knowles expounds its portrayal with such a wideness of vision and breadth of insight."

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

"This work is a helpful and commendable study on God's gracious nature. Knowles is successful in helping the reader to know God, not just know facts about God. His book is deeply theological, while at the same time being down-to-earth practical and richly devotional."

Cameron Jungels, Bulletin for Biblical Research, 24.1

"One imaginative Jewish source argues that God's mercy is 250 times more powerful than His wrath, for He shows mercy to a thousand generations and only punishes four. Yet in Knowles' capable hands, even this kind of 'exegesis' is devotionally fruitful. Unfolding Mystery is ultimately not a dry list of attributes, but a warm-hearted look at the character of our God."

Caleb Nelson, World Magazine, December 21, 2013


Texts and Translations
Introduction: How Many Names Does God Have?
1. Names and the Naming of God
2. A God Compassionate and Gracious
3. A God Slow to Anger
4. A God of Steadfast Love
5. A God Trustworthy and True
6. A God of Forgiveness and Justice
7. Conclusions—God in Our Midst
Name and Subject Index
Scripture Index

Michael P. Knowles

Michael P. Knowles holds the George Franklin Hurlburt Chair of Preaching at McMaster Divinity College, Hamilton, Ontario. He is the editor of The Folly of Preaching: Models and Methods and the author of We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation.

BY Michael P. Knowles

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