Professor Terence E. Fretheim died on November 16, 2020. Dr. Fretheim was a very influential Old Testament scholar whose writings have influenced an untold number of scholars and pastors. Fretheim was the Elva B. Lovell professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary.
I first became acquainted with Fretheim’s writings when I reviewed his book The Suffering of God in 1984. His book made an impact on the way I viewed the God of the Old Testament. In his book Fretheim said, “It is not enough to say that one believes in God. What is important finally is the kind of God in whom one believes” (p. 1).
That statement challenged me to know more about God. Reading The Suffering of God changed my mind about the God of the Old Testament. I used Fretheim’s book in my courses in college and seminary. After I came to Northern Baptist Seminary, I invited Fretheim to speak in chapel and make a presentation to our students on the message of his book. After chapel, our students met with Fretheim during lunch to discuss his book and his presentation in chapel.
Eventually I developed a course on “The God of the Old Testament.” This course was designed to teach my students what kind of God Yahweh was. Over the years, those students who took my course became better acquainted with the God of the Old Testament and with some of Fretheim’s writings.
Unless you are a scholar, a pastor, or a seminary student, you probably have never read the writings of Terence Fretheim. In fact, many pastors and students have never hear of Terence Fretheim. The best way to become acquainted with Fretheim’s work is through the collection of his best articles. The articles are found in the book by Michael J. Chan and Brent A. Strawn, What Kind of God?: Collected Essays of Terence E. Fretheim (Winona Lake, IN: Eisenbrauns, 2015).
In order to introduce you to Terence Fretheim, the video below is a short presentation of Fretheim’s study on Isaiah 43. This text in the only place in the Old Testament where God says “I love you.”
Enjoy listening to Terence Fretheim, one of my favorite Old Testament scholars.
May the memory of his life and work be a blessing to many.
Emeritus Professor of Old Testament
Northern Baptist Seminary
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