As the population of older Americans grows, meaningful perspectives on aging are needed by both the young and the old. Biblical Perspectives on Aging: God and the Elderly takes a detailed look at the views of aging presented in the Old and New Testaments. This wide ranging and insightful survey encompasses not only the entire Bible but also interpretations of sacred Middle Eastern and Judaic documents. This new expanded edition of the original classic text adds thorough discussions of the wisdom of the Bible and Jewish literature with ways to interpret these readings and what they teach about spirituality and growing older.
Approaches to aging issues have changed in recent years. With the average American lifespan increasing, the view of old age as a solitary time of waiting has been pushed aside. So too has the assumption that the elderly simply want to remember “the good old days.” This updated edition of Biblical Perspectives on Aging: God and the Elderly has expanded its scope to incorporate and address the effects of these changing views. This sweeping study of the Bible’s positive treatment of aging and elderly figures sheds new light on contemporary society’s negative view of the elderly and what can be done about it. Clear examples from both Scripture and literature provide a wealth of understanding, comfort, and wisdom to everyone interested in aging and the Bible. In addition, this new edition explores the changing relationships that exist among aging, hermeneutics, mentoring, and spirituality. The new insights revealed here reinvigorate the challenge against ageism and traditional pictures of old age as a time of withdrawal and living in the past.
Among the issues explored in Biblical Perspectives on Aging: God and the Elderly are aging experiences and the Bible, biblical theology and its role in social support for the elderly, hermeneutics and old age, spirituality and its relationship to aging, cross-generational relationships and mentoring, and a detailed index of Old and New Testament Scripture references.
Accessible and concise, with compelling arguments and numerous examples, Biblical Perspectives on Aging: God and the Elderly is an ideal resource for pastors, seminary students, professionals, and leaders of programs for the elderly. It shows both young and old that while aging may not be easy, Biblical theology can ease some of its mystery.
Table of Contents
Foreword. Editor’s Foreword to First Edition. Preface to the First Edition. Preface to Second Edition. I. Hermeneutics, Aging and the Bible. II. Spirituality and Aging in the Bible. III. Cross-Generational Relationships and Mentoring. IV. Implications for Biblical Perspectives on Aging. Chapter 1. Aging Experiences and the Bible. Chapter 2. Attitudes Toward the Elderly in the Ancient Near East. Chapter 3. God and the Elderly in Israel. Chapter 4. Threats to the Common Theology of Aging. Chapter 5. Israel’s Variations on the Common Theology. Chapter 6. Two Responses to Respect for the Elderly. Chapter 7. Biblical Theology and a Modern Response. Abbreviations. Scripture Index. Author Index. Notes.
Gordon Harris, PhD, ThM, is Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Emeritus at Sioux Falls Seminary (formerly North American Baptist Seminary). In addition to being a pastor, missionary, Lions district governor, and retired Army National Guard chaplain, Dr. Harris has served as an Academic Vice President and Director of Doctoral Studies. His teaching and research concentrates in the areas of Old Testament studies and gerontology with a focus on current issues affecting and future trends in ministry and aging persons. Dr. Harris is also the author of numerous articles on aging which have appeared in Koinonia Review, New Interpreters Bible Dictionary, and Hebrew Studies among others.