God B.C.: God’s Grace in the Old Testament

Added about 6 years ago by Sacristy Press

God B.C.We are delighted to announce that God B.C. is available to pre-order now!

God B.C.: God's Grace in the Old Testament is a clear and profound introduction to the spiritual world of the Old Testament, providing a highly readable introduction to the nature of the God whom Jesus called “Father”. It charts the relationship between God and God’s people Before Christ, and how that relationship informs our understanding of grace.

This revised and much expanded work revisits the subject in the light of recent scholarship, enabling us to see how the whole Bible reveals the character of our humanity as well as that of God’s divinity.

Here is what Anthony Phillips himself has said about his book:

God B.C. was originally published in 1977. It was an attempt to understand how the Hebrews developed their ideas about the nature of their God as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures known to Christians as the Old Testament. I argued for a linear process from a God whose love was limited by the response of his people to his demands to one who could not reject them whatever they did, as ultimately and definitively revealed in Jesus Christ. Importantly, though the word “grace” is never used in the Old Testament, I pointed out that, before the Christ event, the Jews already understood their God as one whose very nature prevented him from ever renouncing his love for his “chosen people”, who have continued to witness to that love despite centuries of persecution, often at Christian hands.

As would be expected in any discipline, Old Testament studies have gone through many twists and turns in the last forty years. Much has been of a very negative nature, in particular an unwillingness to make concrete assertions about the history and theology of the pre-exilic period. Not unnaturally, some of this criticism has affected the conclusions I drew in God B.C. Nonetheless, while wanting to modify the traditional way in which for decades the Pentateuch, the first five books of the Old Testament, has been understood to reach its present form, and above all the linear development of the Hebrews’ understanding of their God as set out in God B.C., I still believe we can offer a coherent picture of the history of thought about God and his relationship to humankind as revealed in the Hebrew Scriptures and confirmed in the Christian ones.


Anthony Phillips’ clear and profound introduction to the spiritual world of the First Testament is wonderfully accessible. He highlights the focal point of ‘B.C.’ faith—allowing God to be God—and shows the intimate connection of it with the one in whom Christians believe God is most fully God. This book will undoubtedly establish itself as a classic of biblical interpretation that is both scholarly and deeply imaginative.
Rowan Williams, former Archbishop of Canterbury

Still not convinced? This is what Gerald Ellison (then Bishop of London) wrote in the Foreword to the first edition:

When St Paul wrote his letters, the gospels had not yet been written and the New Testament did not exist. When, therefore, he commends the study of the scriptures, he is referring to the Old Testament. He tells the young churches, consisting mainly of Gentiles, that the ancient Jewish scriptures are of importance and that God intended them for Christians. This message is true today. In recent years the Old Testament has been neglected. We need to re-discover what it has to say to us so that it may prove to be profitable in leading God’s people along the way to perfection, and the practice of good works. I warmly commend this book by Dr Phillips, especially to those who during Lent want to deepen their understanding of the Christian faith.

Anthony Phillips was Dean and Chaplain of Trinity Hall, Cambridge where he taught Old Testament Studies. During this time he presented documentaries for BBC Radio 3 and undertook television work. Later he moved to be Chaplain of St John’s College, Oxford where he continued to teach Old Testament studies. For ten years before he retired, Anthony was Headmaster of The King’s School, Canterbury.

Reserve your copy of God B.C. today at the special pre-order price of just £8.99 (out 2 June).

Please note: Sacristy Press does not necessarily share or endorse the views of the guest contributors to this blog.

Never miss a beat.

Be the first to know when we publish new books! Join our mailing list for exclusive discounts, author interviews, and more...