This is the saddest story I have ever heard.
Ford Maddox Ford in the novel The Good Soldier
The Pentateuch (that is, a book in five parts) has been a designation for the first five book of the Old Testament (and Hebrew Bible) since the second century CE at least.
Terrence Fretheim in an academic work The Pentateuch. Charles notes, and I agree, that Fretheim is a stimulating thinker. So, he poses the question of why academic writing is so often dull and lifeless. I have not much wisdom to offer there. Read his post.
He offers his own suggestion for improving Fretheim’s sentence:
In contrast to the abstract and immovable god of the philosophers, the Pentateuch portrays a god that is, in the best sense, all too human.
Which I think is good but too long, I suspect the original paragraph in a sentence led him astray ;) How about editing it to:
God is all too human in the Pentateuch.
So, with this terrible example (from an academic hero) in front of me I am looking closer at my own first sentences from now on. I’m currently working on an article for the book on Lament and Complaint. I’m ashamed that the current first sentence reads like this:
The claim by Shakespeare’s Juliette “What’s in a name? that which we call a rose by any other name would smell as sweet” is often quoted to assert that naming is arbitrary.
The “Confessions of Jeremiah” present the emotionally turbulent and violent world of a prophet caught between God and family.
Of course, I’d need then to make clear by “prophet” I do not mean a historical figure, but a literary construct, yadda yadda yadda, but that might make a better start?