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The republication of Moberly’s 1992 study in an accessible paperback provides a further look at this textually-focussed work of Old Testament theology at a time when the reconfiguration within Pentateuchal studies has had another decade to run it course. The ‘revelations of the divine name’ in Exodus chapters three and six are key texts for classical Pentateuchal criticism. It is there that such an approach to the text finds one of the most notorious disjunctions between the ‘Yahwist’ source, on the one hand, and the ‘Elohist’ and ‘Priestly’ sources, on the other. (more…)

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Nearly two decades after initial publication under a different title, this lightly revised and expanded second edition renews Paul Achtemeier’s irenic arbitration of a discussion which tends in more acerbic directions. In seven accessible chapters, he seeks to understand how the Bible is different. (more…)

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This book is meant to teach people to ‘read with understanding’. It accomplishes its objective by inviting its reader to go back over the same biblical narratives numerous times, viewing the text through a different lens on each visit. One is trained to seek out each story’s hero, a concept that is linked to the notion of quest (the effort to solve a problem). Fokkelman believes that the distance separating us from the biblical stories is not to be feared, since a well-written story will ‘come into its own’ when it meets an attentive reader. The book places the concepts and nomenclature of narratology in the hands of the Bible reader, whose subjectivity is not to be lamented. Rather, it is the sphere in which he encounters the text’s art. Meaning is conferred in the interplay of the reader who bestows it and the text which in some sense ‘has’ it. (more…)

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The author organises this encyclopaedic study under four parts: Death, the Underworld, the Dead, and the Afterlife. An introductory apology for the study confronts the reader with a paradox: death and the underworld are fascinating topics for Judaism, Christianity, and modern scholarship, yet ‘Israel’s religious writers were not particularly concerned with the underworld or with the dead. The related to Yahweh in this life, and were relatively uninterested in the life hereafter.’ (more…)

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This spirited, fascinating, and occasionally sermonic book is noteworthy not exclusively for its subject matter, some of which falls outside of the author’s principal field of Old Testament criticism. Rather, its interest lies in the incursion of a main exponent of B. Childs-style ‘canonical criticism’ into ethical, pastoral, and ecclesial arenas which frequently remain beyond the horizon of biblical scholars. (more…)

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This volume is a close study of LXX Isaiah chapter 23 by the most prolific writer on the Greek Isaiah. Chapter One (‘Introduction: the Method for the Book’, 1-19) surveys the various approaches to LXX Isaiah that have occupied the field since Z. Frankel’s seminal study. The author takes a ‘contextual approach’. The LXX is at first to be studied in relation to its presumed Vorlage (similar to MT Isaiah), but more importantly is taken seriously as a coherent text in its own right. Pace Seeligmann, the translator’s genius is not to be discovered at the word or verse level, in ‘isolated free renderings’, but rather at the level of pericope or passage. The translator is a scholar, with liberties to engage in creative and actualising interpretation. (more…)

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Four densely argued chapters argue for a coherent and pervasive messianic concept in the Old Testament and subsequent Jewish literature in a way that cuts across recent trends in the field. Horbury’s first chapter (“Messianism and the Old Testament”) lays out the case for a messianism that grows organically out of the Old Testament materials from earliest times. While not rigid, a coherent messianic myth probably existed from the early monarchy. Far from being an insignificant concept, the ‘widespread currency of the unexplained technical term’ for ‘Messiah’ together with fuller designations had spread across several languages by at least the second century BC, coherently referring to a ‘rightful ruler of Israel … the coming Davidic king’. This chapter complements analysis of the textual inventory with attention to ‘landmarks in the study of the origins of messianism.’ The argument is advanced that the supposed mutual incompatibility between God’s unmediated rule and Messiah’s rule which has much occupied scholars is a false dichotomy, since the texts show little concern to exclude one while focussing upon the other. The editing of the individual biblical books reflects a messianic preoccupation that encourages finding in the canon a ‘coherent series of messianic prophecies’. This circumstance fomented both the reading of still further oracles in this light and greater specificity as the tradition advanced. Such a development of the tradition will have been influenced by forms familiar to Israel’s cultural neighbours, as by the presence of ‘messianic prototypes’ within the Bible itself (Moses, David, et al.). (more…)

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Von Rad’s venerable and seminal treatment of the topic, now made available in an inexpensive reprint, is considerably enhanced for modern readers by B.C. Ollenburger’s introductory essay, ‘Gerhard von Rad’s Theory of Holy War.’ This version of what has become a classic point of departure for studies of warfare and the Divine Warrior figure in the Old Testament’ is further complemented by J.E. Sanderson’s ‘War, Peace, and Justice in the Hebrew Bible: A Representative Bibliography.’ Approaching the topic with an ethical concern that is not given broad expression in Von Rad’s monograph, Sanderson appends her annotated bibliography ‘as a contribution to the advancement of peace’ from the pen of ‘someone with a lifelong fascination for the Bible as well as a commitment to peacemaking.’ (more…)

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An emeritus professor of homiletics introduces Job in this study guide, which belongs to a series that is intended to help the church’s laity read the Bible more clearly and intelligently. Wharton mentions issues that occupy academic scholars only where these are deemed to illuminate the reading of the book’s final form. The guide’s introduction treats the book’s function, structure, the names of God in Job, and the concept of Job as the Lord’s servant (Nebucha\drezzar appears for Cyrus in his mention of Isa 45). In his exposition, ‘hassatan’ of the prologue is not God’s archenemy of later theology, but his denial that disinterested piety exists may be ‘satanic’. It is hinted that the relationship between prologue, epilogue, and the poetic centre may be explained by a reworking of a pre-existing and simplistic Job tale, one which in its original form would have satisfied the certainties of Job’s counsellors. The poetic reworking forcefully rewrites the story as a challenge to religious truisms. Because the wisdom of Job’s friends has deep roots in Jewish and Christian piety, Wharton attempts a sympathetic hearing of Eliphaz by allowing him to develop his argument in chs 4-5, 15, and 22 without the interruption of Job’s responses and other interlocutions. The nine basic elements of Eliphaz’ case are at home in the piety of Judaism and Christianity. (more…)

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Even if John C.L. Gibson admits that the OT is “capable of causing not a little embarrassment to the two religions which have adopted it as their Scriptures”, he finds it also “seductive”, “moving” and “illuminating”. His little book is meant to guide the reader to fuller appreciation of the latter qualities and in this he must be judged to have succeeded. His first of seven well-written chapters, entitled “The Energies of the Hebrew Language”, presents the lack of abstract terms and the linking together of clauses by “and” as the “two basic characteristics of biblical Hebrew.” The picture is filled out by several not unimportant features: prominence of direct speech, cosmological descriptions of heaven and Sheol, the extravagance of Semitic address, folk etymologies, figurative language, hyperbole, personalisation, irony, et al. Throughout this chapter Gibson indicates the considerable distance which separates theological language from that of the OT. (more…)

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