Hebrew Bible Related Reviews from RBL (25 October 2005)

The latest Review of Biblical Literature has arrived and it contains a number of interesting reviews. First and foremost there is an excellent review of In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel by fellow bibliobloger, Joseph Cathey. This collection of essays edited by John Day contains a number of seminal works that seek to “offer a critique of various aspects of the ‘everything is late’ school of thought in Old Testament studies… not from any reactionary standpoint but from a thoroughly reasoned, critical point of view” (vii). Cathey’s review is thorough (15 pages), well-documented (18 footnotes), and — on the whole — fair. Lester Grabbe also has a good review of the same volume, which brings up some very good points and provides a counter-balance to Cathey’s more positive review.

David Gunn’s commentary on Judges is the first book of the Hebrew Bible treated in the Blackwell Bible Commentaries — and based on the review it looks like a valuable contribution. Wright is very positive in his review noting that Gunn “has not only provided a useful tool for students of the book of Judges but also established a new standard for biblical commentaries in general.” This commentary looks intriguing. Plans are in the works to bring David Gunn to Edmonton next year for a series of lectures; it’ll be great to meet Dr. Gunn in person.

Another book that looks quite interesting is Middleton’s volume on the Imago Dei. This work aims to “make Old Testament scholarship on the creation of humanity in man’s image accessible as a resource for theological reflection on human identity and ethics in a world increasingly characterized by brutality and dehumanization. As such this book is meant to facilitate an interdisciplinary conversation between theologians, ethicists, and biblical scholars on the imago Dei”” (10). While the review is pretty positive (especially in connection with Middleton’s presentation of the representational understanding of the image), ultimately MacDonald concludes, “I do not judge that it will achieve the rapprochement between biblical scholars and systematicians at which it so laudably aims. Nevertheless, this is a useful contribution to an ongoing discussion whose value will be judged by its ability to stimulate thoughtful conversation. My own reflections demonstrate the way that Middleton’s work laudably provokes fresh thinking on this hoary interpretive crux.”

Finally, another work worth mentioning is Matthias Henze’s Biblical Interpretation at Qumran. This is an excellent collection of essays with offerings by the likes of John J. Collins, James C. VanderKam, George Brooke, and Peter Flint. (Note that Nicklas’s review is in German).

  • John Day, ed., In Search of Pre-Exilic Israel: Proceedings of the Oxford Old Testament Seminar. Reviewed by Joseph Cathey and Lester Grabbe.
  • David M. Gunn, Judges (Blackwell Bible Commentaries). Reviewed by Jacob Wright
  • Reinhard G. Kratz, translated by John Bowden, The Composition of the Narrative Books of the Old Testament. Reviewed by William Johnstone
  • J. Richard Middleton, The Liberating Image: The Imago Dei in Genesis 1. Reviewed by Nathan Macdonald
  • Ra’anan S. Boustan and Annette Yoshiko Reed, eds., Heavenly Realms and Earthly Realities in Late Antique Religions. Reviewed by Eric Noffke
  • Matthias Henze, ed., Biblical Interpretation at Qumran. Reviewed by Tobias Nicklas
  • Hindy Najman, Seconding Sinai: The Development of Mosaic Discourse in Second Temple Judaism. Reviewed by Thomas Romer
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