In Ancient Near East, Anson F. Rainey, Brill, Egypt, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, William Schniedewind, Zipora Cochavi-Rainey on March 22, 2015 at 3:20 am
2015.03.08 | Rainey, Anson F. Z”L. The El-Amarna Correspondence: A New Edition of the Cuneiform Letters from the Site of El-Amarna based on Collations of all Extant Tablets, edited by William Schniedewind and Zipora Cochavi-Rainey. Leiden: Brill, 2015.
Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.
Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.
Many students, and perhaps even some scholars, of the Bible are unaware of the corpus of material that comes to us from el-Amarna in Egypt. Of course, this material is not written in Hebrew, Greek, or Aramaic, nor does it tell of any events that can easily correlate with the biblical corpus. Why, then, ought those who study the Bible to know these texts? Or more to the point, what does Rainey’s extensive work on them offer to biblical studies?
These texts from el-Amarna (an artificial name derived from a misunderstanding in the early 19th century – p.1), consist largely of letters written to and sometimes from Egypt during the reigns of the 18th dynasty Pharaohs Amenḥotep III and Amenḥotep IV (who later famously adopted the name Akhenaten). Read the rest of this entry »
In HB/OT, James BARR, John BARTON, Kurtis Peters, Oxford University Press on November 21, 2014 at 12:00 am
2014.11.20 | Barton, John, ed. Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr. Volume III: Linguistics and Translation. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. £120. pp. 816. ISBN: 978-0-19-969290-3.
Reviewed by Kurtis Peters,
University of Edinburgh.
Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.
James Barr’s contributions to scholarship are many and varied, as already witnessed by volumes I and II of his essays collected by John Barton, but his contributions to the study of biblical languages are perhaps his greatest. This volume alone is one third larger than each of the previous two volumes and speaks to the amount of time and effort he spent working to hone the field and sharpen its level of analysis. One need only think of some of his famous monographs The Semantics of Biblical Language, or Comparative Philology and the Text of the Old Testament in order to observe the impact he has made on Biblical Studies. The present volume, however, consists of his smaller contributions – smaller, that is, in terms of printed size, not in terms of significance. Read the rest of this entry »
In B&H Academic, Genesis, Gregory S. SMITH, HB/OT, Kerry Lee, Linguistics, Pentateuch on September 3, 2014 at 8:29 pm
2014.9.15 | Gregory S. Smith. The Testing of God’s Sons: The Refining of Faith as a Biblical Theme. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2014. pp. xviii + 222. ISBN: 9780805464184.
Review by Kerry Lee.
Many thanks to B&H Academic for providing a review copy.
The Testing of God’s Sons by Gregory S. Smith is primarily an exploration of the literary theme of “testing”, a theme that is especially important in Genesis but that, Smith also argues, is a unifying theme in the entire Pentateuch and even the entire Christian Bible. Additionally, to support his case, he engages in a limited semantic field analysis of common Hebrew terms that communicate the idea of testing. He argues that underlying the use of these terms is a metallurgical metaphor, and Smith finds that one particular term that is important to his literary analysis of the theme of testing in the Bible, Hebrew bāḥan, is connected to the idea of a “touchstone”, meaning the purpose of the testing is authentication (more than “refining” or “revealing”). Read the rest of this entry »
In Biblical Criticism, Garrick V. Allen, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, John BARTON on August 27, 2014 at 2:04 pm
2014.6.14 | James Barr. Bible and Interpretation: The Collected Essays of James Barr. 3 volumes. Edited by John Barton. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2013-2014. 1985 pages (HB). ISBN 9780198261926.
Reviewed by Garrick V. Allen, University of St Andrews.
Many thanks to Oxford University Press for providing a review copy.
“It is fair to say that very few scholars who can write convincingly on wide questions of biblical interpretation and hermeneutic, as well as on general theology, also have the expertise to operate at this [linguistic] microscopic level, and to do so in a way that can command the interest of readers not themselves learned in this area” (vol. 3: p. 2)
This now complete set of Professor Barr’s essays is a formidable addition to any scholar’s library.The nearly 2000 pages of this collection speak to Barr’s prolific career of exploring the concentric concerns of Bible, theology, linguistics, exegesis, philology, Semitics, and other areas. As volume 2 of this set has previously been reviewed for this publication, I will focus my attention on volumes 1 and 3 at this time. The content of Barr’s articles are not in need of critical re-evaluation. Read the rest of this entry »
In Bloomsbury, HB/OT, JiSeong Kwon, Stuart WEEKS, Wisdom Literature on May 12, 2014 at 11:50 am
2014.5.13 | Stuart Weeks. An Introduction to the Study of Wisdom Literature. T & T Clark Approaches to Biblical Studies. London and New York: T & T Clark, 2010. Pp. ix + 165. ISBN 9780567184436. Paperback.
Review by JiSeong Kwon, Durham University.
Many thanks to Bloomsbury for providing a review copy.
Stuart Weeks in this book provides a concise and insightful introduction to Israelite Wisdom Literature for beginners to biblical studies. The entire biblical wisdom corpus (including deuterocanonical texts) is reviewed—the book of Proverbs, the book of Job, Ecclesiastes, the wisdom psalms, the Wisdom of Ben Sira (Ecclesiasticus), Baruch 3.9-4.4, and the Wisdom of Solomon—as well as wisdom texts from Qumran. This scholarly work, however, is very distinctive compared with other sorts of introductory books of Wisdom Literature such as those by Roland E. Murphy, James Crenshaw, and Leo Perdue, in that Weeks carefully examines the conventional thoughts in terms of the origin and the cultural setting of ‘Wisdom Literature’. Read the rest of this entry »
In B&H Academic, Biblical Criticism, Eugene MERRILL, HB/OT, Hermeneutics, Historical Criticism, Kerry Lee, Mark ROOKER, Michael GRISANTI, Scripture on May 9, 2014 at 10:20 am
2014.5.12 | Merrill, Eugene H., Mark F. Rooker, and Michael A. Grisanti. The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2011. pp. xviii + 618. ISBN: 978-0-8054-4031-7.
Review by Kerry Lee.
Many thanks to B&H Academic for providing a review copy.
The World and the Word, by Eugene Merrill, Mark Rooker, and Michael Grisanti, is a textbook designed for use in undergraduate or seminary Old Testament introduction courses. The niche this book occupies among other OT introductions is found in the position held by the book’s authors toward the Bible, namely a conservative evangelical affirmation of biblical inerrancy and a generally literalistic hermeneutic. Rather than engage in critical dialogue with the theological position of the authors, I want to evaluate this book based on: 1) its success in achieving its own expressed aim, and 2) the degree and extent of its usefulness as an undergraduate Old Testament introductory textbook. Read the rest of this entry »
In Book of Job, C. L. SEOW, Eerdmans, HB/OT, JiSeong Kwon on May 4, 2014 at 2:09 pm
2014.5.10 | C. L. Seow. Job 1-21: Interpretation & Commentary. Illuminations Series. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2013. 999 pages. ISBN: 9780802848956. Hardcover.
Review by JiSeong Kwon, Durham University
Many thanks to Eerdmans for providing a review copy.
The work by C. L. Seow is among the most thoughtful and insightful commentaries on the book of Job. Seow divides this commentary into two parts: ‘Introduction’—whose subsections include ‘Texts and Versions’, ‘Language’, ‘Integrity’, ‘Provenance’, ‘Setting’, ‘Genre(s)’, ‘Structure’, ‘Artistry’, ‘Theology’, and ‘History of Consequences’—and ‘Commentary’—whose subsections include ‘Interpretation’ (with ‘History of Consequences’), ‘Retrospect’, and ‘Commentary’ (textual notes). Each section deals with important issues in the book of Job with thoroughness and scholarly depth. Especially noteworthy are Seow’s discussions of literary technique in the book of Job and the book’s history of interpretation.
The virtue of Seow’s commentary is that he attempts to compensate for the weak points of previous commentators. For instance, the literary genre of Job as a whole is a longstanding matter of debate. Read the rest of this entry »
In Andrew Knapp, Biblical Criticism, HB/OT, Mark S. GIGNILLIAT, Zondervan on April 23, 2014 at 9:31 pm
2014.4.9 | Mark S. Gignilliat. A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism: From Benedict Spinoza to Brevard Childs. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2012. 186 pages. ISBN: 9780310325321.
Reviewed by Andrew Knapp
Creating a digest of biblical criticism is no simple task. Despite the relative youth of the discipline, the last two centuries have witnessed an astonishing array of thinkers and methodologies producing a quagmire of sundry and often contradictory results. Undeterred, Mark S. Gignilliat wades in with the purpose of identifying and describing some of the firmest foundations in this morass, those scholars whose work has ushered in new eras of critical research and birthed new “schools” within the field. By concentrating on seminal figures, he aims to present a history of the discipline, in admittedly broad strokes. The result is a 186-page précis of the field, concise and readable. Both Gignilliat and Zondervan should be commended for this volume—the author for the book’s conception and his lucid writing, the publisher for a well-presented, well-designed (one typo in the table of contents notwithstanding), and affordable product. Read the rest of this entry »
In Amanda Davis Bledsoe, Book of Daniel, Canonical Intertextuality, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Intertextuality, Jordan M. SCHEETZ, Wipf and Stock on March 3, 2014 at 8:15 pm
2014.3.5 | Jordan M. Scheetz. The Concept of Canonical Intertextuality and the Book of Daniel. Eugene, Oreg.: Pickwick, 2011. ix + 174 pp. ISBN: 9781608995165.
Review by Amanda Davis Bledsoe, University of Munich.
Many thanks to Wipf and Stock for providing a review copy.
In this book, Scheetz constructs “the concept of canonical intertextuality,” using the book of Daniel as a case study. He identifies this methodology as using a particular collection of texts that have been intentionally placed together (i.e., canon) and ordered so that, when read intertextually, the “texts exegete one another through their order and overall placement together, giving a big picture that would not have been possible if textual units had been left by themselves” (p. 34). More specifically, the goal of this concept of canonical intertextuality is “to understand the actual composition of the text of scripture that is at the same time a text and many texts” (p. 31). Read the rest of this entry »