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A Brief History of Old Testament Criticism

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

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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 »

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The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero

In Ancient Israel, Andrew Knapp, Archaeology, Biblical Criticism, David (king of Israel), HarperOne, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Historical Criticism, Joel BADEN on January 31, 2014 at 12:00 am

Historical David

2014.1.3 | Joel Baden. The Historical David: The Real Life of an Invented Hero. New York: HarperOne, 2013. 310 pages. ISBN: 9780062188311.

Reviewed by Andrew Knapp.

Many thanks to HarperOne for providing a review copy.

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It is often said of historical Jesus studies that each biography reflects the scholar who wrote it more than it reflects Jesus of Nazareth. Let us hope that the same does not apply to historical David studies, because Joel Baden considers the famed king of Israel to be a villainous, duplicitous, overreaching scoundrel. Through Baden’s critical reading of the biblical text, David “is revealed as a thoroughly amoral individualist, concerned only for his own well-being” (98). David was “a vile human being” (259) who “even in his own day, was considered guilty of horrific crimes” (260). Read the rest of this entry »