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Archive for the ‘HB/OT’ Category

What Kind of God?

In Ancient Israel, Brent A. Strawn, Eisenbrauns, HB/OT, Mark Glanville, Michael J. Chan, Terence Fretheim on May 17, 2017 at 8:37 pm


2017.05.09 | Michael J. Chan and Brent A. Strawn, eds. What Kind of God? Collected Essays of Terence E. Fretheim (Winona Lake: Eisenbrauns, 2015). ISBN: 978-1-57506-343-0.

Reviewed by Mark Glanville

Michael J. Chan and Brent A. Strawn have collected thirty essays of Terence E. Fretheim that explore the question, in various ways: what kind of God is presented in the Old Testament?

The volume begins with two introductory essays, one by the editors, the other by Fretheim himself (Part I). Crucial for Fretheim’s reading of the Old Testament is the relationality of God to the both the human world and the non-human world. “For Fretheim, ‘genuine’ relationship is marked by risk, sacrifice, commitment, limitation, change, power-sharing, and the ability of both parties to shape the future, even God’s future” (4). Part II, “God and the World,” is concerned with an understanding of God and of the divine relationship to the world. Read the rest of this entry »

The Social World of Deuteronomy

In Ancient Israel, Cascade Books, Deuteronomy, Don C. Benjamin, Feminist Biblical Criticism, HB/OT, Mark Glanville, Wipf and Stock on March 10, 2017 at 10:15 am


2017.03.06 | Don C. Benjamin. The Social World of Deuteronomy: A New Feminist Commentary. Cascade: Oregon, 2015. ISBN: 9781498228701.

Review by Mark Glanville.

Don C. Benjamin’s commentary on Deuteronomy, The Social World of Deuteronomy: A New Feminist Commentary (2015), is one of a number of recent commentaries on this book, including those by Daniel I. Block, (2012), Jack R. Lundbom (2013), and Eckart Otto (German, 2012-17). Benjamin’s commentary is unique, first, in that its primary methodology is to bring insights from the social sciences to bear upon the text, and, second, in that a feminist hermeneutic that is sensitive to the voices of women and other populations that are given a “small voice” in the text of Deuteronomy strongly shapes both the interpretative method and the content focus of the book. Read the rest of this entry »

Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception History

In Brennan Breed, HB/OT, Indiana University Press, Kengo Akiyama, Reception history on July 5, 2016 at 10:24 pm


2016.07.12 | Brennan W. Breed. Nomadic Text: A Theory of Biblical Reception HistoryIndiana Series in Biblical Literature. Indianapolis: Indiana University Press, 2014. pp.xii + 299. ISBN: 978-0-253-01252-4.

Review by Kengo Akiyama

Many thanks to Indiana University Press for providing a review copy.

This book, a winner of the Manfred Lautenschlaeger Award for Theological Promise 2016, is based on Breed’s doctoral dissertation, which was written under the supervision of Carol Newsom at Emory University. The book consists of introduction, seven main chapters, and conclusion, followed by notes, bibliography, and index.

The introductory chapter (‘Introduction: The Constitutive Divide of Reception History’) frames the discussion by problematising ‘borderlines’, a concept that all critical studies implicitly or explicitly employ. Read the rest of this entry »

Mantik im Alten Testament

In Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, divination, HB/OT, Mantik, Rüdiger Schmitt, Ugarit-Verlag, William L. Kelly on June 17, 2016 at 3:17 am


2016.06.11 | Rüdiger Schmitt, Mantik im Alten Testament, Alter Orient und Altes Testament 411, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2014. pp. xi + 212. ISBN: 978-3-86835-100-2.

Review by William L. Kelly, University of Edinburgh

Many thanks to Ugarit-Verlag for generously providing a review copy.

Divination is a topic which has enjoyed a growing amount of attention in contemporary scholarship, especially the relationship between divination and prophecy in the Hebrew Bible. Scholars now recognise that ancient prophecy was not an isolated phenomenon; it existed within a larger complex of religious ideas, symbols and practices related to communication between humans and gods. In Mantik im Alten Testament, Rüdiger Schmitt examines the practitioners, instruments and discourses related to divination in the Hebrew Bible. Schmitt is already a contributor to this area of research, e.g. as with his Habilitationsschrift published as Magie im Alten Testament (AOAT 313, Münster: Ugarit-Verlag, 2004). Read the rest of this entry »

A History of the Ancient Near East

In Ancient Near East, HB/OT, Kurtis Peters, Marc Van De Mieroop, Wiley Blackwell on December 27, 2015 at 4:52 am


2015.12.23 |Marc Van De Mieroop. A History of the Ancient Near East: ca. 3000-323 BC. 3rd Edition. Chichester, West Sussex, UK; Malden, MA, USA: Wiley Blackwell, 2016. Pp. Xxii + 400. ISBN: 9781118718162.

Review by Kurtis Peters, University of British Columbia.

Many thanks to Wiley Blackwell for providing a review copy.

Flip open nearly any page of a Hebrew Bible and you will find yourself brushing up against the history of the Ancient Near East. At times it is quite obvious: Sennacherib, king of Assyria, invades Judah in 2 Kings, Isaiah, and 2 Chronicles; Ezra and Nehemiah, in the books named after them, return to Palestine with the blessing of the Persian emperor; Nahum prophesies the fall of Nineveh. Yet, the history of the Ancient Near East (ANE) influences other parts of the Hebrew Bible (HB) in more subtle ways. According to broadly held views, Deuteronomy was composed as a reaction to the suzerainty of Assyria over her vassals in the period of the Neo-Assyrian empire. The opening chapters to Genesis, according to many, are written so as to make sense of the life of exile in Babylon.1 Read the rest of this entry »

Ethics in Ancient Israel

In Ancient Israel, Ethics, HB/OT, John BARTON, Kengo Akiyama, Oxford University Press on December 6, 2015 at 11:00 pm


2015.12.22 | John Barton. Ethics in Ancient Israel. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2014. pp.xii + 317. ISBN: 978-0-19-966043-8

Review by Kengo Akiyama.

Many thanks to OUP for providing a review copy.

In this book, John Barton argues that sustained reflection on ethics already existed in ancient Israel well before Socrates who is usually credited as the first to reflect on morality from a philosophical perspective. Instead of the more common approach of analysing the ethics of the Old Testament, that is, morality prescribed or implied by the Old Testament (a theological construct), Barton looks for historical evidence of ‘ethical thinking’ in ancient Israel (a historical description). He advances two theses in this book: [i] ‘the documents we have from ancient Israel do not portray ethical obligation exclusively in terms of obedience to the declared will of God,’ and [ii] ‘the very idea that there was critical reflection on moral issues in ancient Israel’ (p.12). The book consists of introduction, ten chapters, conclusion, bibliography and indices. Read the rest of this entry »

The Text of the Hebrew Bible. From the Rabbis to the Masoretes

In Elvira Martín-Contreras, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Lorena Miralles-Maciá, Pieter B. Hartog, V&R unipress on July 6, 2015 at 9:29 pm


2015.07.16 | Elvira Martín-Contreras, Lorena Miralles-Maciá. The Text of the Hebrew Bible: From the Rabbis to the Masoretes. JAJSup 13. Göttingen: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht, 2014.

Review by Pieter B. Hartog, KU Leuven.

Many thanks to Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht for providing a review copy.

The development of the text of the Hebrew Bible has enjoyed a renewed interest in recent years. But whilst studies on the text of Scripture in the Second Temple period abound,[1] the period subsequent to it tends to be ignored. The reasons for this neglect are easy to see. The period between the Rabbis and the Masoretes is traditionally considered a “dark age” in the history of the biblical text. What is more, this era is commonly taken as one in which a single textual tradition (the Masoretic Text or MT) was dominant – in contrast to earlier eras, where textual fluidity and pluriformity prevailed.[2] Read the rest of this entry »

Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary

In Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Archaeology, commentary, HB/OT, John H. Walton, Kurtis Peters, Zondervan on June 11, 2015 at 9:52 pm


2015.06.13 | Walton, John H., ed. Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary. 5 vols. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2009. $249.95. ISBN 978-0-310-25572-7).

Review by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Zondervan for providing a review copy.

John Walton, chief editor of Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary, has taken on an enormous task. Enormous, of course, is simply the gathering of data and contributors for a multi-volume commentary. But perhaps more significant yet is his aim: to have the evangelical world engage with the ancient Near East (hereafter ANE) in a meaningful way. 5 volumes, 32 contributors, and nearly 3,000 pages later, Walton has, it seems, succeeded at least insofar as he has provided the evangelical community with perhaps the most thorough and most accessible resource for them to grapple with the reality of the Old Testament and its ANE setting. Read the rest of this entry »

A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew

In Ancient Israel, Avi Hurvitz, Brill, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Hebrew Language, Kurtis Peters, Lexicon on April 21, 2015 at 11:06 pm

2015.04.10 | Hurvitz, Avi. A Concise Lexicon of Late Biblical Hebrew: Linguistic Innovations in the Writings of the Second Temple Period. Supplements to Vetus Testamentum 160. Leiden: Brill, 2014. Pp. X+270. ISBN: 9789004266117. $128.

Reviewed by Kurtis Peters.

Many thanks to Brill for providing a review copy.

Avi Hurvitz’s latest contribution to scholarship is a Hebrew lexicon of a very different sort than scholarship is used to seeing. He has extracted a diachronic layer of Biblical Hebrew – Late Biblical Hebrew (LBH) – and collated all linguistic markers of that period, namely anything that marks LBH as distinct from what precedes it (Hurvitz’s Classical Biblical Hebrew or CBH). While it is not new to create a lexicon for a certain diachronic layer of Hebrew (see Clines Dictionary of Classical Hebrew, as distinct from corpus-based lexica such as most other lexica of Biblical Hebrew), it is rather innovative to create one that is dedicated only to what is new or in the stages of development during a specific historical stratum that is also corpus restricted (Late Biblical Hebrew, rather than early Second Temple Hebrew). Read the rest of this entry »

El-Amarna Correspondence

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 »