Book Reviews

Review of Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text by Robert D. Holmstedt
Book Reviews , Old Testament / January 17, 2017

Holmstedt, Robert D. Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text. Baylor University Press: Waco, TX, 2010, pp. 180, $29.99, paperback. Ruth: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text is an excellent volume in the Baylor Handbook on the Hebrew Bible Series, providing students and professors with a detailed grammatical discussion of the Hebrew text of the book of Ruth.  Robert D. Holmstedt is the Professor of Ancient Hebrew and Northwest Semitic Languages at the University of Toronto.  He received his Ph.D. from the University of Wisconsin-Madison in Hebrew and Semitic Studies.  Holmstedt has published and introductory Hebrew grammar entitled Beginning Biblical Hebrew: A Grammar and Illustrated Reader (Baker, 2013) in addition to many other publications related to Hebrew grammar and especially the relative clause in ancient Hebrew. Holmstedt wrote this handbook “with both the intermediate student and the advanced researcher in mind” (p. 2).  That being the case, Holmstedt provides a rich and engaging treatment of the Hebrew grammar of Ruth that is accessible to students still mastering basic Hebrew morphology and syntax. After a brief introduction, Holmstedt spends three sections [corresponding to chapters] discussing his approach to Hebrew grammar, the role of linguistic features in dating the book, and the…

Review of How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth by Wright

Wright, Christopher J. H. How to Preach and Teach the Old Testament for All Its Worth. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2016, pp. 288, $18.99, paperback. Christopher J. H. Wright is the International Ministries Director of the Langham Partnership and was also chair of the Lausanne Theology Working Group which presented The Cape Town Commitment to the Third Lausanne Congress in 2010. He has written numerous books including Old Testament Ethics for the People of God, The Mission of God, and Knowing Jesus through the Old Testament, among others. He attends All Souls Church, Langham Place in London where he preaches occasionally. Written as part of Zondervan’s All Its Worth series, Wright focuses on the Old Testament in this volume, working beyond interpretation to aid preachers and teachers as they study and prepare the material for proclamation. Wright divides his book into two main sections, focusing on why one should preach and teach from the Old Testament in the first section and how one does so in the second. Every chapter ends with questions and exercises to help the reader digest the material, and the “How” section includes preparation checklists and sermon outline examples for each major Old Testament genre. As…

Review of Interpreting Prophetic Literature by James D. Nogalski
Book Reviews , Old Testament / December 21, 2016

Nogalski, James D. Interpreting Prophetic Literature: Historical and Exegetical Tools for Reading the Prophets. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2015, pp. xi + 125, $25, paperback. James Nogalski (Dr. Theol., University of Zürich) is Professor and Director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Baylor University in Waco, Texas. Nogalski has written extensively on prophetic literature with works such as his two volume commentary The Book of the Twelve (Smyth and Helwys, 2011) and Literary Precursors to the Book of the Twelve (De Gruyter, 1993). Moreover, Nogalski has translated four books into English from German which include Old Testament Exegesis: A Guide to the Methodology (Scholars Press, 1998) and The Theological Witness of Prophetic Books (Chalice Press, 2000). In Interpreting Prophetic Literature Nogalski sets out to write a primer on prophetic literature which is accessible to a novice student. Nogalski’s introduction is unique in that he shifts his focus away from historical backgrounds, which is normally the locus of the prophetic section in introductions, and instead pivots his book in order, “to [supplement] such introductions by focusing upon the art of reading prophetic literature” (p. 2). Nogalski accomplishes this by examining the different formulae of oracles, defining the key places…

Review of The Message of the Twelve by Fuhr and Yates
Book Reviews , Old Testament / November 22, 2016

Fuhr Jr., Richard Alan and Gary E Yates. The Message of the Twelve: Hearing the Voice of the Minor Prophets. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2016, pp. 378, $25, paperback. The Message of the Twelve is a careful and thorough introduction to the Minor Prophets and their possible relationship to one another. Authors Richard Fuhr (PhD, Southeastern), program director of Biblical Studies and assistant professor of religion at Liberty University in Virginia, and Gary Yates (PhD, Dallas), professor of Old Testament at Liberty University, collaborate to present the historical, geographical, and theological core of the Minor Prophets. The Message of the Twelve is an excellent introductory work that will offer students a trove of information on Minor Prophets studies. Fuhr and Yates’ wrote The Message of the Twelve as an overview for “students, pastors, and all who seek to understand this neglected segment of God’s Word” (p. xiv). The first four chapters seek to explain the historical background of the Twelve, the prophetic role of the Twelve, the literary elements of the Twelve, and then the canonical unity of the Twelve. The remainder of the work is a book by book commentary on each the prophets. These chapters feature an introduction…

Review of T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint ed. by James K. Aitken
Book Reviews , Old Testament / October 21, 2016

Aitken, James K. T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint. New York, NY: Bloomsbury, 2015, xii + 624 pp., $176.00, hardcover. Dr. James Aitken is a Lecturer in Hebrew, Old Testament, and Second Temple Studies at the Faculty of Divinity, University of Cambridge, UK. Dr. Aitken needs no introduction in the field of Septuagint studies; he is one of the most distinguished scholars in the field today. It comes as no surprise then that he serves as the editor of T&T Clark Companion to the Septuagint, which brings together some of the world’s best scholars in Septuagint studies. Scholarship in The Greek Old Testament has the tendency to be slightly esoteric. Because of this it is a difficult area of study to enter into without introduction. In this volume Aitken has brought together the most valuable introductory material on Septuagint studies. Aitken himself says that he had “long felt the need for a handy summary of features for each of the Septuagint books, for easy consolation by both Septuagint experts and biblical scholars or students more generally” (ix). The Companion to the Septuagint fills this need with excellence, making it a necessary tool for anyone remotely interested in the Greek translation…

Review of The Flow of the Psalms by O. Palmer Robertson
Book Reviews , Old Testament / June 7, 2016

Robertson, Palmer O. The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology. Phillipsburg, NJ: P&R, 2015, pp. 302, $ 21.99, paperback. Palmer Robertson is director and principle of African Bible University in Uganda and is the author of many books, including The Christ of the Covenants (P&R, 1987), commentaries on the books of Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah in the New International Commentary Series (Eerdmans, 1990), and The Christ of the Prophets (P&R, 2008). His latest work, The Flow of the Psalms: Discovering Their Structure and Theology, represents one of the most recent contributions to the ongoing investigation of the “shape” and “shaping” of the Hebrew Psalter. Robertson’s burden in this book is to show that the Psalter is not a random collection of psalms; rather, it exhibits an intentional arrangement or “flow” from beginning to end (p. 50). Two preliminary chapters precede Robertson’s attempt to demonstrate the presence of this “flow” within the Psalter. Chapter two draws attention to twelve different elements of basis structure in the Psalter, while chapter three is devoted to a discussion of the Psalter’s redemptive-historical framework. The heart of the book then follows in chapters five through nine, where Robertson traces the predominant structural,…

Review of The Song of Songs by Duguid
Book Reviews , Old Testament / May 3, 2016

Duguid, Iain M. The Song of Songs. Westmont, IL: IVP Academic, 2015, pp. 160, $15, paperback. Iain Duguid (PhD, University of Cambridge) is professor of religion and Old Testament at Grove City College in Pennsylvania. Duguid has written several works including Hero of Heroes: Seeing Christ in the Beatitudes (P&R Publishing, 2001) and Ezekiel and the Leaders of Israel (Brill, 1994). He has also contributed volumes to several commentary series including the Reformed Expository Commentary (Daniel, Esther & Ruth), the NIV Application Commentary (Ezekiel), and Preaching the Word (Numbers). Song of Songs is a work that will benefit both student and pastor in their study of Solomon’s love poem. Duguid wrote Song of Songs based on “a conviction that it [Song of Songs] was not generally being preached adequately (or at all) in the evangelical or Reformed circles in which I move” (p. 9). The book sets out to provide a comprehensive commentary on the text to alleviate this perceived shortcoming. This is accomplished methodically by examining questions of authorship and date, themes and structures, and concluding with an analysis of the text itself. Duguid’s work shines in two areas. First, his sensitivity to the hermeneutical issues and tendencies at…

Review of Abschied von der Priesterschrift? Edited by Hartenstein and Schmid
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 11, 2016

Hartenstein, Friedhelm, and Konrad Schmid, eds. Abschied von der Priesterschrift? Zum Stand der Pentateuchdebatte. Veröffentlichungen der Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie 40. Leipzig: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt, 2015. pp. 218. €38, paperback. The collapse of the Documentary Hypothesis beginning in the 1970s left many of the traditional results of critical Pentateuchal research in its wake. Despite the renunciation of the existence of the Yahwist and Elohist sources by Rolf Rendtorff and others, the Priestly Writing (P) has survived largely unscathed, although its characterization as a source is no longer taken for granted. A litany of questions now revolves around the nature of P as a source or redactional layer as well as P’s extent and internal stratification. A group of continental scholars gathered to address these and related issues in the Old Testament section of the Wissenschaftlichen Gesellschaft für Theologie in May 2012 at Stuttgart-Hohenheim. Christoph Levin surveys the history of research on the nature of P and its composition, particularly within the framework of documentary, fragmentary, and supplementary models. Levin finds persuasive the arguments in favor of P’s literary independence and attributes the emergence of a separate Priestly history parallel to the Yahwistic/non-P history to the uniqueness of the Priestly worldview, particularly…

Review of After the Invasion: A Reading of Jeremiah 40-44 by Keith Bodner
Book Reviews , Old Testament / March 7, 2016

Bodner, Keith. After the Invasion: A Reading of Jeremiah 40-44. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. viii + 179, $90, hardback. Keith Bodner is Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada.  Bodner has written several books and commentaries including Elisha’s Profile in the Book of Kings: the Double Agent (Oxford, 2013), Jeroboam’s Royal Drama (Oxford, 2012), and 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary (Sheffield Phoenix, 2008), among other titles. Bodner’s writings have largely been within the area of narrative criticism. After the Invasion is an excellent work that will help any thoughtful student of the Bible understand the text of Jeremiah, and particularly Jeremiah 40-44, better. After the Invasion was written “to make a contribution to the interpretation of Jer 40-44 by undertaking a reading of the text with a primary interest in the narrative poetics of the text” (p. 3). In doing this Bodner examines that text of Jeremiah 40-44 in a sequential manner and focuses on features within the narrative like characterization, geography, point of view, temporal compression, plot, intertextuality, and irony. There are two features of this book that I would like to highlight. First, it is well-written and well researched. This work combines…