Book Reviews

Review of Paul and the Gift by John M. G. Barclay
Book Reviews , Featured , New Testament / July 15, 2019

Barclay, John M. G. Paul and the Gift. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015, xvi + 656 pp., $70, hardback.  In one sense, Paul and the Gift is a book about many things. It includes anthropology and the history of interpretation. It is a comparison of Paul and Second Temple Jewish authors. It is part Pauline theology, part commentary on Galatians and Romans. In another sense, though, Barclay’s monograph is a book about one thing: grace. While its methodology traverses a wide array of disciplines relevant to biblical studies, its content never strays far from the concept of beneficence. Barclay, who a decade and a half ago succeeded James D. G. Dunn as Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University, has proved himself a fitting heir to that professorship. Prior to Paul and the Gift, Barclay was perhaps best known for Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora (1996), an overview of Jewish reactions to the wider culture, as well as many well regarded articles, chapters, and edited volumes on Paul and Hellenistic Jews. But it is Paul and the Gift that secures his legacy. With it, he presents Paul’s theology of grace from a genuinely new perspective — no small feat! —…

Individual versus Collective Retribution in the Chronicler’s Ideology of Exile by Gary Edward Schnittjer
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / July 12, 2019

Individual versus Collective Retribution in the Chronicler’s Ideology of Exile Gary Edward Schnittjer Gary Edward Schnittjer (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary) is professor of Old Testament at Cairn University. He is author of The Torah Story (Zondervan). Abstract: It has long been argued that exilic and postexilic biblical writers shift from a model of collective accountability to that of individual accountability. The most notable example of this interpretation of Chronicles, exemplified by the Chronicler’s ideology of exile, comes from Sara Japhet’s work. Did the Chronicler “democratize” identity and responsibility to redefine the justice of God? Did the Chronicler follow some of the prophets before him, like Jeremiah and Ezekiel, and reframe retribution in terms of individual responsibility? Who is being punished in the Chronicler’s version of the exile? This study evaluates the most important evidence for retributive culpability in 2 Chronicles 36. The evidence does not support an individualistic model of retribution but a complex view featuring deferred judgment and cumulative culpability. Key Words: 2 Chronicles 36, Leviticus 26, Jeremiah’s seventy years, exile, retribution Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

The Future David of Psalm 101: Davidic Hope Sustained in Book IV of the Psalter by David ‘Gunner’ Gundersen
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / July 9, 2019

The Future David of Psalm 101: Davidic Hope Sustained in Book IV of the Psalter David ‘Gunner’ Gundersen David ‘Gunner’ Gundersen (PhD, Southern Seminary) is Lead Pastor at BridgePoint Bible Church in Houston, Texas. Abstract: Since Gerald Wilson published The Editing of the Hebrew Psalter, scholars have debated his proposal regarding the structure and message of the Psalter. Central to the debate is the role and status of the Davidic line in Books IV–V (Psalms 90–150). Many follow Wilson, arguing that the Davidic line and Davidic hope virtually disappear in these final two books. Others disagree, but they tend to emphasize royal and Davidic evidence within Book V. This paper explores the message and function of Psalm 101 within Book IV, arguing that its intra-book links, Davidic title, royal voice, lamenting tone, future orientation, inter-psalm allusions, and strategic placement make it a central psalm sustaining Davidic hope in Book IV. Therefore, the יהוה מלך psalms at the core of Book IV (93–100) do not elevate the reign of Yahweh only to castigate the line of David. The reign of Yahweh rather upholds the line of David, answering the suspicions of Psalm 89 where God was questioned because he had bound…

King Hezekiah in Isaiah by Paul R. Raabe
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / July 5, 2019

King Hezekiah in Isaiah Paul R. Raabe Paul R. Raabe is Professor of Biblical Studies at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, AZ. Abstract: The book of Isaiah presents three episodes that feature interactions between the God of Israel and King Hezekiah, Isaiah 36-37, 38, and 39. These three episodes give a complex portrait of this king of Judah. This essay explores the different sides to this complex portrait. Key Words: Hezekiah, Isaiah 36-39, trust, pride, contrast between kings Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Isaiah 7:12–16 — Cutting Down the Davidic Tree: Pivotal Point in the Israelite Monarchy by Peter J. Gentry
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / July 3, 2019

Isaiah 7:12–16 — Cutting Down the Davidic Tree: Pivotal Point in the Israelite Monarchy Peter J. Gentry Peter J. Gentry is Donald L. Williams Professor of Old Testament Interpretation The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary Abstract: The focus of this brief study is the contribution and role played by Isaiah 7 within the plot structure of the Old Testament as a single, unified, literary work—as a whole. The main thesis is that the brief conversation recorded between Ahaz and Isaiah is a pivotal point in the narrative plot-structure of the Old Testament that causes the tree of the Davidic dynasty to be cut down. Key Words: almah, virgin, Immanuel, Davidic Covenant, Isaiah 7 Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

The Role of the Philistines in the Establishment of the Israelite Monarchy by Andrew E. Steinmann
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / June 27, 2019

The Role of the Philistines in the Establishment of the Israelite Monarchy Andrew E. Steinmann Andrew E. Steinmann is Distinguished Professor of Theology and Hebrew at Concordia University Chicago Abstract: This essay examines the portrayal of the Philistines in Judges and Samuel as vital to the establishment of a legitimate, divinely-authorized monarchy in ancient Israel. After an opening section that looks at the Philistines and their origins, the essay examines the Philistines as antagonists in the ongoing narrative concerning the establishment of a permanent Israelite royal dynasty as ultimately achieved under David. It is demonstrated that Saul failed in his responsibility to remove the Philistine threat from Israel, but David succeeded precisely matching Saul’s failures. After David’s reign the Philistines are largely absent from the narrative concerning the Israelite kingdoms—they have become simply one of the surrounding nations. Key Words: Israelite monarchy, kingship, Philistines, Caphtorite, Casluhite, Samson, Saul, David Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

Monarchy in Judges: Positive or Negative? by Mary L. Conway
Articles , Featured , Old Testament / June 20, 2019

Monarchy in Judges: Positive or Negative? Mary L. Conway Mary L. Conway is Assistant Professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity College in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada. Abstract: There has been much discussion in the scholarly literature as to whether Judges is pro-monarchic or anti-monarchic. Gideon’s rejection of kingship and the disastrous rule of Abimelech have been used in evidence to assert that human kingship is not Yhwh’s preferred mode of governance. On the other hand, variations on the refrain “There was no king in Israel; each person did what was right in their own eyes” in the final chapters would appear to support the establishment of dynastic kingship. Reducing the issue of monarchy to an “either/or” situation, however, is to underestimate the message about kingship, and indeed leadership, that the book of Judges presents. Key Words: Judges, Monarchy, Kingship, Leadership, Anarchy. Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin

A Biblical Theology of the Israelite Monarchy by Eugene Merrill

A Biblical Theology of the Israelite Monarchy Eugene H. Merrill Eugene H. Merrill is Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Studies (Emeritus) Dallas Theological Seminary Abstract: In undertaking a comprehensive Biblical theology, one must take account of each and every aspect of the biblical message and from the accumulated data distill its fundamental concepts and concerns, looking for a central theme if one exists. At the very opening of the sacred text and in the first recorded statement of God about mankind, he speaks of the purpose of his creation: “Be fruitful, multiply, and have dominion over all things” (Genesis 1:26-28). That mandate was never rescinded and the Israelite Monarchy was one of its most significant expressions. Key Words: Israel, Israelite Monarchy, Kingship, David Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin