Book Reviews

Review of The Lost Letters to the Twelve Prophets: Imagining the Minor Prophets’ World by John Goldingay
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament / September 9, 2022

Goldingay, John. The Lost Letters to the Twelve Prophets: Imagining the Minor Prophets’ World. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2022, 232 pages, $23.00, softcover. John Goldingay is Senior Professor of Old Testament, and David Allan Hubbard Professor Emeritus of Old Testament for Fuller Seminary. Goldingay received his Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham and his DD from the Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth. He has published numerous monographs on Old Testament Theology and its study, and most notably, was the author of the Daniel volume for the Word Biblical Commentary series. The Lost Letters to the Twelve Prophets: Imagining the Minor Prophets’ World sets out to explore the Minor Prophets by imagining letters to which the prophets were replying. Drawing on a similar model used in Epistles to the Apostle by Colin Morris, Goldingay sets out to create plausible conversation partners for various sections within each prophet (ix). The introduction includes a brief summary of the Old Testament timeline, what Goldingay calls the “First Testament,” and then a short annotation for the historical Sitz im Leben for each of the twelve books (xiii-xviii). Each of the twelve Minor Prophets receives its own chapter and is laid out in roughly the…

Review of Understanding Old Testament Theology: Mapping the Terrain of Recent Approaches by Brittany Kim and Charlie Trimm
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament , Theology / August 31, 2022

Kim, Brittany, and Charlie Trimm. Understanding Old Testament Theology: Mapping the Terrain of Recent Approaches. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2020, 177 pp., $14.99, paperback. In Understanding Old Testament Theology, Brittany Kim and Charlie Trimm provide an up-to-date survey of approaches to Old Testament theology. Their volume self-consciously flows in a similar vein as Klink and Lockett’s Understanding Biblical Theology, but the latter focuses primarily on New Testament issues and scholars (p. 2). Kim serves as a professor at North Park Theological Seminary and Northeastern Seminary, and Trimm as a professor at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Both are products of the Ph.D. program at Wheaton College. After an introduction that includes a brief history of the field (pp. 4-7), Kim and Trimm propose their cartographical metaphor of Old Testament theology as a diverse mountain range. As a mountain range has different peaks, each of which offers a unique vantage point by which someone may view the landscape, so Old Testament theology has different peaks. Among the peaks, some are closer and more alike than others. Following the mountain range metaphor, the book is divided into three main parts. Part one, History, includes Old Testament theologies grounded in “biblical…

Review of Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide by Gary Edward Schnittjer
Book Reviews , Old Testament / July 19, 2022

Schnittjer, Gary Edward. Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Academic, 2021, 1098 pages, $58.00, hardcover. Gary Edward Schnittjer is the Distinguished Professor of Old Testament for Cairn University’s School of Divinity. Schnittjer received his doctorate from Dallas Theological Seminary and has completed post-graduate studies in both Hebrew and Aramaic from the University of Pennsylvania and Westminster Theological Seminary, respectively. He has published numerous articles in various aspects of Old Testament Biblical studies as well as another monograph, The Torah Story. Old Testament Use of Old Testament: A Book-by-Book Guide represents the culmination of two decades of research into the intertextual and linguistic connections within the Tanakh by Schnittjer. The book is a cataloging, book-by-book, of exegetical allusions between the books of the Old Testament, rated according to their strength (read: confidence level). Material for the work was compiled from manual research and material generated from an originality program, iThenticate (xlvii). In its introduction, Schnittjer provides the basic definitions used in the field of intertextuality and his work, such as revelation, allusion, and exegesis (xviii-xix). Surveying the work and methodologies from scholars like Hays, Kugel, von Rad and Fishbane, Schnittjer lays out his criteria…

Review of Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? by Jack Cottrell

Cottrell, Jack. Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? Mason, OH: The Christian Restoration Association, 2022, 163pp, $14.99, paperback. Jack Cottrell, arguably the most prolific writer and influential theologian of the Christian Churches/Churches of Christ, tackles the topic of baptism in yet another accessible book, Baptism: Zwingli or the Bible? This text incorporates Cottrell’s primary insights on how the Protestant Reformer Huldreich Zwingli (1484-1531) changed the course of church history by creating a new view of the meaning of baptism from salvific to merely symbolic. Although this concise book contains previously published material by Cottrell, it is good to have an overview and summary of Cottrell’s critique of Zwingli’s view of baptism in one small volume. It is certainly handy for the student as well as the scholar and teacher. Cottrell divides this work into three parts: (1) a review of his Princeton dissertation on Zwingli, (2) his personal views on “Zwinglianism,” and (3) a reproduction of “Connection of Baptism with Remission of Sins.” (Part Three is the work of the nineteenth century Christian Church theologian J. W. McGarvey which was originally included in his New Commentary on Acts of the Apostles [1892] but omitted from later editions.) Part One is divided…

Review of The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative (2nd Edition) by Steven D. Mathewson

Mathewson, Steven D. The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative. 2nd edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2021, 252 pages, $22.99, paperback. Steven Mathewson is both a pastor and a scholar. He serves as the senior pastor in Libertyville, IL, and he is also the director of the Doctor of Ministry program at Western Seminary in Portland, OR. Mathewson’s background as a practitioner and scholar in the field of homiletics enhances his book, The Art of Preaching Old Testament Narrative, by allowing him to provide practical counsel and helpful instruction to readers. The author develops his work around three parts. In Part One, Mathewson addresses some challenges with preaching from Old Testament narratives, and he surveys “The Christ-Centered Preaching Debate” (pp. 15-26). In relation to the subject of Christ-centered preaching, the author notes that “I did not deal with this sufficiently (in fact, hardly at all) in his first edition” (xviii). Mathewson’s rationale for adding this discussion is as follows: “Your conclusions [about preaching Christ in the Old Testament] will shape the way that you study and preach an Old Testament narrative text” (p.15). In Part Two, Mathewson presents his methodology for studying biblical narratives for preaching in six chapters….

Review of The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock

Schrock, David S. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God. Short Studies in Biblical Theology. Edited by Dane C. Ortlund and Miles V. Van Pelt. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 2022, pp. 199, $14.99, paperback. David Schrock is the Pastor of Preaching and Theology at Occoquan Bible Church in Woodbridge, Virginia. Dr. Schrock earned both his MDiv and PhD in systematic theology from The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. His dissertation is titled, “A Biblical-Theological Investigation of Christ’s Priesthood and Covenant Mediation with Respect to the Extent of the Atonement.” He is an Adjunct Professor of Systematic Theology at Indianapolis Theological Seminary, Boyce College, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, and, formerly, Crossroads Bible College. Dr. Schrock is also an Associate Fellow for the Ethics and Religious Liberties Commission of the Southern Baptist Convention. The Royal Priesthood and the Glory of God by David S. Schrock is a modest monograph about how the glory of God is fully revealed in the royal priesthood of Christ. This abbreviated work of biblical theology focuses on the biblical theme of priesthood to demonstrate how God’s glory is revealed in Christ’s righteousness expressed through the biblical concept of the priesthood. In an introduction, six chapters, and an…

Review of God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood by Andrew S. Malone

Andrew S. Malone. God’s Mediators: A Biblical Theology of Priesthood. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2017, pp. 230, $25.00, paperback. Andrew S. Malone serves as Lecturer in Biblical Studies and Dean of Ridley Online at Ridley College, Melbourne, Australia. In God’s Mediators, Malone develops an expositional and synthetic biblical theology of the theme of priesthood, studying both individual and corporate priestly identities and work across the canon so as to “augment and refine our existing knowledge, reinforce or reshape our theological framework, and make us better expositors of the texts and their consequences for God’s holy people” (p. 10). He contends, specifically, that Christians struggle to define priests and priesthood in a manner following the patterns of the biblical witness (pp. 8–9; 186–187). Malone descriptively surveys, therefore, the biblical landscape for individual priests, starting with Aaron’s and his sons’ mediation at Sinai with an important focus on “the kingdom of priests” found in Exodus 19:5–6 as a royal priesthood (pp. 16–17, 126). His survey of the Aaronic priesthood, ultimately, establishes a baseline to consider implications for 1) Israel’s corporate priesthood, 2) Jesus’ priesthood, and 3) the nature of the church’s corporate priesthood. He labels the Aaronic priesthood by its status of…

Review of Inscriptions from the World of the Bible: A Reader and Introduction to Old Northwest Semitic by Peter Bekins
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 14, 2022

Bekins, Peter. Inscriptions from the World of the Bible: A Reader and Introduction to Old Northwest Semitic. Peabody, MA: Hendrickson Academic, 2020, pp 300, $79.95, hardback. If you know Biblical Hebrew, then you essentially know ancient Edomite, Moabite, Ammonite, and Phoenician. You can add those to your résumé. They are all basically the same language. The differences among them are rather minor. For example, the direct object marker in Hebrew and Moabite is ’t (aleph-tau), whereas in Phoenician (and Aramaic) it is ’yt (aleph-yodh-tau). A modern analogy might be English spoken in London, New York, Minnesota, and Georgia. Moreover, if you know Biblical Hebrew, then you are well on your way to a knowledge of Aramaic. We should not think of Biblical Hebrew as a completely unique language all alone, as if it were per se a holy language. It was part of the common language spoken throughout the area of ancient Syria and Palestine. It was, you might say, part of the lingua franca of that area, much like the Koine Greek of the New Testament in the Greco-Roman world. There is a theological message here. The Creator chose to communicate with his human creatures in an everyday language,…

Review of The Story of Sacrifice: Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source by Liane M. Feldman
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 14, 2022

Feldman, Liane M. The Story of Sacrifice: Ritual and Narrative in the Priestly Source. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020, pp. 245. 104€, hardback. Liane Feldman is Assistant Professor at New York University in the Skirball department of Hebrew and Judaic studies. Feldman earned her PhD from the University of Chicago Divinity School in Hebrew Bible and the ancient Near East. In The Story of Sacrifice Professor Liane Feldman explores the “literary function” of the priestly ritual materials. Feldman is clear in the introduction that she intends to read and explain these ritual materials “as part of the story”, in conjunction with, not separated from their narrative setting (11-18). Her inquiry is simple: what happens when one assumes that the ritual and narrative texts in the Priestly source were intentionally placed together, and one chooses to read them as literature? Feldman divides the book into six chapters: Introduction, Moses’s Private Audience: The Construction of Space in the Story World (Exod 40–Lev 7), Yahweh’s Public Performance: The Creation of a Cult (Lev 8:1–10:7), Inside and Outside: Yahweh’s Delineation of Boundaries (Lev 10:8–15:33; Num 7:1–8:4), The Possibility of Decontamination (Lev 16–17), and Conclusion. This review will summarize the book’s contents, follow with a critique,…

Review of Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters by Iain Provan

Provan, Iain. Seriously Dangerous Religion: What the Old Testament Really Says and Why It Matters. Waco, TX: Baylor University Press, 2014, pp. 502, $49.99. In this book, Provan has set out to argue that, among the many worldview stories that are active in the world today—most of which are anti-Christian—the “Old Story” (Old Testament) is genuinely dangerous. “Biblical monotheism is seriously dangerous” (10, italics original). By dangerous, Provan does not mean that the Old Story intends to harm society in any way. Rather, he argues that when understood properly, in light of the narrative that the Old Story itself tells, it poses a threat to all other worldview stories, and it poses a threat to those who take its own message seriously. The ideologies of the Old Story “threaten” to answer the most important questions humans ask. According to Provan, the Old Story answers those questions satisfactorily for those who are willing to be shaped by its message. Provan begins the Introductory chapter, “Of Mice, and Men, and Hobbits” by outlining the common stories we encounter in our world today with two example novels. The first is like The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, in which “Absurdity rules” (1–2). The…