Book Reviews

Review of Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts by Lucy Peppiatt

Peppiatt, Lucy. Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women: Fresh Perspectives on Disputed Texts. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2019, pp.162, $22, paperback. Lucy Peppiatt is Principal of Westminster Theological Centre, UK. Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women is her fourth monograph, building on, expanding, and bringing to a wider audience her previous scholarly work on women in 1 Corinthians 11-14. Winner of the 2019 IVP Academic Reader’s Choice Award, the book provides an accessible and succinct biblical and theological case for the full equality and inclusion of women in the home, church, and ministry. Peppiatt notes that her aim in writing is, as the title of the book suggests, that “those who read it . . . will catch a vision of God’s gracious will to set women free” (p. xiv). Consistent with that aim, the book offers a positive and constructive presentation of the case for the full inclusion of women. It is wholeheartedly and unashamedly “mutualist” (p. 6) (a term Peppiatt prefers to “egalitarian”)—arguing that the “overturning of an entrenched patriarchal order” (p. 2) is not just permitted but is endorsed by scripture. This is not to say that Peppiatt is naïve to the weight of church history, the persistence…

Review of Finding Favour in the Sight of God: A Theology of Wisdom Literature by Richard P. Belcher

Belcher, Richard P, Jr. Finding Favour in the Sight of God: A Theology of Wisdom Literature. NSBT 46. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018. Paperback. $26.00. 272 pp. Richard Belcher is Professor of Old Testament and Academic Dean at Reformed Theological Seminary in Charlotte, NC. He has written commentaries on Job and Ecclesiastes, as well as several works exploring the Messiah across the biblical literature. This monograph is a recent addition to the New Studies in Biblical Theology series published by InterVarsity Press. The series has over fifty volumes in print, including a few others addressing wisdom. The monograph begins with a brief exploration of the problem of wisdom literature in the modern discussion. Belcher deftly summarizes the place wisdom has had within biblical theology, including the most recent debates about the wisdom tradition in ancient Israel undertaken by Kynes, Sneed, and Longman. After the introductory discussion, each of the main wisdom texts is explored, with each afforded three chapters—Proverbs (57 pgs), Job (58 pgs), and Ecclesiastes (55 pgs). The monograph concludes with a chapter on the relationship between Jesus and wisdom (23 pgs). While the nature of wisdom in the Song of Songs continues to be contentious (see pg….

Review of The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles

Crowe, Brandon D. The Hope of Israel: The Resurrection of Christ in the Acts of the Apostles. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2020.  193 pages $29.99, Paperback. The resurrection of the body was ancient Israel’s hope, not the hope of ancient Greece or Rome. The apostle Paul said he was in chains because of “the hope of Israel” (Acts 28:20; cf. 23:6; 24:15, 21; 26:6-8). The God of Israel fulfilled this hope by first raising Jesus the Messiah from the dead (Acts 26:22-23). Throughout the Acts of the Apostles we see this emphasis on the resurrection of Jesus the Christ. Brandon D. Crowe has written an excellent study of this emphasis. He is associate professor of New Testament at Westminster Theological Seminary. Crowe follows the sound method of first examining the biblical texts, each in a holistic way in its written context, and then drawing from them more general conclusions. The three pillars of the resurrection theme in Acts are the speech by the apostle Peter in Jerusalem at Pentecost (Acts 2), the speech by the apostle Paul at Antioch in Pisidia (Acts 13), and his defense before King Agrippa II in Caesarea (Acts 26). Crowe also looks at additional resurrection statements…

Review of A Critical Edition of the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22-42 by John D. Meade
Book Reviews , Old Testament / October 7, 2021

Meade, John D. A Critical Edition of the Hexaplaric Fragments of Job 22-42. Leuven, Belgium: Peeters, 2020, pp. 471, $127.96, paperback. John Meade currently serves as Associate Professor of Old Testament at Phoenix Seminary in Phoenix, AZ. He is also Co-Director of the Text and Canon Institute at the same institution. Moreover, he is a contributor to the Evangelical Textual Criticism blog and the Hexapla Institute. John Meade is a graduate of The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he obtained a Ph.D. in OT, under Peter Gentry. The book under review is the fruit of Meade’s dissertation. Meade has established a critical edition of the fragmentary evidence extant for chapters 22 through 42 of the Hexapla of Job. In other words, Meade provides a curated collection of all the readings of Origen’s Hexapla as it pertains to the book of Job. This task has led Meade to examine manuscript evidence from Greek, Syriac, Latin, and Armenian sources. As such, this work gives an updated presentation of hexaplaric readings, improving on the work done by its predecessors. The book is divided into three main chapters. Chapter 1 (pp. 1- 26) does an overview of the textual sources examined.  In this part,…

Review of Reading with the Grain of Scripture by Richard B. Hays

Hays, Richard B. Reading with the Grain of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020. 479 pp. $55.00, Hardcover. Richard Hays is Professor Emeritus of New Testament of Duke Divinity School. He is the author of several books, one of the most notable being his 1989 Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. This book is a set of twenty-one essays generally dealing with the subject of hermeneutics, representing something of the capstone of Hays’s career, a highlight reel of both recent writings and others culled from previous decades. They are very much a collection commemorative of an illustrious presence in the field of New Testament studies, with each representing some of Hays’s highest-level writing and strongest argumentation relative to each issue discussed. The book is divided into four parts, proceeding in stepwise fashion as Hays moves from the groundwork of interpretive method into the person of Jesus himself and how he has been understood by scholars, into Pauline theology, and finally into the broader New Testament as a whole and the theology that characterizes it. The essays, as Hays notes (p. 3), follow six recurrent themes, namely narrative analysis, figural coherence between the Old and New Testaments, the centrality of Jesus’s…

Review of Invitation to the Septuagint by Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva
Book Reviews , Old Testament / July 29, 2021

Jobes, Karen H. and Moisés Silva. Invitation to the Septuagint, 2nd Edition. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015, Pp 432, $28.30, Paperback. Septuagintal studies has risen in recent years, but a substantial introduction to the discipline was lacking for students and scholars alike.  The technical nature of the discipline left many students unfamiliar with how to proceed into the fray.  Karen Jobes and Moises Silva initially filled that hole in 2000, but they have updated and expanded to a second edition of their primer to account for changes in the field of the LXX studies.  The second edition responds to a lengthy criticism of the first edition from James Barr whereby the authors supposedly deemed the LXX unhelpful for determining the Hebrew text (xii n.1).  The second addition has been updated the bibliography with references from the last fifteen years. Both authors are world renown scholars for their scholarship in Greek lexicography and the use of the Old Testament in the New Testament.  Hereafter, the authors will be referred to as J.S. J.S. begin with answering the readers’ initial question, Why should I study the Septuagint? in a brief introduction. They suggest that the LXX aids the interpreters understanding of…

Review of The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins by Peter Enns
Book Reviews , Old Testament , Philosophy / June 28, 2021

Enns, Peter. The Evolution of Adam: What the Bible Does and Doesn’t Say About Human Origins. Grand Rapids, MI: Brazos Press, 2012. xx+172 pp. $14.99. Is there a conflict between evolutionary theory and the Christian reading of Genesis 1–11? Peter Enns (Ph.D., Harvard University), Abram S. Clemens Professor of Biblical Studies Eastern University, writes The Evolution of Adam to answer this very question. Enns’ premise in the book not that Adam evolved but that Christian thinking about the historical Adam should evolve because of two key ideas: “(1) scientific evidence supporting evolution and (2) literary evidence from the world of the Bible that helps clarify the kind of literature the Bible is––that is, what it means to read it as it was meant to read” (xiii). The argument for Enns’ perspective of the historical Adam is laid out in two parts. The first part of Enns’ book in “Genesis: An Ancient Story of Israelite Self-Definition” (chapters 1–4) address the story of the history of Israel, and the section part “Understanding Paul’s Adam” (chapters 5–7) examines Paul’s perspective of the historical Adam. Enns’ concludes with “nine theses” pp. (137–148). Chapters 1–4 approach the historical Adam’s issue through a historical-critical perspective, which…

Review of Thy Will Be Done: The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life by Gilbert Meilaender

Meilaender, Gilbert. Thy Will Be Done: The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life. Baker Academic, 2020. pp. 125, $21.99, hardcover. Gilbert Meilaender, a Lutheran research professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana, is a leading ethicist. His textbook on bioethics is generally considered a standard. In Thy Will Be Done he follows in a long line of Christian tradition that reflects on the Christian life in terms of the Ten Commandments. On the basis of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, it is difficult exegetically to know how to number the Ten Commandments. Three different numbering systems have developed. The Catholic-Lutheran numbering, which Meilaender follows, treats the prohibition against other gods and graven images as the first, the prohibition against using God’s name in vain as the second, the command to sanctify the Sabbath as the third, the command to honor parents as the fourth, the prohibitions against murder, adultery, and stealing as the fifth, sixth, and seventh, the prohibition against bearing false witness as the eighth, the prohibition against coveting the neighbor’s house as the ninth, and the prohibition against coveting the neighbor’s wife, servants, and possessions as the tenth. The Eastern Orthodox-Reformed numbering treats no other gods and no graven…

Review of Being Human in God’s World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity by J. Gordon McConville
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 29, 2021

McConville, J. Gordon. Being Human in God’s World: An Old Testament Theology of Humanity. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2016, pp. 228, $10.00, paperback. J. Gordon McConville is a veteran Old Testament scholar who works as a professor of Old Testament theology at the University of Gloucestershire. His numerous books, articles, and commentaries in Old Testament exegesis and theology make him an ideal candidate for writing an Old Testament theology of humanity. Being Human in God’s World is not a systematic theological investigation of anthropology but rather a biblical theology and spirituality (p. 5). That is, in considering the Old Testament’s perspective on humanity, the reader is challenged to be transformed by it. McConville writes as a Christian and believes the Old Testament’s perspective on humanity can help Christians better understand Christ’s humanity (p. 3). Chapter one discusses humanity’s creation in the imago Dei. McConville states that the imago Dei “tends to open up questions about God and the human being rather than close them down at the outset (p. 29). He argues the imago Dei refers primarily to the interaction between humans and fellow humans (e.g., relationality), humanity, and creation (e.g., representing God’s presence), and humanity and God (e.g.,…

Review of Basics of Hebrew Accents by Mark D. Futato Sr.
Book Reviews , Old Testament / April 23, 2021

Futato, Sr., Mark D. Basics of Hebrew Accents. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2020, pp. 112, $17, paperback. Mark D. Futato, Sr. earned a Master of Divinity from Westminster Theological Seminary and a Master of Arts and the Doctor of Philosophy degree in Semitic Languages and Literature from The Catholic University of America. He serves as the Robert L. Maclellan Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and the founding host and teacher for the Daily Dose of Hebrew website. He has authored numerous journal articles and books, including Beginning Biblical Hebrew and the Psalms volume in the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary series. Modern editions of the Hebrew Bible reproduce a system of vocalization and accentuation developed and preserved in Tiberias by medieval Jewish scribes known as the Masoretes. While many pupils study the vowels when learning Hebrew, fewer grasp the mechanics and benefits of the Hebrew accents. Mark Futato’s Basics of Hebrew Accents aims to correct this deficiency. In five chapters, Basics of Hebrew Accents introduces the Tiberian Hebrew accent system’s symbols, functions, and practicality. Chapter one introduces the symbols and names of the Masoretic accents. Futato surveys three roles for the accents. The accents indicate syllable…