Book Reviews

Review of Invitation to the Septuagint by Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva
Book Reviews , Featured , 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…

Review of Vol I. Alpha-Gamma. Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint, edited by Eberhard Bons
Book Reviews , Old Testament / March 15, 2021

Vol I. Alpha-Gamma, Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint, edited by Eberhard Bons. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2020. pp. 990, $405.00 The Historical Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint (HTLS) is a landmark work by Mohr Seibeck. The editors were Eberhard Bons and, until June 2020, by Jan Joosten.[1] The work began as a research project funded by the Agence Nationale de la Recherche in 2010. This present volume represents the first fruits of their labor. The present volume is the first of a four-volume series that will cover over 600 words and word groups. The articles all cover six-sections moving from general Greek usage to Christian writings. Greek literature (from Homer and Hesiod to the Second Sophistic) Papyri and inscriptions (epigraphic evidence, with a focus on documentary texts) Septuagint (as delimited in Rahlf’s edition) Jewish literature in Greek (OT Pseudepigrapha, Philo and Josephus) New Testament Early Christian literature (up to the end of the second century C.E.) The aim of the HTLS: studying Septuagint words in their broader ancient context. The purpose of the six sections is to address whether a given word is attested in either one of the six sections. If so, an entry will have a maximum of…

Review of Proverbs 1-9 as an Introduction to the Book of Proverbs by Arthur Jan Keefer
Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 24, 2021

Keefer, Arthur Jan. Proverbs 1-9 As an Introduction to the Book of Proverbs. Library of Hebrew Bible/ Old Testament Studies 701. New York, NY: T & T Clark, 2020, pp. 224, $115, hardback. Arthur Jan Keefer is Master of Divinity and Chaplain at Eton College.  He earned his PhD at the University of Cambridge.  Keefer is scheduled to release The Book of Proverbs and Virtue Ethics (Cambridge University Press) in Oct. 2020. Proverbs 1—9 as an Introduction seeks to articulate the function of Proverbs 1—9, particularly how it functions with Prov 10:1-22:16 (1).  The study was inspired by professor J.J. Collins (vii).  Keefer divides the book into four chapters: Introduction, Character Types, Educational Goals, and Theological Context. This review will begin with a summary, followed by a critique, with recommendations at the end. Keefer claims that Prov 1-9 functions as a key or interpretive guide for Prov 10-31 (3). Two elements motivate Keefer’s research: (1) the interpretive challenges found in Proverbs 10-29, and (2) the promise made in Prov 1:1-7 that the reader will be able to understand the proverbs and sayings within the remainder of the book (1-2).  Keefer finds the proverbs of chapter 10-29 as the interpretive challenge…

Review of Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters by Carmen Joy Imes
Book Reviews , Old Testament / January 11, 2021

Imes, Carmen Joy. Bearing God’s Name: Why Sinai Still Matters. Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 2019, xiii+225, $14.95, paperback. Carmen Imes is Associate Professor of Old Testament at Prairie College in Three Hills, Alberta, Canada. She completed her PhD in Biblical Theology (Old Testament concentration) under the direction of Daniel I. Block. Imes has authored Illustrated Exodus in Hebrew (GlossaHouse, 2018), Bearing YHWH’s Name at Sinai (Penn State University Press, 2019) and has contributed essays for Discovering the Septuagint (Kregel, 2016), Dress and Clothing in the Hebrew Bible (T & T Clark, 2019), and Write that They may Read (Wipf & Stock, 2020). Contrary to what many readers might imply from the subtitle of the book, Imes’ primary concern is not to enter into the fray by offering an opinion on the role of Mosaic Law in the life of the believer today, but rather her focus is on providing a reinterpretation of and then practical implications for the “Name Command”: “You shall not take the name of the LORD your God in vain…” (Exod. 20:7 ESV). She claims that reinterpretation is necessary due to the fact that the rendering of the original negative command (lö´ tiSSä´) does not do justice…

Review of Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew by Gary A. Long
Book Reviews , Old Testament / November 19, 2020

Long, Gary A. Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew (2nd Edition). Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013, pp. 213, paperback. Gary A. Long (PhD) is professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University and the author of Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Greek. Long provides an explanation of the strategy of the book by writing: “Designed to complement standard teaching grammars, this book assists the entry-level Biblical Hebrew student in learning basic grammatical concepts no single teaching grammar treats adequately and no reference grammar explains plainly enough for many beginning students (p. xvii).   The book is not designed to be read through at one time but rather fills the need for a simple reference to Hebrew grammar with many cross-references to major works on Biblical Hebrew. He divides the book into three parts. Part 1: Foundations reviews the basics of language with an emphasis on building a bridge between English grammar and Hebrew grammar.  The chapter may be overwhelming to the beginner as the explanation of linguistic hierarchies is complicated due to the complexities of the discussion. Part 2: Building Blocks develops grammatical concepts that are common to most all languages.  Some of the building blocks are gender, number, article,…

Review of Hosea (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) by Joshua N. Moon
Book Reviews , Old Testament / November 13, 2020

Moon, Joshua N. Hosea. Apollos Old Testament Commentary, 21. London, England: IVP Academic. 2018, pp. 253 Available in hard copy.  Joshua N. Moon (PhD) is Fellows Tutor at Anselm House, on the campus of the University of Minnesota, St Paul. Joshua Moon’s commentary on Hosea is another excellent addition to the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series.  He “sets the prophecies of Hosea in the context of the eighth century BC. The concern of his commentary is the importance of reading Hosea as Christian Scripture, in which we are meant to hear God’s own voice as he calls his people to himself.  Moon demonstrates the continuing importance of hearing God’s words through Hosea, situating the reading of each section within the larger biblical and theological concerns.” (Cover statement) The commentary is divided into two major sections: 1. Introduction and 2. Text and Commentary.  The Introduction deals with the historical backdrop; Hosea among the prophets; and development, text, and structure of Hosea.  There is one excursus on Hosea 6:2 and the resurrection of Jesus. The indices of bibliography, scripture references, authors and subjects are extensive and beneficial. The Text and Commentary chapters are divided into five sections: 1. Translation, 2. Notes of…