Biblical Theology

Review of From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation by Sidney Greidanus

Greidanus, Sidney. From Chaos to Cosmos: Creation to New Creation. Wheaton, Ill.: Crossway, 2018, pp. 213, $15.99, paperback. The author of From Chaos to Cosmos, Sidney Greidanus, retired from full-time teaching in 2004 after serving as a professor at Calvin College, Calvin Theological Seminary, and King’s College. Greidanus was also the pastor of two churches. One of his most popular publications prior to this book is Preaching Christ from the Old Testament (Eerdmans, 1999). From Chaos to Cosmos is one of nine books making up the Short Studies in Biblical Theology series published by Crossway. Greidanus’s main purpose in writing this volume is to demonstrate the presence of a progression from chaos to order in the Bible. He tracks these themes from the first verses of Genesis to the last words of Revelation. The main difficulty in this effort is defining the word “chaos” in a way that does not mistakenly equate the chaotic waters of Genesis 1:2 with evil. After all, these waters were a part of God’s good creation. Although Greidanus recognizes that some authors avoid the word “chaos” because of its connotations of evil, he chooses to use this term in an attempt to redefine it. By…

Review of Riddles And Revelations: Explorations Into The Relationship Between Wisdom And Prophecy In The Hebrew Bible edited by Boda, Meek, and Osborne
Book Reviews , Old Testament / June 18, 2020

Boda, Mark J., Russell L. Meek, and William R. Osborne, eds. Riddles And Revelations: Explorations Into The Relationship Between Wisdom And Prophecy In The Hebrew Bible. Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies 634. New York: T&T Clark, 2018, pp. xvi + 306, $114, Hardback. The rise of intertextual theory in the last five decades has sparked numerous studies into the relationships between various sections of the Hebrew Bible. Most often relationships are drawn from the Pentateuch to other books (e.g. this is what we find in Michael Fishbane’s seminal work Biblical Interpretation in Ancient Israel, [Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1989]). Pentateuchal priority, however, is giving way to considerations of intertextuality throughout the OT and this collection of seventeen essays is proof of that. Following in the footsteps of similar LHBOTS monographs (e.g. Dell and Kynes, eds., Reading Job Intertextually, LHBOTS 574, [New York: T&T Clark, 2013]; Dell and Kynes, eds., Reading Ecclesiastes Intertextually, LHBOTS 587, [New York: T&T Clark, 2015]), this work seeks to provide a survey of soundings for sapiential and prophetic interplay within the OT. These essays adeptly advance the methodological question and bring new light to how both wisdom and prophetic texts may mutually build upon each other….

Review of An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus by Will Kynes
Book Reviews , Old Testament / February 14, 2020

Kynes, Will. An Obituary for “Wisdom Literature”: The Birth, Death, and Intertextual Reintegration of a Biblical Corpus. Oxford University Press, 2019. 352pp. $78.24, hardcover. An Obituary of “Wisdom Literature” divides into four sections: Introduction, Historical Metacriticism, Genre Methodology, and The Reintegration of Wisdom Literature. The introduction establishes Will Kynes’ methodological critique of wisdom literature. Wisdom literature is a modern scholarship invention and Johann Bruch is the Wellhausen of Wisdom (p. 4). Kynes’ genre-method combines theories of a constellation metaphor and turns the referent into a three-dimensional reference (p. 12). Scholars should put to death wisdom literature as a genre, then reevaluate wisdom: categories, genre, schools, and concept (p. 18). Wisdom must first be understood as a concept and not a category that unites other corpora together (p. 22). Section I focuses on Kyne’s Historical Metacriticism on wisdom literature and he divides the section into three chapters. The first chapter describes the rise of wisdom literature as a category and the rational for the demise of wisdom literature. The imminent demise arose through the spread of wisdom literature into every discipline with an ever-changing definition.  The second chapter buttresses Kynes’ argument on the historical precedent of the definition of wisdom literature…

Review of Invitation to the Septuagint Second Edition by Karen H. Jobes and Moises Silva
Book Reviews , Old Testament / January 24, 2020

Jobes, Karen H. and Silva, Moisés. Invitation to the Septuagint, 2nd ed. Baker: Grand Rapids, 2015, pp. xxi + 408, $38.00, paperback. Jobes and Silva’s Invitation to the Septuagint is a thorough and readable introduction to the field of Septuagint studies. Jobes served as professor emerita at Wheaton College and has written extensively on topics related to the Septuagint and the New Testament while Silva has taught at several academic institutions and served as a past president of ETS. He has written extensively in the areas of hermeneutics. Because of the areas of expertise represented by Jobes and Silva, the reader should rightly approach Invitation to the Septuagint with high expectations. The book is divided into three main sections followed by several extremely helpful appendices and indices. The book begins with a short introduction. The introduction briefly and concisely explains the importance of Septuagint studies and how it relates to the OT and NT (1-9). The bulk of the book is divided into three sections. Part 1 is a discussion of the history of the Septuagint (chaps. 1-4). Here, the authors introduce the reader to the field. They discuss relevant terms in chapter 1 and introduce the reader to the historical…

Review of Old Testament Theology and the Rest of God by Nicholas Haydock
Book Reviews , Old Testament / October 28, 2019

Haydock, Nicholas. Old Testament Theology and the Rest of God. Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 2016, 87 pp., $16, paperback. Nicholas Haydock with the International Fellowship of Evangelical Students provides a short study of 86 pages on “rest.”  He notes how the field of Old Testament theology has devoted scant attention to the concept of “rest” with two noteworthy exceptions.  Gerhard von Rad supposes there were competing understandings and applications of the concept of “rest,” while Walter Kaiser, Jr. considers both Testaments to present a unified view.  Haydock intends to trace how the theology of “rest” developed and progressed through ancient Israel’s history and to show how its essence remained the same.  He defines “rest” as “having a holistic state of being, freely given by God in accordance to his word” (p. x).  It is never achieved by human effort but always a gift from God.  Haydock seeks to demonstrate the thesis that ancient Israel held one coherent theology of “rest” that was central in Old Testament theology and distinct in the context of the Ancient Near East. He begins with “rest” in the creation narrative and Genesis 2:1-3 where God “rested” on the seventh day.  Haydock notes that God’s…

Review of Old Testament Law for Christians: Original Context and Enduring Application by Roy E. Gane
Book Reviews , Old Testament / October 4, 2019

Gane, Roy E. Old Testament Law for Christians: Original Context and Enduring Application. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017, 464 pp, $35.00, paperback. Second Timothy 3:15–17 stands as a pillar text of biblical inspiration. Bible school students embrace it, pastors proclaim it, faithful Christians memorize it and recite it from a young age. Yet for all the attention this text receives, too many neglect one of its central claims: “all Scripture is . . . profitable.” The dearth of sermons, bible studies, devotional writings, and blog posts expounding the “profit” of Leviticus for Christians today suffices for evidence. Roy Gane, professor of Hebrew Bible and ANE languages at the Seventh-day Adventist Theological Seminary at Andrews University, comments on the current situation, “A rich source of wisdom regarding values is contained in OT laws. However, Christians have generally neglected these laws, to our loss, because we have not regarded them as relevant to our lives” (p. xiii). So, in order to help Christians profit from “all Scripture,” Gane presents this guide to appropriating Old Testament law in every age of God’s people. While Gane surveys numerous approaches to applying God’s law as God’s new covenant people, he advocates for an approach he calls…

Review of Invitation to Biblical Hebrew Syntax: An Intermediate Grammar by Fuller and Choi
Book Reviews , Old Testament / September 30, 2019

Fuller, Russell T.  and Choi, Kyoungwon. Invitation to Biblical Hebrew Syntax: An Intermediate Grammar. Kregel: Grand Rapids, 2017, pp. 528, $64.99, hardback. Fuller and Choi’s Invitation to Biblical Hebrew Syntax (IBHS) is a thorough discussion of biblical Hebrew syntax from a traditional Semitic approach. The book serves as a companion to their elementary Hebrew textbook: Invitation to Biblical Hebrew. Whereas the elementary grammar focused on morphology, the intermediate grammar focuses on syntax. Fuller is an expert of Hebrew morphology and syntax and was trained at Hebrew Union University in Cincinnati, OH. Choi too is an expert in Hebrew studies. He received his training under Fuller from SBTS. The widespread use of the author’s elementary grammar to train thousands of students in biblical Hebrew leads to great expectation; IBHS exceeds expectations. The book is divided into three main sections: The first section is a discussion of biblical Hebrew syntax proper (pp. 21–237). Although these discussions occupy the bulk of other Hebrew syntax books, this section comprises around half of IBHS. This section of the book is arranged in outline form and by section number. Moreover, grammatical terms are represented in all caps. Concise definitions of these terms are found in the…

Review of The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology: Three Creedal Expressions by Mark J. Boda
Book Reviews , Old Testament / September 25, 2019

Mark J. Boda. The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology: Three Creedal Expressions. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2017. 220 pp. $24, paper. Mark Boda is professor of Old Testament at McMaster Divinity College. Boda has made many scholarly contributions to the study of the Old Testament. His most recent works include a commentary on the book of Zechariah in the New International Commentary on the Old Testament series and ‘Return to Me’: A Biblical Theology of Repentance in the IVP New Studies in Biblical Theology series. The volume under review is part of the Acadia Studies in Bible and Theology series. In The Heartbeat of Old Testament Theology Boda sums up the theology of the OT in “three creedal expressions.” These expressions are explained through a metaphor related to the heart. He says, “I invite you to don your theological stethoscope and listen for the heartbeat that represents the very core of the theology of the OT” (pp. 1-2). With stethoscope in hand, then, the reader is invited to listen in to “three basic rhythms that compose the heartbeat of the OT, identified with three basic creeds that can be discerned throughout the OT: narrative, character, and relational creeds” (pp. 7-8)….

Review of Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation by Craig D. Allert
Book Reviews , Church History , Old Testament / September 4, 2019

Allert, Craig D. Early Christian Readings of Genesis One: Patristic Exegesis and Literal Interpretation. Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2018, 338pp. $36.00, paperback. Craig D. Allert received his Ph.D. from the University of Nottingham and is associate professor of religious studies at Trinity Western University in Langley, British Columbia. He is also the author of A High View of Scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon and Revelation, Truth, Canon, and Interpretation. The book begins with a helpful introduction and reminder to see the Church Fathers through their viewpoint and not our own. Allert’s overarching aim is to give “a responsible appropriation of our Christian past” (p. 6) by both letting the original author speak and not imposing our worldview and hermeneutic too quickly. This theme and aim runs throughout the entire book. Following the introduction, Allert frames his work into two primary sections: (1) Understanding the Context; and (2) Reading the Fathers. The end of each chapter has a brief recommended reading section. This provides a great starting point for those wanting further research and study. Part I focuses on preliminary matters such as why we should care about the Fathers as…

Review of The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Violent Old Testament Portraits of God in Light of the Cross by Gregory Boyd
Book Reviews , Old Testament , Theology / August 23, 2019

Boyd, Gregory A. The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Violent Old Testament Portraits of God in Light of the Cross. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2017, pp. 1,492, $59.00, paperback. Christians are largely united in the affirmation that Jesus Christ is the supreme revelation of God’s character given to humans, whose person and works fulfill the highest aspirations of the Old Testament (OT). Christ reveals a God who teaches us to love our neighbors as ourselves and shows us how to love by dying an undeserved criminal’s death not only for those who return his love but also for his enemies. However, this picture of a perfectly loving God appears to be incompatible with the brutally violent images of Yahweh found in the OT. Among other things, the OT command to kill every man, woman, and child in a given region plainly seems to contradict Jesus’ teaching to love all persons, even one’s enemies, as oneself. The 1,500 page tome, The Crucifixion of the Warrior God: Interpreting the Violent Old Testament Portraits in Light of the Cross, from pastor-theologian Gregory Boyd aims to reconcile, or at least refocus, these opposing visions of God. In short, the proposal is that,…