Two books to which special attention should be called both reject many popular notions, in the one case those of scholars and in the other those of the laity. Both are written with some critical presuppositions that conservatives may consider debatable, but neither is dependent for its thesis on such secondary matters.

In Anthropology of the Old Testament (Fortress) Heidelberg scholar Hans W. Wolff has given us the first major treatment of the subject from an Old Testament perspective. Anthropology is one area where there exists, to be perfectly frank, a world of distance between evangelical scholars (who will welcome this volume) and the popularizing practitioners whose seminars and books have created a pop theology cum psychology for the person in the pew. Part I (The Being of Man) defines words like soul, flesh, and spirit, Part II (The Time of Man) discusses the life of man and its cycles, while Part III (The World of Man) sets man in his sociological relationships. This should be required reading for every pastor.

A second volume comes from a young Harvard scholar, Paul D. Hanson, and is entitled The Dawn of Apocalyptic (Fortress). Scholars are used to thinking of apocalyptic as a late, intertestamental movement, sharply divergent in outlook and teaching from the earlier prophetic literature. In a day when contemporary apocalyptic movements are on the rise (by no means limited to Hal Lindsey and Christian apocalyptic), Hanson has taken a fresh look at the roots of Jewish apocalyptic, particularly its views of the end time. His basic conclusion will challenge generations of scholarly output: both prophetic and apocalyptic writings share the essential vision of a restoration of Yahweh’s people in a glorified Zion. The roots of this vision are to be found in the continuity carried through into exile from the pre-exilic prophets and not in some foreign import taken over in the Persian period. Some interesting critical conclusions about Isaiah, together with careful studies of Zechariah 9–14, form the subject matter of this important and challenging study.

HISTORY OF ISRAEL AND ITS NEIGHBORS. The most comprehensive of the new historical studies is Siegfried Herrmann’s A History of Israel (Fortress). Herrmann, a student of Albrecht Alt, builds on the work of both M. Noth and J. Bright but reflects the views of neither. His attitude toward early Israel will appear to many to be skeptical. Though at points Herrmann has given the material a fresh treatment, the book does not command the interest of Bright’s prose, nor do the author’s conclusions command more frequent assent. It is, nevertheless, an able assessment of an old subject, and we welcome its appearance in English.

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Sure to be provocative and controversial is the suggested etymology for “Philistine” given by Allen H. Jones in Bronze Age Civilization: The Philistines and the Danites (Public Affairs Press). The author, who teaches English literature, apparently with more than a dash of classics and ancient history thrown in, finds the elusive identification in the Greek phyloi (tribes) and the Ionian hearth goddess Histie. The rest of the book traces the origins of various Sea Peoples, particularly the so-called Danites, through various linguistic, lengendary, and archaeological strata. If Jones turns out to be right, this is probably the most important book of the year, though at present I would like to see far more evidence for the shift from phil- to phyl- in his etymology.

Less speculative but clearly breaking new ground is a dissertation entitled Imperialism and Religion: Assyria, Judah and Israel in the Eighth and Seventh Centuries B.C.E. by Morton Cogan (Scholars Press). Cogan contends for a new understanding of Assyrian policy regarding the religion of conquered peoples: not unless and until the area was incorporated into the Assyrian empire (as with Northern Israel in 721) was Assyrian religion imposed. Native deities were recognized, with the argument that these gods had abandoned their own peoples. The reforms of Hezekiah and Josiah are then seen again as distinctly religious, the idolatrous propensities of Ahaz and Manasseh are voluntary in nature, and the blame attributed to Manasseh by the book of Kings for the fall of Judah is vindicated.

Samaritans and Jews by the British scholar R. J. Coggins (John Knox) focuses on the origin of the breach between Jews and Samaritans. He argues that neither the traditional view (which traced schism between the two groups back to the eighth century) nor the more recent opinion (which dates the division after the time of Ezra) is correct. Rather, Coggins suggests, the two groups probably grew apart gradually over the years between the third century B.C. and the beginning of the Christian era, with no one event playing a decisive part in the separation. This is a very important book for scholars, though it is written in a fairly non-technical way and can be used with profit by any serious student of the Bible.

An overall view of the various aspects of Israelite life from King Saul to the fall of Jerusalem in 586 B.C. is provided by Andre Chouraqui in The People and Faith of the Bible (University of Massachusetts).

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THEOLOGICAL STUDIES An important study that goes well beyond the available researches of James Barr without resorting to that scholar’s propensity for rejecting everything in sight is Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow by Simon J. DeVries (Eerdmans). Words for “day” and “today” and the various expressions pointing to the “day of Yahweh” are examined from a perspective informed not only by word studies (thereby sidestepping Barr’s criticism) but by the full range of investigation into the history of ideas. With the nature of time an important current and biblical theme, DeVries’s contribution should find a wide audience.

Another dissertation that explores philosophical as well as linguistic concepts in the Bible is Mary K. Wakeman’s God’s Battle With the Monster (Brill). Following a comparative survey of Near Eastern myths, Wakeman examines both sea and earth monsters in the Old Testament and the nature of their destruction at the hands of God. Her conclusions affect our understanding of myth and anti-myth as reflected in the Bible, together with our vision of the nature of a victorious God.

Drawing on Ancient Near Eastern, biblical, and mythical materials, Karen R. Joines connects serpents, seraphim, sex, and cult in a fascinating study entitled Serpent Symbolism in the Old Testament (Haddonfield House). Suggestions that the serpent motif loomed much larger in the history of the Southern Kingdom than allowed by our texts are intriguing, but much of the evidence remains somewhat conjectural.

Fatherhood and Motherhood in Israelite and Judean Piety by P. A. H. deBoer (Brill) concludes that God is really more “Eternal Parent” than Father. His evidence is clear enough up to a point; very few biblical scholars would argue with the metaphorical presentation of God in motherly as well as fatherly terms. But deBoer finds mother-goddess mythology in a good many unlikely figures, including Eve (originally a representation of mother earth) and Deborah (a Lady of Battle) as well as in the familiar and forbidden Asherah.

A boon to all future students of Old Testament theology, especially those trying to understand the intricacies of the subject as set forth by W. Eichrodt and G. von Rad, comes in the published dissertation (Oxford) of D. G. Spriggs, Two Old Testament Theologies (SCM). Rather than just a critique of the two, Spriggs’s work is an attempt to determine the real nature of that elusive discipline, Old Testament theology. His conclusion: von Rad is closer to the mark than Eichrodt, whose methodology, Spriggs feels, implies a lack of objectivity. It is, nevertheless, an appreciative statement and should help the ongoing task of the discipline.

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An outstanding introduction has been expanded and updated to take into account developments since it was first published in 1972: Old Testament Theology: Basic Issues in the Current Debate, revised edition, by Gerhard Hasel (Eerdmans). Also, Baker has reissued John Bright’s valuable book The Authority of the Old Testament in paperback. This is still the best contemporary introduction to the subject.

PENTATEUCH John J. Davis, a professor at Grace Seminary, has added yet another archaeologically based study of biblical history with his Paradise to Prison: Studies in Genesis (Baker). Those who know his other work will expect, and find, copious documentation, continual reference to Ancient Near Eastern backgrounds, and fairly straightforward acceptance of quite traditional conservative viewpoints. His statement that “perhaps the most impressive evidence for the earlier date of the patriarchal period is archaeological” is especially interesting in light of John Van Seters’s latest work, Abraham in History and Tradition (Yale). In more than three hundred pages, the iconoclastic Toronto don concludes that the Abraham story is essentially tradition rather than history. So-called archaeological proofs are his favorite target. Time-honored parallels between the patriarchal period and the second millennium are examined and found wanting, with giants like W. F. Albright, N. Glueck, and E. A. Speiser supposedly falling at every turn. When Van Seters is finished with the archaeologists, he takes on the literary critics, especially those who, following H. Gunkel and M. Noth, argued for a long oral tradition or tradition history. The result: Abraham is largely the product of the Yahwist, a story teller who wrote during, and reflects conditions of, the exilic period (yes, you read that correctly), with the Priestly Document a literary supplement from a later time. An “E” source for the Pentateuch is doubted, and the idea of oral tradition preserving earlier legends is dismissed as unappealing! Although the tendency of most scholars is to put down Van Seters’s arguments as a case of classic overkill (his thesis is so radical that it lacks the “ring of truth”), he is a careful critic and has called into question many of the assumptions so comfortably woven into a book like Davis’s.

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A major German work has been translated, Elias Auerbach’s Moses (Wayne State University). The book is something of a curiosity, for the author, an Israeli physician and historian, begins with radical criticism as his touchstone and ends with a Moses as tall and magnificent as any figure created by Cecil B. DeMille. Much that surrounds the figure of the great lawgiver falls to the critic’s sword; Moses himself not only survives but becomes “one of the greatest geniuses to whom the world has given birth.” More popular and lavishly illustrated works are Moses, the Lawgiver by Thomas Keneally (Harper & Row), based on the six-part CBS television series, and Moses: The Man and His Vision by David Daiches (Praeger).

Three other books in this area are worthy of mention. Deuteronomy by J. A. Thompson (InterVarsity) is a welcome addition to the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series, a major project of evangelical scholarship. Genesis by W. Gunther Platt (Union of American Hebrew Congregations) is the first volume of a series on the Pentateuch entitled The Torah: A Modern Commentary. The liberal views of Reform Judaism are expressed. The Vitality of Old Testament Traditions by Walter Breuggemann and Hans Walter Wolff (John Knox) contains essays on the Pentateuch that combine common critical views with a profession of submission to the Word of God.

HISTORICAL BOOKS Certainly the most polished offering in this category is Edward E Campbell’s Ruth (Doubleday) in the Anchor Bible series. Campbell writes with grace and humor (even refusing to his advisors the usual exoneration from responsibility for errors—“they should have corrected me!”), a fact that does nothing to obscure and much to illuminate the message of Ruth. The book is seen as a historical novelette, composed with great skill and developing a theology of God as the omnipresent moving force in history. As is customary with the later volumes in this series, a full archaeological and philological commentary accompanies the text.

A work of equally careful research, but without any of the style of Campbell’s treatise, is Distressing Days of the Judges (Zondervan) by Leon Wood. He is a capable scholar, and predictably conservative in all his conclusions. In this volume he has given us a wealth of supporting data to illuminate the period in question: it is to be regretted that the work does not capture the spirit of the age as well as it transmits the details. A small book, completely lacking the scholarly apparatus given by Wood but strong in the areas where he is weak, is John Hunter’s Judges and a Permissive Society (Zondervan). Hunter, an English educator, presents a series of sermons on the theme of permissiveness (bad) and discipline (good), based on the stories in the book of Judges.

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Francis A. Schaeffer continues to direct his attention toward more biblical exposition with Joshua and the Flow of History (InterVarsity). No attempt is made to fill in exegetical details, and the result is a kind of running expositional comment on the text, rising occasionally to the heights of keen insight for which the author is justly famous in his more philosophical work. In Elijah Speaks Today (Abingdon) G. Gerald Harrop thoughtfully and sometimes provokingly sets the Elijah stories (in some of which he sees little historical value) into a variety of contemporary preaching situations. And to round out the fare, we have a volume from Clayton Publishing House, the publishing arm of the “exiled” Missouri Synod Lutherans. Walter Wifall’s The Court History of Israel is a short commentary on the books of Kings, showing some good philological and archaeological insights but really too brief to capture the theology that the author wanted to convey.

PROPHETIC BOOKS No major commentaries appeared in 1975, but several important studies, at least one of which is primarily for the lay reader, are on the list. Jeremiah: Spokesman Out of Time (Pilgrim) is the product of William L. Holladay’s rich repository of original and scholarly study. Building on the idea of Jeremiah as a second Moses and dating the prophet to the days of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 1:2 gives the date of the prophet’s birth, not coll!), Holladay carries the reader back into Jeremiah’s time and the prophet forward into our day with a facility that many a technical scholar will envy.

Four books for scholars follow. The Norwegian scholar A. S. Kapelrud, in a study entitled The Message of the Prophet Zephaniah (Oslo: University Press), examines the man and his message. Zephaniah is seen as colored in his preaching by cultic terminology (the terms and their transmission are examined in detail) but not himself a cultic prophet. The section on message and themes is outstanding, capturing the tones of that gloomy yet hopeful figure with sensitivity and care. Ezekiel Among the Prophets (SCM), an important background on a suggestion of W. Zimmerli that there are similarities between Ezekiel and the pre-classical prophets Elijah and Elisha. Equally stimulating but of more specialized interest is the 1973 dissertation of Jack R. Lundbom entitled Jeremiah: A Study in Ancient Hebrew Rhetoric (Scholars Press). Under the inspiration of Professor Holladay and the late James Muilenburg, Lundbom turned from consideration of the style and content to the rhetorical structure of the prophet. His finding that two devices (inclusio and chiasmus) control the poetry is carefully documented. Prophecy and Tradition by R. E. Clements (John Knox) briefly examines the relationships between the prophets and other aspects of Israel’s religious heritage.

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More popular expositions, often in small paperback form, continue to appear. With the completion of his study of Hosea, Prophet of a Broken Home (Eastbourne, Sussex: The Prophetic Witness), British businessman-turned-lecturer Frederick A. Tatford rounds out his slender twelve-volume series on the Minor Prophets. The author is well informed and writes with clarity and insight, relating the prophets to contemporary concerns without losing the original life-setting. Hosea and His Message by Roy L. Honeycutt (Broadman) and Hosea: Prophet of God’s Love by T. Miles Bennett (Baker) represent the work of Southern Baptist scholars and are written as simple study aids. From InterVarsity comes Jeremiah, Meet the 20th Century, a study guide written by James W. Sire, the editor of that press.

WISDOM AND POETRY No major works in this field were published in 1975, though several interesting and helpful small volumes appeared. Psalms 73–150 by Derek Kidner (InterVarsity) completes the Tyndale Old Testament Commentary on Psalms, begun in 1974. This is a good place to begin your library on Psalms. Also published in 1975 was Psalms, by Robert Alden, the first of a three-volume commentary in the more popular-level Everyman’s Bible Commentary (Moody). In treating the first fifty psalms, Alden concentrates on themes, structure, and simple explanations of linguistic anomalies. Similarly devoid of critical concerns is Erik Routley’s Exploring the Psalms (Westminster), a slender paperback capturing the teaching of various psalms under the headings suffering, victory, covenant, praise, pilgrimage, royalty, nature, wisdom, and so forth. While none of these three books is a true technical commentary, each one demonstrates its author’s ability with his sources and translates the material into a form that will be of service to many.

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A sensitively illustrated volume on the Song of Solomon by artist Dhimitri Zonia, Arise My Love (Concordia), celebrates the tenderness and mystery of courtship and love. With the drawings is printed the text of the King James Version in a volume that immediately suggests itself as an appropriate Valentine’s Day gift (for those among us who honor such mundane customs). Two similar books, but without illustrations, are Song of Love by Mike Gemme (Victor), a loose, contemporary paraphrase, and Lessons For Lovers in the Song of Solomon by Bob Dryburgh (Keats), a commentary.

The great profusion of literature on wisdom seems to have abated. A single offering entitled Israel’s Wisdom: Learn and Live by L. D. Johnson (Broadman) is a laymen’s introduction Although simple in format, this little book is full of useful reliable information and is recommended for study groups of beginning students.

TEXT AND LANGUAGE Leading the way in this category is a massive study by the late Israeli scholar E. Y. Kutscher entitled The Language and Linguistic Background of the Isaiah Scroll (Brill). In a volume marked by a lifetime of scholarship, as well as a lordly price, Kutscher concludes that the Qumran scroll (I Q Isaa) reflects a later textual type than the thousand-year-younger Massoretic Text (MT) and is, in fact, descended from a text “identical (or at least very similar) to that of the Massoretic Text,” while the converse is improbable. In a day when popular theories about the Scrolls still tend toward the spectacular, this kind of solid study needs all the more to be done.

Another fine textual study is The Greek Chronicles by London Bible College professor Leslie C. Allen (two volumes, Brill). Volume One explains the methodology used, while Volume Two presents the results of a comparison between the various Septuagint manuscripts and the Massoretic Text, concluding that corrections need to be made from both sides.

Bringing new linguistic theory of deep and surface grammar to the subject of Hebrew, Francis Y. Andersen’s The Sentence in Biblical Hebrew (The Hague: Mouton) will appeal to a limited audience despite the ground-breaking technique employed. More traditional is the second volume of a classic joint dissertation by Frank M. Cross and D. Noel Freedman entitled Studies in Ancient Yahwistic Poetry (Scholars Press). These studies have deeply influenced scholarly opinion regarding the dating and character of passages like Exodus 15; Genesis 49, and Deuteronomy 33, and the appearance of the completed edition is welcome.

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A couple of additional tools for learning Hebrew come in the reissue of the small paperback Hebrew-English Lexicon (Shocken) for students. A beginner’s manual, Biblical Hebrew by H. E. Finley and C. D. Isbell (Beacon Hill), adds yet another to a growing list of introductory grammars.

INTRODUCTION In the tradition of German scholarship associated with names like M. Noth, A. Weiser, and O. Eissfeldt comes a somewhat more elementary volume by Otto Kaiser, Introduction to the Old Testament (Augsburg). The book is designed for “students, teachers and ministers,” for all of whom it is a most readable compilation. Kaiser has some questions about certain standard reconstructions of Israel’s history and religion, and he feels that traditio-historical research needs again to be balanced by literary criticism, but other than that there is no great new ground broken. For the student wanting a contemporary German critical viewpoint but a bit afraid of Eissfeldt’s bulk, this is the book to consult.

Beginnings in the Old Testament (Moody) by Howard E Vos is a kind of narrative introduction to the material of the Bible, with some study questions for use at the end of each chapter. Much more a teachers’ manual, and designed for the public-school classroom, is Teaching the Old Testament in English Classes edited by James S. Ackerman et al (Indiana University English Curriculum Study Series). Intended to be a complete guide, this book gives a fairly standard critical reconstruction of historical and literary considerations, to which are added questions for class discussion, a bibliography for school library acquisition (a real attempt has been made to include conservative works), and a section on backgrounds. Inasmuch as the literature in this field is growing rapidly, teachers and interested parents should conduct a rather careful study when school boards are considering selection.

MISCELLANEOUS The Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible comes closer to completion with the appearance of six volumes: The Book of Judges by James D. Martin, The Books of Ruth, Esther, Ecclesiastes, The Song of Songs, Lamentations: The Five Scrolls by Wesley Fuerst, The Book of Job by Norman Habel, The Book of the Prophet Isaiah, Chapters 40–66 by A. S. Herbert, The Book of the Prophet Jeremiah, Chapters 26–52 by Ernest Nicholson, and The Books of Joel, Obadiah, Jonah, Nahum, Habakkuk, and Zephaniah by John D. W. Watts.

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A remarkable series began to appear with the publication in book form by Zondervan of the first three of ten volumes of The Doorway Papers by Arthur C. Custance. The papers were first published separately over many years, and now several are brought together in each volume. Noah’s Three Sons has parts dealing with Shem, Ham, and Japheth, the names in Genesis 10, the curse of Canaan, and a summary chapter developing a “Christian” view of history. No reader will question the inventive and stimulating nature of the author’s thought, but some of his conclusions seem so speculative as to be incredible. All world history is to be understood by examining the different contributions of the three distinct (culturally and racially as well as linguistically) groups emanating from Shem, Ham, and Japheth. The Hamites (and their Canaanite descendants) were black, but also red, yellow, and brown. And it is from these Hamitic people that “almost everything basic to World Civilization” comes, including Eskimo igloos, Amazon enema syringes, Sumerian (they were black too) drinking straws, Chinese rockets, and Minoan indoor plumbing! Genesis and Early Man reconsiders primarily matters of physical anthropology with a liberal dose of cultural consideration as well. Custance, whose Ph.D. is in anthropology, ranges widely through a dozen different fields (including biblical studies, Semitic philology, and geology) with a sweep reminiscent of Immanuel Velikovsky. But it is difficult, despite the wealth of material presented, to escape the feeling that we are being led down a garden path to a never-never land where things are as we wish they were rather than as they are. Man in Adam and in Christ includes papers on “image” and “likeness” as used in Genesis 1:26, the subconscious and forgiveness of sins, the difference between “sin” and “sins,” and the two species of homo sapiens.

It is fitting that this survey be drawn to a close with reference to two books honoring one of the greatest Old Testament scholars. William Foxwell Albright, A Twentieth-Century Genius (Two Continents) is an appreciative tribute to the late dean of American biblical archaeologists, largely from the pen of his former assistant and pupil Leona Glidden Running. Great biography in the tradition of James Boswell it is not, being rather a kind of running commentary on Albright’s life. But for those whose earliest memories of Old Testament studies were tied up with every move and pronouncement of the great Hopkins scholar, the commentary supplied by Running (and supplemented by Noel Freedman) will evoke a good bit of nostalgia. Unity and Diversity edited by Hans Goedicke and J. J. M. Roberts (Johns Hopkins) contains eleven papers presented at a symposium in Albright’s honor. The papers, many of them by Albright’s students, testify to his ability to stimulate others to inquiry into and synthesis of data from the ancient Near East.

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