I thought I would go back and review the books I read in 2013. The books fell into several categories, so I'll post the reviews in the following blocks:
Biblical Studies - Old Testament
Biblical Studies - New Testament
Theology - Doctrine of the Trinity
Theology - Other
So here is the first installment.
Biblical Studies - Old Testament
This is an interesting book. The author recently did his Ph.D. in Old Testament (Septuagint studies) at Oxford, so he definitely knows the latest discussions and developments in the field, which is evident in his footnotes. This book is two things at once: (1) an introduction to the Septuagint written for lay people who may know little about this burgeoning field, and (2) a plea for the church to return to taking the Septuagint more seriously as part of “the Christian Bible.” He successfully pulls off the first aim, and I am sympathetic with his plea, but I cannot really recommend this book, at least not without reservations. Timothy Law exaggerates the fluid nature of the Old Testament text during the period from 200 BC to AD 200. I think he is also historically wrong in his view that Jews and Christians during this time simply didn’t care about the textual diversity and fluidity of their sacred Scriptures.
Really intriguing book. This is a recent dissertation that was done under John Sailhamer. Seth Postell was one of the last Ph.D. students before Sailhamer, sadly, was unable to continue functioning due to dementia. I highly recommend this book, especially if you are looking for more ammunition on the whole debate over republication. He does not seem to be aware of the current debate within our Reformed covenant theology circles, but he does provide a lot of textual evidence that Moses’ narration of the opening chapters of Genesis is intended to show the parallels between Adam and Israel. He makes four arguments:
First, the word “earth” in Gen 1-3 is the same word translated “land” in the rest of the Pentateuch, so that the “earth” of the creation narrative anticipates the promised land.
Second, Adam is pictured in Gen 1-3 as being under a prototypical Sinai covenant, complete with blessings promised for keeping the covenant and curses threatened for breaking the covenant.
Third, Adam’s failure and expulsion from the garden in Gen 3 is an anticipation of Israel’s breaking of the covenant and exile from the promised land.
Fourth, the “compositional strategy” of the Pentateuch demonstrate that Moses’ overall point is not to give the law in the hopes that Israel will keep it but with a pessimistic outlook in which Moses knows that Israel will not keep it, yet accompanied by an eschatological optimism which promises that, in spite of Israel’s failure, God will make a new covenant when he sends the Messiah in the latter days.
I also really enjoyed his last chapter, where he deals with the “canonical seams” of the Tanakh, which further reinforce the same point, particularly his demonstration of the connections between Joshua 1 and Psalm 1, relying on the brilliant article by Robert Cole [“An Integrated Reading of Psalms 1 and 2,” JSOT 98 (2002): 75-88], who argues that the Joshua-like “blessed man” of Psalm 1 is to be identified with the royal Son of Psalm 2.