Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 148:592 (Oct 91) p. 491
Persia and the Bible. By Edwin M. Yamauchi. Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1990. 578 pp. $34.95.
Since the publication of A. T. Olmstead’s History of the Persian Empire in 1948 nothing in full scale has appeared on the scene to take its place. That lack has now been addressed in a magnificent way by the evangelical historian and Bible scholar Edwin M. Yamauchi. His previous work on the Persians and the exilic and postexilic periods of Old Testament history is well known through his numerous encyclopedia and periodical articles. The volume under review represents the fruit of many years of study conveniently brought together in this handsome publication.
While his work will doubtless be recognized as a classic study of Persian life, culture, and history in its own right, Yamauchi’s major contribution will be in his elucidation of the biblical text. It will no longer be possible for students of the Old Testament to claim ignorance of the world of post-Babylonian Israel and Judaism, for this comprehensive review leaves no stone unturned in its meticulous attention to Persia and its biblical allusions and contacts. Most refreshing to conservatives especially is the integration of the highest standards of historiographical scholarship and an appreciation of the Bible as God’s Word that marks Yamauchi’s approach at every turn.
Not everyone, including this reviewer, will be satisfied with everything here, of course. For example, though the author cites virtually all options relative to the identification of Darius the Mede, he refuses to state his own position (pp. 58-59). This lack of commitment may, of course, suggest humility more than anything else in the face of this intractable problem, but one could hardly charge Yamauchi with pride if he offered his own opinion. Less satisfying still is his unwillingness to do more than state various views as to whether or not the Isaiah references to Cyrus (Isa 44:28; 45:1) spring from Isaiah of Jerusalem or the so-called “Second Isaiah” (pp. 72-73). Those who know him feel confident about his own opinion on the matter but in an area like this where theological conviction plays at least as large a role as historical documentation one would hope for a more certain note.
Such quibbling aside, the fact remains that Yamauchi has once again
BSac 148:592 (Oct 91) p. 492
put the world of scholarship (and that of evangelicalism especially) in his debt. This standard work must be on the shelf of every serious student.
Eugene H. Merrill
The Moody Handbook of Theology. By Pau...
Click here to subscribe