Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 26:0 (NA 1994)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Andrew E. Hill and John H. Walton, A Survey of the Old Testament, Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1991, xviii + 461 pp., $22.99

The two authors, teachers of Old Testament and Hebrew at Wheaton College and Moody Bible Institute respectively, have set out “to bring together the most significant data from Old Testament historical and literary backgrounds, critical and technical introduction, biblical commentary, and Old Testament theology.” They have done so in an admirable and readable manner. It sets out to provide a companion to Robert H. Gundry’s A Survey of the New Testament (1981).

The first of the six major divisions of the text deals with such general introductory matters as the nature of the OT as revealed scripture and how to study and apply it (including a very abbreviated introduction to some different critical methodologies), its transmission and growth (writing, text criticism, canon—with an introduction to extra-canonical literature), and an overview of OT history, geography and archaeology. Each chapter here, as well as all subsequent ones, include useful discussion questions as well as suggestions for further reading. The latter contain works from as recently as 1990.

The next four major sections deal with the biblical books in Protestant canonical order, i.e. the Pentateuch, historical books (Former Prophets), poetic books, and the prophets. The headings play somewhat fast and loose with some of the books, since Lamentations, occurring after Jeremiah under prophets formally should fit under poetic books, while in actuality almost all of the prophetic books are poetic in form as well. The last section looks forward to the New Testament and also provides an encapsulated theological and ethical summary of the Old Testament.

The book is thoughtfully laid out, so will be easily navigated by the interested reader. Each chapter (the author of which is identified by initials in the table of contents) discusses, always in this order, the book’s composition (authorship, form, date, etc., including brief discussions of some critical issues), background in the ancient near eastern world, an outline of the book, its purpose and message, structure and organization, and major theological themes. There are helpful maps, time-lines, charts and figures interspersed within the book which help bring the written discussion into greater clarity. The volume achieves its goal as an introduction well, and will serve conservatives well in class-room and Bible study contexts. It deserves a place on church library shelves, as well as of those interested in starting a serious study

of the Old Testament.

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