Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Ashland Theological Journal
Volume: ATJ 39:0 (NA 2007)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

John Rogerson, ed. The Oxford Illustrated History of the Bible. Oxford: Oxford University, 2001. 412 pp., cloth, $49.95.

The volume under review is one of those rare works that offers a collection of essays which, individually, are of uniformly high quality and readability and, as a whole, achieve a tight overall coherence. The book guides the reader through its subject matter by organizing the contributions into four sections prefaced by a lucid and engaging orientation by the editor. The first two sections, both titled “The Making of the Bible,” deal first with the historical background of the scriptures and second with the composition, transmission, and translation of biblical texts. John Rogerson’s essay on the historical background of the Old Testament focuses primarily on scholarly discussion on Israelite religion and its development. Philip Davies’ essay on the Apocrypha follows with a brief discussion on issues of canon and a survey of the contents and composition. Margaret Davies then places the topic of canonization more squarely at the center in an absorbing essay on the composition of the New Testament documents.

Geoffrey Khan opens the second section, on texts and transmission, with a meticulous account of the development and transmission of the Masoretic text and the role of variant traditions, such as those reflected in the Dead Sea Scrolls and Septuagint. Philip Davies then offers brief accounts of the textual histories of the individual books that comprise the Apocrypha and is followed in turn by David Parker, who deftly elaborates the operations of the textual study of the New Testament in tandem with the textual, social, and theological issues that gave rise to them. Stanley E. Porter concludes the section with an informative survey of translations of the Bible, a discussion of the difficulties involved in establishing the textual base for translation, and an overview of the issues involved in translating the Bible meaningfully into English.

The largest number of essays appears in the third section on “The Study and Use of the Bible.” In “The Early Church,” Henning Graf Reventlow summarizes the contributions of key figures in the era, and G. R. Evans explores, among other things, the impact of the Bible on preaching and education in “The Middle Ages to the Reformation.” David Wright examines the impact of such developments as the printing press, the translation of the Bible into the vernacular, and the emergence of historical methods of interpretation in “The Reformation to 1700.” Ronald Clements completes the historical overview, in “1700 to the Present,” with a cogent discussion of biblical scholarship’s interaction with the intellectual and cultural currents that emanated...

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