Periodical Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BSac 144:573 (Jan 87) p. 107
“Exploring Exodus: The Oppression,” Nahum M. Sarna, Biblical Archaeologist 49 (1986): 68-80.
The good news about this beautifully illustrated and well-documented study is its illuminating look at such matters as New Kingdom Egypt building techniques, brick-making, midwifery, and slave labor. The bad news is that Sarna locates these activities and features that pertain to Israel in the wrong dynasty, the Nineteenth rather than the Eighteenth. The reason, obviously, is his assigning of the Exodus to the reign of Rameses II (or later) and not to Amenhotep II where it properly belongs.
Sarna’s support for a 13th-century Exodus date is based on the standard, uncritical arguments advanced for many years. He argues that Joseph’s rise to power best suits a Hyksos milieu, whereas in fact that is the worst possible interpretation of the Joseph narrative. He points out that Nineteenth Dynasty pharaohs began to reign from Lower Egypt (i.e., the delta) but he is forced to admit that Eighteenth Dynasty kings also reigned from Memphis (the south delta). Finally he maintains that Rameses II was the ruler who instituted Hebrew slave labor, planned and executed the vast building enterprises in the eastern delta, and then witnessed the escape of the Israelite slaves in the Exodus. This is all blithely proposed without reference to the biblical texts that make the entire reconstruction impossible. The pharaoh who issued the slavery decree several generations before the birth of Moses (Exod 1:11–14, 20) could hardly be the same one who promulgated the edict of infanticide (v. 16) again before Moses’ birth, to say nothing of being the pharaoh of the Exodus 80 years later! In other words if Sarna’s position stands, the biblical account must fall. The converse is also patently true.
For insight into customs and practices of New Kingdom Egypt, however, this is a most helpful study.
Eugene H. Merrill
“St. Luke and Atonement,” D. A. S. Raven, Expository Times 97 (July 1986): 291-94.
“The Temple Curtain and Jesus’ Death in the Gospel of Luke,” Dennis D. Sylva, Journal of Biblical Literature 105 (June 1986): 239-50.
Contemporary critical studies on Luke-Acts contend that Luke does not view the death of Jesus as an atonement. These two articles are illustrative of that view. Raven argues that Luke’s theology of the Cross sees Jesus’ death simply as an offer of forgiveness in a free gift. Sacrifice as a theological concept is unnecessary, he says, and may even be blasphemous tow...
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