Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Faith and Mission
Volume: FM 19:1 (Fall 2001)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Biblical Studies

The New American Commentary. Volume 3A, “Leviticus,” by Mark F. Rooker. Nashville: Broadman and Holman, 2000. Pp. 352.

Mark Rooker teaches Old Testament and Hebrew at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. He has written the best commentary on Leviticus this reviewer has read, and he has proven what many would never have believed—an interesting commentary on Leviticus can be written. The general reader would profit greatly from reading this volume; the text is thoroughly understandable for nonspecialists. More technical information is available in the footnotes, so this commentary is also a valuable resource for pastors and teachers. Both in the text and in the footnotes, Rooker’s extensive knowledge of Hebrew, ancient Near-Eastern literature, and modern scholarship is brought to bear.

It is unfortunate that Leviticus has been a closed book for most of the church. Even those who read it often do not understand it, and many of those who understand its place in the religion of Old Testament Israel do not see its relevance for contemporary Christians. Some have even secretly questioned why Leviticus is in the canon at all. Those who read Rooker’s commentary will see that such confusion and skepticism are misplaced.

In his introduction to Leviticus, Rooker deals with both technical and theological issues that are important to an understanding of the book. For example, in order to understand the authorship of Leviticus, one must consider the authorship of the Pentateuch as a whole. Consideration of this issue is a complex endeavor since so much has been written on the subject and since scholars’ conclusions have been so numerous and so diverse. For a book that is a commentary on only one book of the Pentateuch, Rooker’s treatment of this issue is surprisingly broad. He compellingly demonstrates why the Documentary Hypothesis does not fit the biblical data. Rooker’s insightful critique of the Documentary Hypothesis is alone worth the price of the book. Scholars will find his presentation unique, well-documented, and refreshingly clear. Pastors and other students of the Bible will encounter ample evidence for Mosaic authorship to offer those who question the accuracy and consistency of the Bible. Rooker’s devastating critique rests on four pillars. First, Rooker demonstrates that the evolutionary presupposition of the Documentary Hypothesis has been discredited by modern research into ancient Near-Eastern religion. Second, Rooker refers to the fact of intertextuality. The prophets, for example, made use of the

Pentateuch, not the other way around. This requires an early (Mosaic) date of authorship. Third, recent literary studie...

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