Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
BETS 8:2 (Spring 1965) p. 91
Treaty of the Great King: The Covenant Structure of Deuteronomy, by Meredith G. Kline (Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich., 1963), 149 pages, $3.50. Reviewed by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr., Assistant Professor of Bible and Archaeology, Wheaton College, Wheaton, 111.
Combining materials originally appearing in the Westminster Theological Journal (May and November, 1960) and The Wycliffe Bible Commentary (Chicago: Moody Press, 1962) we now have one of the boldest, most original, and most suggestive studies in Old Testament evangelical scholarship since Robert Dick Wilson.
Simply stated, Kline argues that by using the tools of form critical analysis, Deuteronomy exemplifies the identical structural outline observed in Ilnd Millennium suzerainty treaties (namely: Preamble, Historical, Prologue, Stipulations, Curses and Blessings, and Succession Agreements) and not the abbreviated structural form found in the 1st Millennium treaties. Exciting as the thesis is in and of itself for Deuteronomic and Covenantal studies, the devastating implications which these observatons introduce into the Pentateuchal question are clear.
It seems possible now to advance beyond the old stalemate where the materials found in the Pentateuch are continually being adduced in favor of a genuine Middle Bronze setting (2000 - 1500: cf. for example Nuzu customs, Hammurapi Law Code and Exodus Covenant Code, Ugaritic and Phoenician offerings, Mari Toponymy, Alalakh tablets, Cappadocian tablets, etc.), yet oral tradition is said to be responsible for conveying these materials in their essentially accurate form down to the 8th through the 4th century B.C. (J.E.D.P.). Kline, utilizing the work of G. E. Mendenhall and Gerhard von Rad tackled the admitted keystone of the Documentary Hypothesis—Deuteronomy, and demonstrates that Deuteronomy in its present written form belongs to the Ilnd Millennium B.C., for if the various Gattungen were structured in the 1st Millennium B.C. by editors and redactors, the resulting form would be more like the 1st Millennium treaties of Sefireh and Esarhaddon (i.e.—without the opening umma clause, historical prologue, and abbreviated or altogether absent blessings).
The most encouraging fact of all is that this book signals a new kind of evangelical Old Testament scholarship. Professor Kline not only handles the traditional tools for Old Testament study but is as comfortable in the literatures and languages of the Ancient Near East as he is in Hebrew itself. No longer will the dialogue only be a defensive apologetic against non-evangelical work but evangelicalism may now serve notice that she shall originate some intellectual fires herself while assessing the insights of her...
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