Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 18:2 (Spring 1975)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Old Testament

Jeremiah and Lamentations. (Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries. Edited by Donald J. Wiseman.) By R. K. Harrison. Downers Grove: IVP, 1973, 240 pp., $5.95.

The eminent professor of Old Testament from Wycliffe College, Toronto, has made a solid, scholarly contribution for the study of Jeremiah and Lamentations, which admirably combines with lucidity and brevity the newest advances in evangelical scholarship. His expertise in archaeology and ancient Near Eastern history shows in every passage how such background information might enrich the understanding of the Hebrew text.

In a commentary of such modest dimentions Harrison wisely refrains from discussing by name the opinions of earlier scholars, whether he follows those opinions or dissents from them. But he shows an awareness of the various theories which have been proposed in recent times regarding the composition and teaching of the 52 chapters of Jeremiah, often suggesting good reasons for rejecting views which emanate from humanistic bias. Consistently and convincingly he maintains an attitude of respect for the received text and all of its internal evidence pointing to the genuineness and unity of the first fifty-one chapters as an authentic work of the historic Jeremiah.

One of the outstanding characteristics of Dr. Harrison’s exposition is his frequent inclusion of NT parallels, wherever the Gospels or Epistles quote from Jeremiah, or allude to portions of his prophecy, or even present analogous teaching which enriches the understanding of the Hebrew text. His underlying assumption seems to be that the same Divine Author guided the composition and teaching of both Testaments, and that they therefore have a very definite relevance to each other. Because of this frequent reference to NT analogies or elaborations of thought, this commentary furnishes a perfect handbook for the pastor who wishes to preach a series of messages from Jeremiah,

or for the Bible class teacher who undertakes a survey of the doctrine of this important OT prophet. Not that Harrison follows a policy of reading Christian thought back into the intention of the Hebrew author; occasionally he goes to considerable pains to develop the prophetic teaching from earlier writings in the OT. Thus in his discussion of the New Covenantpassage in Jer. 31:31 ff. he construes the essence of the berith hadashah (“new covenant”) as consisting of a personal appropriation of the covenant of Divine grace on the part of the individual Jewish believer, as opposed to the earlier conception of a national covenant. On p. 140 he states that this new form of covenantal rel...

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