Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 20:1 (Winter 1977)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

Old Testament

The Gospel of Moses. By Samuel J. Schultz. New York: Harper and Row, 1974, 165 pp., $5.95.

Rarely does one find a discussion of both content and method of presentation combined in one volume on the OT. However, Samuel Schultz has shown us his classroom methodology and some of the highlights from his lectures on the OT to college students in the short scope of 165 pages. The need for such professional discussions has been further underscored by the appearance of a new journal from Britain entitled Journal for the Study of the Old Testament, which lists as one of its five purposes the publication of “articles concerned with the teaching of the Old Testament.”

Schultz argues that OT survey courses should start with Deuteronomy instead of the traditional beginning with Genesis, and that they should focus on the “essence of the written Bible”: “Love God with all your heart and love your neighbor as yourself.” With such an integrating core, the narrower strictures of pointing merely to law, history, or predictions can be corrected and viewed in balance, argues Schultz.

OT teachers will certainly applaud this type of adjustment, for our discipline has been dominated for too many generations by a barren historical-descriptive

type of analysis. The need of the hour is for a recognition of the text’s canonical setting, its message as a whole and the buildup of theology as one moves diachronically throughout the pre-Christian era. The text has its own legitimacy apart from the continued progress of revelation in the NT, and the OT text also addresses us as a word which demands a response. Thus Schultz represents an earlier aspect of this new trend in OT studies.

This reviewer found small caveats as he read these pages. Contrary to page 13, there were other nations that had experienced God’s deliverance similar to Israel’s exodus (e.g. Syria, Ethiopia, and the Philistines according to Amos 9:7). And can we confidently assign all the first nine plagues to natural phenomena in the Nile valley, as Greta Hort has argued, apart from their miraculous timing and duration (pp. 15-16)? Was Cain’s sin a failure to offer a bloody sacrifice, or was it rather that he came with an unprepared heart to offer a heartless and externalized worship (pp. 40-41)? Furthermore, was Isaiah 7:14 “veiled in somewhat ambiguous [!] language”? If so, what part was revealed and what part was garbled (p. 121)?

Nevertheless, these minor objections fade into insignificance when compared with the overall thesis of the b...

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