Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 27:1 (March 1984) p. 93
Old Testament Survey: The Message, Form and Background of the Old Testament. By William Sanford LaSor, David Allan Hubbard and Frederic William Bush. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1982, xiii + 696 pp., n.p.
Readers of this Journal will by now be familiar with this impressive offering by three professors from Fuller Seminary. It presents the combined results of decades of teaching the OT refined by experience and student feedback. The net result is an eminently readable and valuable work that will surely be the standard OT survey text in evangelical circles and that will command respect elsewhere for years to come.
The plan of the book is a teacher’s and student’s delight. (I have used it in two different years and four survey sections now as the main text, and this statement reflects my own and my students’ reactions.) After some introductory chapters on matters such as authority, revelation, inspiration and canon there are chapters on every book in the OT, arranged according to the Hebrew Bible’s groupings: Law, Prophets, Writings. The books in the latter two are arranged according to the authors’ chronological scheme and thus follow neither the Hebrew nor Protestant canonical order. There are also chapters on specific sections or topics (e.g. the Pentateuch, Former Prophets, chronology of the monarchies, prophecy, Hebrew poetry, messianic prophecy, etc.), most of them very good. A number of my students have commented on the value of the chapter on geography, for example. The chapter on Hebrew poetry is thoroughly up to date and is the best I have seen in a comparable length. Three books rate two chapters: Genesis (“Primeval Prologue” and “Patriarchal History”), Exodus, and Isaiah (on background and message).
Further enhancing its student value is the supply of the standard helps. There are subject, author and Biblical-language indexes and a brief general bibliography at the end of the book. Each chapter is copiously endowed with footnotes and a section with suggestions for further reading, which are helpful and up to date (e.g. Childs’ Introduction is extensively quoted). there are many excellent pictures, most by LaSor. Nine area and period maps are included, but their quality is unfortunately not the best. Inclusion of a standard map set (e.g. Hammond’s) would have been a big improvement. A real strength, however, are the numerous charts. They are used to clarify different points, from the content of Genesis, the structure of the plague narrative, the offerings in Leviticus, and census figures in Numbers, to the excellent chart of all Biblical prophets (including the nonwriting ones), the several chronological charts, and the one on the festivals. (Access to these is limited by the lack of an index to them, however—...
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