Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
JETS 46:4 (December 2003) p. 711
Israel’s Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls. Edited by Richard S. Hess and M. Daniel Carroll R. Grand Rapids: Baker, 2003, 192 pp., $17.99 paper.
This book is the publication of the papers delivered at a conference hosted in February 2001 by the Denver Institute for Contextualized Biblical Studies at Denver Seminary. The plan and layout of the book reflect its origin, even to the point of retaining a healthy degree of the usual give and take of such conferences on key issues of biblical theology. The book also reflects the wide spectrum of ideas and approaches represented at the conference. The editors of the book are to be commended for remaining faithful to the conference goals.
The book, as was the conference, is organized around four central papers, each reflecting the topic of “Israel’s Messiah” within its varied contexts: in the OT, in the Dead Sea Scrolls, in the NT, and in Latin American theology. One might think of other equally important contexts, but this selection proves well adapted to the topic and purpose of the conference and carries over nicely into the book. There is, in fact, a good deal of the chemistry of the conference itself preserved in the organization of the book. Each of these topics makes its own important contribution. Also contributing to the value of the book as a whole is the apparently conscious decision not to reedit the papers for publication. For the most part, the papers retain their original colloquial style and collegiality. That spirit of openness, as it turns out, allowed for the airing of a considerable degree of difference between the major papers and their respondents.
In the first section, on the “Messiah in the OT,” the main paper is that of Daniel I. Block. After briefly admonishing those who may, in Block’s opinion, see too much of the Messiah in the OT for their own good, Block turns to the main point of his paper, the question of how the writers (and original readers) of the OT “perceived” the Messiah when they were, in fact, thinking messianically. Though his point is principally to demonstrate that the Messiah in ancient Israel was chiefly understood as a future (Davidic) king, and not, as many have suggested, also a priest and a prophet, his respondents, J. Daniel Hays and M. Daniel Carroll R., eagerly take him to task not only on this main point but also on a number of other important issues (mostly hermeneutical) that call into question the importance, if not the legitimacy, of major parts of his argument. One quickly gets the impression that there is still much work to be done on both sides, and, happily, both sides appear to be genuinely listening.
I am tempted to revive here some of the helpful debate represented by the respondents in thi...
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