Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 52:1 (Spring 1990)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous


Book Reviews

Martin Jan Mulder and Harry Sysling (eds.): Mikra: Text, Translation, Reading and Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. (Compendia Rerum Iudaicarum ad Novam Testamentum 2/1.) Assen: Van Gorcum; and Philadelphia: Fortress, 1988. xxvi, 929. $79.95.

With the appearance of this handsome volume, CRINT has almost reached completion; the only volume outstanding is the second part of sect. 2, vol. 3 (The Literature of the Sages, the first part of which, along with Jewish Writings of the Second Temple Period [= sect. 2, vol. 2], was reviewed in WTJ 50 [1988] 192-95). In some respects, however, the publication of Mikra could be viewed as the culmination of this wonderful project. Without minimizing for a minute the significance of data furnished by earlier volumes for the interpretation of the NT, one may argue that the body of the present volume touches on those issues that, arising from a study of Jewish thought during the period of the Second Temple, prove most crucial for biblical hermeneutics.

The first nine chapters treat matters of text and translation. Chap. 1, “Writing in Ancient Israel and Early Judaism,” co-authored by Aaron Demsky and Meir Bar-Ilan, includes an illuminating discussion of various writing scripts, scribal activity, literacy, and book-making. The controverted issue of the OT canon is ably handled in chap. 2 by Roger T. Beckwith, who recently published a monumental work on the subject (The Old Testament Canon of the New Testament Church, reviewed in WTJ 50 [1988] 172-75); this chapter, however, limits itself to the evidence from early Judaism, while the evidence from the Christian church is treated in chap. 18 by E. Earle Ellis. Informative, up-to-date, and reliable chapters follow on the transmission of the Hebrew text (Martin Jan Mulder), the Septuagint (Emanuel Tov), the Samaritan Targum (Abraham Tal), the Jewish Targumim (Philip S. Alexander), the Peshitta (Peter B. Dirksen), and the Latin translations (Benjamin Kedar). Anyone familiar with the scholarly literature will recognize these authors as highly regarded experts in their fields, and the syntheses provided in these chapters do not disappoint the reader. Somewhat unexpected is chap. 4, “The Reading of the Bible in the Ancient Synagogue,” by Charles Perrot, but the editors were wise indeed to include a discussion of the available data regarding the synagogue’s reading cycles before and after AD 70.

The remaining chapters cover the use and interpretation of the Bible in the Qumran materials (Michael Fishbane), the apocryphal and pseudepigraphic literature (Devorah Dimant), Philo (Yehoshua Amir), Josephus (Louis H. Feldman), minor Jewish authors (Pieter W. van der Horst), rabbinic ...

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