Reviews of Books -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Westminster Theological Journal
Volume: WTJ 61:1 (Spring 1999)
Article: Reviews of Books
Author: Anonymous

Reviews of Books

Moshe Greenberg: Ezekiel 21–37. A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary. The Anchor Bible. New York: Doubleday, 1997. Pp. 367 $39.95, cloth.

Daniel I. Block: The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 1–24. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1997. Pp. xxi + 887. $48, cloth.

_____: The Book of Ezekiel, Chapters 25–48. New International Commentary on the Old Testament. Grand Rapids/Cambridge: Eerdmans, 1998. Pp. xxiii + 826. $50, cloth.

Ezekiel scholars have been waiting a long time for these books. Greenberg’s second volume follows some fourteen years (!) after his much appreciated first effort, while Block’s work was essentially complete in 1994 but has been slow in progressing through the Eerdmans system. The end results are well worth the wait, however: these books are destined quickly to become standards in the field, and it is to be hoped that we do not have to wait another fourteen years for Greenberg’s final volume.

Both commentaries take a relatively conservative view of the authorship and date of the book. Greenberg continues to demonstrate the view expounded in his first volume, that “the persuasion grows on one that a coherent world of vision is emerging, contemporary with the sixth century prophet and decisively shaped by him, if not the very words of Ezekiel himself” (Ezekiel 1–20, 27]. Thus, although the theoretical possibility is granted of later editorial additions, in practice the commentary strongly defends the literary integrity of the text as it stands. A good example of his approach is the “Note on Criteria of authenticity: The Sidon oracle as an example.” Here, after a survey of different approaches to this passage in the standard critical commentaries, he concludes:

A passage in which nothing un-Ezekielian in thought or style, and nothing literarily alien to his times, is to a greater or lesser extent excluded from his corpus by critical operations characterized by misplaced confidence in the conjectural dating of other passages …, on a priori expectations and assumptions concerning literary creativity, the relation of quality to originality, and the limits of Ezekiel’s familiarity with contemporary writings. The product of such operations can be persuasive only to partisans of the operators. Others may be moved to embrace a literary-historical version of Occam’s razor: not to multiply authorial or editorial hands unnecessarily (599).

This stirring defense o...

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