BOOK REVIEWS

Boer, Roland, Last Stop Before Antarctica: The Bible and Postcolonialism in Australia. The Bible and Postcolonialism, 6. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001. Pp. 219. Pbk. £14.95 or $21.95. ISBN 1-84127170-5. Roland Boer surely must be counted as one of Australia’s most creative biblical scholars. Here he turns his fecund mind to postcolonial studies, even though he does not himself claim to be an advocate of this recent intellectual movement. On the contrary, he calls himself an ‘internationalist in the old communist sense’, and he makes no attempt to hide a marked lack of patience with the preferred topics of postcolonialism—‘local resistance, alternative identities, valorization of the peripheral zone over against the centre’ (p. 7). In spite of, and perhaps because of, Boer’s Marxist dispositions, the book asks some good questions: for example, why have biblical scholars played such a small role in the development of postcolonial studies, even though the Bible has obviously been so significant in the history of colonization? In his ‘Introduction: Gatecrashing Thanksgiving’, Boer muses on the layers of this question, reflecting firstly on the doubly marginalized position of biblical studies in Australia—the Bible lacking interest within university-based ‘cultural studies’, and Australians being peripheral players on the global academic market. His elegantly complex language masks a breathtaking lurch from the self-doubts of our ‘cultural cringe’ to the confident assertion that Australian biblical scholars need to become part of a socialist resistance to the neo-colonialist hegemony of capitalism, and no subtler version of resistance will do (pp. 34-37). In particular, the postcolonial focus on local resistance pales into insignificance against a preferred socialist dialectic between the local and the global, which requires an international class struggle (pp. 57-59). While protesting against small-minded ethics, Boer does actually seem to have a gospel to proclaim in this book: an ‘anticipatory’ (proleptic?) socialism requires an internationalist league of leftist intellectuals and artists (pp. 36-37). So much for the proletariat. Having established that the book has its own Marxist gospel, does it contribute anything to a critical discussion of biblical theology? In chapter 1, the economic allegory supplied for the ‘world tree’ in Dan. 4:1017 is potentially theological in significance. Yhwh, however, does not come off well in Boer’s reading of Daniel 4: ‘this dreadfully marginal deity’, according to Boer, contests the imperial despot Nebuchadnezzar, but is no match for the social reality of Babylonian power (p. 58). So
© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2005 Also available online – www.brill.nl Biblical Interpretation 13, 1

book reviews

57

much for ‘anticipatory’ cultural production; that is apparently reserved for modern, socialist critics. The discourses of providence make some unhappy appearances in chapter 2, ‘Explorer Hermeneutics’, which includes some detailed and interesting discussion of the diaries of the colonial ‘explorers’ Mitchell, Sturt, Eyre, Leichhardt, Stuart, and Giles. These pioneers drew frequent analogies between aboriginal and Israelite practices, occasionally spoke favourably of indigenous people, and in Eyre’s case, even condemned those who thought that the displacement of the first inhabitants could be justified theologically (p. 72). Boer finds it illuminating to compare the explorers’ references to a sense of providence with Benthamite ‘panoptic’ jailors, surveying their prisoners from a privileged position while themselves being untouchable and unseen. While some convincing work has been done on the connections between cartography and control in colonial expansion, Boer goes further and finds theological assumptions behind the ‘panoptic gaze’ (p. 82)—the panoptic view is ultimately the ‘eye of God’, and although they are far from Benthamite prisons, the explorers are God’s agents. Eyre, for example, links divine providence with English cultural expansion, claiming that both represent the common good (p. 84). Yet this is the same Eyre who was quite capable of describing colonial ‘intrusion and aggression’ and of condemning the self-interested discourses of providence (p. 72). Instead of reading Eyre’s diaries deconstructively, teasing out the contradictions, Boer is more concerned to reduce the language of providence to a cipher for white power—even when the explorer appealing to providence is dying of thirst in the desert. In cases like this, discourse analysis has lost sensitivity to context. Ironically, the next chapter supplies even more evidence that Boer’s critique of providence is too doctrinaire. Chapter 3, ‘Home is always elsewhere’, explores the interplay of exodus and exile themes, both in biblical literature and in postcolonial theory. In sharp contrast to the settlement of North America, colonial Australian writers rarely imagined that they had discovered the promised land; on the contrary, antipodal images suggested more often the failure of providence, envisaging a ‘land which God forgot, or forsook’ (p. 115). Boer refrains from drawing an obvious implication: Edward Said’s argument that exodus and conquest are ineluctably linked (pp. 89-96) rarely applies in Australia, since our writers have been more attuned to the themes of exile and diaspora. If the explorers saw English settlement in Australia as underwritten by divine providence, the genre of the underwriting could easily be mistaken for a curse. The last two chapters of the book deal with issues of cultural interaction. In chapter 4, ‘Green Ants and Gibeonites’, the discussion of Sreten Bozic’s work (a Serbian immigrant who has written a number of novels

58

book reviews

in the Aboriginal persona of B. Wongar) floats oddly free of the communal negotiations of cultural hybridity. This chapter is more a study of postmodern themes, rather than postcolonial ones; identity becomes an individualist performance of cultural pastiche. More interesting is chapter 5, ‘Dreaming the Logos’, which explores the implications of Australian aboriginal translations of the New Testament which render, for example, logos as tjukurpaí, a Pitjantjatjara term with a range of possible meanings: story, dreaming or law, message, news, individual word and birthmark. Boer concludes that since it is not possible to restrict the resonances of tjukurpa, ‘the purpose of translation is not the transfer of meaning into a new form…but the creation of a new language’ (pp. 178-79). This sweeping claim would be news to translators, and it can only be read as a thesis about outcomes rather than ‘purposes’. But the thesis is manifestly false, since a translation cannot create an entirely new language, or it would be unintelligible. It might, however, create a zone of cultural interaction and hybridity, but we hear from Boer that the notion of cultural hybridity is ‘not very helpful’ (p. 164). Actually, translations of the Bible into indigenous languages are paradigm cases of cultural hybridity, and whether they are ‘helpful’ would be something that should be judged by primarily by indigenous people, not white intellectuals. Speaking as one of the latter, I could not help being fascinated by the resonances of logos and tjukurpa, but surely it is time to restrain such fascination until we have some careful research which includes the opinions of aboriginal colleagues. This is a stimulating book, and we are indebted to Roland Boer for writing it. But its style does not quite match its substance. Mark Brett University of Melbourne

Jobling, J’annine, Feminist Biblical Interpretation in Theological Context: Restless Readings. Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Theology and Biblical Studies. Aldershot: Ashgate, 2002. Pp. 186. Cl. £40.00. ISBN 07546-0791-7 In this book J’annine Jobling explores the theological and philosophical frameworks that feminist interpretation emerges from and the landscape which it must also navigate. The two primary scholars around whom she frames her argument are Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Phyllis Trible. Her choice of these two scholars serves her argument well, though some may criticize her for not discussing a broader representation of feminist thought. As Jobling notes, her goal is not to cover the spectrum of feminist hermeneutics but to consider a framework for it to operate

© Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, 2005 Also available online – www.brill.nl

Biblical Interpretation 13, 1

book reviews

59

within (p. 60). Fiorenza is chosen for her socio-historical approach and Trible for her literary-rhetorical approach to the biblical text. After a brief introduction, the first third of the book is devoted to an exploration of Fiorenza’s work, followed by a discussion of Trible’s in the second third. The main concept which Jobling appropriates from Fiorenza’s work is summed up under the metaphor of ‘remembrance.’ Fiorenza attempts to reconstruct the ideal of a ‘discipleship of equals’ which she claims existed in the primitive church but was later suppressed by patriarchal tendencies that the church inherited from the surrounding Jewish and Greco-Roman cultures. Remembrance is far more than just filling in the forgotten history of women in the church. The interpreter must employ a hermeneutic of suspicion and remembrance in order to retrieve this egalitarian ideal critically and imaginatively. The goal of historical studies is not to construct a history of but a history for. Trible’s work contributes a totally different metaphor to Jobling’s hermeneutic, that of ‘destabilization.’ The strength of Trible’s approach is her rhetorical analysis of the text-itself. Meaning is located in the semantic container inscribed in the text. Because there is a flexible relationship between the form and content in the text, what counts as a literary unit or what should be examined in the text is something that the reader constitutes. The features of the text may be constant but they are only discerned in the act of reading. As a result, the text not only determines what counts as a proper reading but at the same time holds open the possibility for new interpretations with each reading. Destabilization serves several purposes in Jobling’s hermeneutic. First, it undermines the dominant (patriarchal) interpretations and opens up new possibilities for understanding a text, providing a theoretical foothold from which feminists may work. Second, it functions apologetically against those who might raise questions about objectivity in interpretation. Jobling sides with Trible (and Paul Ricœur) in finding that interpretation is not an activity which guarantees certainty but is by nature an unstable activity. Instead of seeking the definitive and “right” meaning for the text, it is better to speak of ‘proper’ interpretations. And third, what is considered a proper reading is determined by the discursive community of interpreters. A text can “be read in any number of ways, but not all of those would be equally acceptable to reading communities dependent on the principles and criteria operative” (p. 65). It is at this point that Jobling submits a correction to Trible’s thought. While Trible defends a text’s potential for a plurality of meanings, she claims that her readings are based on the text-itself. This inconsistency could be solved by moving from the text-itself to the text-as-interpreted within a discursive community, according to Jobling. At the same time one wonders how compatible Trible’s text-itself approach is with Fiorenza’s socio-historical method? On the one hand, I applaud the close

60

book reviews

attention which Jobling has given to both of these scholars. On the other hand, I wonder if they are like oil and water which tend to separate quickly after stirred. Jobling thinks that one of Trible’s strengths is that she privileges the woman’s point of view as her basic hermeneutical stance. This stance helps to expose ideological manipulations that work against women in the text, and for certain biblical stories (the rape of Tamar, for example) their horrific nature. Trible does not stop here but proceeds to set her readings of the text alongside contemporary situations. As a result of remembering these stories, an ethical response is called for on our part. While I agree with the idea that fresh interpretative insights can and should provoke us to a response, this illustrates my main criticism of the book. Jobling does not offer her own interpretations, examples, or case studies as illustrations of how to apply her hermeneutic. Of course, her stated goal is to explore the philosophical and theological grounds for a feminist hermeneutic, but it would have been very helpful to see how she saw this playing out in a practical manner. This is especially significant with regard to the concept of the discursive community of interpreters that plays a central role in Jobling’s argument. She expands Fiorenza’s idea of the ekklesia, in which the ekklesia not only represents the egalitarian community of the early church but also a democratically constituted ideal speech-community. The ekklesia is not only a community which is meant to overcome the oppression of women but all the other repressed groups that exist. In this way, Fiorenza’s work moves beyond questions relating only to male/female domination and includes issues such as race, class and religion. Jobling expands the ekklesia from a simple community (the Christian feminist movement) to a métissage, which represents a complex community in which people from diverse traditions are knotted together but not reduced to just this community. The métissage represents the discursive community from which feminist interpretation is conducted and adjudicated. It is the epistemological ground which provides rationality, coherence and intelligibility (following MacIntyre). At the same time, it stands as a rival community that challenges the dominant interests in society and exposes how the experience of women (and other groups) have been suppressed. The final contribution which Jobling makes is that of the eschaton as an ideal toward which the church is moving and as hope. The central image she employs in this section of her argument is that of the Eucharist, which is perceived as providing a rich theological matrix for feminist thought. When we participate in the Eucharist we remember what Christ accomplished in the past and proclaim the eschatological horizon toward which the church is headed. “The body of Christ is both what the Church is and what it is meant to be” (p. 147). If destabilization

pregnant with possibility.00. 112). The book begins with a brief introduction on the nature of texts “as scripture. 1 . £31. Johnson Lim presents a pragmatic study in biblical hermeneutics. xiv).” “reader-oriented.” and an historical overview of “recent approaches to interpretation. and métissage is perhaps the most significant contribution which Jobling makes in this thought-provoking book. He also discusses oft-noted inadequacies of historical criticism. Pp. he devotes the rest of his book to describing a text-oriented strategy that views competing approaches as “conversation partners” (p.” a survey of “the current climate of hermeneutics. is the most “likely to reap maximum benefits with minimum problems in helping readers discern the message of the texts” (p. destabilization. The strength of the book lies in its clarity. and common-sense approach to argumentation.brill. xiv). 2002. 2005 Also available online – www.” The latter chapter categorizes exegetical methods as “author-oriented. but resists the temptation to develop an eclectic method that would combine or transcend categories. Cl. however.” Lim notes strengths and weaknesses for each of these.book reviews 61 subverts the dominant modes of interpretation. Studies in Biblical Literature 29. A Strategy for Reading Biblical Texts. is sometimes marked by grammatical errors. Lim next devotes a chapter to arguing that the final (or canonical) form of the text is the proper artifact for exegetical study.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. The writing. The manner by which she incorporates the eschatological imagination with the other themes of remembrance. Most critical scholars operating within faith communities would acknowledge many of the limitations of historical criticism that Lim cites without agreeing © Koninklijke Brill NV. New York: Peter Lang. articulating a text-oriented approach to exegesis and defending it with reference to literary theory and evangelical theology. awkward syntax. Rather.” and “deconstructionism.. Johnson T. Leiden. He summarizes the arguments of Hans Frei and Brevard Childs in this regard. and inattention to inclusive language. ISBN 0-8204-5028-6. with a bit of theological hyperbole. xvii + 152. David P.K. then the eschatological imagination “provides an utterly open utopic impulse. present and future are then figured as incomplete.” “text-oriented. generally approving of their conclusions. Such an approach. proleptically represented in the Christian tradition through the resurrection Past. practical viability. he holds. Parris Fuller Theological Seminary in Colorado LIM. always construed and reconstrued from particular locations and imbued with potentially seditious significance” (p.

Lim argues for the reliability of the Masoretic text in Old Testament interpretation. Lim seems to be aware only of plurality-driven. The next chapter. In what could have been an independent article. “preunderstanding. Lim’s study suffers one major flaw that threatens to undo his apologetic for what he calls a text-oriented approach to interpretation.62 book reviews that historical critical interpretation causes divine inspiration or the reliability and truth claims of scripture to be “greatly challenged and undermined” (p.” etc. defends (again) the need to focus on present text rather than Urtext. regularly. In his chapter that surveys approaches to interpretation. all of which I would view as expressive of a readeroriented hermeneutic. some want to expose certain readings as impositions of an illegitimate value system. “A Theory of Textuality” is the heart of the book. raptly. some want to expand their horizons with an awareness of how texts have been applied in differing contexts. Some use exegesis as an analytical tool for self-discovery. and religiously). argues the necessity of holistic reading. reflectively. resourcefully. Womanist). Lim is perhaps uncharitable when he castigates such critics as embracing a hermeneutic that allows “anything to be justified including acts of murder. and genocide. receptively. robbery. Marxist. Even then.” delineates the implicit assumptions of any text’s readers (linguistic and literary competence. comes on pages 88-91. suicide. when Lim provides a catalogue of “objective criteria” by which responses to a text might be validated as falling within a “range of admissible interpretation. Then. respectfully. The best part of the book.” There is no discussion of Wirkungsgeschichte or of ideological reading strategies (feminist. providing the theoretical justification for each. though somewhat extraneous. Most of these are common to (and derived from) New Criticism and narratology as practiced in the secular guild: Lim seeks to define what constitutes a “text. Reader-oriented critics attempt to discern the role that readers play in the interpretive process for a variety of reasons. genre recognition. 50). discusses the significance of context. to my mind. Although he is generally accurate in his description of text-oriented methods.).” . Here. Lim lays out thirteen axioms for a text-centered approach to biblical interpretation. and tries to discern a proper (though limited) role for apprehension of authorial intent. he has a myopic understanding of reader-oriented criticism that seems to regard all reader-oriented approaches as given to plurality and lacking criteria to judge false readings. post-structuralist reader-oriented critics who would form but a smallsubset of the category. he provides a somewhat homiletical encouragement of the proper attitude for reading texts as scripture (read the Bible responsibly. there is little distinction between what he calls “readeroriented approaches” and “deconstructionism.” The book closes with a couple of pieces that are interesting in their own right.

the value of his book need not be undone by what may be a simple confusion of labels.” Such a hermeneutic is not just author. Second.or text-oriented but. His thirteen axioms for a text-centered approach include the claims that “a canonical text is to be read … in the context of other canonical texts” (p. reader-oriented. He proposes a method for how one set of readers (people who view the Bible as canonical scripture) might read texts from a particular perspective (faith) in quest of a certain type of meaning (theological). he fails to notice that the strategy he himself articulates in his major chapter would be better classed as a reader-oriented approach than as a text-oriented one. it is a variety of reader-response criticism that— like most varieties of reader-response criticism—is attentive to textual and contextual dynamics while also recognizing the role that readers play in interpretation through their willful or subconscious (but in this case willful) imposition of a lens through which meaning is perceived. This is not a text-oriented strategy. 86) and that “biblical texts … demand a theological reading from the perspective of faith” (p. such things can be justified from the biblical texts. When one receives an Old Testament text as mediating “the divine revelation of Jesus Christ” (p. Columbus. First. He skews post-structuralist relativism (with some exaggeration. defiantly. then. 91). 94). his critique of that broad category of biblical interpretation comes off as the defeat of a straw person. His exegetical strategy for theological interpretation of canonical texts is sound and should prove helpful to readers who wish to approach the Bible from the perspective that he favors. as just indicated) but leaves the bulk of reader-oriented criticism un-described and un-evaluated. Still. The result of Lim’s misapprehension of reader-oriented criticism is twofold. is a strategy for doing a particular sort of ideological criticism. no critic of whom I am aware has ever argued that they should be. Mark Allan Powell Trinity Lutheran Seminary. Ohio . existentially. Lim’s unwitting endorsement of what appears to be a reader-oriented hermeneutic is certainly ironic in light of his generic resistance to such approaches. one has transcended both the historical quest for authorial intent and the New Critical quest to understand the text “on its own terms.book reviews 63 The point that post-structuralist critics usually make is that. What Lim offers.

nl Biblical Interpretation 13.64 book reviews Lang.” The three functions are “sovereignty and the sacred. Bernhard Lang has a long record of contributions to our understanding of the history of religion in ancient Israel. pervasive approach to reality. 2002. 2005 Also available online – www. and pays particular attention to the texts of Daniel. human or divine. The “second function” is that of war that leads to an exploration of Israel’s so-called “Holy War” and the primacy of the “Divine Warrior. The present volume continues his study of the history of Israelite religion. he has offered an explanatory account of the emergence of Israelite monotheism.” Lang concludes that in ancient Israel. £25. “tripartite thought never developed into a generalized. gods of war. only now with a very particular thesis in mind. Particular reference is made © Koninklijke Brill NV. supported by fertility and food. 1 . ISBN 0-30009025-0. moves back and forth between the biblical texts and the more general Ancient Near Eastern culture. and wealth.” Nonetheless he assumes “that there is indeed evidence of tripartite thought in the Bible. Cl. victory. Pp. Leiden. war.” Lang’s book is an attempt to understand the character of Israel’s God in terms of these three functions that he cryptically summarizes as “wisdom.” as well as God’s battle with the monster-chaos. warriors.00. In human society. Lang writes: Dumézil and his school explored the three kinds of punishments envisaged by certain legal traditions and the three kinds of medicine administered in certain medical systems … He realized that deities and spirits were often organized according to this trifunctional pattern. The first is “the Lord of Wisdom” where the book. the gifts and practices of wisdom. and the work of the scribes as facets of this general function. as elsewhere. in religion. the covenant. Bernhard.brill. x + 246. and culminating in prosperity and wealth. there are wise deities.” The bulk of Lang’s book is an effort to exploit Dumézil’s thesis on “tripartite ideology” as a way of expositing the God of ancient Israel’s religion. and peasants.” “war. and has considered the significance of feminine dimensions of reality and of interpretive practice. Each of these agents.” and “life. in the language of Dumézil. He also considers law-giving. New Haven: Yale University Press. for the same tripartite system underlies both the divine world and human society. The Hebrew God: Portrait of an Ancient Deity. the three components are teachers. and life.” namely. Lang explores “esoteric wisdom” that is the property of the gods. and demons promoting fertility. The several chapters are offered in support of the thesis. has a particular mandate or. He seeks to reread that history of religion according to the thesis of Georges Dumézil who has sought to understand religion (and therefore the character of the gods) with reference to “three functions. Most especially. a certain “function.

” the gift and practice of life. I am not persuaded that the three part ideology is particularly useful. the result is that his exposition does not really connect in any useful way to cultural reality. as Lang seeks to do it. One must play very fast and loose with the data in order to make it fit at all. perhaps happily. There is no doubt that the tripartite notion of Dumézil has an heuristic value for Lang’s work. Having secured the topics by way of this theoretical base. The capacity to trace a three part pattern of power strikes me as difficult work. Beyond that heuristic value. so that the three parts of the king’s body correspond to the three fixed classes of society. is treated more fully. for it gives Lang the topics which he wishes to discuss. and the commoners. plus the fact that the thematics of the triad do not stay constant. and mentions the doxological formula of Daniel 7. The “third function. for each “function” in turn. for the several sub-themes constitute a general presentation of a theology of God as creator. 9:6. reflects the current and new accent in the field on creation. makes nothing of any of this theoretical extrapolation. Lang. a very thin basis for the proposal. the latter including a development of “natural theology” and God’s commitment to the world of vegetation.” and Lord of the harvest. alludes to the “messianic” titles in Isa. Lord of “the individual. so that the characteristic problems of patternism and the fluidity of textual data recur. other than as an organizing entry point for exposition and interpretation. for the theme is subdivided into three parts: Lord of the animals (and human authority over animals) with particular reference to the Whirlwind speeches of the Book of Job. But that is. Lang appeals several times to the divine gift to Solomon in its three-fold articulation of divine gift in 1 Kings 3. however. problems that keep showing up in patternism all the way from Ivan Engnell to Joseph Campbell. The three accent points strike one as being so obvious and commonplace as to be banal. the warrior class. Of course the three tasks are among the most obvious if one were to line out the actual functioning of governance. so that we can well do without any imposed theory. in my judgment. The development of “individual religion” is especially important. The following three paragraphs contribute to this point. though with much less actual textual engagement than one might wish or expect. Lang allows that the three-part ideology that Dumézil proposes is not only a list of theological themes nor only an inventory of divine functions but a taxonomy of social power. I suggest.book reviews 65 to the “chaos texts” that Jon Levenson has treated in detail and that provide an opening to apocalyptic. Other scholars have . he then presents. the priestly class. given the propensity of interpreters to focus on large historical-public themes. I am not convinced that the data of the text fits readily into the pattern. The fact that Lang takes up this many sub-themes. a rather conventional review of the data.

I suggest. and warrior”. Of course it is clear that the same three functions still pertain in the tradition of Deuteronomy. presentation of the “Book Religion” of Deuteronomy as a disruption of shamanistic religion. It is. of course. with his exposition of God as “King. patterned analysis.” more text work would serve better without the restraints or impositions of such a theory. however. Ernest Wright. Lang offers a striking. “The Sovereignty of God. no doubt Lang would like not only to leave work for others to do. 1969] with an exposition of God as “creator. Miller (ed. or Patrick D. but that. Of these latter pieces. It itself does not advance the argument very far. but the close text work remains to be completed. Miller Jr. If. but would like to suggest a way to think into the future. 129-44. text work that will show the complex ways in which Israel’s articulation of God both serves and disrupts the pattern. (2) The Exodus narrative sounds the theme of war. one seeks to understand the “Hebrew God. but in such a radically different form as to require a reconsideration of what is to be taken as “universal. Lang’s work is perhaps a gain from a theoretical perspective.66 book reviews also found triads for interpretation (so G. That latter suggestion the book articulates with great effectiveness. In broad stroke this is a suggestive notion. The brief discussion is enough to consider that Lang regards Deuteronomy as a “new type of religion” that seriously disrupts the conventions he has been tracing. Walter Brueggemann Columbia Theological Seminary . albeit brief. the case that the accent on creator is more fully appreciated by Lang than by Wright and Miller. and Warrior”). reflects a changed context of research. and (3) The Sinai tradition is concerned with legislated order. pp. perhaps the most suggestive is his notion that the three great traditions of the Hexateuch still adhere to the pattern: (1) The patriarchal narrative bespeaks the third function of fertility.” The book concludes with several brief topical discussions after Lang has offered his primary. Lord. The Old Testament and Theology [New York: Harper & Row.). 1986]. in the process of which the topic becomes so commonplace as to be uninteresting and unproductive of new insight. Lang’s book may set us off thinking in new directions. But then the book evidences a lifetime of reflective criticism. The Hermeneutical Quest [Allison Park: Pickwick Publications. Judge.” in Donald G. It does not require any special theory to arrive at such a judgment. In the midst of the articulation of the three-fold scheme. Thus I believe that the problem with the theoretical basis proposed here is that it must be made very broad in order to fit the data and support the themes.

2001. Frei. the debate has been sparse. Over the past ten years. 1 . Pbk. Joseph Blenkinsopp (“Was the Pentateuch the Civic and Religious Constitution of the Jewish Ethnos in the Persian Period?”) surveys the Persian concept and practice of law before evaluating the impact of the Persian empire on Jewish civic and religious life in the second Temple period. He notes that “since there is no evidence that Jewish civil or religious life authorities presented the laws for official approbation. xi + 228. SBL Symposium Series 17. Leiden.brill. Grabbe (“The Law of Moses in the Ezra Tradition: More Virtual than Real?”) shows that the Pentateuch in its present form was com- © Koninklijke Brill NV. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. Fried allows for the possibility that certain officials such as Nehemiah might have introduced Jewish legal practice which the Persians backed: “Nehemiah. as well as to provide for the first time a summary of the thesis by P. (ed. had the right and ability to create law and its interpretation and to execute sanctions for its disobedience” (p. As such the present volume serves as a representative for the Anglo-American contribution to the debate. Persia and Torah: The Theory of Imperial Authorization of the Pentateuch. but that one should also look for alternative models to explain the origin of the Pentateuch. this is not a case of imperial authorization as defined by Frei” (p. Frei’s thesis of direct Persian influence upon the formation of the Pentateuch as part of the so called imperial authorisation has been debated in German and French biblical scholarship.). P. Lisbeth S. as Persian governor. He concludes that the theory remains a possible hypothesis.book reviews 67 Watts. 61). If that had been the case it would be impossible to argue that the law promulgated in Ezra 7:25-26 was in fact the Pentateuch. Pp. Naturally it was difficult to introduce students to the topic since all information available in English had to be second-hand. $39. in English translation. 2005 Also available online – www. ISBN 1-58983-0156.95.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. mainly due to the fact that Frei’s magnum opus has never been translated. published in 1995. these articles form a pendant to the inaugural issue of the Zeitschrift für altorientalische und biblische Rechtsgeschichte. In English on the other hand. In a way. James W. Nevertheless. 87). 67). The essays in this volume (originally papers delivered to the Biblical Law Section of the Society of Biblical Literature) are an attempt to stimulate fresh discussion of the topic. Lester L. Fried (“‘You shall appoint Judges’: Ezra’s Mission and the Rescript of Artaxerxes”) argues that the judges appointed in Ezra 7:2526 were in fact officials that acted according to Persian law and would not have promoted Jewish law: “A completely Persian judicial system would have been installed in the satrapy Beyond The River with Persian judges and magistrates … This was Ezra’s task” (p.

at the same time he argues that the origin of the Pentateuch can be explained without any appeal to an Imperial authorisation. Donald B. constant. At the same time it becomes apparent that we have to assume some Persian influence on local affairs.68 book reviews pleted by the end of the Persian period. Frei himself acknowledges the “principle of local autonomy” (ibid. 40) really interfered in the codification of the Torah. but it is doubtful that the “first supranational empire of the Mediterranean” (p. an imperial authorisation of his law seems highly unlikely. If the Pentateuch has been the official archive or library of the community of the second Temple. This allows for the conclusion that local governors and administrators enjoyed a larger amount of freedom and independence from the central administration of the Persian Empire than previously assumed: “Rather than looking for a highly centralized. Redford (“The so-called ‘Codification’ of Egyptian Law under Darius I”) looks at the Egyptian evidence for collecting legal material and argues that the tradition of collecting older legal material started well before the arrival of the Persians: “Egypt entered the last quarter of the sixth century bce with perhaps the most sophisticated legal system in the world” (p. Darius’ desire to collect Egyptian law happens in accordance with local Egyptian practice and simply served to inform the new rulers of the existing practices of their subjects. as well as regarding Ezra’s rule against intermarriage as part of “the ongoing dynamic between central authority and regional control” (ibid. Frei. Jean-Louis Ska (“‘Persian Imperial Authorization’: Some Question Marks”) notes that much of the texts in the Pentateuch are ill-fitting for a constitutional document. 134). Knoppers (“An Achaemenid Imperial Authorization of Torah in Yehud?”) is able to show that the distinction between sacred and royal law is not just applied to stipulations regarding the empire or the temple but to a variety of settings.g. Knoppers). though without any Persian input. 153). Since the historical value of the Ezra tradition in the Bible is more than questionable. and tightly defined Persian policy to explain the disparate measures taken by local commissioners. this might have been the reason for its normative status: “As a written text. 170). As such. All the essays make fairly clear that the evidence available does not support the thesis of P.) of the Achaemenid government. Gary N. it may be better to recognize the degree to which the Persian government allowed local leaders to be active players in shaping policies within their communities” (p.). Such a view would explain the disparate nature of the legal stipulations throughout the Persian empire. Even if one does not subscribe to an Imperial . and the contributors to the discussion are right to stress this point (e. the Pentateuch acquires the quality of a normative and irrevocable document about Israel’s origins and judicial organization” (p.

This is a useful volume that no serious scholar who works on the formation of the Pentateuch can overlook. 8:22-31 (p. due to the English translation of Frei’s thesis. Carole R. 45-46)? The interpretive possibilities give the reader pause to rethink conclusions that may rely more on traditional assumptions than the texts warrant. ISBN 0-82646-024-0. 7:6-27 pursuing a male in order to become a mother. 2002.book reviews 69 Authorisation which is responsible for the Pentateuch. 2005 Also available online – www. 1 . JSOTSup. who talks of seeking “the truth buried under the mountain of tradition” (p. Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press. the conversation requires the reader’s engagement with the current scholarly discussions in the areas covered. £60.brill.. wanders into byways that provide information we might not have expected. with its introductory address “To the Reader”. his work will become more widely known in the English speaking world. that is to be expected. Hagedorn Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin Fontaine. 138) when the Hebrew is notoriously ambiguous? Was the adulteress of Prov. which may have influenced the Proverbs material. For example. Anselm C. Here the numerous comparative material utilised and discussed in the volume will be of invaluable help. one cannot neglect the fact that much of the Pentateuch was probably edited in the Persian period. Pp. including Ellen Frankel’s imaginatively voiced Lilith. too. In this respect the title does not give due note of the scope of extra-biblical material under discussion. And. can one talk of a “more literal” reading of Prov. her husband having not only gone away physically but having been found lacking in the matter of fertility (pp. Smooth Words: Women. Proverbs and Performance in Biblical Wisdom. then these connections need to be brought into the conversation. the texts of the Ancient Near East and the Wisdom literature of the Hebrew Bible. 133).00. This work. Why should we assume that the proverbial wisdom of the sages in Proverbs was all penned by men? Listening to the warnings against fools as the voice of women con- © Koninklijke Brill NV. 356. invites reflections on the Lilith of the Present. At the same time it is hoped that. just as in any “real-life” conversation.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. this one. At the same time. A bibliography and indices conclude the book. And if at times the reviewer questioned the author’s own view on a point. the discussion of the Lilith origins in the ANE. Cl. If Israel’s sages were “ecumenists” in their connections with past and surrounding cultures. Leiden. For example. offers an invitation to enter into a conversation that draws upon a scholar’s lifetime of work in the areas of folklore. xii + 296.

allowing the point that “in the real world of oral use of . No passive listening role for the reader. whether this strengthens the case for female authorship in the book of Proverbs is less sure. Fontaine’s experience of folklore study brings the reminder that while Woman Wisdom and Woman Stranger are literary constructs. At the same time. I wondered whether the detail of the slave’s challenge could be extracted from a seemingly patriarchal bag of stock motifs. subtitled “Women Using Wisdom: Performing the Tradition”. in this conversation! After a detailed consideration of the genre and performative power of proverbs. their features also belong to the world of oral literature. In the first example. 16:44 with 18:10-20. The conclusion of this broad survey of the roles of reallife women and of the various goddesses is that both contribute to the Proverbs pairing. While the reviewer is personally a little wary of cross-cultural and cross-time parallels. Mari and Hittite women provided more persuasive examples. The wide-ranging and detailed survey of the roles of women in chapter two plots a correspondence between the roles played-out within the private and public arenas. a slave girl “talks back” to the pharaoh. as Fontaine acknowledges. the reviewer was grateful for such a survey and engaged critique. which then became codified in the metaphors of Woman Wisdom and Woman Stranger. and a welcome indicator of just how prevalent the motifs now attached to Wisdom and Woman Stranger were in the ancient world. The final words of this long chapter concern the dualism of good/bad and set the task: “It must remain the job of feminist readers …”. The exploration of possible goddess ancestors in the Ancient Near East is far ranging. This is the introduction to chapter three. Fontaine draws upon Ezekiel’s usage. As the focus is on the challenge resolved by the pharaoh’s scribe. and once again there is the goddess and tree connection. which then moves to a further subtitle. the excursus relating a wise woman’s composition in Old Norse does provide a glimpse into a world with certain similarities—the wise Nordic woman does sound like Wisdom in Proverbs 8. 156). from Middle Egypt. 89 provides a useful visual aid. the goddesses in particular explaining the apparent “straying” from private to public venues. “The Women Respond: Reversing Abuse through Use”. 58-59). As such discussions continue to multiply. The diagram on p. particularly the woman reader. to illustrate the point that “the gender and the social location of the proverb user (as well as its original maker) affect the way in which supposedly “neutral” traditional truths are deployed and exercised within society” and in particular “in what circumstances and to what end” (p. Personified Wisdom provides the move to cosmic considerations. in particular comparing Ezek. although Fontaine acknowledges the continuing scholarly ambivalence about Wisdom’s origins.70 book reviews cerned for the welfare of their family does indeed make equal or perhaps even more sense (pp.

Yet the Shekinah sides with her in the Kebra Nagast allowing the comment that “one cannot sin against a wise woman. without consequences” (p. and down to earth. silent shadow of thought. McKinlay University of Otago . 239). as well as the changing resolutions to riddles spoken and unspoken. The conclusion. and of the material we include. Chapter four is a delight. making the point that in both the biblical text and its later usage the advice works on the assumption that “women and their plots make men weak and sinful” (p. ‘See God’s creation! … What will you do with it?’” The words of Wisdom are neverending indeed. of the engagement with readers. I have thought of gathering together some of the creative assignments I have set. and looked out the window. Carole Fontaine proves herself such a one. Judith E. 229). of the textual canons we use. poignant. 190). committed and no less scholarly. is remarkable in its variety. again addressed to the Gentle Reader. The quest as stated at the end of this chapter has been “for a wise woman who might speak to and for Wisdom in a woman’s voice. The reader watches Sheba setting Solomon riddles in the Second Targum to Esther and Midrash Mishle but also sees her bested by Solomon in the fourteenth century ce Kebra Nagast. wise. specifically to those “wise women” of 2 Samuel. With the insights gained from this discursive journey around the ANE. which is one of the riches of this book.” The focus for the final section of this chapter has settled on the Queen of Sheba. they (i. In a work about women as “authorized performers” of wisdom. “Do not believe what is written in the course catalog … for the class dates will change and pre-requisites will appear”! “ ‘God cares.e. this chapter makes me regret I have not done so. from the students of Andover Newton. Wisdom’s own. “the brevity and gaps of the Hebrew Bible are to be preferred” (p. Watching the haggadic moves is a matter of noting the changing performance arenas. transformed into the demon Lilith by the Zohar and with hairy feet in several later texts. whose journey outwards or forwards through texts unfamiliar to this reviewer. so that compared with these. It is creative. This is Wisdom-speak twenty-first century style. In many ways this study stretches the boundaries.book reviews 71 wisdom.’ said Wisdom. begins with a warm acknowledgement that scholarly journeys always follow the tracks of those who have gone before. women) are equal players with native wit and full group membership” (p. 201). But we are soon taken again on side trips into the world of later Judaism with the Queen Mother’s words to her son Lemuel set in the mouth of Bathsheba. the chapter returns to women using wisdom in the biblical texts.

procedures and aims. the author disentangles (to stay within her own text-textile metaphors) the four chosen commentaries. It is impossible to summarise chapter III in which Spaller gives her results concerning the four commentaries. Norbert Lohfink. Lauha finds the Book of Qoheleth to affirm that philosophy leads to a dead end. 2001 Pp. Np. Her choice of a primary text is not entirely by chance. 7. Christina. After an introduction (chapter I). the author positions herself systematically with her own work and names the individual. 2005 Also available online – www. xxiv + 291. the commentary. chapter II lays the methodological basis: What is language? How does it work? What conceptions of discourse exist? What is a text? How is it created? What happens in reading? What is reading? What is perception? What are the conditions of perception? At the end of this chapter. attested for instance in his explicit preference for theology over philosophy and over a philosopher like Qoheleth. Münster: LIT Verlag. The author is not satisfied with a critical reflection on this process but puts that process to the test by questioning minutely four Christian commentaries on Qoh. she detects a strong religious commitment. is in a direct line with basic © Koninklijke Brill NV. It belongs within a particular sphere of increasing interest in biblical studies. with regard to the preliminary issues of chapter II. “Die Geschichte des Buches ist die Geschichte seiner Auslöschung …” Die Lektüre von Koh 1. The present work by Christina Spaller is a revised edition of her doctoral thesis submitted at Salzburg. and the secondary texts is central. a framework of questions is designed prior to the detailed analysis of all four examples. Chapters IV and V develop the results of the analysis of chapter III. Instead.3-11 in vier ausgewählten Kommentaren. This fact warrants the question: Why are the interpretations so dissimilar? To answer.72 book reviews Spaller. rather than philosophy. ISBN 3-8258-5395-0. Regarding Aarre Lauha. Leiden. social and hermeneutical context of her work. for there is hardly another biblical book where the interpretations differ as widely as in the case of Qoheleth in the German-speaking research of the twentieth century alone.brill. An essay stands in the place of postscript to the whole book. Christianity. Pbk. Diethelm Michel and Thomas Krüger. According to Lauha. Qoheleth.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. To this end. The determination of the relationship between the primary text. a few examples of Spallers conclusions respecting the interests of their authors shall be offered. 1:3-11. the reader-response process of interpreting biblical texts. In chapter III there follows the practical application of the theory on the four selected commentaries by Aarre Lauha. not least among Germanspeaking scholars: namely. interesting herself in their presuppositions. She tries to understand how the threads and colours have been woven into patterns resulting in the new product. Exegese in unserer Zeit. 1 .

structure and terminology) is brought to light. notes.book reviews 73 Old Testament views and the true biblical doctrine (see p. As far as historical plausibility goes. Norbert Lohfink is explicitly interested in a positive interpretation of Qoheleth. 269). Diethelm Michel. Thomas Krüger stresses the open scope of action for human beings in their world and history. selection. Qoheleth is an intellectual who questions doctrines of faith. it will still be possible to dis- . his Qoheleth shows an affinity to his own biography. Since Lohfink is concerned with the socio-political relevance of the texts. but there is a socio-political relevance of its interpretations. The reflection of one’s own presuppositions and the responsible dealing with them is a scientific standard for all future exegesis. not because we learn something we did not know previously (at least theoretically). as one voice in a larger argument. which destroys what is unearthed. The primary text is never unequivocal in meaning. All that remains both for Qoheleth and for a critical modernity is a scepticism of all theory of cognition and a crisis of science. and reads it in the theological perspective of creation as limiting the human role within the cosmos and exhorting recognition of the worth of the passing moment. being a Catholic theologian writing after the Second Vatican Council. The singular (as far as I know) achievement of this book is that it does not stop with the obvious theoretical knowledge about the complex relationship between text and reader. Like Qoheleth. on a metalevel of description of interpretations. but because all that usually remains veiled in an interpretation (hidden in glosses. Instead. The results are impressive. similar to the result of an archaeological dig. who sets out parallels between (biblical) wisdom and (modern) science. without making assessments. Presently these standards are most often met in the publications of feminist exegesis and biblical hermeneutics. according to Spaller. In the future. It is gratifying when a work of research lays its cards on the table at every step. the four different personas of Qoheleth. The only permissible ethical question. it reconstructs the path from the primary text to the commentary as minutely as possible and then connects the four different interpretations. For him. who comments on problems of his time and within the framework of his tradition. Spaller succeeds. I would like to add that the problem of non-existent unequivocality cannot be solved by withdrawing to an archemenidan point outside of interpretation. in presenting each commentary as a multiplication of the primary text. introduction. with the four different commentators and their individual biographies as scholars. concerns the social responsibility of the actions of those who write. finds in Qoheleth the problems of modern science concerning the definition of reality. which is obliterated in the process. so his readers today are required to deal with their own time and find dialectical solutions to their problems.

brill. which can not be subjected to subjective or collective interpretation but must be verifiable through empirical methods. £20.). Pp.and Motivgeschichte places the singular source “Qoheleth“ within a larger context.74 book reviews cuss the historical plausibility of images of Qoheleth (for instance). Leiden. 2005 Also available online – www. Silvia Schroer University of Berne. but one with more support than others and therefore more likely to be accepted. Tom (eds. Gattungs. “writing history“ is always strongly influenced by ideologies and fiction (pp. xviii + 381. 281-82). Switzerland Fortna. Undoubtedly. briefly outlining four common approaches in Johannine studies: oral tradition. A historical jigsaw improves when more pieces are added to the picture. Between these extremes.]. Although this addition to the framework of interpretation is conducted by interests just like any other. 155-247). Pbk. This book is strongly recommended to all self-critical scholars in the field of exegesis. Thatcher describes the present state of research on the Johannine Jesus tradition. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press. Robert T. not independent of the interest of interpretations but in relation to a wider database of antique sources. 1 . 2001. because the outlined horizon of Literar-. Levantine and Egyptian wisdomliterature of the Persian and Hellenistic period on the other. The editors’ decision to invite contributions from authors who represent differing perspectives and who may or may not specialise in the area © Koninklijke Brill NV. The book concludes with another article by Thatcher indicating possible future trajectories for Johannine research. it should contain more plausible data than other theses. An example of this in the field of the exegesis of Qoheleth is an article by Christoph Uehlinger (in Ludger Schwienhorst [ed. some of them historically quite close to Qoheleth. Uehlinger systematically compares Qoheleth’s chorus-like call to rejoicing on the one hand to Mesopotamian. Part 1 includes articles on ‘The Fourth Gospel and Jesus’. where the joy of life in face of the perpetual threat of death is advocated. Jesus in Johannine Tradition. ISBN 0-664-22219-6. and Part 3 is concerned with ‘The Fourth Gospel and Noncanonical Literature’. These sources.00. This book’s introduction by T. have never been viewed systematically. synoptic dependency and developmental theories. Das Buch Qohelet [BZAW 254.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. but it differs from pure ideology or fiction by its framework of reference. written source. This too is a hypothesis. 1997]. and Thatcher. Part 2 considers ‘The Fourth Evangelist’s Sources’.

The introductions to the book as a whole and to its constituent parts are well crafted. for example. this material is clearly designed not only to update academic readers but also to ensure that others who are interested but less experienced in the discipline are provided with essential data. Graham H. ‘The Eyewitness of History: Visionary Consciousness in the Fourth Gospel’). In the case of the essay by Alan Kirk (‘The . ‘Situating John’s Gospel in History’). some pieces give the impression that the author’s own research enthusiasm has somewhat dominated the argument. claiming that the Fourth Gospel is based on an authentic historical record about Jesus (Gary M. ‘The Fourth Gospel and Q’. for example. ‘The Sacramental Tradition in the Fourth Gospel and the Synoptics’). 35-82). The first essay understands the concept literally. Thus. Burge. Similarly. one wonders how far this unresolved clash of interests will be universally appreciated by the book’s target readership. thus far carefully nurtured by the editors’ introductions. John M. the first two studies in Part 3 are both on the relationship between John and Q (Christopher M. however. ‘What Can a Postmodern Approach to the Fourth Gospel Add to Contemporary Debates About Its Historical Situation?’. While the decision to showcase a range of scholarship in all its conflicting variety may be seen by the editors as a positive step (pp. Dewey. 7-9). however. all dealing with the concept of eyewitness in John (pp. there is a sequence of four essays. we lurch back to literalism once more (Craig L. Taken together with the far-sighted conclusion and helpful glossary. when compared on the issue of John’s attitude to Judaism. With the fourth essay. for the reality is that this is a series of studies in which all concerned argue their case with conviction but no-one responds to anyone else. ‘The Fourth Gospel and the Synoptic Sayings Source: The Relationship Reconsidered’). is here left to flounder. In Part 1. A second point which bears on the possible success of the collection is that the policy of including studies on the Johannine tradition by those whose main specialisation lies elsewhere has not always worked in the Fourth Gospel’s favour. ‘Exorcisms in the Fourth Gospel and the Synoptics’. Arthur J. they are also based on conflicting presuppositions. Blomberg. Surely the less experienced reader. The seasoned academic may find this lack of resolution unsatisfactory but will no doubt successfully steer a path through these shifting opinions. rather leaving the gospel to fit around the edges (so. Edwin K. perhaps. see the same concept as having a more complex function in the gospel that relates to the status of later Christian readers (Jeffrey L. Broadhead. These not only have conflicting results but. Staley. Twelftree. ‘The Historical Reliability of John: Rushing in Where Angels Fear to Tread?’).book reviews 75 of Johannine studies has resulted in this extremely wide-ranging and varied collection of essays on the Johannine Jesus tradition. Tuckett. clear and informative. Perry. The following two.

through martyrdom (cf. for the majority of the essays are of a high standard and well worth any reader’s attention. his argument here against the purely sectarian. 269. For example. Broadhead.” heaven’ ignores the fact that those addressed in 7:33-34 and 8:21 are ‘Jews’. While not all may agree with Richard Bauckham’s view on the intended audience of the Fourth Gospel (‘The Audience of the Fourth Gospel’). not disciples. while it can perhaps be argued that Johannine theology used marriage-symbolism (cf. 163).J. S. or assuming that an allusion to Revelation’s ‘marriage feast of the Lamb’ can be slotted in at will in a piece on John (Perry. 306-308). 298). The above comments are not intended to give a negative impression of the entire collection. it hardly makes sense to claim that Thomas’ failing in 20:24-29 is his desire for a premortem ‘ecstatic vision’ of Jesus when the text states plainly that Thomas wants tactile proof of the resurrection (pace DeConick. O’Day’s contribution (‘The Gospel of John: Reading the Incarnate Words’) captures beautifully John’s approach to tradition. Thus. (‘Synoptic Jesus Tradition in the Johannine Farewell Discourse’) makes an excellent case in favour of John’s creative use of traditional material in the . The following are those which this reviewer found especially stimulating. interesting though it be. one learns much about the Gospel of Peter but nothing much about John. 160. 22). To do this without explanation is to fly in the face of manuscript evidence and to mislead the uninformed reader. Thatcher.76 book reviews Johannine Jesus in the Gospel of Peter: A Social Memory Approach’). Gail R. p. 225. Johannes Beutler. Similarly. is the fact that the text of the gospel is not always interpreted as carefully as it deserves. ‘in-group language’. this does not justify either referring to 1:18 as ‘the bridal chamber of God’s bosom’. to state that ‘Jesus explicitly proclaims that his disciples will not be able to follow him to “the place where I am going. Another form of misreading the gospel is to play word-games with the text that the text itself does not play. however. 162. Thatcher’s proposal that the figure of the Beloved Disciple probably originated with a real person but was developed through legendary accretion and the retrojection of later values is thought-provoking and tempts one to wonder whether something of the same trajectory could be traced between the historical Jesus and the gospel presentations of him. p. 36 that he will follow him afterwards. 21:18-19. and the discussions by Staley and Arthur Dewey pose vital questions about historicity and culture. pp. and also that Jesus specifically promises Peter in 13:33. 3:29). A final point on interpreting the gospel text concerns the inclusion of references to John 7:53-8:11 in studies on the work of the fourth evangelist (see Winter. More serious here. approach is undeniably telling. or linking ‘the “wine” provided by Jesus at the marriage-feast’ with ‘the “intoxicating” Spirit mediated by the risen Jesus (John 15:11)’. p. pp.

A. Np. Having recalled the use of the term in relation to mere mortals. This approach.” namely as Father. Thompson stresses “functional” rather than “ontological” aspects. 41). It is proposed that the “fundamental question” of the Gospel is the question of God.brill. 1 . Here. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. Joanna Dewey’s essay on the interaction between oral and written texts (‘The Gospel of John in Its Oral-Written Media World’) is a gem. goes against the current trend of treating this Gospel from a “christocentric” standpoint. 114). with the Gospel of John evidencing a “high” Christology in view of the fact that “the functions exercised are seen as unique divine prerogatives”(p. Williams’ study of the gospel’s ‘I am’ motif (‘“I Am” or “I Am He”? Self-Declaratory Pronouncements in the Fourth Gospel and Rabbinic Tradition’) has a nice appreciation of the interplay between statements of self-declaration on Jesus’ lips and divine claims. this book represents Marianne Meye Thompson’s attempt to take up the challenge posed in N. Catrin H. 2001. as © Koninklijke Brill NV. x + 269. 52). Thus it is seen that “the crucial measure of ‘deity’ is the practice of worship of a specific figure” (p. however. 41). Anderson’s well-researched study (‘John and Mark: The Bi-Optic Gospels’) takes a properly complex approach to the issue of the relationship between John and Mark. but they are not “collapsed” into one. she states: “Calling a figure ‘God’ does not compromise commitment to monotheism. Pbk. So unity and difference are kept in tension. 47). with far-reaching consequences for the interpretation of the gospel. Wendy Sproston North University of Durham. ISBN 0-8028-4734-X. worshipping that figure does”(p. of course. Leiden. Jesus and God in the New Testament (2000). There is. following a well-trodden path. Marianne. consequently. and “the identity and character of God are explicated in terms of the works and words of Jesus” (p. as throughout her study. Dahl’s dictum that God “is the neglected factor in New Testament theology” by carrying out a detailed study of the “theocentric” elements in the Gospel of John. Finally. The God of the Gospel of John. In the Gospel of John “God is identified most characteristically in relationship to Jesus. 2005 Also available online – www. England Meye Thompson. the application of functionality to Christology. As a sequel to her volume The Promise of the Father. no confusion of the persons: the Father and the Son “always maintain their distinct identities” (p.book reviews 77 discourses rather than dependence on a single coherent source. and Paul N. The author offers first of all a review of the ways the term “God” is used in biblical and related literature. There follows. Pp.

the revelation and knowledge of God being concentrated in Jesus.78 book reviews Bultmann’s famous dictum that “Jesus as the Revealer of God reveals nothing but that he is the Revealer” is charged with doing. It is in this connection that it is argued. Whilst recognizing the centrality of the theme of life in the Gospel. Word. one has some reservations about the employment of the expression “The Living Father” as the title for the second chapter of the volume. the explicit textual evidence for it is rather meagre (only in John 6:57). and that the exercise of this prerogative attests to the unity that Jesus has with God as the Son of the Father” (p. after all. which has past. The claim that the Son “has life in himself” (5:26) is deemed to be very significant and relates his activity closely to that of the Father. 80). However. Wisdom is not in the end. 87). contrary to the usual view of the Spirit conceived in Christological terms. 53). 141). in which the Christological circle lies within and shares its center with the larger theological circle”(p. It is as the origin and source of the Son’s life that the Father is greater. Indeed. contrary to the well-nigh universal view. “the life-giving work of the Father in the Son does not refer to a single event but to the all-encompassing creative and sustaining work of God. however. 238). The analogy offered to illustrate the relationship between them is “of concentric circles. In the chapter on the Spirit of God we are encouraged to treat the Paraclete in relation to God as well as to Christ. 225). not acceptable to Thompson. This apparent paradox is resolved by her in statements such as this: “Arguments for the Son’s dependence on the Father are ultimately arguments for the unity of the Son with the Father”(p. Moreover. 135). The basic contentions of this chapter are “that in offering the gift of life Jesus exercises a unique divine prerogative. Thompson argues for a theological context: “The primary conception of the Spirit . Chapter 3 deals with the way in which God is revealed in the Gospel of John. for. Thompson characterizes this as “complete unity” of Father and Son. that “the ‘realized eschatology’ of the Gospel is as much a function of the Gospel’s theology as of its eschatology or Christology” (p. with and in the world” as “the power and activity of God manifest in order to bring life” (p. So. 82). but rather expresses God’s own ways. separable from God. This makes it “theocentric in focus and content” (p. “There is no separate and distinct knowledge of one without knowledge of the other” (p. and glory are the best explications of the sort of relationship and unity that already exist between the Father and the Son by virtue of that Father-Son relationship” (p. present and future reference points” (p. “Terms such as Wisdom. 239). The high Christology of the Gospel of John is found side by side with a notable strain of subordinationism—a term which is. these concepts are to be treated more in terms of personification than of hypostatization.

it may appear somewhat ungenerous to point out some omissions. “Jesus does not replace the Jewish festivals. and neither does God’s deliverance ‘replace’ the deliverance of the Exodus from Egypt. Indeed. Thompson sees this matter too in theological terms.” the response is that. we are here reminded of Gordon Fee’s characterization of the Holy Spirit in Paul as “God’s empowering presence. This reviewer would have welcomed some consideration of the noteworthy contributions of J. The implications of the worship of Jesus for the identity of God need also to be addressed. it is not so much a matter of contrasting two rites or two religions or two forms of piety. it is worship through Jesus Christ because he has been revealed uniquely in him—a phenomenon which Richard Bauckham has called “christological monotheism.” In a final chapter the importance of worship for the Gospel is affirmed. Whereas the view that it contains a Christocentric “replacement theology” has been a popular one. 217). and the author eschews attempts to reconstruct the history of the text in relation to the alleged Johannine community. unusually for a study of the Gospel of John. the festivals of Israel.T. Whilst applauding the scope of this significant study. 186). This recalls Hurtado’s claim that worship of the one God is also worship of Jesus: in fact. Aberystwyth . As a result questions regarding the milieu and purpose of the Gospel’s theology remain in abeyance.E. Jesus is presented by John “as the one through whom worship is directed to God” (p. 220). which is throughout lucidly argued and attractively written. are taken up into those festivals that celebrate the continuation of that narrative”(p. 225). and the eschatological context of true worship is brought out. R. Indeed.N. It has frequently been stated that the real issue in Johannine Christology is the nature of the relationship between Jesus and God. Thus. Brown’s The Community of the Beloved Disciple does not feature in the bibliography. which present and represent that narrative of God’s saving work. In reply to the question of whether “the Gospel testifies to the practice of worshipping Jesus. actually.” The investigation undertaken is avowedly theological in character. John Tudno Williams The United Theological College. provides us with a thorough treatment of this relationship. and this volume.book reviews 79 that runs through the Gospel is that of the Father’s life-giving power that has been granted to and conferred through the Son” (p. Jesus in effect replaces the temple as the locus of God’s presence. Anderson’s recent significant study The Christology of the Fourth Gospel (1996). Rather. Robinson to the debate about Johannine Christology. and would also have expected some reference to P. “but rather two eras and their respective manifestation of the presence of God” (p.A. It is a measure of the author’s achievement that the work can be heartily recommended to the undergraduate student as well as to the mature scholar.

and seeing underlying social history as decisive upon the scholarly construct.” expressing the need for more scholarly self-consciousness about hermeneutical categories and their ideological content. ISBN 0-664-22406-7. 44) and implies a symmetry which does not exist (p. 2005 Also available online – www.brill. Troels (ed. Almost every influential current since around 1800 has been governed by the dichotomy. Wayne Meeks describes the use of the dichotomy from the Tübingen School to the modern study of Judaism. he claims. One needs to give up altogether operating with the “Judaism–Hellenism” dichotomy. Judaism and Hellenism can represent almost anything. Whatever we do in the exegetical workshop is dependent on fundamental categories. The dichotomy continues on in the analyses of North American scholars as varied as Ellis. 2002. Boyarin and Segal. x + 355. dependent on the ideology and religious and/or social interest of the person who uses the dichotomy (pp. His conclusion is that “the adjectives Jewish and Hellenistic are practically no help at all” in sorting out variety in early Christianity (p.80 book reviews Engberg-Pedersen. Troels Engberg-Pedersen states that the title envisages a “new research program. Pp. 26). not allowing the traditional “either–or” to skew analysis. Leiden. this book is to be welcomed for its meta-critical ambition in doing precisely that. Rethinking the Judaism-Hellenism Dichotomy. these fundamental categories often include a “Judaism–Hellenism” dichotomy. In New Testament studies. 1 . but also because it construes ancient conflicts in the terms of nineteenth-century Germany” (p. Martin Hengel’s influential Judaism and Hellenism is “problematic not only because it constructs Judaism as simply a praeparatio evangelica.). Martin’s analysis is insightful indeed and should become seminal. Dale Martin overviews the use of the dichotomy. and the remaining eight may be seen as case studies in 1 Corinthians and 2 Corinthians with the Judaism–Hellenism divide in view. 58–59). (It is interesting that the present volume appears the same year as my own methodological criticism of the dichotomy. 30). The result has been to construe Judaism as the antipole of Protestantism. Since astonishingly few works examine the validity of such fundamentals.00. Philip Alexander’s study “Hellenism and Hellenization as Problematic Historiographical Categories” stresses at least two important caveats of © Koninklijke Brill NV.nl Biblical Interpretation 13.) The first three articles discuss the dualism from a meta-perspective without reference to the Corinthian correspondence. Modern exegesis maintains the same dichotomy. sweeping from seventeenth-century England and Germany to present-day North American scholarship. So German philhellenism favoured the Greek universalism and demeaned “particularistic” Judaism. a fact which may indicate the beginning of a shift. £25. Paul Beyond the Judaism/Hellenism Divide. Louisville / London: Westminster John Knox Press. Pbk. Schoeps.

and majored on conversion. and is problematic as historiographical category. with the Hellenistic philosophies.G. The latter focused on a unitary value. a series of articles focus particularly on Paul’s Corinthian correspondence. Henrik Tronier forcefully argues for a common pattern in philosophical idealism. But Meeks does not lessen the confusion when he states that “Jewish associations became ‘Hellenistic’ by transplantation out of their homeland”(p. Doing this analysis he escapes the haphazard categorizing that is so common in the use of this dichotomy. from mere knowledge of Greek to rabbinic adoption of Greek cultural institutions. Pauline Christianity was “philosophy-like. Meeks focuses on how the practical lives of an assembly like that of the Corinthians would have appeared. 129). Ps-Hecataeus) and the statement that they “became Jewish in a Hellenistic way” is ambiguous as long as the concepts are not properly defined. Socrates or Jesus) and consequently to a hermeneutical method. Paul’s basic structures are .” The decisive thing is how the school appeals to an authority figure (Plato or Moses. John M. Stanley Stowers attempts to situate early Christian groups in their current religious-philosophical context. Jews could preserve their identity as well in the Diaspora as in their homeland (cf. Stowers suggests that. which integrated religion and culture. Comparing schools of different cultures of the Mediterranean with 1 Corinthians. To escape the polarization of Judaism-Hellenism that is “deeply lodged within the collective psyche of modern New Testament scholarship” (p. comparing it to (Judean) immigrant groups in Mediterranean cities. Alexander applies an analytical grid to measure the degree of Hellenistic influence on the Rabbis as a test case. Barclay compares ‘Hellenistic’ constitutional ideals and the Pauline strategy for the Corinthian church. which could accommodate diverse members. Jewish apocalypticism and Paul. The result is that Paul’s church both resembles. using seven categories. Loveday Alexander discusses whether the Pauline assembly could be regarded “Jewish” or “Hellenistic. Using material from Josephus’ Against Apion. and shows distinctive differences from. This direction towards the concrete seems fruitful.” but does not say that this pertained to a “Hellenistic” ideology of Christianity. Even if there are parallels between the practices of schools in and outside the Jewish community. being more complex than was recognised in earlier scholarship.book reviews 81 “Hellenism” in scholarly use: it is highly charged with ideology. the outer form does not make schools “Jewish” or “Hellenistic. 138). Beyond these traditional forms he formed transcultural communities. to its contemporaries. being in opposition to bourgeois values.” but does not settle for a superficial use of the terms. contrasting the ancient religious systems of the Mediterranean. the picture in Against Apion and that his strategy defies the social distinction “Jews” and “Greeks”. Following on from these general studies.

To understand Pauline anthropology aright. Sometimes even in this volume the terms “Hellenism’ and “the Judaism–Hellenism dichotomy’ have an almost essentialistic ring. 178). Tronier unnecessarily sets “spatial” against “temporal” categories in the apocalypses. an elite culture never thought of or implemented as a cultural or ideological program. Such a model tends to suppress the local. Mitchell operates with the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy intact. In exploring 2 Cor. one must go beyond the divide. The tension between apocalypticism and Philo remains. but nonetheless shows the complexity of Paul’s thought-world. Unfortunately this seems to do violence to the material. To demonstrate this.82 book reviews in Jewish apocalypticism. whereas historians of the period rather describe Hellenism as a veneer. instead of studying how Paul interacted with his com- . Such is almost absent in the present volume (with P.g. that anthropology is not at home in either world. Tronier) is correct. death and eschatology. Such an enterprise should dare to continue the ideological criticism along the lines that Martin has set out. 1 Enoch. The final study by John T Fitzgerald discusses the background of the word katallagê as an example of how Paul creatively shifts traditional paradigms. After all. Revelation) typically employ spacial and angelic hierarchies while simultaneously adhering to an imminent temporal eschatology that cannot be played down as “logically secondary” (p. and the common cognitive structure suggested seems unsubstantiated. Tronier admits that he must move to “a high level of generalization”(p. 9:19–23 by means of patristic material. The time is ripe for a program like the one envisaged. it can too easily become a philosophical or theological eisegesis of Paul or early Christianity. Consequently. even if the program in this case is formulated post festum. as if they “existed’ apart from our constructions. However. 4:16–5:10 on anthropology. whereas there are both Hellenistic and Jewish features to Pauline anthropology. Alexander’s article as exception). the latter is only a version of an overarching Hellenism—“Judaism within Hellenism. however. David Aune contends that. and “the concrete Paul” living in the utterly complex patchwork culture of the Mediterranean. Margaret Mitchell interests herself in the “the complex admixtures of Hellenism and Judaism present in Paul’s thinking” and the syntheses between them. With the historians it is worth asking whether there ever was such a Hellenism or if the thought that Judaism existed under a Hellenistic umbrella (Hengel.” Ideas of knowledge like those found in philosophical idealism (Philo) play a formative role both in the apocalypses (1–2 Enoch) and in Paul. She investigates the background of 1 Cor. but thoroughly challenge the mere idealistic and colonialistic concept of Hellenism by starting in a thorough historiographical analysis. Droysen’s Hellenism is a retroprojection into antiquity of an idealistic model. the emic. But those apocalypses (e. 195).

paraphrases. but from the interpretations of the text in art. It explores both more inclusive and more varied ways of reading and understanding the Bible than a normative. Even if there are some tensions between this introductory approach and the approach of some contributors (most notably the late Robert Carroll—a draft of the lecture he gave is included in the book). 97-98). at worst as ‘errors’. In that case. © Koninklijke Brill NV. 2002. England. Martin. O’Kane attempts to bridge the perceived gap between the current scholarly interest in cultural interpretations of the Bible and traditional Catholic artistic ‘exegesis’. 2005 Also available online – www. as Edward Kessler points out (pp. dramatic re-enactments. In the protestant tradition such artistic interpretations were seen at best as distractions from ‘The Real Thing’. JSOTSup. O’Kane points out that the familiarity Catholics have with biblical stories comes not from the biblical text itself. the Catholic Biblical Association. 313. xii + 364. £65. The book is the tangible result of two conferences in Birmingham. This is not at all said as a criticism of the book though.book reviews 83 plex context. Borders. Read in light of the Catholic teaching of analogia entis with its positive approach to culture as a means of revelation in contrast to the negative protestant (in particular Barthian) approach. etc. the title ‘Borders. the bridging attempt is so convincingly made that it serves as more than a gesture towards the sponsors. ISBN 1-84127-148-9.brill. Boundaries and the Bible. p. Boundaries …’ which we must assume expresses the intended common denominators of the contributions.00. Leiden. that grew out of the Bible and Arts Programme at Newman College. theological one. 1 . 10) is not a very Protestant way of pushing at open doors which in the Catholic tradition were never closed. Anders Gerdmar Uppsala University O’Kane. London: Sheffield Academic Press. In the introduction to the book. the introduction makes one wonder if the whole idea of constructing ‘a cultural-literary account of the Bible—divorced or separated from theological metaphysics’ (Carroll. rather it is because of the clarity of some of its articles that the book engenders such reflections on the tensions between often unaddressed forces at work in biblical cultural studies. reveals a notion of cultural readings as a form of boundary-crossing which may be at odds with the context in which the conferences took place. Pp. music.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. The ambition of the present volume to challenge the idealistic constructs makes it an important contribution to a thorough rethinking of the Judaism-Hellenism dichotomy. Pbk.

where he emphasises similarities in the iconography of the two religious traditions. Wendy Porter and John Hull. The contributors to this part are Stephen Prickett. Perhaps more justice would be done to the contributions in Part 2 if they had been published in a separate volume. and Kessler’s article on the ‘Sacrifice of Isaac (The Akedah) in Christian and Jewish Tradition’. Edward Kessler. but this is also a subtle piece reflecting on issues of history. Other contributions could be sorted under the heading ‘Biblical Narratives in the Visual Arts’. Docherty traces the reception history and the popularity of the character of Joseph in early Jewish literature (Artapanus. not unlike Quentin Skinner’s reading of Machiavelli. focused on issues of character formation and characterisation. Joy Sisley. Ortiz studies different ways of parenting in a couple of ‘religious’ films on the Holy Family and science-fiction films. Susan Docherty. Larry Kreitzer.84 book reviews The book very clearly consists of two separate parts. Joseph and Aseneth. colonialism and empire. Papers from the second conference entitled Characters and Heroes of the Bible: Challenging Traditional Assumptions are found in Part 2 of the book. Cheryl Exum. Philo and Pseudo-Philo).’ Thus Kreitzer explores the use of the crucifixion narrative in Kipling’s ‘The Man Who Would Be King’. as the conference title indicates. Exum compares Liz Hurley’s onedimensional and boring Delilah with Hedy Lamarr’s sparkling Delilah 50 years earlier and analyses how they relate to the biblical account and to their contemporary contexts in very different ways. The contributors to this part are Robert Carroll. Among these are O’Kane’s article on the artistic interpretations of Matt. 2:13-23 (the flight into Egypt). Gaye Ortiz and Anthony Axe. Sisley discusses Turner Pictures’ translation of biblical narratives into quasi-historical accounts moulded in the genre of American frontier myths. Martin O’Kane. but also to themes in many of the biblical texts under discussion. Part 1 includes the papers from the first conference entitled Reading the Bible: Breaching Borders. Larry Kreitzer. Crossing Boundaries. Many of the contributions could be sorted under the heading ‘Biblical Narratives in Later Literature. Book of Jubilees. Prickett reflects methodologically on the issue of characterisation and applies his ideas in a reading of Thomas Mann’s Joseph and His Brothers. where ‘boundary-crossing’ and ‘border-breaching’ not only refer to biblical scholars crossing over into a cultural-public domain. Margarita Stocker. Josephus. or if the book title had been changed so that it also reflected the strong common theme of characterisation running through this part. which. Stocker traces the transformation of the character of Judith in both nineteenth century Ameri- . Mary Douglas. Another way of approaching the contributions is to sort them under different headings according to the material they draw on.

Leviticus 11. literature etc. 2002. xii + 148. indignant letter to ‘a Sighted Saviour’ from a blind disciple. and Axe by focusing on the character of John the Baptist in opera. and by drawing in new materials—paintings. Porter and Axe trace the musical interpretations of the Bible. © Koninklijke Brill NV. he pleads for a change in the point of departure for biblical studies. The book contains many very interesting articles that stand well on their own. Porter by surveying works that represent different stages in musical and Christian history. Exum. but still ends up forgiving Jesus for his prejudices against blind people. Kreitzer’s first article. Prickett) are more convincing than those that survey a range of material to make their point.g. JSOTSup. films. £45. 2005 Also available online – www.book reviews 85 can literature and films. This is a book to read if one wants to get excited about the future of biblical studies and the various directions it can take. Hull evades this kind of categorisation by presenting an autobiographical.brill. It is clear that all contributors in this book want renewal. but also stands out as more contextual-political than most of the other papers. ISBN 0-8264-6057-7. London: Sheffield Academic Press. 358. In her view. Carroll is mentioned already. or simply by placing this scholarly activity in new contexts. operas. new theories and methods. Biblical studies is sometimes represented as an extremely traditionalist discipline with little room for renewal or will to renew itself. In his paper ‘Removing an Ancient Landmark: Reading the Bible as Cultural Production’. normative sense) can provide. Pp. Risa Levitt. and the Torah. This short monograph revisits questions surrounding the relationship between Ezekiel and P (by which Kohn means P and H together). Hull points out how the Bible is the principal source of the cultural construct of blindness. Cl. Leiden.00. the Exile. The impression of this reviewer is that with relatively little space at disposal the articles that focus on one work or one character (e. both by envisaging their scholarly activity as part of a broader cultural context than church and theology (in a narrow. what is abominable is to do anything to hurt them. 1 .nl Biblical Interpretation 13. ‘abominable’ teeming and swarming animals are not created by God by mistake. But renewal can take place by use of either new materials. Some contributions do not easily fall into these categories. Jorunn Økland University of Sheffield Kohn. Douglas’ essay provides a fresh reading of a biblical text preoccupied with borders and boundaries. A New Heart and a New Soul: Ezekiel. The piece is largely poetical in form.

Most of my criticisms of this work are really about things Kohn might have done to broaden the scope of her inquiry. while Ezekiel utilized materials from P and D/DTR. trace its development in the scholarly literature. there are a number of positive things to be said about this book. Furthermore. and draw some reasonable conclusions from that evidence. While a close word study of this sort does not make for the most scintillating reading experience. Thus while Wellhausen was wrong about his claim that Ezekiel stands at the beginning of the movement that led to the creation of P. Chapter 3. It is in chapters 5 and 6 that Kohn makes her most significant claims. Today it is widely noted that biblical scholarship tends to reveal as much about the intellectual presuppositions of the scholars producing it as it does about the ancient texts studied.86 book reviews as well as that between Ezekiel and D. Here. he is correct that Ezekiel was a liminal figure on the way towards the creation of a unified Pentateuch. Kaufmann. chapter 2 gives a full discussion of the history of scholarship on the question of Ezekiel’s relationship to other canonical sources. She argues that Ezekiel. For example. in her history of scholarship she juxtaposes the approach pioneered by Wellhausen with that of Y. while those who see P as an already established early source that Ezekiel drew from are often Jews. Following a brief introductory chapter. Rather Ezekiel’s ability to draw from and then fuse together materials from various sources into a new unity set the stage for the redactors of the Pentateuch to fuse P and D materials into a new unity in the period following Ezekiel’s time. Kohn presents strong evidence that Ezekiel was drawing from and playing off of pre-existing P materials. and the deuteronomistic history. freely drawing on pre-existing P and D/DTR materials. followed by some reflections upon what this close analysis reveals about the connections between Ezekiel and P. which in turn would have made it more readable and given it even greater impact. he did not have before him a completed Pentateuch. contains a term by term examination of the use of ninety-seven expressions that Ezekiel shares with P. Kohn is able to set up her thesis clearly. Chapter 4. frequently Israelis. add new significant evidence of her own in a systematic fashion. which is almost half the book. Yet she never takes the time to reflect on the fact that those scholars who see Ezekiel as the father of P tend to be Christians. does the same thing with twenty-one expressions shared between Ezekiel and D/DTR and reaches a similar conclusion: Ezekiel made use of some form of D/DTR. It may have been useful if Kohn reflected on how this truism might shed light on the field’s development rather than simply portraying such scholarship as a series of arguments that just . following in the path of chapter 3. employed them in new and creative ways in order to address the situation of coming destruction and exile during which Ezekiel prophesied.

it is this latter process that gives rise to a usable Pentateuch. Furthermore Kohn portrays the priests in exile as having ‘their ideology discredited’ (p. made the materials less useful than Kohn imagines. Being aware of systemic biases in the field is helpful in any attempt to reach greater objectivity. In fact. much of his material indicts the community in an explosive fashion that mocks earlier sacred texts by transmogrifying. In that sense. while provocative. would boldly combine these contradictory theologies by ingeniously merging four opposing sources’ (p. Yet in many ways. one might argue that the Pentateuchal redactor(s) legitimate both sources even while juxtaposing them in the same document. This likely explains why Ezekiel did not play a central role in the nascent Post-Exilic community. some years later. their original meanings. unlike Ezekiel. often in outrageous fashion. Another factor that might deserve attention is that Kohn’s thesis is bolstered by the evidence that she provides to prove that Ezekiel often takes P and sometimes D materials (her evidence is more Spartan on this latter score) and uses them in pointedly negative ways against the sinning community he addresses. in her conclusions. Similarly. vast portions of P and D are preserved in the Pentateuch rather than simply fused into an amalgam that completely obscures the original materials. Finally. 117). while critical scholars frequently act as if it is taboo to draw out the implications of one’s study for those living today. it is less clear that either text has enough balance to serve a foundation for a community that hopes to rebuild itself after a major destruction.book reviews 87 happened to arise in some random order as various scholars came up with differing approaches to the topic. 117). Kohn might have raised some larger issues about the formation of the Post-Exilic community and its use of sacred scripture. how is it that this school has so many triumphs in the Post-Exilic and Second Temple eras? It may be that Ezekiel’s approach to using the past. while Ezekiel like Amos is included in the canon. who. If P’s theology is utterly discredited. Kohn’s work might have something to say to anyone interested in living a life that is true to both one’s inherited traditions as well as to the current situation. Kohn notes that Ezekiel ‘endeavored to create a new theology that was neither independent of its sources nor a simple composite of them’ and thus ‘Ezekiel is a precursor to the Redactor(s). it would have been nice to hear Kohn’s reflections on whether her study of the book of Ezekiel and its relationship to the development of the Torah might have something to say to contemporary Jews and Christians. Truth be told. Thus. A total fusing of P and D may create something new but less dynamic than a text that in some sense allows various independent voices to be heard. While Ezekiel’s attempt to create something new ends up challenging and in many ways deauthorizing both P and D. .

Without exception they reflect the high-level scholarship of the authors. Leiden. J. The editor. Literary Character and Anonymous Artist. averaging a little more than seventeen pages each. Two of the articles deal with the Book of Jonah. The present volume is the literary deposit of the joint meeting of SOTS and HOW at Soesterberg (the Netherlands) in August 2000. That means that.00. His all-too-brief introduction is a model of its kind and properly holds pride of place and needs to be read before proceeding to the articles themselves. rather than a collection of his sayings. Ezekiel.C. 45. Samuel. x + 263. his prophetic message is limited to a single sentence. original thoughts. The Elusive Prophet: The Prophet as a Historical Person. Euros 75. Indeed. Leiden: Brill. for the most part. and provocative challenges to received wisdom that one would expect in and from such an assemblage. Space does not permit a report on all of the articles. as well as the fresh insights. Pp. The articles are arranged alphabetically according to author—as neutral and evenhanded a method as could be used for a collection of entries. 2001. A. the ‘Con- © Koninklijke Brill NV. where the papers printed here were presented by the several participants. as it alone is a story about a prophet. (ed. or even a detailed treatment of any of them. Even if one ultimately disagrees with her conclusions.00 or $87.).A. which might be regarded as an interloper in the Minor Prophets. The fourteen articles range in length from ten to thirty pages. Amos. Jeremiah. Joel S. Cl.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. 1 . C. Abela’s ‘Jonah and the Intertextual Dialogue with Isaiah 6.brill. Kaminsky Smith College. ISBN 90 04 12160 9. Johannes. and Jonah. Deborah. OTS. MA De Moor. but let me sample some of the more stimulating ideas or challenging remarks. deserves uncommon credit for assembling and editing this handsomely-bound book in exemplary fashion. de Moor. she has marshaled the evidence to support her ideas and by doing so she has clarified and advanced the discussion surrounding the relationship between the book of Ezekiel other canonical sources which contain similar expressions and ideas. The various prophets discussed include Isaiah. they focus on particular prophets or features of their books. 2005 Also available online – www. as well as Moses. and his book should be compared with stories in the Former Prophets or the Writings.88 book reviews None of these criticisms should detract from the fact that Kohn has produced a solid study.

.e.’ or even ‘savage satire’ (assuming as the authors do that the book in its written form is postexilic). i. but we have an important discussion about him almost a century later. The message of the Book of Jonah is complicated and different emphases can be identified. the king and people will revert back to their forever wicked ways. And presumably both prophets paid a price for being a party to a failed or unfulfilled word of God. and this will confirm Jonah’s judgment about God and vindicate him and his behavior. especially books like Amos. as we are told that once the people of Nineveh repented. may be pushing the envelope too far. At one point. The same should be said concerning Jerusalem. Here the problem is resolved by the argument . The most impressive analogy would be the prophet Micah and his message of unconditional doom against the city of Jerusalem and the kingdom of Judah (Mic. It remains an open question as to exactly what the book aims to say and the degree to which it actively participates in the many genres to which it is assigned. he is waiting to see whether his prediction of doom and disaster would actually occur. recorded in Jeremiah 26. In the case of Micah. and the numerous points of contact with other parts of the Bible. but also gave rise to it. its chief character. This undoubted fact should be set against the apparent gentle and benign form of the concluding words. is that the great city of Nineveh. The discussion reveals the concern about an unfulfilled prophecy. has in the meantime not only been razed to the ground but utterly obliterated from the face of the earth. ‘I told you so. One point to be made in the interest of ‘satire. the threatened destruction was cancelled (cf. it will give him the rare opportunity afforded a disenchanted prophet to say to his Lord. 4:1 in the light of 3:10).G. capital of the great Assyrian empire. Hunter’s intriguing essay on Jonah 2 and the Exodus motifs deserves more attention than I can afford to give here. but whether we can go on to postulate that the poem in Jonah 2 is not only integral to the narrative.book reviews 89 fessions of Jeremiah’ and Other Texts’ has many interesting observations about the book.’ A. 4:5). Both Micah’s and Jonah’s prophecies remain unfulfilled in the era or lifetime of the prophet. But that view is incorrect. Jonah already knew that the divine decision had been reversed and that his message of doom had been annulled (4:1-3). Isaiah or Jeremiah. The author has shown ample evidence to connect the themes of deliverance from the mighty waters. 3:11-12). we do not know what happened to him or how his career was affected. when Jonah settles outside the city to see what would happen (Jon. The reason he waits to ‘see what would happen in the city’ is that he is confident that once the threat has passed. Abela argues that. both physically and metaphorically. doubtless the model for the Nineveh of the Book of Jonah.

because Jonah the prophet is dated to the same period in the Deuteronomic History. This is effectively the story of Judah and Hezekiah in the days of invasion and siege by Sennacherib and the Assyrians. upon the members of the third and fourth generations. although not in the time frame contemplated by the speaker or audience. a notably cruel and oppressive enemy. but which nevertheless was the instrument by which the city of Nineveh was spared along with its numerous inhabitants. and history during the critical and catastrophic eighth century bce. actually confirms both the legitimacy and power of his utterances.e. While the story is unlikely to have any historical basis.. far from discrediting the prophet. 4:3. as any and all readers from the time of actual composition would know. Beyond that. there are numerous infelicities and misstatements which have . and their repentance persuaded the Deity to reverse his judgment of doom and spare the city and its people. but the current volume (thanks to the untiring efforts and critical skills of de Moor) reports significant sightings. Regrettably. persuasive insights. the period of the earliest prophetic writings. and provocative proposals concerning those planetary giants that wandered through the Near Eastern landscape during the second quarter of the first millennium bce. But later interpreters took it to mean three or four generations forward in time and posited a residual force in prophecy. By transferring the prophetic message to a foreign country. What is the supposed reader to make of the outcome for both of those great cities? Perhaps the lesson is found in the remaining words of the creedal statement in Exod. Jonah should be regarded as a parable for the interaction of prophecy. we must also bear in mind. theology. 34:67. which is not the native language of half of the participants. the doctrine of reciprocal repentance is universalized as inherent in the divine nature and expressed in his relationship with humanity (a reflection of the somber confession at the conclusion of the Flood story). those words refer to everybody potentially alive at the same time. then God will match repentance for repentance and spare the country. whose message was unfulfilled. This outcome. ‘The elusive prophet’ remains elusive. It was the intention of the writer of the Book of Jonah to reflect that milieu.90 book reviews that Micah’s message had the unintended effect of converting the king and the people. that both Nineveh (612) and Jerusalem (586) lay in ruins. The message for that era was that if you truly repent on a national scale. but visits the iniquity of the fathers upon sons and grandsons. the prophecy in its original form will one day be fulfilled. The same is surely implied in the case of Jonah. that God by no means clears the guilty. i. carefully omitted in Jon. In their original context. We can only applaud the consideration and kindness of the participants and editor in their decision to present the articles in English. it could be presented as a possible happening.

San Diego Carson. After years of stagnation.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. 5). 2001.. to my knowledge. Leiden. and Mark Seifrid. 140. which is recommended to all. and Christianity in general. eds. The editors have assembled a strong team of scholars from both sides of the Atlantic (none. Sanders’ thorough treatment of a wide range of texts.P. many are now attempting to re-evaluate both Paul and Judaism.O’Brien. Justification and Variegated Nomism: Volume I: The Complexities of Second Temple Judaism WUNT 2. sometimes by corpus (Josephus.. could be contrasted with first-century Judaism as grace can be contrasted with works. Chapters are organised mostly by genre (e. There are some superb essays here which combine a broad knowledge of texts and of secondary scholarship with highly © Koninklijke Brill NV. The authors’ task was to examine ‘whether or not ‘covenantal nomism’ serves us well as a label for an overarching pattern of religion’ in the literature of Second Temple Judaism (p.book reviews 91 slipped through the editorial process. ‘expansions of Scripture’.A. Sanders proposed the category of ‘covenantal nomism’ to describe the ‘pattern of religion’ in Jewish texts which emphasised both divine grace (for ‘getting in’) and the necessity of obedience to the law (for ‘staying in’).g. The present volume is conceived as the first of a two-part comprehensive re-examination of the terrain which Sanders mapped: this volume explores the ‘complexities’ of the Second Temple material. in one case with focus on a single text (1QS). Sanders’ Paul and Palestinian Judaism (London: SCM. 1977) challenged scholars to reconsider their evaluations of Judaism in the post-biblical era. while a second is due on Paul. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck. David Noel Freedman University of California. Philo). 2005 Also available online – www.brill.. Pp. It would have been helpful to seek the help of an English-language editor before hastening into print. D. a revival of a nineteenth century schema—whereby Paul’s ‘universalism’ is contrasted with Jewish ‘particularism’ or ‘exclusivism’. and his well-aimed polemics. but not all interpreters of Paul are convinced that this is either fair or adequate. The challenge to the old consensus has not established a new one. 1 . Jewish) to reconsider the texts. 619.00 ISBN 3-16-146994-1 It is now over twenty-five years since E. ‘apocalypses’). Proponents of the ‘new perspective’ have proposed a different antithesis—in fact. All in all a highly informative and stimulating work. Peter T. A new ‘post-Sanders’ era is dawning. ¤ 54. undermined the prevailing assumption that Paul. The resulting volume is mixed in quality.

of grace to ‘get in’ and works to ‘stay in’. If a figure is hailed as full of perfectly righteous deeds. Don Carson offers heavily-slanted conclusions which suggest that for him the object of the exercise was to reassert a familiar dogmatic contrast: ‘Over against merit theology stands grace’ (p. Sanders could rightly claim that his studies performed this task. a sect or subgrouping. Although many of the texts Sanders studied do revolve around these themes. Alternatively. . The themes of grace and law-obedience cannot be understood unless they are contextualised within the larger matrix of the texts concerned. Philip Alexander (‘Torah and Salvation in Tannatic Literature’) and Markus Bockmuehl (‘1QS and Salvation at Qumran’) stand out in this regard. He thinks his authors may have found ‘huge tracts of works-righteousness and merit theology’ lurking within Sanders’ over-capacious category of covenantal nomism. So finally (here a third problem). We need to know in each case what ‘grace’ means and whether its social context is that of an ethnic entity. or a check-list attitude to their task. A significant problem with Sanders’ covenantal nomism is simply that it is over-generalised: as a ‘lowest common denominator’ it can be shown to fit very many of the divergent expressions of Judaism. and Philip Davies on ‘Didactic Stories’). is over-schematic. But then to boil them down to a common abstract scheme runs the risk of losing all the flavour which makes them subtly individual and sometimes at odds with one other. as the most perceptive authors in this volume insist. but quite properly insist that they do not fit the mould of Sanders’ pattern (e. or an individual. As a related problem. the ‘pattern of religion’ is just too abstract.g. identifying priorities or conditions in soteriology. a sinner who repents and throws himself on the grace of God might be commended for that act as a noble and righteous work! As soon as we try to straighten things out into systems. 544). other members of the team have nuanced the discussion or critiqued Sanders in more interesting and significant ways.. style and focus as to contribute little to the analysis of the texts themselves.92 book reviews nuanced treatment of the issues of grace and obedience: the chapters by Daniel Falk (‘Prayers and Psalms’). A long essay on the Pharisees seems only loosely attached to the rest of the volume. that need not mean he does not need grace: it might be by grace that he is so perfect. Others again offer fine analyses of their texts. they also contain subtle (and sometimes contradictory) dynamics in which the motifs of grace and obedience interconnect in many forms. we lose the intricacy which constitutes the specific dynamic of each text. the themes with which they link and conflict. Richard Bauckham (‘Apocalypses’). A few are disappointing. Carson is right on one point. the social context in which they are deployed. the pattern it proposes. Paul Spilsbury on Josephus. Fortunately. their rhetorical valence etc. but it so flattens out their differences in emphasis. with poor discussion of their material.

with its soteriological schema. Because of its resonance with themes in Christian soteriology. but there are good reasons to doubt its value as a methodological tool.) Or. for perfectly good reasons. or in this re-run of a 1970s project. 4 Maccabees (treated here twice) and others. When we bring into the discussion Josephus. But we need to ask more fundamentally whether this is a useful way to place Paul alongside contemporary Jewish texts. Why should we assume that all these Jewish texts somewhere or other (between if not on the lines) operate with a notion of God’s prior and electing grace? Is that a Christian assumption which subtly directs the whole project? (Bockmuehl reminds us of Jacob Neusner’s question to Sanders on this point and.book reviews 93 But the issues go deeper. to press it home. for instance. skew our readings of Jewish texts. or apply them differently to Paul. What no-one here is quite bold enough to ask is whether it is useful to talk about ‘patterns of religion’ at all (covenantal or otherwise). not covenant partner). this form of analysis has gone largely unchallenged by Pauline scholars and Christian theologians. do not. A large number of texts are here considered which were not included among Sanders’ wide-ranging (but only ‘Palestinian’) samples. Does this pattern. who have been content to tweak Sanders’ conclusions. Josephus’ model might be termed ‘patronal nomism’ (God as patron. his analysis arose from a certain structuralist phase in the sociology of religion. Philo. and ultimately more satisfactory. social or historical aspects of their context push into prominence this particular attribute of God? It is certainly more illuminating to compare (and contrast) Paul’s letters with those texts in Judaism which do emphasise divine grace. than to play them off against those which. As Spilsbury notes. John Barclay University of Durham . As Sanders acknowledged. a different soteriology. Alexander asks why we should not consider ‘works-righteousness’ a better form of religion. and it would distort his meaning to squeeze it back into a mould derived from more covenantal texts. we find that some of these texts either fail to mention ‘grace’ or operate without a notion of ‘covenant’. and whether we lose by this method as much as we gain. This should lead us to ask more searching questions. to turn this point around: if certain texts (including Paul) place particular emphasis on grace. why is that so? What theological. But one senses that a more radical. some of which operate with different understanding of divine-human relations. or no soteriology at all? The best essays in this volume partially escape the terms of reference in which this project’s response to Sanders entraps them. treatment of Paul’s subtle relationship with Judaism will need to ask rather different questions than those posed in the Christian dogmatic traditions.

H. 123. 2002. Richard. After some brief comments on Jewish exegesis. written under the supervision of Dr I. identifying the various textual forms and discussing the role of exegesis in producing textual variants. Beaton is not happy with some minimalist fulfilment role for such an extended quotation. Next he offers some general comments on text and exegesis in early Christian use of the Old Testament.00. What emerges is that the two fundamental questions to be addressed must be the state of the text-form of Isaiah at the time Matthew composed his Gospel and the nature of early Jewish usage of Isa. Pp.94 book reviews Beaton. xv + 242. 42:1-4. After the introductory chapter which sets up the project and identifies the thesis. The work is a published version of Beaton’s doctoral dissertation. The Pharisees’ concern for strict adherence to halakhah.’ Beaton claims that the use of the text is what he calls bi-referential: it has significance within the narrative flow. He then narrows his focus to the text of Isaiah.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. Beaton argues that Matthew here ‘presents Jesus as the enigmatic Davidic messiah. Jones and submitted to the University of Cambridge in 1999. Cl. In line with most recent scholarship. 1 . the work moves on to a brief history of research. W. Taking his point of departure from J. Schnackenburg’s argument that one must preserve a connection between the present lowliness of the servant and his future victory. Isaiah’s Christ in Matthew’s Gospel. Leiden. It is to these two questions that Beaton turns in the following chapter. The text is much too important to Matthew for that. He continues: ‘The primary link between the quotation and its context is to be found in a developed contradistinction between injustice and justice. he surveys the current understanding of the state of textual fluidity of the biblical texts in the first century ce—an understanding based largely on the textual finds at Qumran. Neyrey’s observation that the forceful apologetic engagement of Jesus in the immediately following material in Matthew 12 seems anything but humble. before © Koninklijke Brill NV. Rothfuchs correlation between the majesty and power present in Jesus’ miracles and servant texts cited in Matthew (8:17 and 12:18-21) and R. Beaton accepts the widely recognised interest here in pointing to the humility and lowliness of Jesus. 12:18-21. The author provides a book-length exploration of the significance of the extended quotation from Isa. 2005 Also available online – www. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. who is surrounded by increasing hostility’ (p. 42:1-4 in Matt. ISBN 0-521-81888-5. SNTSMS. their unjust treatment of the people and concomitant failure as religious leaders are set against Jesus’ own concept of observance of the Law together with the justice evidenced in his care for the people as Davidic messiah. but he does not think we can stop there.brill. but it also makes a theological statement which operates for Matthew at a higher level. £45. 5).

In particular the text form and the relationship of the citation to context and meaning are investigated. For instance. who offers healing and renewal to the oppressed. Beaton confirms the role of the quotation in pointing to the ‘compassionate. humble servant of the Lord. 42:1-4 is not used with the frequency of such texts as 11:1-10 or 61:1-2. His conclusion about Matthew’s text is that Matthew has used ‘either the Hebrew. address Matthew’s use of Isa. while the Diaspora community understood the text to refer to Israel (the LXX text is the primary evidence). In chapter 4 Beaton explores the other Isaianic formula quotations in Matthew. 42:1-4. damaged. a clear pattern emerges in the usage. Beaton concludes that Matthew’s text forms reflect the fluidity of text forms that characterised the era. 42:1-4. 42:1-4. As Jeremias had argued. with meaning operating both at the immediate narrative level and also in relation to the broader message of the Gospel. In connection with the bi-referentiality anticipated. which he then altered in the light of his own concerns’ (p. in a separate chapter. looking at the christological contribution of Isa. poor and marginalised’ (p. Beaton also finds cases of the bi-referentiality which is important for his own thesis.). before a brief conclusion. 12:1-3 (over against the defective view of justice attributed to the Pharisees).book reviews 95 turning his attention to the early Jewish use of Isa. Beaton divides his treatment. The final two chapters. 153) that there is likely to be a connection between hope in the name in Matt. The quotation ‘resonates with the portrait of a non-confrontational Jesus who avoids unnecessary conflict with the Jewish leaders’ (ibid. that Matthew’s texts are often closer to the MT than is the LXX. first looking at the use of the text within its context in Matthew 11–13 and then. or more likely a Greek (or Aramaic) text conformed to the Hebrew. He finds that while Isa. in search of patterns and approaches that might clarify Matthew’s procedure in the use of Isa. as others have claimed. and that Matthew has exercised choice among texts and even adjusted texts to enable them to better serve his purposes. But as well. Finally Beaton finds that there is. It is mostly here that Beaton breaks new ground. and just as important is the role of the servant in establishing the universal and just rule of God. Palestinian traditions tend to take the text messianically. 141). 41:1-4. Beaton connects effectively the bringing of justice of the quotation and the liberating view of the sabbath expounded and enacted by Jesus in Matt. . Beaton also convinced me (p. Beaton notes that no link is drawn with Isaiah 53 and that the ideas of weakness or suffering are never taken up. 172). a common thread to the uses of Isaiah in the formula citations: the one to whom the texts are applied is the one who brings to fulfilment the expectations of the messianic age.

The chapter on the christological contribution of Isa. Bultmann) fail to reckon with the author’s necessary. The conclusion then reviews the preceding chapters and restates the thesis. xi + 220. a fresh contribution has been offered. but does not seem to take us into new territory. Form critical and kerygma-focused estimations (Schmidt. 23. 2005 Also available online – www.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. and frequently the English idiom is poor. 42:1-4 seems to be distinguished from the preceding chapter by its interest in larger thematic matters and by the linking of the quotations to important texts outside the Matthew 11–13 context (though the previous chapter is by no means devoid of interest in links beyond the immediate context). The treatment of the significance of justice in the quotation stands out as the area in which. The route by which Vines arrives at this conclusion unfolds in careful and cumulative fashion. $29. The overviews are accurate. An initial chapter effectively evaluates various prominent proposals concerning Gospel genre. The judgments made are sensible and probably mostly right. The chapter develops further insights from the previous chapter. 1 . but the whole makes steady progress towards its goal and offers a more sustained argument for the position adopted than has previously been offered. Pp. Pbk.95.. Michael E. A crucial yet still contested issue in the study of the NT Gospels concerns their classification according to genre: what are they. There is an appropriate caution and readiness to be tentative. The main virtue of Beaton’s study is that in it one feels like one is in a safe pair of hands. Bristol Vines.96 book reviews 12:21 and the significance given to the names Jesus and Emmanuel in 1:21. John Nolland Trinity College. originally a dissertation written under Jack Dean Kingsbury at Union Theological Seminary. draws upon the literary theory of Mikhail Bakhtin in contending that Mark finds its nearest literary and ideological counterparts in Jewish novelistic narratives of the Hellenistic period. in the view of this reviewer. 2002. But Beaton makes his case well. There is not a lot that is original. there is often an overfullness of expression. ISBN 1-58983-030-X. intentional and creative use of literary anteced- © Koninklijke Brill NV. The presentation can be repetitive. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature. 3. why do they take a particular form. Academia Biblica. and how are they to be employed? This intriguing monograph.brill. Leiden. Beaton’s writing is not always easy to read. The Problem of Markan Genre: The Gospel of Mark and the Jewish Novel.

mode. To elaborate. and Menippean satire. As such. in chapter three Vines discusses the emergence from ancient epic of Greco-Roman novelization during the Hellenistic period. its striking realism. exposes inadequacies and incongruities. This compressed critique of existing proposals is informed and incisive: it asks penetrating questions. The epic addressed the essential events in a people’s past and extolled the virtues of its unimpeachable hero. scale. Readers need not have Bakhtin in their backpocket (nor wonder whether his currency may soon be eclipsed) to appreciate the considerable pertinence and potential of this analysis of his work in relation to the matter of Mark’s genre. which do reckon more seriously with the Gospel of Mark’s decidedly Jewish and apocalyptically-orientated narrative. and the presentation of the protagonist (Burridge. Aune) are simply too general and superficial to be hermeneutically significant. clears considerable ground. expectations. and thus it is not a matter of mere taxonomy (affixing common labels and categories) but entails tracing a literary heritage: family resemblances in terms of purpose. above all by its sense of narrative time and space (its ‘chronotope’). genre is a metalinguistic (not merely formal) matter. But under the influence of competing ideological perspectives (‘polyglossia’) it eventually yielded to the more . Genre is a function of human literary expression which has its own history and tradition. genre is not about formal similarities but ideological trajectories. do not deal adequately with certain key features: e. an aesthetic work is a socially embedded act of communication which demonstrates the author’s axiological (‘ideological’) relationship to life. focusing upon the respective chronotopes of three particular forms: biography. Even more promising estimations (Tolbert. This is especially evident in the dynamic exchange of perspectives (its ‘dialogical’ character) expressed in a varied use of language (‘heteroglossia’) which in semi-stable form comprises its genre. Formal comparisons with Greco-Roman biography in terms of length. dialogical quality. and opens up promising lines of inquiry. In seeking a literary theory equal to the task at hand.g. with the aesthetic and axiological dimensions of a work (its ‘form-shaping ideology’) refracted in its architectonic form.. concerns and cultural conditions. best indicated by the work’s chronotope. influences. there may be more mileage left in the kerygmatic approach than Vines allows. Vines turns to Bakhtin (chapter two). With that said. especially if correlated more closely and carefully with notable OT antecedents. Backed by Bakhtin. In sum. Collins). commitments.book reviews 97 ents to meet specific needs. and it is on this basis that any comparative analyses must be undertaken in attempting to resolve the matter of Mark’s genre. and especially a Jesus who is no mere role model but a divinely appointed eschatological figure. romance.

still exhibited a conservative axiological orientation towards the past. However. One is thus compelled to ask whether a chronotopic comparison between the latter and the Gospel of Mark could cast light on the emergence of its innovative genre. with its anti-hero and often picaresque adventures.. In sum. realistic and open narrative worlds permeated by conflict between human and divine rule. The more innovative romance. is the manner in which Mark portrays a Jesus who undercuts the piety and nationalism of the Jewish novel and so presents the Jewish people with another crisis of decision—whether they .g. The romance remains essentially bourgeois entertainment and lacks sufficient seriousness. employing ecclectic forms and functioning within ‘adventure time’. offered still idealized but no longer invincible characters. That is. and it projects ‘a realistic. both the Jewish novels and Mark’s Gospel create compact. Greco-Roman biography. Susanna. the polyglossic Hellenistic period resulted in a significant shift from the epic to Greco-Roman novelistic literature.. and Judith—with their generic connection established through a common ‘realisticapocalyptic chronotope’ characterized by a time of crisis and hostile space. There are certain modest differences: e. and matters are ultimately reversed and resolved via divine deliverance and vindication. Accordingly chapter four begins with Vines identifying some illuminating similarities between Greco-Roman novels and Mark. while its own ‘apocalyptic and theological chronotope’ distinguishes it from any broad comparison to the Menippea (p. Mark is more dialogic and episodic. rapid pace and hostile space) and Menippea (e. mocked traditional values and easy answers to life’s incongruities. he concludes that ultimately these are clearly outweighed by notable differences. The exemplary hero of the biography is never (like Jesus) a divinely called counter-cultural figure. however. The closest comparison proves to be between Mark and Jewish novelistic literature—principally Daniel.98 book reviews ideologically-driven and dialogical novel in its various expressions. with its author-controlled and publicallyportrayed hero.g. In short. historical time’ versus the novels’ ‘realistic. And while the Menippean anti-hero does challenge religious and political hegemony. Mark is to be differentiated from the ‘adventure chronotope of Greek romance and the ethical paraenetic chronotope of Greco-Roman biography’. this scenario devolves upon a vulnerable Jewish hero and agent of God who remains obedient in the trying circumstances. indicating that its author was more open to the demands of a now strange and complex world. dialogical encounters and inversion of values).g. ironically Jesus’ role is not this but rather ‘the authoritative representative of God’s kingdom’. Most notable. pseudo-historical time’. particularly in relation to the romance (e. Esther. The iconoclastic Menippean satire. 143).

P. British Columbia Gathercole.D. ISBN 0-8028-3991-6. It will.99 or $32.book reviews 99 will accept Jesus as God’s agent or follow mere human tradition. form and content. This book attempts to reestablish a traditional Reformed/Lutheran interpretation of Paul’s thought over against the so-called New Perspective whose major representatives according to the author are E. the most significant single constituent remains Jesus. Wright. As a result. J. and argues persuasively that Jewish novelistic literature offers a closer comparison to Mark’s genre than Greco-Roman counterparts.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. however. 164). is the assumption that these strains pretty much exhaust serious scholarship on Paul. Cummins Trinity Western University. the book’s location seems to be squarely within a crescent that arcs from Germany across Scotland and parts of England to Evangelical schools in the © Koninklijke Brill NV. S. Simon J. £22. Where is Boasting? Early Jewish Soteriology and Paul’s Response in Romans 1–5.G. It rightly critiques existing analyses of Gospel genre. as in all other respects. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 2005 Also available online – www. and N. Finally. clearly demonstrates the value and pertinence of Bakhtin’s literary theory. Gathercole works self-consciously the traditions of Protestant and modernist biblical interpretation. Pbk. From my perspective in North American Religious Studies. and their comparison best clarifies Mark’s literary heritage and illuminates its ideological interests. especially OT narrative antecedents and the other NT Gospels. One of the book’s features. Gathercole tends to write as if this kind of Protestant Pauline theology simply is Pauline scholarship. Dunn. 1 . we are still left to ponder the capacity of any literary theory—however ideologically attuned—to account for the essentially theological character of Mark’s Gospel. The location is even more particular. Pp. Sanders. The book makes some significant criticisms of especially Dunn and Wright.00..T.brill. This is certainly an important and constructive contribution to the problem addressed. Leiden. however. as Vines himself is well aware. The brief conclusion recapitulates the claim that a chronotopic investigation indicates the fundamentally ideological (not formal) basis for the close generic connection between the Jewish novel and the Gospel of Mark. In this. As such it should be required reading for any serious study of the subject at hand. xii + 311. Every writer has some cultural and historical location. however. 2002. have to be complemented by closer correlation with other essential variables.A. They exhibit ‘a mutual dependence upon a common axiological orientation to the world’ (p.

the New Perspective scholars have portrayed Jewish theology in a way that obscures Paul’s critique of Judaism. 23). . self-glorying. even if exaggerated.’ Gathercole excludes Philo because he does not think him relevant to Paul. Another treats the Qumran literature and a third examines ‘Jewish Soteriology in the New Testament’. but is convinced that recent scholarship has gone too far. Gathercole does not want to keep the whole list of traditional slanders. Josephus and Targums. With minor qualifications. he contends that Sanders and others have overemphasized the concern for ‘getting in’ and ‘staying in’ the covenant at the expense of the literature’s stress on salvation by works. In Gathercole’s view. Gathercole acknowledges that some texts such as from Qumran stress ‘national political’ salvation. The section concludes with chapters on evidence after 70 ce and ‘Boasting in Second Temple Judaism.’ The book’s first half treats obedience and final vindication in Judaism. Thus the emphasis of the New Perspective scholars on election as a basis for salvation is one sided.100 book reviews United States. He wants to return the balance. In the case of Qumran. The older consensus held that boasting in Paul represented such things as Jewish pride. in each case he finds that works or obedience to the law is an important basis for ‘final salvation’ or vindication at the last judgment. false security and the attempt to achieve one’s own salvation. egocentric existence. The conclusion is : ‘This boast … can be defined as Jewish confidence of vindication in the final judgment’ (p. selfreliance. 23). The fourth chapter treats post 70 Jewish literature including Rabbinic. but wrong to exclude the determinative character of works for final salvation. A chapter entitled ‘Jewish Soteriology in the New Testament’ means both ‘Jewish theology’ taken over in New Testament writings and polemical depictions of Jewish belief that are supposed to be based on truth. The book’s objective is to ‘define the Jewish boast that Paul describes in Romans 2 as it is reflected in the Jewish literature. This should provide no reason for not taking Gathercole’s scholarship seriously. One chapter covers the Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha. Again. Chapter 5 (‘Boasting in Second Temple Judaism’) argues that Jewish thought is characterized by ‘a sense of both national and individual confidence in obedience as well as election’. Gathercole concludes that Sanders and others were correct to affirm the importance of grace and election. but he relegates this to a minor role and assumes that individual salvation was the central concern of Jews of the Second Temple period. The procedure is to search this vast corpus for statements that in various ways tie ‘salvation’ to merit or adherence to the law. and believes that Paul is making a fundamental critique of what the book presents as a common and rather uniform ‘Jewish theology. claims on God. and also to examine it closely in the Jewish texts’ (p.

at least. Sanders more and more recedes from the discussion. But against the same scholars. was motivated more by a careful and . the point is Israel’s sinfulness and failure to be justified by works. Thus. I believe. Rather. 163) and finds that New Perspective scholars are right to criticize the view that Jews suffered from insecurity about salvation. both instances of boasting display confidence that God will vindicate the boaster in the eschaton. The rest of the book treats Romans 1–5 and purports to show that it critiques this soteriology and confidence in salvation that Gathercole has exposed in Jewish literature. Why does Paul encourage ‘Christians’ to boast after condemning Jews? According to Gathercole.book reviews 101 He wants to show a ‘very clear and very wide ranging tradition of optimism about obedience to Torah’ (p. The language of justification by works apart from the law is not an argument that gentiles need not follow the law. virtuous people both in relation to gentiles and before God’ (p. but justified boasting can only be in ‘God’s action in Christ’ and not in Israel’s election and obedience to the law. Works are not just a sign of the covenant for Paul who criticizes Jews for misusing them as boundary markers. but a reliance on the law that includes confidence in obedience. the boast of the Jewish nation is confidence before God and distinctiveness over against the gentiles. This is a sign that Sanders is not so easily lumped together with Dunn. Works are attempts to keep the law in general. blessed is the person who’). not the main point of the argument. then they are wrong. The final chapter discusses 5:1-11. Sanders’s work. Gathercole is able to show in his exegesis of Romans that this is. He is unrepentant and denies his sinfulness. Keeping the law is impossible for non-Christians. Against the New Perspective. and ignores Paul’s generalizing introduction (‘David says. as if David was talking about his own sins in particular. The discussion of 3:27–4:8 focuses on reasserting a more traditional reading against Dunn and Wright. This book’s major achievement is its critique of the position pioneered by Dunn and Wright that Paul’s attack is on Jewish nationalism. Gathercole claims an unassailable argument against the widespread views that the section concerns the inclusion of the gentiles or boundary markers: Paul cites what David says in a Psalm 31 (4:6-8) and the sins of David had nothing to do with boundary markers or the plight of the gentiles. 194). As the book develops. He assumes rather than argues for this narrowly autobiographical interpretation of Paul’s use of the Psalm. ‘Jews represented themselves as obedient. if scholars have claimed that Jewish writers never made statements that connected some sort of ‘salvation’ with obedience to God. He claims that Paul’s interlocutor throughout chapter two is a Jew who represents the nation as a whole. it is not merely a matter of confidence in national privilege. Wright and others. His discussion of Jewish literature also shows that.

. Luther’s or Augustine’s Christianity. cannot be a Jew and is clearly identified by flags in the text as one of the idolatrous gentiles of chapter 1. then the larger enterprise of the book is off the mark. cultural contexts. The book mentions the diatribe. The interpretation of the text is too much fought out on the level of dialogue with Pauline theologians in rather general themes and motifs. but the comparison would be wrong-headed without a sense of the anachronism involved. Even if Paul held this doctrine. On this level. lexicography. and dialogue. He is unfairly faulted for his focused comparison with a specific corpus of Jewish texts and his lack of interest in developing certain traditional theological motifs about Paul. so that the whole section is an attack on Jewish sinfulness and unrepentant claims to obedience. I and others have made detailed arguments that the addressee of 2:1ff.102 book reviews pioneering comparative and history of religions agenda. especially apostrophe. Augustinian-like doctrine of sin. The battle must be fought over words. with the Jew in 2:17ff. Gathercole mostly presupposes rather than argues. but does not discuss the rhetorical techniques. The book never entertains the possibility that the Judaism of Paul’s day may have been a religious formation that is incommensurable with Calvin’s. The author’s insistence that the Jewish interlocutor represents Israel or all Jews is more by way of assertion than arguments (see especially p. phrases. The analytical criteria of confidence and optimism that is the bête noire of the discussion of Jewish literature only makes sense against this background. clearly the Jewish literature does not. and less by a desire to provide a Pauline theology for the contemporary world. 199). that Paul uses. Seething just below the surface of the book is the undeveloped issue that gives sense to the whole project: A radical. In my view. prosopopoiia. and I am convinced that he did not. No doubt one could treat the Greek assembly as a functional equivalent of a parliamentary body. Asking about the Jewish soteriology and Jewish theology of justification is like asking about Aristotle’s position on parliamentary democracy. The fall was a rejection of the creator by most of the world’s peoples and not a hopeless corruption that made every human unable to do good. Gathercole does not engage with these arguments except to dismiss them in a very general way. Understanding these has to be central to interpreting the section. generic and rhetorical usages. The reading hangs on conflating the person Paul addresses in 2:1ff. I will give a few examples. rhetorical tropes and the broadest possible very careful comparison with all of the ancient data available. for example. the Jewish assumption is that God created humans to fit this world and revealed to them how they could flourish in its order. Details are important. If Paul does not teach an Augustinian Fall and claim that the law is impossible to keep.

the fact that the letter explicitly addresses gentiles and the discussion of gentile salvation nearly drops out of the book’s reading of Romans 1–5. but then how does that relate to the standard ‘boasting’ that means bragging? Are there suggestions of pretentiousness.’ The book treats boasting in Romans and yet lacks discussions either of the relevant terminology there or in the Pauline corpus. justification). Gathercole also overlooks the specifics of Paul’s characterization of the person in 2:17ff. much less to fault Judaism for not holding it. Boasting for Paul is primarily an issue regarding those who claim to be emissaries and teachers of God’s word. to think that one is anything but totally sinful and that one can do any good is the ultimate affront to God. do not show evidence of believing in an absolute corruption of the ability to do good or to obey God and apocalyptic conceptions of an evil age cannot play this role. His favorite translation is ‘confidence’ (in salvation.book reviews 103 He seems to claim that the person must stand for the nation because 2:19-20 describes him as a teacher of gentiles and that this was Israel’s national responsibility. Stanley Stowers Brown University . As the book develops. as a teacher of the law to gentiles. salvation and justification and ignore extremely strong challenges to the very meaning of the Greek terms in question? Paul might turn out to not even have a doctrine of justification by the believer’s faith. I believe. salvation and justification that one is left with conceptual confusion about what kauchêsis (boasting) might actually mean in specific contexts. Pride is to turn away from absolute dependence on God and to have any other object of love. the concept comes to play the role of pride in the Augustinian tradition. Gathercole says that he will not consider the issue because it is a matter of contention among proponents of the New Perspective. Jews. For Gathercole’s Paul. Gathercole speaks of and is confident that he knows and can generalize about the ‘Jewish mindset. including Paul. My final example of slighting the basic exegetical issues is the refusal to engage the pistis Christou debate. I do not follow the logic of this argument. Boasting is so broadly delimited by Gathercole’s doctrines of sin. But how can one write on Paul’s doctrines of sin. Moreover. In this context and elsewhere. The latter would show that the words upon which the book focuses are consistently used in contexts where Paul engages rival teachers. and arrogance? Is Paul imputing primarily a moral or a theological error? He does not come to terms with the several texts where the term has a positive sense.

and Christ as God’s image and last Adam. The eighty-four page first chapter is the book’s major salvo. 13. ISBN 0-8028-4974-1. Those looking for a thorough study of the New Perspective should note that the subtitle is a more accurate indication of the contents of this book than the title. and Jesus tradition in Paul) and will not be commented on here. In particular.nl Biblical Interpretation 13. 1 . 44). 7. expand. and slightly modify his original thesis. 49-50). 11:25-26. Three of the eight essays (on Paul’s conversion/ call. Kim wants to respond point by point to Dunn’s more developmental view and criticism of Kim’s thesis.99. because that element of the gospel does not feature prominently in Dunn’s discussion of Paul’s calling. the ‘mystery’ of Rom. Pp. Dunn actually believes that on the Damascus road Paul received more of his gospel than Kim allows. namely that Paul’s justification doctrine originated after his conflict with the Judaizers in Antioch (p. Well known for his The Origin of Paul’s Gospel (1981) and his view that the essence of the apostle’s theology was revealed to him at the Damascus road Christophany. justification in 1 Thessalonians.00 or £17. p.brill. Pbk $25. Kim repeatedly insists that Dunn thinks Paul received only the call to the Gentiles at his conversion (pp. Seyoon. Spirit and Law in Paul) respond directly to some views held by a few proponents of the New Perspective. Paul and the New Perspective: Second Thoughts on the Origins of Paul’s Gospel. The last three essays are reprints of previous articles on various matters (2 Cor. 10 n. 5:11-21 and reconciliation. it (and not Paul’s conversion) occasioned the apostle’s formulation of the antithesis between faith and works in the terms of Gal.104 book reviews Kim. 2005 Also available online – www. Kim wants to refute what he perceives to be Dunn’s claim. 7). Dunn’s view actually is more nuanced: assuming the Antioch incident of Galatians 2 raised an issue which had not been foreseen or resolved. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. Leiden. Although he occasionally interacts with Tom Wright. Two more new essays explore Paul’s call in light of Isaiah 42. xv + 336. Kim implies that Dunn does not believe the death of Christ as an atonement for sin to be a fundamental part of the apostle’s gospel (pp. Dunn does not deny the importance of Christ’s atoning sacrifice for Paul (as © Koninklijke Brill NV. 2:16. For example. The problem emerging here is how polemic can distort perspective. Seyoon Kim seeks in this collection of essays to defend. 22)—a misrepresentation that appears again in the conclusion of the chapter (p. 2002. 81). a fact that leads Kim to call Dunn self-contradictory (because Dunn’s views do not fit the straightjacket Kim has constructed for him. Here again I am neither confident that Dunn would recognize his own view in Kim’s presentation nor that he would agree with the conclusions to which Kim thinks his views must lead. Kim’s prime target is James Dunn.

any more than it precludes a New Perspective interpretation. and again Kim’s target is Dunn’s claim that Paul’s antithetical language originated because of the Antioch incident. p. Despite the fact that the vocabulary of justification and righteousness is absent in 1 Thessalonians. Kim here seems more concerned with defending his own traditional position than exploring new alternatives. 96). sabbaths). lexical evidence from Isa. Kim’s attempt to prove justification by faith in 1 Thessalonians is unnecessary. full of interesting points and relatively free from polemic. Most people would agree that the nature of Paul’s gospel was not the subject of the letter anyway. The second chapter is much shorter than the first.book reviews 105 a glance at his Theology of Paul would reveal). a point that Dunn has clarified since his earlier writings. As soon as Paul began to preach to Gentiles (a good case can be made that he did so early in his career). Kim correctly observes that not all of the Pauline ‘works’ passages are only about ‘boundary markers’ separating Jews from gentiles (such as circumcision. . Dunn’s position in this latter regard is not essential for a New Perspective reading. But again this does not necessarily require an ‘old perspective’ interpretation as Kim implies. the discussion of which offered no support whatever for the addition of the word ‘Alone’. 1:15-17) in order to preach to the gentiles there. So. and Kim is mistaken in thinking that by tackling Dunn on this point he has contradicted the New Perspective ‘School’ [sic. he simply does not interpret that as the alternative to a supposed Jewish theology of ‘good works done to earn God’s favor’ (p. Likewise. However. a point that Dunn does not dispute. In chapter three. Kim makes a good case that Isaiah 42 helped Paul to interpret his Damascus experience. 294]. Perhaps it is clear to those who bring Kim’s theology to the text. he would have had to begin to think through how they should relate to the scriptures and to their more conservative Jewish Christian brothers and sisters. 42:11 supports the view that Paul set off for Arabia (Gal.] is clearly [sic] centered on the doctrine of justification by grace and through faith’ (p. Leaving aside the chronological problem (not a few would date Galatians and the Antioch incident before 1 Thessalonians). I am also not persuaded that the circumstances of the Antioch incident were so unusual as to lead to a new formulation for Paul of faith versus ‘works of the law’ (however the latter phrase is construed). food laws. but our confidence is not helped by the section entitled ‘By Faith Alone’ (p. for example. 60). Kim is right to assert that Paul’s basic understanding of justification by grace had its origins much earlier than the Antioch event. Kim concludes that ‘It is particularly significant to find out that this specimen [Paul’s gospel in 1 Thess. This is a fruitful study. 99).

com/mi2/ paulpage). I would agree with Kim that the kernel of Paul’s gospel came to him through his Damascus experience.106 book reviews Chapter four takes us back to the debate with the New Perspective. Psalms 8 and 110. Cambridge . Kim sees Paul’s eikon-. Mattison’s fine website (http://www. in preparation for eight more pages of argument with Dunn. Paul does not say that.angelfire.and Wisdom-theology originating from the apostle’s conversion experience. In contrast to Dunn. Kim’s fundamental ‘second thoughts’ can be summarized by the following: (1) his first thesis was correct. However. focussing on the Spirit and the Law in Gal. Michael B. what Kim does not demonstrate. Kim critiques Wright’s theory of a perceived continuing exile of the Jewish nation. but his critical readers will want more evidence of the connections Kim claims are there. even so. and Daniel 7. the tit-for-tat discussion of who thought what when and how in the polemical chapters will strike many readers as tedious and parochial. The first ten pages of the fifth chapter on Christ. this time over christology. and (3) Paul’s theology was influenced not only by his conversion experience but also by the teachings of Jesus that he eventually received through Christian tradition. Adam. Those looking for an introduction to the promise and limitations of the New Perspective would be better served by starting with Mark W. the image of God and the Last Adam summarize the argument of Kim’s Origin of Paul’s Gospel. Proving exactly how much of his message did so is far more problematic. (2) endowment with the Holy Spirit was also part of Paul’s initial experience. rightly noting that the evidence of the Pauline letters must be heard in drawing a conclusion about the beliefs of first-century Jews. Kim sees many interesting links and allusions in Pauline texts. and explores the Judaism of Paul’s day. This book should be read as part II of Kim’s original project on the origins of Paul’s gospel. 3:10-14. Much more persuasive for Kim is the possibility that Paul was influenced by ‘Son of Man’ and wisdom sayings of Jesus. either here or in chapter one. Thompson Ridley Hall. In the process he makes some good points. is that the Jewish opponents of Paul believed that they had to ‘earn’ God’s acceptance. closely argued work for specialists. This is a crucial issue that calls for a newer perspective than Kim’s. in conjunction with Genesis 1 and 3. Kim then takes on Alan Segal as a representative of those who think the chariot-throne theophany of Ezekiel 1 helped Paul to develop his theology. It is a dense. nor does Kim adduce substantial texts to that effect.

Sign up to vote on this title
UsefulNot useful