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98 Interpretation

Second, the theological analyses on each sec-
tion of the book do not shrink from grappling
with the complexity of Jeremiah's thought world.
With great sensitivity to the exilic/post-exilic
environment of dismay and confusion that pro-
duced Jeremiah, Stulman enters into the tension
of crisis and thwarted expectation to return with
authentic theological insights that speak to a
modern world, itself subject to dismay, confusion,
crisis, and lack of direction. Stulman deserves
congratulations, in particular, for his theological
treatment of the so-called "oracles against the
nations," which many commentators largely pass
over as objectionable to modern sensibilities.
While not slipping into nave biblicism, Stulman
hears testimony to God's engagement with the
totality of human history in these oracles.
Stulman's Jeremiah, assumes no specialized
knowledge on the part of its reader, neither of
Jeremianic studies nor of the Hebrew language.
As appropriate, Stulman carefully, yet succinctly,
situates his own observations and conclusions in
the context of the history of Jeremiah scholarship
and thoroughly explains pertinent Hebrew terms
and idioms. This commentary will be a welcome
addition to the libraries of colleges, seminaries,
interested laypersons and ministers alike.
Hosea, Joel, Amos, Obadiah, Jonah,
by Daniel J. Simundson
Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries, Nashville, 2005.
350 pp. $39.00. ISBN 0-687-34244-9.
Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai,
Zechariah, Malachi
by Julia M. O'Brien
Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries, Nashville, 2005.
326 pp. $28.00. ISBN 0-687-34031-4.
THIS PAIR OF BOOKS constitutes a commentary on
the Minor Prophets of the Old Testament. Like
all contributions to this series, the authors give a
brief introduction to each book, including a lit-
erary analysis, a social and historical analysis,
and a theological analysis. Then they comment
on each major section of each book. The authors
provide insight into the meaning of the text,
based on their own careful reading of the
Hebrew, and application of those meanings to
modern life. O'Brien begins her volume with a
discussion of prophets and prophetic literature.
She notes the emergence of a view of the Twelve
that argues for a unified editing of the Twelve,
but concludes that the presence of the super-
scriptions suggests that the final editors wanted
the books to be read individually. That is what
she and Simundson do.
It is difficult to overstate how good these
commentaries are. Both writers tackle the serious
issues raised by a reading of the texts: does God
use natural disasters to punish people (Joel)?
Does God change God's mind about punishment
(Jonah)? Is God vengeful (Nahum)? The last of
these questions will illustrate how both authors
work. Both argue that the reader should not rob
the Old Testament of its portrayal of one who
holds people accountable for their sins and
crimes. Still, O'Brien notes that how Nahum
envisions God's expression of God's anger is
troublesome, and the pleasure the author takes
in imaging the pain of Nineveh is also to be chal-
lenged. Simundson highlights the contrasting
words of doom and promise toward Judah that
one finds in Micah. He reminds the reader that a
"word that is false at one time ([a word of] peace
when a warning is needed) can be true at anoth-
er time ([offering] the promise of peace when all
has been lost and hope seems impossible)" (p.
331). It is such nuanced readings of all the Minor
Prophets that make these commentaries particu-
larly helpful to college and seminary students
and for serious Bible study for pastors and
groups in a congregation.
From Joshua to Caiaphas: High Priests
after the Exile
by James C. VanderKam
Fortress, Minneapolis, 2004. 548 pp. $35.00. ISBN 0-
THE HISTORY OF THE high priests of the post-
exilic temple presents a particularly difficult
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