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Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 264 Reviews useful text. It is also a handy reference, since it discusses the major interpretive possibilities for difficult passages. The book is a good value for traditional scholarship. Elizabeth Huwiler Lancaster Theological Seminary Lancaster, PA 17603 THE WORLD OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. A. S. van der Woude, ed., Sierd Woudstra, trans. Bible Handbook, Vol. 2. Pp. xi + 300. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1989. Cloth/Paper. Designed as a companion to the World 0/the Bible (Eerdmans, 1986), this book provides a survey of the history and writings of the OT, including a wide range of current scholarly opinion. The volume is a translation of the Dutch edition Bijbels Handboek. Deellla: Het Oude Testament (1982). The bibliographies in the English version have been updated, and the translator has exhibited great sensitivity toward English readers (see, e.g., pp. 238, 271). The first part of the book deals with the history of Israel, written by M. J. Mulder and A. S. van der Woude, covering Israel's beginnings to the rise of Alexander the Great. The authors are cautious about biblical history; they believe that large numbers like those which are mentioned in Exod 12 are used in a "hyperbolic or symbolic sense" (p. 16) and that dates before David's time are "very vague" (p. 43). The discussion, accompanied by helpful bibliographies and chronological charts, pays close attention to the tension between biblical accounts and modem historical study. The "Literature of the Old Testament" is the subject of the second part of the volume, written by H. A. Brongers, covering the topics of secular and religious poetry, poetic stories, the laws, as well as historical, prophetic, and wisdom literature. Common subcategories of these topics, as seen in the works of scholars such as Otto Eissfeldt, are appropriately included. The author has drawn from many ancient Near Eastern texts to illustrate his material and is especially helpful in his discussion of the prophetic literature. However, the distinction drawn between the genres of "rebuke" and "indictment" (p. 153) is unclear. The classifications, like fairy tales, fables, legends, and sagas, remain somewhat imprecise to Hebrew Studies 31 (1990) 265 Reviews students at an introductory level. Brongers cautions the reader about the idea of myth, noting that one may not find a fully developed myth in the Bible because of Israel's monotheistic belief (p. 115). With some basic knowledge of history and literature, the reader enters now into the third part of the book, "the Books of the Old Testament." The section on the Pentateuch is written by C. Houtman, the Historical Books by H. H. Grosheide, the Prophets by B. J. Oosterhoff, and the Writings by J. P. M. van der Ploeg. The first section has a fine survey on the hypotheses of the origin of the Pentateuch. The developments and issues of the older and newer documentary hypotheses are discussed well. The survey, compactly presented, contains a wealth of infonnation on the subject. On the historical books, Grosheide follows the views of T. Willis, P. Welten, and especially S. Japhet in holding that Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah are not a single work. The section on the prophetic books contains helpful summaries of content , though the treatment of the major prophets appear to be rather brief as compared with the space given to the minor prophets. The section, however, does cover sufficiently arguments for and against the Babylonian setting of Ezekiel and provides convincing arguments in favor of the MT over the LXX on the texts of Jeremiah and Ezekiel. The same may said of issues on the text of the Psalms. The division of the volume into "Literature " and "Books," however, has created some overlap of material (e.g., on Proverbs, see pp. 157 and 280). The volume includes many fine photos from archaeology, but the lack of an index or better cross-references makes them difficult to use. In spite of these weaknesses, this work is one of the best OT critical introductions that have become available in recent years and will undoubtedly remain so for many years to come. Alex Luc Columbia Biblical Seminary Columbia, SC 29230 ...


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