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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 204 Reviews THE TASK OF OLD TESTAMENT THEOLOGY. By Rolf Knierim. pp. xvi + 603. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1995. Paper, $40.00. This volume brings together a number of essays in biblical theology written by Rolf Knierim over the past twenty or thirty years. Previously published articles include: "The Task of Old Testament Theology" (pp. 156 , with responses from Walter Harrelson, Sibley Towner, and Roland Murphy), "The Interpretation of the Old Testament" (pp. 57-138), "Revelation in the Old Testament" (pp. 139-170), "Cosmos and History in Israel's Theology" (pp. 171-224), "The Old Testament-The Letter and the Spirit" (pp. 298-308), "Israel and the Nations in the Land of Palestine in the Old Testament" (pp. 309-321), "Theology of Psalm 19" (pp. 336350 ), "The Composition of the Pentateuch" (pp. 351-379), "The Book of Numbers" (pp. 380-388), "Conceptual Aspects in Exodus 25:1-9" (pp. 389-399), and "Science in the Bible" (pp. 400-415). One wishes that the place and date of publication would have been listed for each article, for that would enable the reader to appreciate the content more and to be sympathetic to ideas which appear slightly dated. The volume also contains previously unpublished works: "Food, Land, and Justice" (pp. 225-243), "Hope in the Old Testament" (pp. 244-268), "The Spirituality of the Old Testament" (pp. 269-297), "Exegesis of Psalm 19" (pp. 322-335), "On the Contours of Old Testament and Biblical Hamartiology" (pp. 416-467), "A Posteriori Explanations" (pp. 468-494), and "On Gabler" (pp. 495-556). Again, one wishes that the origin of each essay could have been indicated, for knowing whether it was a scholarly convention paper, an address to an academic or ecclesiastical audience, or an unpublished journal article would be useful to the reader. Because this volume is a collection of essays written and presented to different audiences over many years, it naturally suffers from the unevenness that one expects of an anthology. This is not a systematic presentation, it is a prolegomenon to a more organized biblical theology. Some of the essays describe the agenda for doing biblical theology; others directly theologize on specific texts or themes. As the subtitle of the book ("Substance, Method, and Cases") implies, Knierim wishes to show us how to do biblical theology. Hence, the unevenness of the essays actually becomes a virtue in that we may observe the different ways to apply biblical thought to theological issues. Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 205 Reviews Central to Knierim's theological quest is the attempt to place the message of TaNaK or Old Testament and the message of the New Testament in a complementary relationship with each other. He seeks especially to generate a biblical theology from the Old Testament which is neither dependent upon the New Testament message for its ultimate validation nor completely independent from it. The two "testaments are interpreted independently of each other" in his theologizing in order to see "what each contributes to the other" (p. 555). Knierim develops these ideas most significantly in four rather lengthy essays, "The Task of Old Testament Theology," "The Interpretation of the Old Testament," "A Posteriori Explorations," and "On Gabler." These programmatic essays constitute the center around which the other essays are gathered. Other theological themes surface consistently throughout these essays. Knierim often speaks of the "plurality of theologies" found in the TaNaK or Old Testament, and he maintains that they should not be blurred into one theology, nor should they be left in isolation from each other (as tradition history scholarship might tempt us to do). Rather, they should be accepted for their individual and distinctive messages and then placed in dialectic with each other to give us a multi-faceted perspective. The canon brings these theologies "face to face" or "in conference" (p. 4) with each other, and we must clarify this relationship. The paradigms we use oUght to be drawn from the TaNaKlOld Testament itself and not be a modem construal , such as the Heilsgeschichte themes of a past generation. Knierim believes that this "plurality of theologies" may be held together around the common theme of the "universal dominion of YHWH in justice...

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Additional Information

ISSN
2158-1681
Print ISSN
0146-4094
Pages
pp. 204-206
Launched on MUSE
2011-10-05
Open Access
No
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