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Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 234 Reviews and specialists in the field, another commentary for use alongside the present one is a definite must. JackR. Lundbom Cambridge University Cambridge CB3 9AL England THE BOOK OF EZEKIEL CHAPTERS 1-24. By Daniel I. Block. NICOT. Pp. xxi + 887. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1997. Paper, $48.00. The New International Commentary on the Old Testament series intends to bridge the cultural gap between modem times and the biblical world so that the Old Testament is heard both as God's word to Israel and an inspired , authoritative message for today. The book of Ezekiel presents a daunting challenge to anyone seeking to make its carefully dated and striking message relevant for today. Daniel Block's commentary in this series supplies a worthy addition to the excellent literature available on Ezekiel. Zimmerli's massive commentary on Ezekiel demonstrates theological insight as well as excellent historical criticism. The first two installments of Greenberg's commentary superbly assess the rhetoric of Ezekiel and the rich history of interpretation among the rabbis. Writing from a conservative Christian viewpoint, Block has produced a detailed and judicious commentary on the text, rhetoric, and terminology of Ezekiel. Block's goal in The Book of Ezekiel is "driven by a single passion: to make this prophecy understandable and meaningful for contemporary readers." His exegesis of the text is guided by questions directed at the prophet himself: (1) a text critical question: What are you saying? (2) a cultural and literary question: Why do you say it like that? (3) a hermeneutical and theological question: What do you mean? and (4) an application question: What is the significance of this message for me? A summary of each textual unit guides pastors and teachers in the proclamation of Ezekiel's message today. Block considers the book of Ezekiel very closely integrated with if not identical with the prophetic words of Ezekiel. For a commentary as voluminous as The Book ofEzekiel, the introduction is surprisingly succinct. Block first sketches the prophet's world from political and social angles, firmly grounding Ezekiel in the political turmoil of the last years of Judah and the social pressure of an exiled community. Hebrew Studies 39 (1998) 235 Reviews Block's discussion needs supplementation with a map more detailed than the one provided. which gives the erroneous impression that the Babylonian Empire included Egypt. While Block notes the impact of archaeological findings on Judean history, it is very much the biblical viewpoint that dominates his historical discussion, to the extent of following Chronicles on a late conversion of Manasseh. Next, Block focuses on Ezekiel's person, purpose and methods. Seeing that Ezekiel's purpose is to "transform his audience's perception of their relationship with Yahweh," Block nicely integrates the oracles ofjudgment and salvation under this overarching theme. Probing the nature of prophecy and Ezekiel's style in the third section, Block addresses questions of the formation of the book. form criticism and rhetorical criticism. Source criticism is not pursued, since Block believes many of Ezekiel's oracles were recorded immediately. Rhetorical analysis of the text is a strong point. Block makes a cogent. compelling argument for the intelligibility of the Hebrew text. The fourth section of the introduction deals with the text of Ezekiel. but the differences between the Hebrew and Greek texts of Ezekiel call for a more adequate discussion than Block allows. Section five examines Ezekiel in Jewish and Christian tradition and is narrowly based on contacts with classical sources. I would welcome more discussion on the role Ezekiel has played in the history of Judaism and Christianity. The final section addresses the theology of Ezekiel. where the rubrics for discussing Ezekiel's theology are God. the people of God. and the Messiah. The Christian basis for Block's work is apparent in light of the admitted paucity of messianic texts in Ezekiel. A rather extensive "select" bibliography (pp. 60-74) closes the introduction. Block separates Ezekiel 1-24 into three parts: the call of Ezekiel (1:13 :27). signs and visions of woe for IsraeVJudah (4:1-11:25) and a collection of prophecies of woe against Israel (12:1-24:27). He divides...


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