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Book Reviews 157 e.g., the far more limited models oflsrael's emergence in Canaan posed in historical reconstruction must be weighed in relation to Joshua's portrayal ofcomplete conquest. Finally, one may applaud Brueggemann's attempts to legitimize the plurality of theological perspectives concerning the Hebrew Bible, but one may also ask what motivates the proponents of any particular perspective to listen to those of others. He has done a remarkable job ofcharacterizing the testimony ofthe Hebrew Bible in all of its variety, but the theological interpretation ofthe Hebrew Bible also requires attention to the communities that read it. Theology is after all speech about G-d, not only by the voices found in the Hebrew Bible, but also by its readers. These questions should not detract from Brueggemann's achievement, which is considerable, but they point to the need for continued work to ensure the vibrancy and relevance of the dialogue that he identifies and stimulates. In sum, Brueggemann is to be congratulated for opening a discussion concerning theological interpretation ofthe Hebrew Bible that can fruitfully engage a wide variety of interpretive perspectives. Marvin A. Sweeney Claremont School of Theology and Claremont Graduate University Das Gesetz im Alten und Neuen Testament, by Meinrad Limbeck. Darmstadt: Wissenschaftliche Buchgesellschaft, 1997. 253 pp. DM 60. A negative assessment ofthe Torah was-and is-a central element ofthe traditionally anti-Jewish thrust of Christian theology. The Catholic Bible scholar Meinrad Limbeck made an important contribution to the long process ofa new assessment after the Shoah with his 1971 book, The Order ofSalvation: Investigations into the Understanding of the Law in Early Judaism (Diisseldorf: Patrnos-Verlag). In that book he presented the Torah as the order ofcreation in post-biblical writings (Enoch, Jubilees, Qumran, etc.). From this vantage point an affirmation ofthe law was intended to become a theological possibility as an affirmation of our own creatureliness. In accordance with his longstanding activity in a Catholic Bible Society, this new book (in English: "The Law in the Old and New Testament") is not intended to be a contribution of his own scholarship, but rather an attempt to present "the harvest of Old and New Testament scholarship" in a way that can be commonly understood. Thereby, as the bibliography shows, the book centers around the discussion in German-language research. Some notes do, indeed, carry references to English works, but their formulation of the questions remains marginal. In the center ofthe terse presentation (145 pages oftext in addition to about 100 pages of notes) stand four Old Testament chapters (Book of the 158 SHOFAR Fall 1999 Vol. 18, No.1 Covenant, Prophecy, Deuteronomy, Priestly Writing) followed by three New Testament chapters (Jesus, Paul, Matthew). In between them is the chapter on "The Law in Crisis" (Ecclesiastes, Psalms, Proverbs, Jesus Sirach, Psalms of Solomon, Qumran). The Introduction (pp. 1-3) opens with a reference to the fundamental ambiguity of law and order: They are necessary for life, but they in no way guarantee "our wellbeing ." This corresponds to the basic tension in which this book views "the law." Against the traditional Christian prejudices "clarifications" are first of all posited. Behavior over against the law in the Bible entails neither "punishment" nor "obedience" because these concepts have still not evolved. We are dealing here instead with "experience with and insights into" the workings of a God "who cares." Through an extensive reception ofrecent writings it is consequently shown, in the case ofthe nonpriestly books of law as well as in the view of the law in prophecy, that there is a thoroughgoing emphasis on God's caring, which has the "well-being ofall" as its goal. Above all in the case of Deuteronomy it is regrettable that the sparse presentation (pp. 47-61) only contains a few examples of this. Worse yet, the political and social regulations are not developed at all. In connection with the priestly writing (pp. 64-81) there then appears an explicitly negative assessment ofparts ofthe Torah. After the presentation ofthe covenant as the basis ofthe relationship to God and God's indwelling with His people as the goal ofthe covenant, it is asserted on the basis of examples such as the...

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Additional Information

ISSN
1534-5165
Print ISSN
0882-8539
Pages
pp. 157-160
Launched on MUSE
2012-10-03
Open Access
No
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