Author: Reinhard Pummer
ISBN: 978 0 8028 6768 1
Date: 2016
Price: £19.99
Publisher: Eerdmans. UK distributor, Alban Books
The Samaritans are an ancient people – still in existence today, about 800 of them, living in Nablus near Gerizim and in _olon near Tel Aviv – who from the fifth century BCE had a temple (and, as archaeology has recently shown, a large city) on Mount Gerizim. Where did they originate? They claim to be the true survivors of ancient Israel; the Jews, they hold, derive from schismatics who broke away from the rest of Israel in the time of Eli and championed Shiloh, and later Jerusalem, as the true place of central worship. The Jews for their part have traditionally regarded the Samaritans as a mixed group with syncretistic beliefs, the offspring of Israelites and Assyrians who settled in Israel in the eighth century BCE. This Jewish version is no longer widely believed. Samaritan literature is not syncretistic, and Samaritan names are indistinguishable from Jewish ones.

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January-February 2017

Author: Mark J.Boda
ISBN: 978 0 8028 2375 5
Date: 2016
Price: £26.99
Publisher: Eerdmans. UK distributor,
Alban Books
Professor Mark Boda of Canada here gives us a very authoritative 900-page commentary on Zechariah which is the fruit of 25 years’ study, and which will become the standard work on the subject. It has everything: a fresh translation of the text; a short history of the relevant parts of the post-exilic period; the compositional history of the book; literary form and structure; inner biblical allusion; the message of the book; a verse by verse exegesis of the text; and a full bibliography. Although he focuses on ‘the meaning of Zechariah to its original audience(s)’, Boda also points up the relevance to Christians today of what the book has to say about, for example, leadership; and its vision of restoration.

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January-February 2017

Authors: Bo H. Lim & Daniel Castelo
ISBN: 978 0 8028 2700 5
Date: 2015
Price: £16.99
Publisher: Eerdmans. UK distributor,
Alban Books
An OT scholar here surveys the exegetical Horizon of the Book of Hosea, and a systematic theologian the theological Horizon. Both scholars teach at Seattle Pacific University and Seminary. The OT expert, Bo H. Lim, offers a running commentary on the biblical text which is interspersed by theological essays by Daniel Castelo. The biblical book is subdivided into three sections, in each of which our authors find the pattern Rebellion, Judgment, Hope: 1-3; 4.1-11.11; 11.12-14.19.

Lim and Castelo find that ‘the text is inconclusive as to the events of Hosea’s marriage(s)’, e.g. as to whether the woman of ch.3 is the Gomer of ch.1, but argue that this is immaterial.

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January-February 2017

Editors: Daniel I.Block & Richard L.Schultz
ISBN: 978 1 61970 599 9
Date: 2015
Price: £26.99
Publisher: Hendrikson. UK distributor,
Alban Books
The great majority of scholars reject the old, pre-critical view that the Book of Isaiah had a single author. At ch.40, we seem to be in a different world from that of the eighth century prophet, Isaiah ben Amoz, an exilic world. Ch.56 also seems to many to mark a further change, this time to a post-exilic period. Even within the three sections (First Isaiah, Second Isaiah, and Third Isaiah, as they are commonly styled) unity of authorship seems unlikely. For example, chs. 34-35 seem to anticipate the language and perspectives of 40-55. There is a critical consensus that prophets have a message for their contemporaries; they do not speak of the distant future. Those, however, who subscribe to the verbal inerrancy of Scripture – evangelicals for the most part – are not parties to the critical consensus.

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January-February 2017

Author: Joseph Blenkinsopp
ISBN: 978 0 8028 7287 6
Date: 2015
Price: £19.99
Publisher: Eerdmans. UK distributor,
Alban Books
This impressive book by an emeritus Professor at Notre Dame University is not about the historical Abraham (about whom Blenkinsopp says, ‘Abraham’s relation to real history will continue to elude us’) but about the Abraham story. The Introduction makes clear the book’s overall stance. ‘Within the biblical Abraham material…the figure of Abraham and the traditions associated with him represent the latest formation of the complex narrative about the ancestors in Genesis’. Until the Exile, the figure of Jacob had much more prominence, although the triad ‘Abraham, Isaac and Jacob’ occurs quite often. In the prophetic literature, Abraham is a minor figure until, in the wake of the Exile, we come to Isaiah 40-55. Abraham is mentioned in only two of the Psalms. The Abraham story reads like an attempt to respond to the tragedy of the Exile, highlighting as it does place names which were significant in the diaspora and in narratives of the Return.

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January-February 2017

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