Author: Robert Doran
ISBN: 978 0 8006 6050 5
Date: 2012
Price: £43.99
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Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Press / Alban Books

Robert Doran of Amherst College, Mass., is very much an authority on 2 Maccabees: in 1981 he published Temple Propaganda: the Purpose of 2 Maccabees, and in 1996 he wrote a brief commentary for the New Interpreter’s Bible. This new, full-length commentary, is a fine work of scholarship, which takes account of inscriptional evidence that has come to light in recent decades. If I have a reservation it is that the subject index could usefully have been made more extensive. Exegetical and historical questions are discussed in a balanced and well-researched way. For example, on the priesthood of Jason (2 Macc. 4), Doran discusses whether in 4.9 Antiochus IV is represented as furnishing Jerusalem with a gymnasium and a programme of physical education (so Codex A) or as permitting it (other MSS); the latter reading is judged to be the more likely: the Greek verb for permit is found in an inscription granting a city constitution and a gymnasium to Tyriaion of Phrygia.

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March/April 2014

Author: John J.Collins
ISBN: 978 0 80283223 8
Date: 2010
Price: £18.99
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Publisher: Eerdmans/Alban Books

Professor Collins of the Yale Divinity School here offers an updated edition of his classic work of 1995. It used to be commonly thought that there existed a uniform system of messianic expectation in ancient Israel. This consensus has largely broken down in recent decades, especially where the evidence of the Dead Sea Scrolls is taken seriously. The Scrolls were the possession of a sectarian movement but some of the texts are non-sectarian and some predate the foundation of Qumran. The Scrolls are evidence not only of the beliefs of an anti-Hasmonean faction (the Essenes?) but of Jewish beliefs more widely. ‘The Scrolls’, says Collins, ‘indicate a greater diversity of messianic expectations in Judaism around the turn of the era than was apparent before their discovery.’

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March/April 2014

Editors: Athalya Brenner & Gale A.Yee
ISBN: 978 0 8006 9937 6
Date: 2013
Price: £32.99
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Publisher: Fortress

Traditionally, the OT has been read mainly through the eyes of male white Christians. Biblical scholars, however, have become increasingly aware of their own cultural rootedness and its limitations, and have come to appreciate the validity and value of seeing the Bible through other eyes. The way that a text will speak to, say, a Jew, a Muslim, an African, a feminist, or a political activist will be both legitimate and instructive. This volume takes a couple of OT books and offers a multi-cultural reading. Fifteen contributors with a variety of backgrounds, beliefs and interests have been invited to tell us how the books of Joshua and Judges strike them. How does this story of a group of incomers, impelled as they claim by a divine mandate, who dispossess the Canaanite population, speak to them?

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March/April 2014

Author: C.L.Seow
ISBN: 978 0 8028 4895 6
Date: 2013
Price: £62.99
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Publisher: Eerdmans/Alban Books

This is a tour de force. Professor Seow of Princeton Theological Seminary here gives us the first of a two-volume literary-theological commentary on Job which is sure to stand as a classic resource for years to come. The Introduction, which alone runs to 248 pages (out of a total of 1,000, weighing1.48 kgs), covers, clearly and judiciously, all the main topics that one would look for: Texts and Versions; Language; Integrity (how does the prose framework relate to the poetic middle; are the Elihu chapters a secondary addition…?); Provenance; Setting; Genre(s); Structure; Artistry; Theology; and History of Consequences.

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March/April 2014

Author: Mark McEntire
ISBN: 978 0 8006 9941 3
Date: 2013
Price: £25.99
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Publisher: Fortress

Professor McEntire of the University of Belmont in Nashville here pleads for some of the books located towards the end of the Hebrew Canon to be given more of a hearing. As he sees it, different characterizations of the Deity are evident in different parts of the Hebrew Bible, and we tend to over-emphasize the more ‘interesting’ ones, those placed earlier, in books which portray an overtly interventionist God, over later ones. We should attend more to ‘the God at the end of the story’.

The first block of material (Genesis 1-3, or rather 1-11) presents us with a creator God, but a God who is also characterized by ‘uncertainty and even naïveté’. When humanity goes its own way, he destroys and scatters.

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March/April 2014

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