The latest issue of the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament is freely available online. The main articles (listed below with their abstracts) are available from here, with a pdf of the entire issue available here. As always, it’s worth checking out its book reviews as much as anything else.
Assigning the Book of Lamentations a Place in the Canon
Lamentations is one of a number of books that is found in more than one position in the different canons of Scripture. These canons are a product of different reading communities, each with their own interpretation of the biblical books. The present study is based on the premise that where a biblical book is placed relative to other books reflects an evaluation of the book by ancient readers, with the ordering of books viewed as a paratextual phenomenon. With regard to Lamentations, two different positions (each with its own rationale) are found in the Hebrew and Greek canons. The alternate placements of the book of Lamentations reveal that the compilers of these canons viewed its theological and historical meanings in different ways. These two different contexts are intended to shape the reader’s perception of what the book is about. Consciously or unconsciously, the contemporary reader is influenced by the positioning of a biblical book. Thus, canonical placement is not value-neutral and needs to be critically evaluated.
Will the Real Job Please Stand Up? Politico-Pastoral Exegesis of Job 38 in the Wake of Nicaea
Ancient Christian commentaries on the Book of Job, and specifically reflection on Job’s direct theophanic interaction with God in Job 38, offer important insights into the contexts of their writers and the writers’ congregations. This is especially clear in the case of two roughly contemporary “commentaries” produced by John Chrysostom and Julian the Arian. These are two of the earliest extant works on Job in the Christian East in the wake of the Nicene and non-Nicene theological and political disputes occurring at the turn of the fourth century. For these two exegetes, Job becomes a moldable figure identified with the key tenets of their theological systems, experiencing direct revelation as a result of his exemplification of the exegetes’ favored spiritual charisms and political biases due to his ambiguous place in the scheme of salvation-history. Despite each theologian sharing similar methodology, their exegesis produces two vastly different depictions for their readers of what is involved in leading a godly life in general, and how one should attempt to emulate Job himself to become closer to God.
G. Geoffrey Harper
The Theological and Exegetical Significance of Leviticus as Intertext in Daniel 9
Daniel 9 is renowned for the textual and theological problems it raises for interpreters, and for the diverse readings it generates. Yet Dan 9 also presents a fascinating tapestry of inner-biblical quotations and allusions. Within this matrix, however, the voice of Leviticus has not been fully appreciated. Nonetheless, Levitical terminology and thought forms pervade the chapter and perform a significant function. The combined force of these parallels suggests the raison d’être for Daniel’s prayer, elucidates the mediated response and suggests a theological coherence to the chapter as a whole. Thus, this article argues that intertextual sensitivity to the array of Leviticus connections made can constrain exegesis of Dan 9, while at the same time generating new insights into its theological perspective.
Russell L. Meek
“I Was King Over Israel in Jerusalem”: Inerrancy and Authorial Ambiguity in Ecclesiastes
Solomon has been traditionally regarded as the author of Ecclesiastes; however, a review of the evidence for the book’s authorship is inconclusive. Because the authorship of Ecclesiastes cannot be proved definitively and the book itself makes no explicit claims of authorship, it is crucial to disentangle the conversation over the book’s authorship from the issue of inerrancy. In our defense of God’s inerrant and infallible word, evangelical scholars must be careful not to argue more than the text itself will allow. There are compelling arguments for and against Solomonic authorship of Ecclesiastes, but ultimately the ambiguity of the biblical evidence cautions against dogmatism on this point. Therefore, the debate over Solomonic authorship should not be couched in terms of one’s view of inerrancy.