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Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books

 

However the article “History of Israel” alone is reason enough to purchase the book. The article is divided into eight different sections totaling more than seventy double-column pages. Each section (Settlement Period, Pre-monarchic Israel, United Monarchy, Division of the Monarchy, Assyrian Period, Babylonian Period, Persian Period, and Postexilic Community) is authored by a different expert on each period. This article could stand alone as a survey textbook on Israel’s ancient history, while the cross-references to other articles in the dictionary make it even more useful.

The articles in the DOTHB are not mere carryovers from the previously published Dictionary of the Old Testament: Pentateuch. Both have different editors and authors. For example, both Dictionaries have an article on “Joshua” written by different authors with different perspectives. The DOTP article is more general since, as its author states, “Joshua plays only a minor role in the Pentateuch” (p. 477), as can be demonstrated by the article’s subtopics which cover Joshua in the shadow of God’s man of the hour, Moses: “Military Leader,” “Moses’ Aid,” and “Moses Successor.”

In the DOTHB, as might be expected, there are two articles on “Joshua,” one that covers Joshua the man and one that covers the book of Joshua, respectively. The DOTHB article on “Joshua” the man takes a diverse view of Joshua coming out of Moses’ shadow and studies him under the subtopics of “Joshua in Early Tradition and History,” “Traditional Roles,” “Joshua in the Historical Books,” and “Later Developments in the Joshua Tradition.” In the DOTHB the author emphasizes Joshua as God’s man for a new generation. “Even though Joshua remains obscure as a historical figure, the Historical Books emphasize his theological and national importance by presenting him in a wide variety of significant roles” (p. 559).

Those who enjoy going beyond the basics of Bible study will greatly benefit from this text. While not excessively scholarly, it does allow the reader to delve into more than just surface material. The three indices, “Scripture,” “Subject” and “Article” make it a relevant study tool for anyone to use. However, not every subject is readily available for study. For example, there is no dedicated article on the Nazarites, yet they are mentioned in five separate articles. Nonetheless, a little work will reap a great deal of useful background and information from this Old Testament Dictionary.

Reviewed by Mike Rogers

 

Publisher’s page: http://www.ivpress.com/cgi-ivpress/book.pl/code=1782

 

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Category: Biblical Studies, Winter 2007

About the Author: Michael Rogers, Th.D., has 20 years of pastoral experience and over a decade of experience as a Christian school administrator. Mike is a businessman and the Senior Leader of The Church at New Bern and the New Bern School of Supernatural Ministry.

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