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Marty Stevens: Temples, Tithes, and Taxes


Marty E. Stevens, Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2006), 209 pages, ISBN 9781565639348.

Marty Stevens’s Temples, Tithes, and Taxes is a wonderful book on a subject that can be really difficult. We all owe a tremendous debt to those who wade through the sort of sources that Stevens handles with evident ease. To have this material presented in such a readable and hardly dusty format is an unexpected bonus.

Stevens’s book has the appearance of an introductory text: terms that would be understood only by scholars are explained, and the writing style is accessible for just about everyone. Yet the book also addresses contested issues and makes a number of contributions. Stevens is somehow able to do the latter without ever compromising the former. Many readers will find the often data-intensive presentation to be more than their brain can soak in at a single sitting, but the duller aspects of the discussion arise from the tediousness of the subject matter rather than from what Stevens has done with it.

One drawback, especially notable in the light of Stevens’s intended audience, is that she muffles the differences between the biblical practice of tithing and those current practices in churches that are ostensibly based on Scripture.

Reviewed by John Poirier

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Category: Ministry, Winter 2009

About the Author: John C. Poirier, Th.M. (Duke Divinity), D.H.L. (Jewish Theological Seminary), has published numerous articles on a wide range of topics and has been named the chair of biblical studies at the newly forming Kingswell Theological Seminary in Middletown (Cincinnati), Ohio.

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