Wednesday 14 January 2015

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 3, 2 (2014)

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 – but, as always, it’s worth checking out its book reviews as much as anything else.

Martin A. Shields
Was Elihu Right?
The major difficulty facing any suggestion that Elihu provides a possible explanation for Job’s suffering is that nothing he says comes close to describing the events described in the book’s prologue. This paper builds on the suggestion that the account in the prologue is not meant to provide a comprehensive rationale for Job’s continuing suffering, freeing the reader to review Elihu’s contribution in a new light. Furthermore, I argue that Elihu’s contribution presents a non-retributive rationale for Job’s suffering which does not fall under the same condemnation as that of his friends. Ultimately, then, Elihu’s account might be correct. This serves the author’s purpose by allowing an alternative to retributive justice while, by not affirming Elihu’s explanation, ensuring the reader understands that the true cause of Job’s suffering must remain a mystery.

Joshua Joel Spoelstra
Queens, Widows, and Mesdames: The Role of Women in the Elijah-Elisha Narrative
The Elijah-Elisha narrative cycle (1 Kgs 17–2 Kgs 13) features a higher density of women than usual in the Hebrew Bible. What do these women contribute to the narrative unit(s)? Through semiotic analysis, this paper presents a complex of three socio-religious and theological themes: food-famine, life-death, and orthodoxy-idolatry. These semiotics do not come into sharp focus, it is argued, without the analysis of the women of 1 Kgs 17–2 Kgs 13. The semiotic axes of food- famine, life-death, and orthodoxy-idolatry are, further, interwoven into and indicative of the miraculous and prophetic activity of Elijah and Elisha.

Jay Todd
Patriarch and Prophet: Abraham’s Prophetic Characteristics in Genesis
In Gen 20:7, YHWH refers to Abraham as a prophet, thus distinguishing Abraham as the first person explicitly identified as a prophet (נביא) in the Hebrew Bible. Unfortunately, the relevant secondary literature (prophetic introductions, biblical theologies, and theologies of the Pentateuch) has given minimal attention to Abraham’s prophetic role. This article attempts to correct this oversight by examining Abraham’s prophetic characteristics in the Abrahamic narrative (Gen 11:27–25:11). After outlining general prophetic characteristics given in the Pentateuch and the rest of the Hebrew Bible, this article highlights Abraham’s prophetic characteristics in order to demonstrate Abraham’s role as a prophet in the biblical text. The article’s final section compares and contrasts Abraham with two other prophets in the Pentateuch, Balaam and Moses, in order to identify possible implications for the theology of the Pentateuch.

Ron Haydon
The “Seventy Sevens” (Daniel 9:24) in Light of Heptadic Themes in Qumran
Daniel 9:24 is fraught with puzzling language, particularly the meaning of the “seventy sevens.” Rather than add to the relevant commentaries, this paper approaches the phrase in light of the heptadic language we find in select Qumran sources. Jubilees, 1 Enoch, and related scrolls portray these heptadic structures as primarily theological expressions, with chronology either set in the background or absent altogether. I suggest this context casts the seventy sevens in a new light, wherein it serves a mainly theological function instead of a rigid temporal one. Beginning with a brief examination of each major extracanonical source, we will consider two theological implications that come as a result of these texts’ reception of Daniel: first, Daniel’s seventy sevens may need to be considered a theological image; second, the image likely paints a picture of exile and restoration in its fullness, spanning all epochs, not just the Babylonian, Media-Persian, and Seleucid-Hasmonean crises. The conclusion notes how such literary and theological moves may also point to a deliberate shape inherent to Dan 9, one that includes subsequent, interpretive communities, such as Qumran and its sects.

Book Reviews

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