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How to Read Exodus Paperback – September 3, 2009
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Tremper Longman III
I have heard of Tremper Longman, but have never read anything that he has written, as far as I can recall. How To Read Exodus (from here on "Exodus") was a very good introduction to him as a writer as well as to Exodus.
Longman calls for his reader to read Exodus with a strategy. The strategy is to understand the literature, explore the historical background and theological theme of Exodus, and then seek to find its relevance to us. An admirable and right strategy, I think.
He continues by directing us to read Exodus as literature. This is not simply to deal with the genre of Exodus, but to deal with the shape and narrative structure of Exodus. "Exodus" presents the book of Exodus as showing us the presence of God, the covenant with the people, and the fact of servitude both to the Egyptians and to God.
"Exodus" then shows to us some of the historic context of Exodus by relating it to various law codes of its time. I like that fact that Longman does not fall into parallelomania (the mania in which inspiration is practically dismissed and the book made to be simply a product of its time), but demonstrates that there are similarities and also very pronounced differences between Exodus and other writings of its time. "Exodus" continues and deals with the event of the Exodus, its historical nature, and the significance of its having happened.
The most interesting section to me was the section in which Longman relates the story of the Exodus to his readers and then goes to show us how this relates to us as Christians. He brings out some very interesting parallels between Exodus events, the ministry of Christ, and other New Testament truths.Read more ›
Longman begins by rooting the book of Exodus in the larger framework of the Penteteuch. He then moves to a literary consideration of the book, helping us understand Hebrew literary conventions and some emphases particular to Exodus. Longman then deals with key historical issues in Exodus, particularly the crossing of the Red Sea. The book then covers Exodus section by section, bringing out interesting insights into the book from each section. Longman concludes with a consideration of the value of Exodus for a Christian.
I will be referring to this book often whenever I teach from the book of Exodus. There were many insights I had never considered that Longman brought out through his broad view of Exodus.