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An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach Hardcover – October 14, 2007

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

The Old Testament is more than a religious history of the nation of Israel. It is more than a portrait gallery of heroes of the faith. It is even more than a theological and prophetic backdrop to the New Testament. Beyond these, the Old Testament is inspired revelation of the very nature, character, and works of God. As renowned Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke writes in the preface of this book, the Old Testament's every sentence is 'fraught with theology, worthy of reflection.' This book is the result of decades of reflection informed by an extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language, the best of critical scholarship, a deep understanding of both the content and spirit of the Old Testament, and a thoroughly evangelical conviction. Taking a narrative, chronological approach to the text, Waltke employs rhetorical criticism to illuminate the theologies of the biblical narrators. Through careful study, he shows that the unifying theme of the Old Testament is the 'breaking in of the kingdom of God.' This theme helps the reader better understand not only the Old Testament, but also the New Testament, the continuity of the entire Bible, and ultimately, God himself.

About the Author

Bruce K. Waltke (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, Harvard Divinity School), acknowledged to be one of the outstanding contemporary Old Testament scholars, is professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and professor emeritus of biblical studies at Regent College in Vancouver. He has authored and coauthored numerous books, commentaries, and articles, and contributed to dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Charles Yu is currently pursuing doctoral studies in the Department of Hebrew and Semitics at the University of Wisconsin in Madison.
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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (October 14, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310218977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310218975
  • Product Dimensions: 7.6 x 2 x 9.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4.2 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (34 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #171,090 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Bruce K. Waltke (PhD, Dallas Theological Seminary; PhD, Harvard Divinity School), acknowledged to be one of the outstanding contemporary Old Testament scholars, is professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary in Orlando, Florida, and professor emeritus of biblical studies at Regent College in Vancouver. He has authored and coauthored numerous books, commentaries, and articles, and contributed to dictionaries and encyclopedias.

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
As a seminary student I am quite familiar with a lot of books that act in teaching Old Testament history and theology. Mr. Waltke's book is just about the best book a teacher could ever use and a student could ever read. The book is not aimed at simply exploring God's actions in the text of the Old Testament. It begins by exploring what exactly is the Old Testament and how students (and teachers for that matter) can learn about Old Testament theology in order to give them a greater understanding of the OT in terms of overall Biblical theology. When the book finally begins to explore the books of the Old Testament, the reader has a wonderful foundation in order to not only understand what each book of the Bible has to say, but ultimately what God wants His people to understand. Whether we are talking about a student in seminary such as myself or the casual (but well read) everyday fellow. If there is a problem with the book it could be that the way the book looks, large and overbearing, one might feel that he could easily get lost in the text. Not true. Mr. Waltke's personality flows along the pages, you are getting less a textbook and more of a one-to-one classroom education, mindful, caring, and from the author to the reader. Take the first chapter that deals with the Creation account in Genesis. Too many times you see Old Earth vs. Young Earth vs. Theistic Evolution being tossed around in academics. Mr. Waltke reminds us to go beyond these debates though important in their points)and go into what the text actually says, word for word, meaning for meaning, toward what the ancient Hebrews of the Exodus would understand them all the way to how the first Christians and Christian communities would possibly understand the text.Read more ›
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I was really impressed with the richness of this book. Bruce Waltke's goal in writing this book is to help Christians understand the OT, understand God's plan for them, understand how the OT relates to the NT, and how it relates to their lives today. Bruce assumes the authority of the 66 books of the canonical Protestant Bible. He teaches that the Old Testament's main storyline is about the kingship of God, God's kingdom as it breaks into our world (I disagree, I think it's about God's plan to redeem the world).

Waltke adopts a Reformed, covenant approach to interpreting scripture, rejecting the dispensational approach of his youth. He divides the Bible into several blocks of writing: the Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings) Wisdom Literature, and prophetic literature.

There is a great chapter on narrative theology, addressing the different points of view in the text (God, the human characters, the narrator). I also loved the chapter on poetics and intertexuality. The beautiful symmetry and chiasm in Genesis 1-11 sheds much light on the interpretation of this passage. He also discusses typology and how some texts evoke and alude ot others within the canon.

In the Primary History section of the book, Waltke discusses the gift of the cosmos, how God overcame chaos and darkness to create a habitable world. He contends that Genesis 1 is designed to counter pagan ideas about the construction of the world. The world itself is not divine, God is.

He also discusses the literary form of Genesis 1-2:4a, contending that it is narrative history, not myth, and that it reflects an Ancient Near eastern Comogeny, an example of God's accomodation to the viewpoints held by the people of the time.

There is a discussion about the gift of Adam, or mankind.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Having known Bruce Waltke personally for over thirty years and valuing his scholarship as one of the finest OT scholars in the world, I find his OT Theology to be his premier work. Typical of Bruce's high standards, this volume displays decades of his rigorous exegesis and meticulous care for the accuracy of the Biblical texts along with his masterful development of the themes of the OT and how each of them find they find their fulfillment in the person and work of Christ in the New Testament. No difficulties are avoided and every theme is traced from its inception carefully through to its climax in a New Heavens and New Earth. Bruce is one of those rare individuals who gives us both "roots and wings," and as the Spanish poet Juan Ramon writes "the wings take root and the roots fly." Bruce's theology also includes an invaluable summary of the poetics of Hebrew narrative and poetry, so that readers will discern not only "what" the Bible says, but "how" it says it. The text is easy to read, clear, and insightful beyond measure. This magisterial work will serve as a beacon of doctrinal purity and light for many generations, and not merely because of it's supreme scholarship, but also because of Bruce's humble heart and passion for holiness that pervades the text itself.
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Format: Hardcover
Waltke, for all his legendary and loving attention to the Hebrew text, has a writing style that can be very imprecise and discursive. He can ramble like an old guy (I'm one too) who is inclined to dump all his old stories on whoever will listen at the local cafe.

Also, the way the material is distributed is odd. Almost the whole of the text is devoted to the Torah and the Former Prophets (with the Chronicler's history and Esther thrown in as well). The prophets and the rest of the Writings get tacked on, almost as an appendix. In a thousand-page book, the prophets get two brief chapters (a mere 45 pages), while the Book of Ruth gets twenty pages! The Psalms get a skimpy 27 pages (compared to thirty for Proverbs). Job gets a mere nineteen pages (compared with 24 for Ecclesiastes).

Two curiosities strike me here: for one, Waltke has devoted a life-time to close study of the Psalms and Proverbs and prophets like Micah (and has written massively on all three), but his OT Theology text gives the impression that these writings are almost diversions from the "real story." Secondly, the book ends with Ecclesiastes, with no epilogue to sum things up. Why Ecclesiastes? That's a downer. In the TANAK, ending with Chronicles makes sense, since it concludes with Cyrus's decree to free the exiles to return and rebuild the temple. In most English versions, to end with Malachi makes sense because its closing words about "Elijah" returning lead nicely into the New Testament gospels with John the Baptist as the forerunner.
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