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Word Biblical Commentary Vol. 2, Genesis 16-50 (wenham) 556pp Hardcover – June 26, 1994
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About the Author
Gordon J. Wenham (PhD, University of London) is tutor in Old Testament at Trinity College, Bristol, England, and professor emeritus of Old Testament at the University of Gloucestershire. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Story as Torah and commentaries on Genesis, Leviticus, and Numbers.
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Top Customer Reviews
A little heavy on Source Criticism and weak on the possibility of Mosaic Authorship.
Does a great job of handling Hebrew and Literary structure.
A must have for the Scholar/Pastor.
However, Wenham is no skeptic. Many times in both volumes he points out places which clearly point to the antiquity of the text. He clearly holds a high view of the historicity of Genesis, as can be seen in his interpretation of the mention of camels in the patriarchal narrative (he sees them as a 2nd millennium luxury, rather than a historical anachronism). There is also extensive comment on the broader literary dimensions of Genesis, such as palistrophic and panelled structures, which highly suggests, at the very least, a high degree of editorial activity, so as to make source/form/traditio-historical analysis virtually irrelevant, and you get the sense that Wenham is on board here. I can't think of a single place where he allows source criticism to derail his exegesis. He clearly is treating the canonical version.
The only place that conservative readers may find troubling is in his treatment on "The Religion of the Patriarchs." If you are familiar with his other work, you know what I'm talking about. Wenham believes that there is good evidence that Yahweh of the Old Testament was earlier worshipped as El, head of the Canaanite Pantheon. One line of argument he uses, for example, is that Baal eventually replaced El, and is presented in the Bible as one of Yahweh's big "contenders." In this respect, he is very similar to F.M. Cross.
When all is said and done, however, Wenham is definitely a 5-star commentary. The good pastor/student understands that he must read critically, not swallowing, hook-line-and-sinker, everything is put in front of him. Nevertheless, both volumes by Wenham are well worth the money you pay for them, and will pay for themselves in edification and knowledge gained.
But to have both means you must buy 4 volumes because both Wenham and Hamilton separated their commentaries on Genesis into two volumes (Wenham: Genesis 1-15 & 16-50; Hamilton: Genesis 1-17 & 18-50).
I have read all of the four volumes and found that for the first part of Genesis, Hamilton tend to be more conservative than Wenham (e.g. compared their interpretations on the "spirit" in Gen. 1:2), but for the second part Wenham has given me more insight (He always can find fresh meanings and applications from the famous Christian stories that I have been reading since I was in the sunday school!).
My suggestion is if you have enough money buy all, but if you don't buy the first book of Hamilton and the second book of Wenham.