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Dominion and Dynasty: A Theology of the Hebrew Bible (New Studies in Biblical Theology) Kindle Edition
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In doing this, Dempster provides a number of fascinating insights. From Genesis to 2 Kings, we see the creation and decreation of the world. The Prophets then speak God's word into history: Jeremiah begins by looking again at a "formless and void" world, which God resurrects by His word. The Writings record this word beginning to bear fruit. Yet, by the end of Chronicles, we are still awaiting the true fulfillment of Cyrus' decree, the true exodus from Babylon, and this comes in the New Testament. Along the way, Dempster provides a number of interesting intertextual insights into the way that the biblical authors related to one another and how these authors relate to the Tanakh as a whole. The project is successful, and a good deal of new light is shed on the Hebrew Bible. One insight that I particularly appreciated was that the New Testament is a "mini-Tanakh." The Gospels take the place of the Torah, the Epistles take the place of the Prophets, and the Apocalypse takes the place of the Writings- since it is a new Daniel, and the book of Daniel is part of the Writings.
The book is not without its problems. Sometimes, Dempster is reduced to simply summarizing the biblical text without commenting on it, almost as if he were writing an introduction to the Old Testament rather than an analysis of it for those who are familiar- as I assume most people buying books on biblical theology are. I wish he had challenged some longstanding but dubious readings of the text- such as seeing Abraham's descent into Egypt as the result of a lack of faith. While the theological insights gleaned from following the Jewish order are fascinating, it would have been convenient if Dempster pointed to more resources documenting the historical evidence for this order being the original one. I'm convinced that the tripartite order is divinely inspired, but I am less persuaded that the particular ordering of books within that framework is inspired. Still, Dempster's book is definitely worth reading for those who are interested in pursuing the Bible for what it truly is, the word of God.
The orientation to read with a "hermeneutic of charity rather than of suspicion" appears graceful but is, thus, also clearly lacking in what it denies: a historical-critical evaluation of how and WHY the texts came to be presented this way. This is particularly worrying if one considers the title "dominion and dynasty" in this day and age, not at least since Zionism is still determining quite some of our world politics. This little book could have been an interesting contribution in the discussions of higher criticism in the days of Wellhausen but, personally, I do not see its value for today, other than providing an introductory overview to the story of the Bible for some first-year students.
We live in a time where Christianity should study its abuse of such themes of kingship, power/authority and land, and should not reinforce them without much reflection. As such, this book is yet another example of how I find it hard to follow what is going on on the other side of the pond and of how I do fail to see how some literature produced fits in with topical discussions. How, can this book be helpful for the student and preacher who is looking for theological application? Should we understand Shalom in the same way as the Deuteronomist? I do not quite grasp who this book is written for.
I give two stars for learned effort. It may be worth more, but I just don't like the book for said reasons. "Introductory" Biblical Theology of this brevity is something that should be reserved for Sunday school, in my opinion. This sounds unfair but we're talking influential sacred scriptures here and this treatment does not engage much in contemporary scholarly discussions, either. I suggest Feldmeier/Spieckermann's Der Gott der Lebendigen as interesting and serious attempt at a Biblical Theology, even though it is, of course, hopelessly Lutheran. Thanks for reading, I apologise for my long sentences.