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Exodus (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) Hardcover – July 4, 2017
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About the Author
T. Desmond Alexander is senior lecturer in biblical studies and director of postgraduate studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, Northern Ireland. From 1980 to 1999, he was lecturer in Semitic studies at the Queen's University of Belfast. His main field of research is the Pentateuch, about which he has written extensively in academic journals and books. Alexander also has a special interest in the relationship between the Old and New Testaments. He is the author of From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Main Themes of the Pentateuch and Abraham in the Negev, and he is a coeditor (with Brian S. Rosner) of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP, 2000).
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Exodus: Apollos Old Testament Commentary begins with a 32-page introduction. Alexander has covered much of the necessary introductory matters with care and rigor, including the story and literary context of Exodus, its relationship to the Old Testament and New, structure, authorship, date, the placement of Exodus in history, and more. It is evident that Alexander is familiar with scholarship on Exodus both New and Old, and he does a tremendous service by surveying the issues while remaining conclusively agnostic where the evidence demands no commitment (e.g. Authorship and Date). Alexander is unashamed and open about his Christian commitments and how such inevitably makes its way onto the pages of the book. Alexander notes, “I write from the position of believing that the book of Exodus carries an authority that is of divine origin, being more than simply the product of a human author” (p. xi). Despite some lacking material that readers may expect, overall, most will appreciate the care that Alexander takes in handling the introductory matters.
The commentary proper is impressive. Alexander follows the organization of the series well and provides several excurses along the way. Alexander offers readers an original translation of the Hebrew text, including ample notes on various aspects of the text and translation. He also offers comments around the form and structure of the larger units of text, verse-by-verse commentary, and an explanation of the text within the broader framework of biblical theology. The translation that Alexander provides is readable and the annotations offer the reader a goldmine of textual information. Truthfully, the translation and notes are easily worth the price of the commentary, which says volumes because Alexander is strongest in the explanation section. The comments on the individual verses offer a balance of depth and understanding, but Alexander’s ability to pull everything together under the umbrella of biblical theology is simply unparalleled in relation to other commentaries. Alexander can extract various themes with detail and depth, and still never lose sight of the peripheral narrative of the Old and New Testament.
There isn’t much not to appreciate about Alexander’s work here. The introduction is somewhat small considering the size of the commentary, and while Alexander provides sufficient contact with the needed information, some readers will lament the omission of a formal outline after his survey of the structure of the book, among other things. For perspective, the bibliography alone is roughly 50% larger than the entire introduction. Thus, those looking for detailed interaction with introductory matters should consult an introduction to the Old Testament or From Paradise to the Promised Land (p. 187-223). Where readers will find Alexander’s work helpful, both the introduction and beyond, is his constant engagement with critical theories from a conservative perspective—especially the Documentary Hypothesis. Alexander is always generous and charitable, and regardless of conviction, readers of all backgrounds and theological persuasions should find useful interaction therein.
Exodus: Apollos Old Testament Commentary by T. Desmond Alexander is a comprehensive, up-to-date examination that leaves readers with little left to want from a commentary. Alexander is a seasoned scholar and an established biblical-theological voice. The organization and structure of the commentary allows Alexander to display his strengths, and the reader will benefit over and over again. I had several preferred commentaries on Exodus before Alexander, including Enns, Stuart, and Durham. After reading Alexander, I can say with confidence that it will be the first to leave my shelf, and possibly the only. If you’re looking for a commentary on the book of Exodus that offers a comprehensive balance between depth and devotion, then Exodus by T. Desmond Alexander is the recommendation for the foreseeable future. I couldn’t recommend it more strongly.
This commentary is the newest edition of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary Series with editors David W. Baker and Gordon J. Wenham, a series which is synonymous with excellent exegesis and superior application, this volume not only continues this legacy, but truly propels it to new heights. This volume is one of the most articulate and practical commentaries on the second book of the Pentateuch which is usually bogged down by from criticism and JPL theory. Yet while Alexander does answer these critical issues, something he does flawlessly by the way, he interacts with critical scholarship in a way most conservative commentators don’t. From this it is easy to see why Alexander is a highly regarded scholar and superior exegete.
Exodus has two main sections the typical general introduction, and then followed by a insightful exegetical commentaries on the second book of the Pentateuch. With regard to the general introduction it is the typical study into the introductory matters of the book and how they relate to the Bible as a whole. This is a serious scholarly work which dives into contextual as well as the as the different methodical approaches to study of this book Hawk takes great care in carefully showing the original context of passage while applying it directly to the modern day reader. He also uses his own translation of the Hebrew text, which demonstrates his depth of knowledge of the text itself. I do wish though that there was more application to some of the more difficult passages
While I disagree with Alexander on a few minor issues with regard to Old Testament interpretation, the arguments he makes are sound and brought up new ideas I had never considered before. Alexander is innovate in his interpretation and application while staying stalwart in his commitment to orthodoxy. In the vein of recommending, Exodus, to others I would recommend this commentary to pastors and scholars, yet I would highly recommend pastors, such as myself, to pair this scholarly commentary with one that is one that has more of a pastoral tone. There are many commentaries about Exodus available at this moment but Exodus of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series is a very scholarly works worthy of your time.
This book was provided to me free of charge from IVP Academic in exchange for an unbiased, honest review.
Exodus: Apollos Old Testament Commentary
© 2017 by T.D. Alexander
Publisher: IVP Academic
Page Count: 784 Pages