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Leviticus (Apollos Old Testament Commentary) Hardcover – May 19, 2007

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About the Author

Nobuyoshi Kiuchi is professor of Old Testament at Tokyo Christian University, Japan. He is the author of The Purification Offering in the Priestly Literature (JSOT Press) and A Study of Hata' and Hatta't in Leviticus 4-5 (Mohr Siebeck), and a contributor to the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology (IVP). He studied in England for his Ph.D. at the College of St. Paul & St. Mary, Cheltenham (now part of the University of Gloucestershire) and the Oxford Centre for Post-graduate Hebrew Studies.
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Product Details

  • Series: Apollos Old Testament Commentary (Book 3)
  • Hardcover: 538 pages
  • Publisher: IVP Academic (May 19, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830825037
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830825035
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.9 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,600,081 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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By Tyler Wittman on October 21, 2008
Format: Hardcover
Nobuyoshi Kiuchi's commentary builds on recent studies he has done on ritual symbolism, sacrifice, and sin in the Priestly literature. This is both a blessing and a curse. Many of the themes he bases this commentary on have thus far proved unconvincing to the academy if a perusal of relevant journal reviews is any indication. However, this is a fresh perspective that will undoubtedly stretch you to think through the text from a different lens, enriching your own exegesis and application.

As concerns ritual symbolism, Kiuchi argues that the rituals in Leviticus have symbolic meanings that were never supposed to be divorced from the literal observance of the rite. There is therefore an inseparability between the symbols and what they symbolize. He illustrates this idea with appeal to various passages and the uses of different terms throughout Leviticus and non-priestly literature. One example he gives is of the cleanness and uncleanness regulations in between the Nadab and Abihu incident and the Day of Atonement, in Lev 11-15.

Literal observance of the rite, he points out, renders one clean. Yet if "uncleanness" symbolizes the existential condition of the party, which will be addressed below, "then to attend only to the literal observance of these rules would make a person a mere hypocrite." Thus, it is made apparent that "the Lord commands the observance of the symbolic meaning through one's involvement in outward actions." This is to make intelligible spiritual matters to humans who are often ignorant of such matters. Such an understanding also gets to the heart of what is meant by the prescriptions for the various rituals being statues forever throughout the generations (Lev 10:9; 16:29, etc.).
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Format: Hardcover
Here is one of the most recent major commentaries on Leviticus. Nobuyoshi Kiuchi contributed this volume in the developing, scholarly, but pastor-friendly Apollos series by IVP. While this commentary is rather conservative in many ways, it has raised some controversy in its defining the Hebrew word usually rendered “sin” as “to hide oneself.” The harshest criticism I saw even called it “revisionist.” That will change interpretations in a few places, but does not shipwreck an otherwise fine production in my view.

If you overlook that one twist, you will have an excellent commentary to grapple with Leviticus. That will be clear in the Introduction. It is well written, easy to comprehend, and not sidetracked on esoteric sidewalks. He quickly dismisses, as is easily done, bizarre theories like the documentary hypothesis. He was at his best in the section on Structure. Whether you would agree or not, he really analyzes in a way that opens up Leviticus.

His analyses of key words and themes was equally helpful. I believe repeated words are always a clue to themes and he follows that line. At other points he presents original thinking and even writes as if symbolism (what some call “types”) is not far off the mark.

He had a few other peculiarities like calling the soul “one’s egocentric nature”, but was still helpful. He interacted well with the exegetical volumes most likely to compete for pastor’s attention: Wenham, Rooker, and Hartley.

The commentary proper was excellent and presented in the typical Apollos style: Translation, Form and Structure, Comment, and Explanation. This is a solid effort and worthy of purchase.

I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
After over 40 years in ministry I felt that there was nothing I had not seen in the way of commentaries and I had just about given up on a really great commentary on Leviticus. This Apollos volume on Leviticus changed all that in one read. Using it for a church study I found it to be just completely unbelievable and just what I had looked for all this time. Instead of being just a devotional, hit the highlights flyover, it is a masterly written but easy to read and teach from volume that you need on your working shelf as your one reference tool on this book of the Bible. I feel it is so good I actually bought two and sent one to a young seminary student. Take my word, You will not be disappointed in this great commentary that will be a standard for many years. GMM
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Since I am writing my dissertation on Leviticus I am often asked what is the best commentary on Leviticus. Until now I have said that it is a combination of Wenham, Hartley, and Tidball. I have to say that Kiuchi actually brings together the best elements of all three. He draws on the best scholarship and his comments on the nature and unified whole of Leviticus although developed thematically through the book are excelleent.
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First let me say that is a commentary that should be consulted for its unique perspective that it brings, and it rightly emphasizes the close connection to Gen 3 in regards to the curse.

But there is a fundamental word study debacle which is key to Kiuchi's book. I am speaking of the Hebrew verb chata and the noun chattat as prounounced roughly in English. Anyone can do their own word study on this verb and noun and clearly see that "to hide" and "hiding" cannot be the definition of these words. As a test try to fit Kiuchi's definitions in these verses where these Hebrew words appear, which I have in quotes, and see if it makes any sense.

Gen 31:39 That which (Jacob's flocks) was torn by wild beasts I (Jacob) did not bring to you (Laban); I "bore the loss" of it myself. rsv Kiuchi says that this form of chata (called by grammars the piel form) means uncover

Gen. 42:22 - And Reuben answered them (his brothers who threw Joseph into a pit and sold him to traders), "Did I not tell you not "to sin" against the lad (Joseph)? rsv This form is called by grammars the Qal whicn KIuchi translates as "to hide"

Gen 43:9 - I (Judah) myself will guarantee his (Benjamin's)safety; you can hold me personally responsible for him. If I do not bring him back to you and set him here before you, I will "bear the blame" before you all my life. niv qal

Ex 10:16 - Then Pharaoh called for Moses and Aaron in haste; and he said, I have "sinned" against the LORD your God, and against you. kjv qal Pharoah was doing anything but hiding he was challenging God!

Ex 29:36 - Sacrifice a bull each day as a "sin offering" (the noun form) to make atonement. "Purify" (Piel) the altar by making atonement for it, and anoint it to consecrate it.
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