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The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation Paperback – November 15, 2009
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"Sailhamer has made a valuable contribution to both Pentateuchal studies and the larger field of biblical theological studies." (Roger D. Cotton, Enrichment, Winter 2011)
"An interesting evangelical position in language accessible to all." (James Chukwuma Okoye, The Bible in Review)
"For years John Sailhamer has been pressing toward a comprehensive work on the Pentateuch, preparing the way with such works as his The Pentateuch as Narrative and a host of periodical publications on the subject. At last the magnum opus has appeared under the title The Meaning of the Pentateuch: Revelation, Composition and Interpretation. In typical Sailhamer fashion, he has left no stones unturned in any language necessary to get to primary and secondary sources, while at the same time offering fresh insights into the biblical texts and compelling invitations to the reader to view them in more holistic and integrative ways. Careful reading of the book will inevitably call for a reexamination of the issue of the Pentateuch's antiquity and its deliberate compositional strategy, a reassessment that will help to rehabilitate Torah as not the end product of Judaism but as the foundation of Israelite faith and practice." (Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, and Distinguished Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary)
About the Author
Top Customer Reviews
Sailhamer argues that the three fold division of the Hebrew Bible into the Law, the Prophets and the Writings (Torah/Nevi'im/Ketuvim) was theologically intentional rather than simply reflecting a historic development. The author latched onto the references to meditating on the Torah day and night in Josh. 1:8 and Ps. 1:2 as appropriate locations in the seams between the first and second and between the second and third divisions. Furthermore, all three sections end on a Messianic note with the hope of a prophet unfulfilled in Deut. 34:10, the promise of the Messiah's forerunner Elijah in Mal. 4:5 and the lack of a final fulfillment of Cyrus' decree in 2Chron. 36:23.Read more ›
Mark Driscoll said it was for "theological uber geeks." John Piper said "no, no, no," to Driscoll and said that it was easily readable. After making my way through over 600 pages, I lean slightly in Driscoll's direction. This review will be more of a reference for those who are around my age, and have a similar level of theological understanding. Feel free to compare and contrast to me.
Education: Bachelors' Degree from a Liberal Arts College, not in seminary but I have taken 4 seminary classes
Christian Academic Books I Have Read in the Past: Not many, but I read 2-3 hours a day.
Difficult Aspects of the Book:
1) Each chapter begins with a brief introduction, followed by Sailhamer reviewing several points of view on each subject. Some names may be familiar, depending on one's level of education (i.e. Calvin, Vos, Schleiermacher), but most of the people mentioned in the book were people I had never heard of. This proved to be a disadvantageous to me because of the fact that I did not know anything about their theological backgrounds. I know that he quoted many conservative theologians (i.e. Calvin), but he also quoted several liberal theologians (i.e. Schleiermacher, Childs). For those who I didn't know much about, it all just blended in together. After reading the book, I cannot recall the views of most of these people.
2) Most of the chapters were like mini books in themselves. Ranging from around 50-75 pages (except for a few chapters), it was easy to get lost and to break my concentration. Since my aim was to read each chapter in one sitting, it would take me upwards of four hours to read one chapter, leaving me pretty exhausted at the end.Read more ›
First, Sailhamer excels in his analysis of the theological trajectories in the compositional strategy of the Pentateuch. This book merges the ideas in Pentateuch as Narrative, The and Introduction to Old Testament Theology: A Canonical Approach. Whereas I do not feel that Sailhamer treads new ground in this regard, it does bring the key ideas in both of these previous works into one work. This is beneficial to those who teach Old Testament from an evangelical, canonical approach and formerly would have suggested purchasing both volumes.
Second, the discussion on divine revelation (both historically and within the pages of Scripture) was excellent. The discussion of the scriptural text as revelation in and of itself as opposed to serving merely as a pointer to historical referents highlighted many of the errors inherent in contemporary Old Testament theologies.
Third, the content of Chapter 9 "Is There a 'Biblical Jesus' of the Pentateuch" alone justifies the purchase of the book.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is one of the best and worst books I have ever read. The theology/content of the book is enormously valuable. Read morePublished 9 months ago by Diane Montgomery
This book contains a groundbreaking and revolutionary idea that could have been summarized in a book that was 90% shorter. Read morePublished 14 months ago by Jeremy Myers - Writing at RedeemingGod
Sailhamer is a necessary read in all things OT. Excellent study.Published 19 months ago by John G. Conner
John Sailhamer has a wonderful, albeit unique, take on how the OT was composed. I was privileged to take a class from him on OT theology, and it completely opened up my view of how... Read morePublished on October 17, 2013 by Katie L. C. Philpott
I will make this review short as I do not want to repeat what several others have already said.
This book was very scholarly and a tough read. Read more