Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel (Vol. 1) Hardcover – November 3, 2003
All Books, All the Time
Read author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more at the Amazon Book Review. Read it now
Customers who bought this item also bought
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
"Abundant and rich material for Christian preaching." (Old Testament Abstracts, Volume 33, 2010)
"Goldingay has produced a scintillating exposition of Old Testament narrative, describing its rich 'particularities' (p. 37) and offering a wealth of critical suggestions for its theological appropriation. His treatment takes account of recent scholarship, exhibits a keen awareness of methodological debates and is written in a highly readable, even genial style. For theologians, pastors, students--anyone wanting to think through the Old Testament theologically (again) with an expert guide--his book is a must-read." (Stephen B. Chapman, Scottish Journal of Theology, February 2010)
"Goldingay helps us all learn more about the Old Testament to the end that we more faithfully proclaim the Gospel of Jesus." (Reed Lessing for Concordia Journal, October 2007)
"Here at last is an OT theology that follows the whole of the biblical narrative and treats it all with theological seriousness. Goldingay conveys his prolific insights so readably that this will be a rich resource for all serious readers of Scripture." (Richard J. Bauckham, University of St. Andrews)
"Goldingay's Old Testament Theology boldly moves in new and welcome directions. Readers will appreciate his commitment to this Testament as a work with its own integrity, whose voice the modern world needs urgently to hear. Furthermore, his great exposition of its central themes hugs the biblical text in a way that will help us all, scholars, students and preachers alike, to capture his sense of excitement and delight in these ancient writings." (H. G. M. Williamson, University of Oxford)
"Goldingay's extensive and penetrating work on the Old Testament, embracing most aspects of its interpretation, ensures that this three-volume Old Testament theology is a major publishing event. His presentation is based on a firm belief that the Old Testament has its own theological ideas which do not in themselves require validation by the New Testament, yet which are indispensable to its understanding. Refreshingly free from constraints imposed by the history of the discipline, he allows the Old Testament itself to set the agenda, weaving story and theology with persuasiveness. He is here, as always, insightful and contemporary, wearing massive learning lightly. It is a most significant addition to Old Testament interpretation." (Gordon McConville, University of Gloucestershire)
"In this volume, John Goldingay, as usual, presents himself as a knowledgeable, sensitive interpreter who pays close attention to the text and to the faith given through the text. The focus on narrative indicates the peculiar way in which biblical faith is mediated that is not excessively tamed by the usual categories of doctrine, piety or morality. The title of volume one, Israel's Gospel, exhibits Goldingay's acute theological passion, one that warrants close, sustained attention." (Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary)
"One of our preeminent biblical theologians has given us a comprehensive way into the Old Testament. Focused on the story, this volume takes one deep inside the texts that tell the story to learn what matters about both story and texts. The particular illumines the larger picture, and the whole provides a context for seeing what matters in the individual texts. What seems at first glance to be very familiar is seen with fresh new insight. From pastor to theologian, all will learn from Goldingay's masterful interpretation of the Old Testament." (Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Theological Seminary)
"This book is immensely valuable. Reading it is like sitting at the feet of a mature, experienced and wise Old Testament scholar and getting a personal tour of the theological significance of the entire narrative of the Old Testament. It is written in a way that is accessible to students wanting an introduction, but there is plenty here for the further education of even senior Old Testament theologians." (Tremper Longman III, Westmont College)
About the Author
John Goldingay (PhD, University of Nottingham; DD, Archbishop of Canterbury at Lambeth) is David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He was previously principal and a professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at St Johns Theological College in Nottingham, England. His books include The Theology of the Book of Isaiah, Key Questions about Interpretation, Models for Scripture and commentaries on Psalms, Isaiah and Daniel. He has also authored the three-volume Old Testament Theology and the seventeen-volume Old Testament For Everyone series. Goldingay also serves in pastoral ministry as an associate pastor at St. Barnabas Episcopal Church, Pasadena. He holds membership in the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for Old Testament Study, and serves on the Task Force on Biblical Interpretation in the Anglican Communion and the editorial board for the Library of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament Studies.
Top customer reviews
This *has* to be the most underrated OT theology on the market. The harmony of quality and content and practicality and scholarship just isn't found anywhere else. Before anything else - Waltke, Kaiser, von Rod, etc. - read Goldingay! It's far worth your time! You wont find a more balanced and passionate scholar.
I think the Old Testament can sometimes seem similarly foreign and intimidating, and some Christians get discouraged when they immerse themselves in it for the first time. For readers in this situation, a wise guide is helpful. I found John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel, the first book in his sprawling three volume series on the Old Testament (which he prefers to call the First Testament), to be a helpful resource for becoming better acquainted with shape and nature of the Old Testament’s story.
The Shape of Goldingay’s Theological Project
Since Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel is the first part of a larger whole, it might be helpful to point out how it relates to the other two volumes in the series. This first volume reflects on the Old Testament’s narrative account of “Israel’s story and of God’s involvement with it” (p.28). In this book, Goldingay traces the story of God’s people from creation all the way through their return from geographic exile, ending with a final chapter looking at the New Testament’s story in light of the Old Testament narrative.
Goldingay explains that in the second volume of the series, Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Faith, he focuses on the contemplative writings of the Wisdom literature and the Psalms, looking more explicitly at “the Old Testament’s faith and hope,” and addressing subjects like Israel, God, and the nations (p.28). In the final volume, Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Life, he uses the instructions of the Torah and material from the Psalms to explore the “vision of life” found in the Old Testament, including things like worship, spirituality, and communal ethics (p.28).
Now of course, in a book longer than 800 pages, it’s impossible to bring up all of the interesting themes and features that one might like to discuss. Nevertheless, I do want to look at a few aspects of Goldingay’s work that I found to be noteworthy. He argues that, “The fact that the Old Testament opens with narrative and is dominated by narrative makes narrative form the appropriate starting point for Old Testament theology” (p.32). Broadly speaking, Goldingay avoids extended speculation regarding the sources and traditions that may or may not have made up the “world behind the text,” focusing instead on “the world of the text,” the final canonical form of the Old Testament books, for his theological commentary. He explains:
I have generally not based theological inferences on scholarly theories concerning where, how and why biblical documents came into existence. I try to infer the theological significance of the Old Testament narrative itself, to analyze its discussions of complex theological questionings, and to see what the stories tell us of who God is and who we are. (p.41)
The book as a whole is organized in a theocentric fashion and is structured in a manner that seeks to stick close to the shape of Israel’s story in the Old Testament itself. I appreciate how this can help readers become more familiar with the overarching flow of the Old Testament narrative and avoid getting lost in the weeds of genealogies and other more difficult passages. Goldingay’s prose is for the most part accessible, though the sheer length of this work does mean that some readers may need some extra stamina to successfully reach the end of the book.
Listening to the Old Testament’s Distinctive Voice
In addition to Goldingay’s defense of narrative theology in the Old Testament, I also think it’s worth bringing up the polemical nature of his work. Now by polemical, I’m not talking so much about his treatment of the Old Testament as his conviction regarding the neglect of the Old Testament by the Church (p.23). Rather than listening to the distinctive canonical voice of the Old Testament’s witness regarding faith, he charges that many readers have restricted the Old testament, in practice if not in theory, to providing a backdrop for the writings of the New Testament.
Goldingay is far from alone in making this critique. Joel Green, for example, echoes this concern in Seized by Truth when he notes that “the disestablishment of the place of the Old Testament in the two-testament Christian canon prompts a theological crisis often overlooked” (p.36). Craig Bartholomew similarly asserts that “it is vital that we attend to the discrete witness of each Testament in its own right” in Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics (p.100). Like these other scholars, Goldingay judges that many, if not most, Christians have not truly listened to the distinctive voice of the Old Testament, and this is a pendulum shift that he seeks to correct in this book, which gives his introductory section a distinctively polemical slant.
Because of these concerns, Goldingay tells readers that he won’t be focusing on a number of major interpretative lenses through which many Christians traditionally read the Old Testament. He doesn’t focus on the Old Testament as a “witness to Christ,” or on how “what is concealed in the Old is revealed in the New” (pp.26-27). On this matter, he notes that, “What is concealed from the Old is revealed in the New. What is revealed in the Old is taken for granted in the New” (p.27). Similarly, he avoids spending time on the ways in which events in the Old Testament like the Exodus foreshadow parts of the New Testament. He argues that these events:
[C]ame to be seen as “types” in light of their proving to have that capacity. [However] In the Old Testament events such as the exodus and practices such as sacrifice have significance in themselves, and I want to focus on what we can learn from that. (p.27)
It is natural for Christian readers to shift uncomfortably in reaction to someone resisting Christological readings of the Old Testament, but I think it’s worth reemphasizing that Goldingay is reacting to what he sees as an interpretative overemphasis, not a practice that he wants to rule out completely (at least that’s how I read him). Goldingay’s words here seem to support this:
I am prepared to say that the Old Testament’s insights must be seen in light of those of the New, but only as long as we immediately add that it is just as essential to see the New Testament’s insights in light of those of the Old. (p.21)
There is a difference between saying “I don’t want to focus on this” and “one should not focus on this.” I may be reading Goldingay too charitably, but my intuition is that he is asserting the first statement, rather than the second one. Goldingay’s passion for revitalizing the role of the Old Testament in the conversations and practices of Christian churches leads readers into a number of interesting hermeneutical questions, but the overall point seems to be that he wants to both introduce people to Old Testament theology and correct what he judges to be the harmful neglect of the Old Testament in the rhythms of most Christian churches. He wants them to grapple with the Old Testament text itself. While there area few parts where I worry that his efforts lead to overcorrections, Goldingay nevertheless raises an important point here that I hope isn’t too easily dismissed by critics.
In the writings of the New Testament, we find passages describing the Old Testament as speaking directly of Christ (for example, John 5:46 and Luke 24:27) as well as other passages affirming the ongoing value and significance of the Old Testament in more general terms (I think especially of 2 Timothy 3:16-17 in this regard). It seems to me that Christian readings of the Old Testament are necessarily retrospective: in the light of Jesus’s life, death, and resurrection, Christians encounter the Old Testament with fresh eyes, discerning meanings and patterns that are brought out by the illuminating light of the Word made flesh. However, such figural readings shouldn’t entail the annihilation of the Old Testament passage’s reality and significance in its own right, as Richard Hays argues in Echoes of Scripture in the Gospels (p.14).
For Goldingay, the Old Testament is a forgotten voice that needs, and deserves, to be given more attention. As he puts it, “I want to give the Old Testament its own say in the conviction that it will tell us something that is in the spirit of Christ” (p.24). For the most part Old Testament Theology: Israel’s Gospel accomplishes these goals. Even in the portions that are especially stretching and challenging, wrestling with the text alongside Goldingay makes for a good initiation into the rich world of the Old Testament narrative.
*Disclosure: I received this book free from IVP Academic for review purposes. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review.
It is simply amazing for a variety of reasons, not least of which is its massive length. The three volumes comprise over 2,500 pages (2743 pages to be exact). Bear in mind that in the decade he took to pen this, he also produced a number of other important works, including his equally impressive 3-volume commentary on the Psalms, which totals over 2200 pages! Talk about prolific.
This OT theology is simply superb. Goldingay is just utterly steeped in the Old Testament, and has done a superlative job of elucidating its themes, its theology, its vision, its grandeur, and its contents. Almost every aspect of OT studies is entered into here, and he is always up to the task.
The first volume focuses on "Israel's Gospel". It examines the OT narratives from creation to the first coming of Christ. The second volume deals with "Israel's Faith". This concentrates on the Prophets, the Wisdom writings, and the Psalms. Volume three centres on "Israel's Life". It examines the ethical, spiritual and worshipping life of Israel.
Goldingay is of course a Christian but he argues that we must consider the OT on its own terms. He rightly notes that "the Old Testament's insights must be seen in light of those of the New, but only as long as we immediately add that it is just as essential to see the New Testament's insights in light of those of the Old."
Or as he says further on, "It is inappropriate to describe the New Testament as the `authoritative interpretation' of the Old without adding that the Old Testament is the authoritative interpretation of the New."
Indeed, he reminds us of the vital importance of the OT: "only when people have learned to take the Old Testament really seriously can they be entrusted with the story of Jesus." We fail to properly understand the NT gospel unless we have a firm grasp of the OT.
Goldingay is more than qualified to tackle this job. He has been for many years Professor of Old Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, and is one of the world's leading evangelical OT scholars. He has penned numerous important works on OT topics, and this trilogy is in many ways his magnum opus, capping off a distinguished career.
Of course other helpful OT theologies written from an evangelical/conservative viewpoint have appeared over recent times. One thinks of John Sailhamer's Introduction to Old Testament Theology (1996); Paul House's Old Testament Theology (1998); and Bruce Waltke's An Old Testament Theology (2007), for example.
But this is by far the most comprehensive, the most detailed and the most incisive work going. Anyone wanting to master the OT needs this superb set. Mind you, I find myself disagreeing with the author on a regular basis. For example, he is quite open to freewill theism, and thus his take on such areas as divine omniscience and impassibility will not please everyone.
But he certainly gets one thinking, and he is always careful to tentatively - and respectfully - push what might be considered controversial topics. His many decades of careful scholarship and theological awareness, combined with a more than capable writing style, make this work a pleasure to read and a joy to contemplate.
If you get only one Old Testament theology, get this three volume work.
Most recent customer reviews
John Goldingay is the David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament at...Read more