Has 1966 been a good year for Old Testament publications in English? Quantitatively, yes. But qualitatively, particularly from an evangelical viewpoint, the answer must be a guarded no.

Certain areas have been solidly productive during the past year. One is commentaries: of the eleven Old Testament releases that can be identified as the year’s most important for evangelicals, five are in this category. Yet only one of these, and that the least intensive, can be called conservative. The level of such top-notch 1965 volumes as M. Woudstra’s The Ark of the Covenant or E. J. Young’s Isaiah 1–18 (“New International Commentary”) just was not attained during 1966. Still, liberal sets such as Allenson’s “Studies in Biblical Theology,” Doubleday’s Anchor Bible, and Westminster’s “Old Testament Library,” along with a few conservative sets such as Baker’s “Studies in Biblical Archaeology,” “Shield Bible Study Series,” and “Old Testament History Series,” continued to produce on schedule. The following survey seeks to point out, by area, some of the leading books of 1966, plus a few from 1965 that appeared too late to be listed last year.

Concerning the biblical text itself, Father Alexander Jones’s edition of The Jerusalem Bible (Doubleday) ranks as one of the year’s top eleven volumes in Old Testament. Although its headings and notes generally render the 1956 French Bible de Jérusalem, its text is in splendid English. But when its Roman Catholic sponsors bill it as “unbiased” and as “acceptable to all faiths,” one wonders what conservatives—whether Catholic, Protestant, or Jewish—are supposed to make of its third-century date for Chronicles or its “figurative Yahwistic narrative” in Genesis 2:4b ff.

Then there were the two Catholic Bibles in the Revised Standard version. The New Testament part of the Holy Bible, RSV: Catholic Edition (Nelson), produced by the Catholic Biblical Association of Great Britain, had appeared in 1965 with sixty-seven textual changes; in 1966 came the Old Testament, with the Apocrypha inserted throughout and with notes at the ends of both testaments. The Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha (1966 imprimatur edition) is really just the 1965 Protestant publication with the addition of fourteen minor notes. A defense of the Jewish Torah version, especially in its freedom as opposed to the “LXX-type” word-for-word translation, came from H. M. Orlinsky (ed.): Genesis: The New Jerusalem Version Translation (Harper Torchbooks); this is the 1962 edition revised on the basis of the Torah’s actual reception. A comparative exhibit of the sort of Genesis text that Orlinsky attacked appeared in L. A. Weigle (ed.): The Genesis Octapla: Eight English Versions of Genesis in the Tyndale-King James Tradition (Nelson).

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To get back to the original languages, 1966 brought Part XII:2, Ecclesiasticus, of the Septuaginta, edited by J. Ziegler (Göttingen, Germany); A. A. DiLella, The Hebrew Text of Sirach (The Hague); Y. Yadin, The Ben Sira Scroll from Masada (Israel Exploration Society, 1965); J. A. Sanders, The Psalms Scroll of Qumran Cave II (Oxford, 1965; “Discoveries in the Judean Desert,” IV); J. A. Fitzmyer, The Genesis Apocryphon of Qumran Cave I (Pontifical Biblical Institute); and J. Reider, An Index to Aquila (Brill, Leiden, The Netherlands; “Supplements to Vetus Testamentum,” XII).

Volumes on textual criticism ranged from D. R. Ap-Thomas, A Primer of Old Testament Textual Criticism (Fortress); through S. Talmon’s editing of the fifth volume of Textus: Annual of the Hebrew University Bible Project, with various Qumranic notes and a recovered photograph of a page out of the lost Pentateuchal part of the Aleppo Hebrew Codex; to J. de Waard, A Comparative Study of the Old Testament Text in the Dead Sea Scrolls and in the New Testament (Brill and Eerdmans, “Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah,” IV), our first such really comprehensive analysis.

Next to commentaries, books on historical background seem to have been 1966’s best Old Testament contribution. A Short History of the Ancient Near East, by the conservative (indicated through the rest of this survey by an asterisk) Seventh-day Adventist S. F. Schwantes,* won Baker’s twenty-fifth anniversary manuscript contest. The book sweeps through the political history of Shinar, Egypt (in one-third of the book’s 175 pp.), Babylonia, Medo-Persia, Aram, and Israel. It has helpful maps, charts, and illustrations. A translation of M. Noth’s The Old Testament World (Fortress) likewise travels through geographical, cultural, and archaeological settings to end up with a discussion of the text itself.

J. Van Seters in The Hyksos: A New Investigation (Yale) identifies the Hyksos with urbanized Amorites and places their capital city of Avaris near Qantir rather than Tanis. J. L. McKenzie provided a useful manual in The World of the Judges (Prentice-Hall), while C. Gordon continued his Mediterranean studies with Ugarit and Minoan Crete (Norton) and Evidence for the Minoan Language (Ventnor). Gordon’s views on early contacts between the Aegean and the Near East are projected in E. M. Yamauchi’s* paperback, Greece and Babylon (Baker, “Studies in Biblical Archaeology”). K. Stenring in The Enclosed Garden (Stockholm) outlines the chronology of the Old Testament, with diagrams; and K. M. Kenyon surveys Amorites and Canaanites (Oxford) and how Israel adopted their culture after the conquest. Another book in the Prentice-Hall background series is E. H. Maly’s The World of David and Solomon. C. F. Pfeiffer* continued his survey books on Hebrew history with Israel and Judah (Baker) during the divided kingdom, while for the period from 538 B.C. onward there is M. Avi-Yonah’s The Holy Land from the Persian to the Arab Conquest: A Historical Geography (Baker).

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Concerning archaeology, a useful tool that is suggested as another of 1966’s eleven most important Old Testament books for conservatives is C. F. Pfeiffer* (ed.): The Biblical World, a Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology (Baker). It presents an excellent check list of digs under “Archaeology”; but in its striving for objectivity it comes up with a few conclusions that have made both conservatives and liberals lift an eyebrow, e.g., that Jericho was “presumably” destroyed by Joshua in 1325 B.C. Critical problems about the Moabite Stone, for example, or Moses’ relation to Hammurabi, are often bypassed. Its bibliographies though brief, are helpful.

Similarly broad in scope is R. W. Ehrich’s Chronologies of Old World Archaeology (University of Chicago). More specialized studies ranged from the technical report of B. Mazar, T. Dothan, and I. Dunayevsky, En-Gedi: The First and Second Season of Excavation, 1961–62 (Israel Exploration Society) to J. C. Trever’s autobiographical The Untold Story of Qumran (Revell), which clears up some of the uncertainties, nineteen years after the discovery.

Turning to biblical content, we first find the one-volume Dictionary of the Bible (Bruce, 1965) by the outstanding Catholic Old Testament scholar J. L. McKenzie. It claims to be “a synthesis of the common [i.e., liberal] conclusions of scholarship” and is a large (954 pp.) but well done one-man job. Sister Laurentia Digges gives popular sketches of Old Testament characters from Adam to David in Adam’s Haunted Sons (Macmillan)—haunted by visions of God, that is. Similarly biographical is J. Kelso’s* Archaeology and Our Old Testament Contemporaries (Zondervan). While it popularizes a few critical conclusions, such as Abraham’s being a merchant prince, and the name Yahweh’s having a “Creator” meaning (hiphil), it still maintains an evangelical position, with a Mosaic Deuteronomy and a miracle-working Christ. Selected as third on the list of eleven most important is a work by V. Moller-Christensen and K. E. J. Jorgensen, Encyclopedia of Bible Creatures (Fortress, 1965), which contains scientific footnotes on all the animals of the Bible.

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Studies in Old Testament introduction do not have to be skeptical. In 1966 some were, like W. Beyerlin’s Origins and History of the Oldest Sinaitic Traditions (Blackwell) or G. von Rad’s sixteen essays that span the last thirty years, The Problem of the Hexateuch and Other Essays (McGraw-Hill). Yet others were not, like W. F. Albright’s New Horizons in Biblical Research (the Whidden lectures for 1960, published by Oxford), which traces the positive effect of archaeology from Abraham to Judges, and E. M. Yamauchi’s* Composition and Corroboration in Classical and Biblical Studies (Baker, paperback), which compares the use of literary criticism in these two disciplines.

A. Altmann edited nine essays that were first presented in colloquia at Brandeis University on Biblical Motifs: Origins and Transformations (Harvard), e.g., Cyrus Gordon’s definition of Leviathan as an eternal (uncreated) monster, symbolic of evil. C. Barth has furnished students and laymen with a critical survey of poetic forms and meanings in his Introduction to the Psalms (Scribners, paperback); cf. W. M. W. Roth’s Numerical Sayings in the Old Testament, a Form-Critical Study (Brill, 1965, “Supplements to Vetus Testamentum,” XIII). Yet of a more conservative bent are the papers read at the seventh and eighth meetings of Die OT Werkgemeenskap in Suid Afrika,* Studies on the Books of Hosea and Amos (Potchefstroom). Small but important—fourth of the year’s best eleven—is D. J. Wiseman* et al., Notes on Some Problems in the Book of Daniel (Tyndale, 1965); forty-eight of the seventy-nine pages are a defense by K. A. Kitchen * of a date in the sixth century B.C. for the Aramaic of Daniel’s prophecy.

Commentaries were 1966’s richest Old Testament contribution. There appeared in English nine “heavy” commentaries on specific Old Testament books, all of them negatively critical. G. von Rad understood Deuteronomy (Westminster, “Old Testament Library Series”) as a covenant form for office-bearers in Israel. J. W. Myers continued his previous Anchor Bible efforts on Chronicles with Ezra-Nehemiah (Doubleday), ably stressing an essential historicity, even though he finds Ezra insertions in Nehemiah, and dating the former in 428 B.C. R. Gordis produced a fine translation in The Book of God and Man: A Study of Job (University of Chicago), holding generally to the book’s literary integrity. From the Pontifical Biblical Institute, M. Dahood’s Anchor Bible, Psalms I (chapters 1–50; Doubleday) is the first serious incorporation of present-day knowledge of Canaanitish literary forms (Ugaritic) into a study of the Psalter.

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Both G. A. F. Knight’s Deutero-Isaiah: A Theological Commentary on Isaiah 40–55 (Abingdon, 1965) and J. D. Smart’s History and Theology in Second Isaiah: A Commentary on Isaiah 35, 40–66 (Westminster) stress consistency of thought. Smart’s work, in fact, treats all twenty-eight chapters as a unity, though of 550 B.C., and locates the writing of Judah, with its hopes not focused on a return from Babylon. J. Bright was criticized for treating Jeremiah (Anchor Bible, Doubleday) as mostly authentic; no one could accuse N. Porteous of doing that in his Daniel: A Commentary (Westminster, 1965, “Old Testament Library”), though he does concede that the “stories” of Daniel 1–6 might have been based on pre-Maccabean materials. Like all three of the Westminster commentaries mentioned above, J. M. Ward’s Hosea: A Theological Commentary (Harper & Row) is more interested in theological synthesis than in detailed textual and literary criticism. But it was still our first full-length Hosea commentary in fifty years, and it and the Gordis, Dahood, and Bright volumes may be listed as numbers five to eight in our eleven of top importance.

Among the more popular expositions (M. F.) Unger’s* Bible Handbook (Moody) is more than 90 percent commentary notes. The Wesleyan Bible Commentary,* Volume I (Eerdmans), edited by C. W. Carter and released late in December, became the first Old Testament part of a work already available in the New. R. L. Honeycutt, in These Ten Words (Broadman), operates from critical presuppositions to make practical applications of the Decalogue; C. T. Francisco outlines words of later editors who regarded themselves as extensions of Moses in The Book of Deuteronomy (Baker, paperback). I. L. Jensen* added two helpful paperbacks to the Moody Colportage Library, Joshua: Restland Won, and Jeremiah: Prophet of Judgment, both with maps and charts.

Two double-volume studies that cover both major and minor prophets are E. Kraeling’s Commentary on the Prophets (Nelson) and the Beacon Bible Commentary,* Volumes V–VI (Beacon Hill). The Nelson commentary, which consists of considerably more Bible text (RSV) than notes, follows the critical spirit of the RSV on such passages as Daniel 9:27; Micah 5:2, and Zechariah 6:13. The Beacon work, however, rates a rave as number nine of the year’s best eleven. Here eight Nazarene and holiness scholars have succeeded in putting together a careful evangelical study, well abreast of current thinking and especially good in citing conservative sources. The Aldersgate Biblical Series* (Light and Life Press) reached completion in 1966 with the release of Books 13 and 14 Isaiah, and 20, Esther, Ezra, Nehemiah, and Malachi. The Leader’s Guides contain the ninety-sixe-page Study Guides plus helpful analyses; in Book 14, however, the intrusion of a deutero- and even trito-Isaiah seemed incongruous after the stress on the Virgin Mary and Jesus in Isaiah 7:14.

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They jeered God from their pinnacles of knowledge

And hooted him from tome and tabloid sheet.

They danced him out beneath a noose suspended

Then tried to drop the trap beneath his feet.

As Haman found a long, long time before,

A gallows can be used by either … or.


A. W. Blackwood, Jr.,* applied The Other Son of Man, Ezekiel/Jesus (Baker) to contemporary problems; and J. P. Lewis* uses 105 pages to bring us adequately The Minor Prophets (Baker), a volume available also in paperback. This was unquestionably Amos’ year for study helps, with choices open between D. Garland,* Amos: A Study Guide (Zondervan, paperback), good on content though weak on biblical analogy for predictions; P. Kelley,* The Book of Amos (Baker); R. L. Murray, Plumb Lines and Fruit Baskets (Broadman), practical; and J. D. W. Watts, Studying the Book of Amos (Broadman), with background, content, and meanings for today. Two other “briefies” were W. L. Banks’s* Jonah: Reluctant Prophet (Moody), and P. Kelley’s Malachi (Baker).

During 1966, the study of Old Testament religion bordered on a comeback after years of eclipse by a neo-orthodox biblical theology. Five releases attempted to crash the textbook market, hopefully appealing to liberal-minded professors with combinations of Old Testament survey, history, and religion: G. W. Anderson, The History and Religion of Israel (Oxford, a redoing of Wardle’s “Clarendon Old Testament,” Volume I); H. M. Buck, People of the Lord (Macmillan); A. S. Hopkinson, Modern Man Reads the Old Testament (Association); J. W. Myers, Invitation to the Old Testament (Doubleday); and H. C. Snell, Ancient Israel: Its Story and Meaning (University of Utah). H. Ringgren’s 1963 German work appeared in English as Israelite Religion (Fortress), stressing the period of the monarchy with a characteristic Uppsala interest in the cult, kingship, and traditions. Also translated were five of A. Alt’s studies, Essays on Old Testament History and Religion (Blackwell).

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In a restricted area was J. Morgenstern’s Rites of Birth, Marriage, Death, and Kindred Occasions Among the Semites (Hebrew Union College; Quadrangle). Essential for an appreciation of current trends, and number ten of 1966’s top eleven, were the papers read at the one-hundredth meeting of the Society of Biblical Literature, The Bible and Modern Scholarship (Abingdon), so edited by J. P. Hyatt as to sweep from early history and cult, through prophecy, and into later apocalyptic and “theology”—actually only a history of Israel’s ideas.

For valid Old Testament theology there was J. W. Watts’s* Old Testament Teaching (Broadman), but also, paradoxically, what H. Renckens entitled The Religion of Israel (Sheed and Ward); for, if one takes this Roman Catholic writer’s theories of what J, E, D, and P said was early Israel’s thought as being what really was its thought, then the result becomes a useful biblical theology, for Renckens believes in divinely revealed doctrines. On specific subjects were C. J. Labuschagne, The Incomparability of Yahweh in the Old Testament (Brill) and P. Scharper (ed.), Torah and Gospel (Sheed and Ward), an interesting colloquium between Jews and Roman Catholics in which agreement was reached on the inspiration of Scripture—namely, that both groups could afford to adopt negative biblical criticism since both had an independent basis for authority in their extra-biblical traditions anyway (but they couldn’t agree on who really constituted Israel!). Surveying ten positions that the Church has taken toward the older Scripture was another translation, A. A. Van Ruler’s The Christian Church and the Old Testament (Eerdmans).

Inspiration in the light of modern science was the subject of such diverse volumes of biblical apologetic as A. Hulsbosch, God in Creation and Evolution (Sheed and Ward), the liberal Roman Catholic canonization of evolution, and H. M. Morris,* Studies in the Bible and Science (Baker), or D. W. Patten,* The Biblical Flood and the Ice Epoch (Pacific Meridian), a conservative Protestant scientist opposes uniformitarianism.

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On the subject of Old Testament ceremonial, H.-J. Kraus’s Worship in Israel (John Knox), originally in German, M. Thierry’s A Feast in Honor of Yahweh (Notre Dame), from the French, and W. Harrelson’s The Worship of Ancient Israel (Doubleday), in original English, agree on an evolutionary transformation within Israel on what were originally pagan Canaanitish rites. Similarly, the liberal Catholic P. Drijvers, in The Psalms: Their Structure and Meaning (Herder and Herder) and the neo-orthodox Protestant Harvey H. Guthrie, Jr., in Israel’s Sacred Songs (Seabury), see eye to eye on a God of encounter in worship rather than a God of truth. On the other hand, C. Westermann’s analysis of Gunkel’s psalm types, The Praise of God in the Psalms (John Knox, 1965), offers excellent insights on the true quality of praise. A description, then, of wisdom as non-Yahwistic, at least in pre-exilic days, was the burden of R. N. Whybray, Wisdom in Proverbs (Allenson, “Studies in Biblical Theology,” 45). An indepth contribution was G. von Rad, Old Testament Theology, Volume II: The Theology of Israel’s Prophetic Traditions (Harper & Row). Weakness appeared in Von Rad’s concluding attempt to relate the Old Testament to the New; but his stress on the prophets as called of God and as building upon the prior entity of the law merits the selection of this volume as a final, eleventh, Old Testament book of the year for evangelicals.

Among important new editions—later 1965 and 1966—of former publications were J. M. Adams,* Biblical Backgrounds (Broadman), extensively revised by J. A. Callaway; J. Gray, The Legacy of Canaan (Brill), adding one hundred pages to The Ras-Shamra Texts and Their Relevance to the Old Testament (“Supplements to Vetus Testamentum,” V); A. S. Rappoport, Myth and Legend of Ancient Israel (Ktav), with an introduction and additions by R. Patai; and E. R. Thiele, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Eerdmans). (Thiele has now come to an explicit disavowal of original inerrancy in First and Second Kings: “This work was done by men, not God.”)

Newly appearing in paperback were such basic works as H. F. Hahn, The Old Testament in Modern Research (Fortress), H. Lansdell,* The Tithe in Scripture (Baker); J. B. Phillips, Four Prophets (Macmillan); I. M. Price et al., The Monuments and the Old Testament (Judson); E. Sauer’s* trilogy on the history of salvation (Eerdmans); G. A. Smith, The Historical Geography of the Holy Land (Harper & Row); and G. Vos,* Biblical Theology (Eerdmans). Finally, coming in new form were a set of eight classroom-size, five-color maps, The Abingdon Maps of Bible Lands—from the Oxford Bible Atlas of 1962—and the Tyndale Bulletin,* the voice of British evangelicalism, enlarged into an annual volume. Over half of the seven articles in this first release (#17, 1966) were devoted to the Old Testament; special praise is due to K. A. Kitchen’s* “Historical Method and Early Hebrew Tradition.”

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