Old Testament Capsules

Archaeology and the Ancient Testament, by James L. Kelso (Zondervan, 1968, 214 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Gleason L. Archer, professor of Old Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois.

The subtitle for this interesting little work by one of America’s foremost archaeologists is, “The Christian’s God of the Old Testament vs. Canaanite Religion.” Dr. Kelso’s extensive experience in Palestinian archaeology and in the Old Testament department at Pittsburgh-Xenia Theological Seminary would lead the reader to expect an emphasis upon areas of Old Testament study that have been illumined by excavation. But this is not his intention in this volume, which he says is written especially for laymen. The aim here is to capsulize the essential message of each of the Old Testament books (except Jonah and Amos, which Kelso dealt with in an earlier work). His usual method is to bring out a few highlights of the book under discussion, illustrated with a few significant quotations.

Two emphases appear in these brief analyses: (a) the polar contrast between the divinely revealed faith of Israel and the humanly invented religions of her pagan neighbors (this rules out the possibility of borrowing or mechanistic evolution in the development of Hebrew religion); and (b) the preparation for the New Testament Gospel contained in the successive revelations of the Hebrew Scriptures (this gives continuity and organic unity to the two Testaments). The material is presented in a vivid, personal way, with a careful effort to make the ancient authors and heroes seem relevant to our lives today.

There is a bit of unevenness of treatment. Lamentations and Obadiah are granted only a single paragraph each, and Zephaniah ...

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