Listening For Divine Revelation

Handbook to the Old Testament, by Claus Westermann, translated by-Robert H. Boyd (Augsburg, 1967, 285 pp., $5.95), Introducing the Old Testament by L. A. T. Van Dooren, translated by G. P. Campbell (Zondervan, 1967, 192 pp., $4.95), and Introduction to the Bible, by Pierre Grelot (Herder and Herder, 1967, 448 pp., $7.50), are reviewed by Clyde T. Francisco, John R. Sampey Professor of Old Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, Louisville, Kentucky.

These three works from the European Continent present an intriguing picture of the unity and divisions of modern Christianity. They portray the viewpoints of an eminent Protestant scholar, an entrenched fundamentalist, and an eloquent Roman Catholic. There is agreement among the three that God speaks to man in the Bible, and with equal commitment to the word of God they listen for divine revelation.

However, they find this in quite diverse ways. Van Dooren finds the final authority of God in every word, even asserting, with some hesitation, that since the genealogies of Genesis depict twenty-three centuries, from the creation of man until the death of Joseph, the believer is bound to the same conclusion. Both Westermann and Grelot assume the critical position that the Old Testament accounts are based on traditions handed down for centuries and must be sifted for authenticity. The word of God in such passages is the truth taught by the biblical writers in their use of these ancient materials. To Westermann, the guide through the maze is science, reason, and faith. Grelot agrees, so long as the guide stays within the limits prescribed by the Church: “To read the Bible in and with the Church is the only sure method.”

The approaches ...

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