Updating Archaeology

New Directions in Biblical Archaeology, edited by David Noel Freedman and Jonas C. Greenfield (Doubleday, 1969, 191 pp., $6.95), is reviewed by Elmer B. Smick, professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

This book is the product of a symposium on biblical archaeology sponsored by the Department of Near Eastern Languages of the University of California at Berkeley and the biblical-studies faculties of the Graduate Theological Union of Berkeley and San Francisco Theological Seminary. Editors Freedman and Greenfield claim for these articles the substance of the 1966 symposium with overtones of 1969. For those who want to keep abreast of recent developments, viewpoints, excavations and discoveries in Palestinian archaeology relating to the biblical period this small book is worth its price.

The American contributors and the Israeli archaeologists (Yohanan Aharoni, Yigael Yadin, and Moshe Dothan) are outstanding scholars, and most are field archaeologists. Professor Albright heads the list and wrote the first article, “The Impact of Biblical Archaeology in Biblical Research—1966.” Here Albright appears quite defensive as he attempts to answer some of his critics, who in recent years have become very vocal. He deserves the credit for having shaped the direction of Palestinian archaeology in the last generation, for his definitive research in comparative Semitic philology (especially as it relates to the Old Testament text and history), and for his interest in epigraphic dating of the Dead Sea Scrolls, which is now largely the province of his distinguished disciple F. M. Cross.

Albright gives a needed warning of the dangers of reasoning from analogy in the reconstruction of biblical history. Although he himself has used this method for years, he warns that it is valid only if a series of independent analogies all lead to a consistent model. He gives as a good example of proper analogical method G. E. Mendenhall’s discovery of the likeness between the structure of the Israelite covenant with God and the Hittite suzerainty treaties of the second millennium B.C. As a bad example he points to Wellhausen’s refusal to accept the decipherment of Egyptian hieroglyphs and Babylonian cuneiform while trying to reconstruct early Israelite life on the basis of pre-Islamic Arabic life of the fifth to seventh centuries A.D.

Dothan reports on Ashdod of the Philistines, telling of a pottery find that may come from the first wave of Sea Peoples in that city. Aharoni gives a very interesting account of the Israelite sanctuary of the Negev fortress called Arad that among other things appears to clarify an obscure feature of Solomon’s temple. This is the first Israelite temple ever discovered. It was built in the tenth century and destroyed in Josiah’s revival. Aharoni believes it was a sanctuary of Yahweh on the order of those in Samaria, Bethel, and Dan. Some two hundred ostraca, half of them in Aramaic from the Persian period and half in Hebrew from before the exile, double the amount of inscriptional material from the pre-exilic period in Palestine.

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F. M. Cross’s article on the Samaria Papyri is most significant, for this discovery (1962) provides absolute dating for the fourth-century B.C. Aramaic cursive writing in Palestine and by doing so proves the third-century B.C. dating for certain Qumran manuscripts. The papyri mentions a Sanballat of the early fourth century that tends to vindicate Josephus against opinions of modern scholars who rejected the Jewish historian’s Sanballat of the time of Alexander the Great. Another important result, according to Cross, is proof that the Samaritan Pentateuch was not as early as the fifth century B.C. but branched off in the first century B.C. from an old Palestinian tradition that used the Paleo-Hebrew script. Professor B. K. Waltke of Dallas Theological Seminary deserves credit for his research in this area under the guidance of Professor Cross.

F. V. Filson writes on the Dead Sea Scrolls and the New Testament and D. N. Freedman on the Old Testament at Qumran. R. G. Boling surveys all Dead Sea discoveries, and in a chapter on “The Scrolls and the Old Testament” P. W. Shehan suggests there was a period before the first century A.D. when scribes of the Old Testament freely harmonized and expanded texts on the basis of other parts of Scripture. This practice is evident in the Samaritan Pentateuch and certain parts of the Septuagint and some Qumran material. It raises a large question for the textual critic. The Scrolls have far-reaching effects for understanding of history and evaluation of the Septuagint. The complicated question relating to the New Testament use of second-century A.D. “Theodotian” is solved by clear proof from a Greek scroll of Minor Prophets that this version dates to the first half of the first century.

Articles also appear on the Psalms Scroll and the Temple Scroll. G. E. Wright in the final paper gives an apologetic for biblical archaeology, apparently as an answer to critics like Morton Smith, who attacks the “pseudo-orthodoxy” he detects among those who are at once biblical scholars and archaeologists (Journal of Biblical Literature, March, 1969). Wright almost turns biblical archaeology into biblical theology. “It is natural and proper that biblical scholars who in order to comprehend and to exegete the Bible must take responsibility for the history of Palestine, should also be concerned with the archaeology of Palestine and of the ancient world generally.”

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For Wright, who objects to the anti-historical quality of much of modern theology, biblical theology cannot evade history. The work of the historian and the theologian overlap. Wright believes history is the only realm of knowledge by which God can be known. This aversion to the totally subjective nature of religious truth is welcome, but knowledge of God, while rooted in history, should not be limited to an interpretation of history, it must include also spiritual enlightenment derived from a personal encounter with God as One who entered history to deliver man from the consequences of history.

In Search Of Life

The Drug Users, by A. E. Wilder Smith (Shaw, 1969, 294 pp., $5.95), is reviewed by Ivan J. Fahs, medical sociologist, College of Medical Sciences, University of Minnesota, Minneapolis, Minnesota.

Like the modern drugstore, this book dispenses a lot more than drugs. The variety of subjects reflects the author’s belief that man is a many-faceted hybrid of matter and spirit. He takes the reader on a trip through many of these facets, giving attention to the microscopic level of drug biochemistry as well as the macroscopic level of dreams, ESP, necromancy, and Mind-at-Large.

A recurring theme is: “Where there is no vision in real life, we find the younger generation generating artificial vision with all the infective abandon of youth—and the modern know how of psychopharmacology.” Dr. Wilder Smith, a pharmacologist, is at his best when describing the various drugs in use today—LSD, marijuana and hashish, tranquilizers, amphetamines, and the morphine drugs. The heavily documented early chapters (Part One: The Drug Factor) merit careful reading by those who wish to understand today’s culture. His less microscopic considerations of Mind-at-Large, mediumistic séances, and the theoretical significance of death (Part Two: The Environment Factor) are heavily documented also, but tend to be exhortative in tone. Sweeping statements are made in an analysis of Red China, Soviet Russia, Sweden, affluence in the United States, the bureaucracy of higher education, and depersonalization. The author is much more convincing, if less emphatic, in Part One.

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But Wilder Smith has attempted a basically serious task of seeing man as a whole. If the book occasionally appears to be a string of unconnected miscellany, the fault may be due to the broad scope of the drug problem.

There are some very bright passages and some very dull ones; there are the carefully phrased comments of a college professor and the broad generalizations of a right-wing politician. But there is no ambiguity when the author perceptively asks: “Is it to be wondered that stolid Evangelicals and denominationalists stand helplessly by and watch the stampede to the new psychedelic fountains of joy? A primary cause of the stampede lies in the choking thirst produced by generations of religion devoid of true joy.”

Exploring Ezekiel

The Prophecy of Ezekiel, by Charles Lee Feinberg (Moody, 1969, 286 pp., $4.95), is reviewed by Samuel J. Schultz, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois.

The prophecy of Ezekiel, often regarded as very difficult to explain, is here discussed in a commentary that offers interesting reading for both the pastor and the layman. History, geography, and the cultural elements of Ezekiel’s time are repeatedly brought into focus as Feinberg discusses the behavior of the prophet as well as his message. Much emphasis is given to the literal rather than the figurative or symbolical interpretation. The author often appeals to common sense to find a simple and reasonable interpretation of a passage.

Caution and reserve are evident as Feinberg discusses the predictive and eschatological passages. The prince of Tyre in 28:1–10 is identified as the actual ruler of Tyre, but proper recognition is given to the motivating power that incited him to set himself up in opposition to God. Concerning the five nations in chapters 38 and 39, the author observes that “it is not worthy of the prophecy to make identifications merely on the basis of similarity of sounds.”

The literal interpretation is applied with as much reasonable care to the exposition of chapters 40–48 as to the preceding chapters. With an awareness of numerous interpretations—figurative, spiritual, allegorical, and literal—Feinberg offers an exposition he feels is “consonant with the prophecies of the Old and New Testament” and “permits the historico-grammatical method of Bible interpretation to have its rightful exercise, allowing the context in each passage to be the determining factor.”

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Each chapter concludes with a devotional lesson and a practical application to current times. Feinberg believes that the basic principles of God’s relationship with men in prophetic times are significant for the twentieth century.

For the student who wishes to study the Book of Ezekiel in depth, this commentary would be much more valuable if footnotes and references had been included. Although the bibliography might well have been more complete, it is annotated and provides guidance for further reading.

Rare Spiritual Stimulus

The Hope of Glory, by Marcus Loane (Word, 1969, 160 pp., $3.95), is reviewed by Harold Fife, minister-at-large, Far Eastern Gospel Crusade, Detroit, Michigan.

The eighth chapter of Romans magnetizes Bible expositors in the same way Everest attracts mountaineers, and for similar reasons: the peaks are as challenging as they are rewarding to the climber.

Archbishop Loane’s book is a precise exposition of the text couched in unusually felicitous English (his wide vocabulary is delightfully refreshing). He sees the chapter “as the crowning passage in the Pauline thesis on the guilt of man and the grace of God.” As such it demonstrates the completeness of life in Christ. Living this life is not an experience governed by mysticism or enthusiasm. It is as down to earth as the ideas of being led by the hand or walking in the way suggest: it means obedience to the rule of God’s will in mind, mouth, and manhood. There need never be an hour in which this is not true in the life of one who has been made free from the law of sin and death.

The all-embracing sweep of this chapter is expounded with scholarship, clarity, and balance. Loane’s sixty-three references to H. C. G. Moule’s writings on Romans reveal the deep devotional spring at which he has drunk, which brings spiritual warmth and freshness to the book. Christ’s saving work is seen in its entirety: “Salvation is a term which may have references to the past, the present, or the future. We have been saved from the guilt which sin entails; we are being saved from the power which sin exerts; we shall be saved from the taint which sin involves.” Here is the scriptural ground for what has come to be known as the Keswick message but is simply New Testament Christianity.

The rare spiritual stimulus of this book made me wish I still had a pastorate and could preach this chapter through, for it has a thrilling message particularly suited to a jaded age and bewildered church. Pastors who buy this stimulating book and proclaim its truths to their people will doubtless find these truths a wonderful antidote to the shallow uncertainties of today. In fact, the result might well be the groundswell of the long-looked-for revival.

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Book Briefs

The Religious Situation 1969, edited by Donald R. Cutler (Beacon, 1969, 1,091 pp., $15). This second in a projected series of annual volumes examines the state of religion in its confrontation with changes and problems in cultures throughout the world.

Church Growth in Sierra Leone, by Gilbert W. Olson (Eerdmans, 1969, 222 pp., paperback, $3.95). An evaluation of mission methods and goals based on a study of the Church in Protestantism’s first mission field in Africa.

Jesus Christ Our Lord, by John F. Walvoord (Moody, 1969, 318 pp., $4.95). The president of Dallas Theological Seminary offers a popular study in Christology.

The Wesleyan Bible Commentary, Volume III: Isaiah Through Malachi, Charles W. Carter, general editor (Eerdmans, 1969, 807 pp., $9.95). Those familiar with the earlier volumes of this commentary by distinguished | Wesleyan scholars will welcome this new addition.

The Development of Christianity in the Latin Caribbean, by Justo L. González (Eerdmans, 1969, 136 pp., paperback, $2.65). Surveys the development of Latin Caribbean Christianity from its earliest beginnings to the present.

1970 Biblical Sunday School Commentary, H. C. Brown, Jr., general editor (Word, 1969, 404 pp., $3.95). An evangelical commentary on the International Lesson Series.

The Ten Largest Sunday Schools, and What Makes Them Grow, by Elmer Towns (Baker, 1969, 163 pp., paperback, $1.95). And they said it couldn’t be done!

A Life, A Cross, An Empty Tomb, by H. S. Vigeveno (Regal, 1969, 166 pp., paperback, $.95). A brief survey of the life and teaching of Christ suitable for devotional use or study groups.

Names and Titles of Christ, by Francis H. Derk (Bethany Fellowship, 1969, 164 pp., $3.95). This useful reference work locates the various biblical titles of Christ and gives a brief explanation of each.

My Daily Quiet Time, by Harold Lindsell (Zondervan, 1969, 255 pp., paperback, $.95). This reprint of an earlier work by the editor of CHRISTIANITY TODAY includes stimulating devotional readings for every day of the year.

Negative Capability, by Nathan A. Scott, Jr. (Yale, 1969, 173 pp., $6). Examines the expanding relation between literature and religion on the contemporary scene.

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It’s a Playboy World, by William S. Banowsky (Revell, 1969, 126 pp., $3.50). This analysis of the playboy philosophy and its powerful influence on today’s society seeks to expose the fallacies and inconsistencies of playboyism.

Justinian Welz: Essays by an Early Prophet of Mission, by James A. Scherer (Eerdmans, 1969, 111 pp., paperback, $2.45). Essays by a little-known pioneer missionary to South America who was martyred in 1668.

Which Way to Nineveh?, by Ethel Barrett (Regal, 1969, 135 pp., paperback, $.69). In a style particularly appealing to young people, Ethel Barrett portrays the reaction of several Old Testament characters who were confronted with something God wanted them to do.

Here’s Your Answer, by Robert J. Little (Moody, 1969, 220 pp., $3.95). Seeks to give a biblical answer to many of the problems and questions that plague modern man.

Minister’s Federal Income Tax Guide, by Conrad Teitell, (Meredith, 1969, $2.95). New edition; will be extremely helpful to ministers in the preparation of income-tax returns.

1844: Religious Movements, Volumes I, II, and III, by Jerome L. Clark (Southern, 1969, 1,022 pp., $7.95 ea.). This three-volume set surveys the religious, social, cultural, and political reforms and movements that either had their beginning or were coming to their climax around 1844.

Translating for King James, by Ward Allen (Vanderbilt, 1969, 157 pp., $10). One of the translators of the King James Bible kept notes on the proceedings, and this volume offers the translation of some of those notes.

The Relevance of the Prophets, by R. B. Y. Scott (Macmillan, 1969, 248 pp., $6.95). Revision of a well-known introduction to the Old Testament prophets.

One Moment With God, by Edward L. R. Elson (Eerdmans, 1969, 192 pp., paperback, $1.95). Reprint of an earlier work in which the present chaplain of the United States Senate offers devotional readings for each day.

The Jewish Sources of the Sermon on the Mount, by Gerald Friedlander, (KTAV, 1969, 301 pp., $8.95). The editor of the Jewish Quarterly Review looks at the Sermon on the Mount in the light of Rabbinic literature.

New Joy for Daily Living, by Eric C. Malte (Concordia, 1969, 86 pp., paperback, $1.95). Thirty-six devotions on themes from Philippians.

I’m a Good Man, But …, edited by Fritz Ridenour (Regal, 1969, 164 pp., paperback, $.95). Talks about how God can help us to become the good men that he wants us to be. Appealing to young people.

God’s Turf, by Bob Combs (Revell, 1969, 129 pp., paperback, $1.95). This story in photography portrays vividly the ministry of David Wilkerson and Teen Challenge.

Retire to Action, by Julietta K. Arthur (Abingdon, 1969, 254 pp., $5.95). This very practical work shows those who are retired or are planning retirement how they can remain active and useful.

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