Theology Of The Old Testament

Toward an Old Testament Theology, by Walter C. Kaiser, Jr. (Zondervan, 303 pp., $10.95), is reviewed by J. Barton Payne, professor of Old Testament, Covenant Theological Seminary, St. Louis, Missouri.

The publication of an evangelical theology of the Old Testament has to be significant: it occurs only about once evey ten years. Since the compilation of Vos’s incomplete but valuable notes in 1948, this area has been restricted to my contribution in 1962 and that of Lehman in 1971. This newest contribution to the field, by a stimulating professor at Trinity Seminary, constitutes the most thorough interaction of Bible believing scholarship with modern Old Testament theology that has yet been achieved. Kaiser’s bibliography concentrates on the period since 1963 and he is meticulous in his acknowledgments of ideas and of documentations. Even though he modestly tells us he is moving “toward” his subject, he has managed to squeeze most of the relevant topics into these 300 pages. Under the patriarchs, for example, he includes such details as their names for God and their hopes for life after death. He is not exhaustive, saying little on the Mosaic rituals and calendar and never mentioning the menorah (candlestick) that appears on the cover and title page. He also disregards angelology, vows, and tithes. Nevertheless this volume is excellent for college and seminary survey courses.

The author holds firmly to biblical inerrancy and on questions of Old Testament introduction rings clear as a bell: Solomonic Ecclesiastes and Song, exilic Daniel, and even a ninth century Joel and Obadiah. He commences his historical outline with the pre-patriarchal era, the theology of Adam, if you will. Yet his desire for ...

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