Monday, February 18, 2008

The Excuse if I Do Need One ...

... is that I have so few books on OT. So I got these today:

Philip S. Johnston, Shades of Sheol, Death and Afterlife in the Old Testament, Apollos: 2002.
As mentioned yesterday, I got intrigued by the subject upon realising that the concept of death and afterlife is one that is developed through time. The questions the book promises to answer include:
Death is a profound and complex subject.
How did the Israelites respond to it?
The dead apparently went to Sheol.
Where and what was it?
The inhabitants of Sheol are sometimes called "shades."
What does this indicate?
Many ancient peoples venerated their ancestors.
Did Israelites do this?
Did anyone hope for a positive afterlife?
If so, in what form?
What about resurrection?
How and when did this belief emerge?

Tremper Longman III, How to Read the Psalms, IVP:1988.
I am thinking since I already have Terrien's commentary to the Psalms, this book will be helpful to understand the Psalms further. It covers genres, origin, development and use of the psalms, Old Testament poetry, imagery and parallelism and more. I am looking forward to reading this book.

Philip S. Johnston & David G. Firth (eds), Interpreting the Psalms Issues and Approaches, Apollos, 2005.
Just like the book by Longman III, this book also covers the interpretation of psalms but of course what caught my attention was that is addresses "issues and approaches". It covers topics such as The Psalms and Current Study, The Psalms and Ancient Near Eastern Prayer, The Psalm and Distress, The Psalms and Praise, The Psalm and the King, The Psalm and the Cult, The Teaching of the Psalms, The Ethics of the Psalms, Body Idioms and the Psalms, The Structure of the Psalms, and more. It boasts of contributors like Craig Broyles, Dale Brueggemann, Tremper Longman, Gordon Wenham, amongst others. This will be exceptionally useful.

John H. Walton, Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament, Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible, Baker: 2006.
As I have mentioned before, after studying Biblical Interpretation, I am quite drawn to background books and when I saw this one, I could not let it off my hands. Being an entirely new subject to me, this book will be extremely fascinating.

Stanley E. Porter (ed), The Messiah in the Old and New Testaments, Eerdmans: 2007.
I am still in the process of writing a more comprehensive review on Why the Jews Rejected Jesus written by David Klinghoffer (I have a brief review written in, which was why this book attracted me. Its contributors are Mark J. Boda, S.A. Cummings, Craig A. Evans, Tremper Longman III, I. Howard Marshall, Stanley E. Porter, Loren T. Stuckenbruck, Tom Thatcher, Cynthia Long Westfall and Al Wolters.

Ethelbert W. Bullinger, Figures of Speech Used in the Bible, Explained and Illustrated, Baker: 2003 (23rd printing, originally printed in 1898 by Eyre & Spottiswoode).
Finally, I have been eyeing this book for too long a time, and since I am now doing exegesis on Psalms, all the more reason to get a copy. The most expensive of the lot, but the oldest: 110 years and Baker's 23rd printing.



  1. Very interesting books! I realise that I actually have very hazy notions of what the biblical picture of the afterlife looks like.

    Tremper Longman's book is quite a helpful primer. Do you have Gerald Wilson's NIVAC on Psalm 1-72? I'm told it's outstanding and provides an exemplary model on how to interpret the psalms, so much so that it's not actually necessary to own Longman. Although if I remember correctly he had some disagreements with Longman over the overall structure of the book of Psalms. Sadly, he died suddenly before he could complete the rest of the psalms.

    Bad me, must not play the role of the tempter...

  2. Very interesting books!
    Precisely! Which is why I spent big bucks for all these six books! But I'm happy!

    Nope, I don't have Wilson's Psalms and you are bad for even suggesting it!!

  3. tremper's book how to read the psalms is part of his series (how to read genesis, how to read the proverbs etc). tremper is an excellent writer and communicator. had the privilege to meet him at tyndale triennial conference in uk some years ago. amazing guy - did his phd in the field related with assyriology/language but moved to teach OT. he can handle anything. what i mean is he sits in the different seminars on prophetic books, wisdom books etc and he interacts with the scholars in that field. sat in to listen to his talk and was excellent.

    his book how to read the psalms is meant to be an introduction to the psalms. as an introduction, it ranks among the best in terms of simplicity of language and concepts. he tackles the various genres and gives examples. one comes away after reading his book very informed and prepared to now tackle the psalms by oneself.

    wilson's book is a commentary. hence, it has to be read as a commentary. he has written many other books on psalms especially on the structure of the psalter. it is almost impossible to compare the 2 books as they have a different agenda. i wouldn't say there's no need for tremper's book if you have wilson's. better to read tremper's book before one tackles wilson's.

  4. thanks reb for the clarification!