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Esther & Daniel (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) Hardcover – 15 Jun 2013

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About the Author

Samuel Wells (PhD, University of Durham) is vicar of St. Martin-in-the-Fields Anglican Church at Trafalgar Square in London, England. He previously served as dean of the chapel and taught at Duke University. Wells is the author of several books, including Improvisation: The Drama of Christian Ethics, Be Not Afraid, and Transforming Fate into Destiny: The Theological Ethics of Stanley Hauerwas. George Sumner (PhD, Yale University) is principal and Helliwell Professor of World Mission at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario. He has served in various pastoral roles and is an honorary assistant at St. Paul's Anglican Church in Toronto.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Uneven but worth consideration 26 Aug. 2013
By Ethan R. Longhenry - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition
A volume in the Brazos Theological Commentary series placing two books that feature Jews adjusting to the situation of exile: Esther and Daniel.

The Brazos Theological Commentary series is a welcome concept: a commentary series focused less on the questions which scholarship generally finds most pressing (who wrote what, when, where, why) and more on making sense of the role of the texts in theology with a view to the history of interpretation of the text, especially within the Christian tradition.

The quality of this particular volume in the commentary was a bit uneven between the two authors, especially as to how they approached the endeavor. Part of the challenge involves the distinctiveness of the two books: sure, they are both set in the exile, but otherwise have very little else in common.

Esther: the author of the Esther commentary is in conversation with a lot of recent studies in Esther and uses them in many ways that can help understand the text.. The author sees the main story of Esther mostly in contrast with much of the rest of the presentation of God and Israel in its history: using realpolitik to eke out existence, deftly manipulating situations, confident in God's providence but not in direct acts as before, and sees the whole story as a grotesque exaggeration of exilic challenges and realities. Many of the thoughts are suggestive and prompt thinking but do not necessarily show a way forward of seeing how the book of Esther fits within the canon and the greater Judeo-Christian tradition and understanding.

Daniel: the author of the Daniel commentary does extremely well at setting aside all of the questions about authorship and setting and does a great job of understanding Daniel in its supposed context, as used in Judaism and early Christianity, and the history of interpretation, mostly Christian but Jewish as well, of the text and its applications. The author considers Daniel 7 as the means by which to understand the rest of the work and does well at expressing the power of God over and despite the nations and their activities. One idiosyncrasy of the work is the author's continual attempt at associating Daniel and its themes with missiology and a missiological focus, which no doubt can be found at some level but leaves one wondering whether it is the best lens through which to read Daniel.

Nevertheless, a fruitful resource through which to become more aware of the interpretations of Esther and Daniel and means by which to understand these texts in our own day.

**--book received as part of early review program, and galley reading was especially hindered by the absence of "ff," "th," and other letter clusters.
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