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An Old Testament Theology: An Exegetical, Canonical, and Thematic Approach [Hardcover]

Bruce K. Waltke , Charles Yu
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
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Product details

  • Hardcover: 1024 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (21 Sep 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310218977
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310218975
  • Product Dimensions: 24.1 x 19.2 x 5.3 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 416,977 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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The Old Testament is more than a religious history of the nation of Israel. It is more than a portrait gallery of heroes of the faith. It is even more than a theological and prophetic backdrop to the New Testament. Beyond these, the Old Testament is inspired revelation of the very nature, character, and works of God. As renowned Old Testament scholar Bruce Waltke writes in the preface of this book, the Old Testament's every sentence is "fraught with theology, worthy of reflection." This book is the result of decades of reflection informed by an extensive knowledge of the Hebrew language, the best of critical scholarship, a deep understanding of both the content and spirit of the Old Testament, and a thoroughly evangelical conviction. Taking a narrative, chronological approach to the text, Waltke employs rhetorical criticism to illuminate the theologies of the biblical narrators. Through careful study, he shows that the unifying theme of the Old Testament is the "breaking in of the kingdom of God." This theme helps the reader better understand not only the Old Testament, but also the New Testament, the continuity of the entire Bible, and ultimately, God himself.

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Price for the book 26 Sep 2013
By dan
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Waltke's Old Testament Theology is easily one of the best evangelical books on the subject. For its price (15.99) there really isn't any other book like it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 4.3 out of 5 stars  23 reviews
85 of 90 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One Of The Best Books Out There On Old Testament Theology 28 May 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on
As a seminary student I am quite familiar with a lot of books that act in teaching Old Testament history and theology. Mr. Waltke's book is just about the best book a teacher could ever use and a student could ever read. The book is not aimed at simply exploring God's actions in the text of the Old Testament. It begins by exploring what exactly is the Old Testament and how students (and teachers for that matter) can learn about Old Testament theology in order to give them a greater understanding of the OT in terms of overall Biblical theology. When the book finally begins to explore the books of the Old Testament, the reader has a wonderful foundation in order to not only understand what each book of the Bible has to say, but ultimately what God wants His people to understand. Whether we are talking about a student in seminary such as myself or the casual (but well read) everyday fellow. If there is a problem with the book it could be that the way the book looks, large and overbearing, one might feel that he could easily get lost in the text. Not true. Mr. Waltke's personality flows along the pages, you are getting less a textbook and more of a one-to-one classroom education, mindful, caring, and from the author to the reader. Take the first chapter that deals with the Creation account in Genesis. Too many times you see Old Earth vs. Young Earth vs. Theistic Evolution being tossed around in academics. Mr. Waltke reminds us to go beyond these debates though important in their points)and go into what the text actually says, word for word, meaning for meaning, toward what the ancient Hebrews of the Exodus would understand them all the way to how the first Christians and Christian communities would possibly understand the text. I would highly advise anyone who is interested in truly understanding God's important messages of the Old Testament and to use these messages in their everyday lives and in their ministries, pick up this book. You wont regret it. I would also suggest Tremper Longman's work as well.
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Magisterial! Outstanding Old Testament Theology! 2 Dec 2008
By Dr. Marc Axelrod - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I was really impressed with the richness of this book. Bruce Waltke's goal in writing this book is to help Christians understand the OT, understand God's plan for them, understand how the OT relates to the NT, and how it relates to their lives today. Bruce assumes the authority of the 66 books of the canonical Protestant Bible. He teaches that the Old Testament's main storyline is about the kingship of God, God's kingdom as it breaks into our world (I disagree, I think it's about God's plan to redeem the world).

Waltke adopts a Reformed, covenant approach to interpreting scripture, rejecting the dispensational approach of his youth. He divides the Bible into several blocks of writing: the Primary History (Genesis-2 Kings) Wisdom Literature, and prophetic literature.

There is a great chapter on narrative theology, addressing the different points of view in the text (God, the human characters, the narrator). I also loved the chapter on poetics and intertexuality. The beautiful symmetry and chiasm in Genesis 1-11 sheds much light on the interpretation of this passage. He also discusses typology and how some texts evoke and alude ot others within the canon.

In the Primary History section of the book, Waltke discusses the gift of the cosmos, how God overcame chaos and darkness to create a habitable world. He contends that Genesis 1 is designed to counter pagan ideas about the construction of the world. The world itself is not divine, God is.

He also discusses the literary form of Genesis 1-2:4a, contending that it is narrative history, not myth, and that it reflects an Ancient Near eastern Comogeny, an example of God's accomodation to the viewpoints held by the people of the time.

There is a discussion about the gift of Adam, or mankind. He believes that the "us" in 1:26 refers to the heavenly court, not to the second person of the Trinity. He mentions that Psalm 8 and Hebrews 2:5-10 are reflections on Genesis 1:26-28. There is also a discussion of theological anthropology: the Hebrews words of body, soul, heart, spirit, and life.

Waltke also teaches that men and women are equal in creation, parenting, worship, prayer, and giftedness, but that the male is the hierarchical, government head, just as the Father as the governmental head of the Trinity.

Waltke also defends the essential historicity of the events in the Garden of Eden, the life of Abraham and the Exodus, as well as the fall of Jericho. For Waltke, Genesis-2 Kings really lays out the central theme of the OT.

I loved this book. I gained a lot of insight from the text from Waltke's exegesis. I highly recommend it.
71 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most Outstanding Old Testament Theology on the market 7 Dec 2007
By Brian G. Morgan - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Having known Bruce Waltke personally for over thirty years and valuing his scholarship as one of the finest OT scholars in the world, I find his OT Theology to be his premier work. Typical of Bruce's high standards, this volume displays decades of his rigorous exegesis and meticulous care for the accuracy of the Biblical texts along with his masterful development of the themes of the OT and how each of them find they find their fulfillment in the person and work of Christ in the New Testament. No difficulties are avoided and every theme is traced from its inception carefully through to its climax in a New Heavens and New Earth. Bruce is one of those rare individuals who gives us both "roots and wings," and as the Spanish poet Juan Ramon writes "the wings take root and the roots fly." Bruce's theology also includes an invaluable summary of the poetics of Hebrew narrative and poetry, so that readers will discern not only "what" the Bible says, but "how" it says it. The text is easy to read, clear, and insightful beyond measure. This magisterial work will serve as a beacon of doctrinal purity and light for many generations, and not merely because of it's supreme scholarship, but also because of Bruce's humble heart and passion for holiness that pervades the text itself.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Christian Understanding of the Old Testament 12 Oct 2009
By Daniel J. Doleys - Published on
There are three main sections. In the "Introduction", Waltke describes both his approach and methodology in developing a theology of the Old Testament. He makes it is clear that his work will fall firmly in the evangelical and broadly reformed tradition. While he is certainly writing for the student and the informed layman, Waltke does not default to this tradition, but explains how he will employ the various tools of exegesis, history and philosophy to develop his theology. In this section he confidently notes that the main theme of the Bible is that "Israel's sublime God, whose attributes hold in tension his holiness and mercy, glorifies himself by establishing his universal rule over his volitional creatures on earth through Jesus Christ and his covenant people." (144).

In the second section, "Primary History", moves through the primary history of Israel in chronological order. Instead of primarily treating each book or even each section of the Pentateuch, Waltke keys in on major events that shape the theology of Old Testament describing each as a "Gift", including "The Gift of Adam", "The Gift of the Abrahamic Covenant", "The Gift of the Old Covenant". I found the chapter entitled "The Gift of God as Deliverer and Warrior" to stand out amongst the rest. While this may be due to subject bias, I did feel his synthesis here added the most the current material. After these first 17 chapters on the Pentateuch, the structure takes a more recognizable approach with a chapter on Joshua, and then tracing out of the theology of land throughout the Old and New Testament, and subsequent chapters for individual books with Chronicles and Esther, and Ezra/Nehemiah being treated together. The final section, "Other Writings" treats the Prophets and the Wisdom literature in the same way.

The most compelling aspect of this volume is Waltke himself. The work does not break any new ground per se but approaches the study of Old Testament theology unlike most other works I have read. Waltke's desire for the reader to better know and love God by learning about his great acts in history comes out on every page. It is unlikely this book will be used outside of evangelical institutions because of this approach, something I doubt Waltke would fret. There is not much theological comparison with other ANE religions (this is not to say that Waltke has not done his work in the exegetical stage), but the depth of the content, prose and reflection on what the covenant God of Israel has done is perfectly oriented for pastors, Bible and seminary students and informed laymen. If you are looking for a text on the Old Testament that will stir you to love God more and earnestly follow Jesus, Bruce Waltke's An Old Testament Theology may be your best bet.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Scholarly, Passionate and Refreshing 13 Feb 2010
By G. Kyle Essary - Published on
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
Bruce Waltke has done a service to fellow Old Testament scholars, pastors, interested laypeople and the church at large.

For Waltke, the text of the Old Testament defines our theology, not vice versa. Refreshingly (from my evangelical perspective), Waltke comes across as less defensive toward "critical" scholarship than other evangelical scholars, but not at all shy of critiquing its faults. In his erudite perspective (Ph.D. Harvard, Th.D. Dallas Seminary with over 30 years of teaching the Old Testament), the Hebrew Bible contains texts written by a variety of authors, over hundreds of years, that underwent editing during various historical epochs, and is culturally situated (and therefore brings all of the benefits and challenges of a culturally situated perspective). Thus, he often comes to different conclusions from other evangelical scholars on topics of genre, science, evolutionary origins, sources, multiple authorship, redaction history, et al. Despite these possible areas of disagreement, many of which I also disagree with him, Waltke firmly believes that this compilation of texts that we call the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible finds itself as a part of God's revelation to humanity.

And Waltke loves this God. I would be remiss for not mentioning how clearly Waltke's love for God comes through these pages. He does not look at the Old Testament from a perspective of neutral reason (as if such a thing exists), but instead comes to the text very openly as a believer in this God. This love also comes across to the reader almost as a pastor ministering to his people while sharing God's words with them.

I highly recommend this volume for Old Testament classes, seminarians, pastors and laity interested in a refreshingly honest, but passionate discussion of what God has revealed through these texts.
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