Jewish Bible Theology: Perspectives and Case Studies

Article excerpt

Jewish Bible Theology: Perspectives and Case Studies edited by Isaac Kalimi Eisenbrauns, Winona Lake, IN, 2012. 276 pp. $49.50 (cloth). ISBN 978-2-1-57506-231-0.

THIS BOOK CONSISTS of 1 5 essays by a roster of the most distinguished among Jewish biblical interpreters. The book is of interest and importance for two reasons. First and foremost, because it has been published and exists. It is a long-standing truism that, in the words of Jon Levenson, "Jews are not interested in Biblical Theology." The compelling reason for that lack of interest is that "Biblical Theology" has been singularly a Christian enterprise that was intuitively and uncritically christological and intrinsically supersessionist. This volume indicates a happy change in that reality, both because Christian interpreters have been slowly reeducated by the insistence of Jews, and because a newer generation of Jewish scholars (on exhibit here) has been willing to enter that interpretive conversation.

Two things are clear in these suggestive probes into Jewish biblical theology. First, these authors, in studying biblical texts, regularly appeal to the ongoing post-biblical tradition of interpretation. The biblical text cannot be taken alone, but is always accompanied by that tradition of interpretation about which most Christian interpreters know nothing. Second, it is clear that these Jewish interpreters have one eye on parallel interpretive practices among Christians, so that an effort is made to voice the singular claims of Judaism, as distinct from Christian claims. …