If you are like me, this book may shatter your confidence about your understanding of circumcision in the Bible. While I might have glibly thought I knew all about the subject, this book exposed the shallowness of my thinking. Karl Deenick has contributed a worthy volume to the multifaceted, highly-respected New Studies in Biblical Theology (NSBT) series, edited by D. A. Carson. Every volume I peruse in this series raises my overall impression of it, and this volume is no exception.
Even though this book strives to produce a systematic theological understanding of circumcision, its strength lies in the exegesis of a multitude of passages about circumcision. In other words, the author makes conclusions based on what biblical passages actually say. Whether you would agree with every conclusion or not, he has done all the necessary spadework for you to make your exegetical and theological conclusions.
The design of this book was a good one to broach the subject of circumcision throughout the Bible. Circumcision clearly is used in different ways, yet the author will take you to a feasible big-picture conclusion at the end.
He begins with an introduction that defines the dimensions of scholarly debate on the subject. As you will see, scholars have not been unified in their conclusions. The next chapter looks at circumcision in Genesis and sees the sign of the promise established. The following chapter looks at circumcision throughout the Old Testament as the sign is developed. We are taken through Leviticus, Deuteronomy, Joshua, and a few other references. Chapter 4 enters the New Testament and entails a discussion of blamelessness and walking in the New Testament. Passages in Philippians, Colossians, and Ephesians are addressed. Chapter 5 is dedicated to the major discussion of circumcision in Romans 2-4. Chapter 6 does the same for Galatians. Chapter 7 is the aforementioned conclusion that looks at righteousness by promise, righteousness by faith, and righteousness through the promised seed. In this approach, the Old Testament is tied to the New Testament and the big picture view of circumcision emerges.
This book is valuable. You can use it for your own careful study of circumcision, or keep it on hand as a reference anytime a biblical passage mentions circumcision. In that case, you’ll have a fine exegetical tool. This book is well worth having!
I received this book free from the publisher. I was not required to write a positive review. The opinions I have expressed are my own. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255.