Leviticus (OTL) by Gerstenberger

book lev otl

Erhard Gerstenberger replaces Noth in the Old Testament Library (OTL) series with this volume. It strikes me differently than many other volumes in this series. Whereas many volumes in the series make a greater theological contribution than an exegetical one, this one gives us little theology around its exegesis. The whole series is known as a critical one yet in this volume it seems more pronounced to me. Known as a form critic, the author talks much about sources. Those discussions seem nebulous and unprovable to my mind and give the text a devastating uncertainty. How deeply you fall into the critical viewpoint will determine how high you rate this volume. If you’re more conservative like me, you may not find the theological compensations that some others in the series provide.

The Introduction begins by describing difficulties in reading the Bible. The aforementioned subject of sources arises immediately. He describes the audience as “a colorless someone” and does not demonstrate a passion for the book of the Bible that he commentates on that is found in the best commentaries. He discusses authorship, subsequent influence of cultic law, and structure. He takes the critical line across the board.

In the commentary proper, he does provide a lot of exegesis (the best trait of the book) and a lot of detail about the ceremonial things that are foreign to our thinking. He would bring up things like feminist concerns that put him at odds with the text.

In a nutshell, critical scholars will likely rate this book highly, those doing exegesis will appreciate some details, and more conservative readers will likely not enjoy this book as much as several others in the series. In fairness, it could be that the Book of Leviticus doesn’t lend itself to the same kind of theological treatment several others in this series provide.

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.

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