My second time through Jordan's seminal work on Exodus 21-23 and the case laws. Just as good as the first time through. He discusses so much in less t...moreMy second time through Jordan's seminal work on Exodus 21-23 and the case laws. Just as good as the first time through. He discusses so much in less than three hundred pages. Every pastor and layperson should read it. Unfortunately it is difficult to find, having been out of print since the eighties. But there are still some semi-reasonably priced copies out there from used book venues. When you find a copy for under thirty bucks, pick it up. You won't be sorry.(less)
What a marvelous, fantastic book. Leithart argues that baptism elevates the person baptized to the level of priest, and not just priest, but to the of...moreWhat a marvelous, fantastic book. Leithart argues that baptism elevates the person baptized to the level of priest, and not just priest, but to the office of High Priest (on account of us being able to, through Christ, enter into the Holy of Holies). He examines the typology of the ordination rite of the Aaronic and Levitical priests and compares it to what the NT has to say about baptism, and shows that to Paul and Peter and John's minds baptism fulfills the ordination to priesthood. He looks at the fact that the entire families of the Levitical priests were able to eat the priestly portion of the sacrifices to argue for a typological basis for infant baptism (just as baptism ordains one for priesthood, it carries the whole household in with you) and an astonishingly powerful foundation for paedo-communion. He also examines the history of sacramental theology and shows a strong semi-Marcionite trend in understanding the sacraments, and reframes the whole debate, and likely the trajectory of that issue for years to come.
He shows that baptism was understood by the NT (focusing on Galatians) as removing the divide between priest/non-priest, between Jew and Gentile, and that later sacramental developments in Roman Catholic theology reintroduced this priest/non-priest divide by separating the people from the alter, and then from the wine, and then eventually from the whole Eucharistic rite itself. Wonderful stuff. Not only have his critics not really understood his point about the sacraments, but from reading this book and from reading their interactions with it, it appears they are completely out-matched. This just blew me out of the water.
A word of warning, however. It is Leithart's Cambridge PhD dissertation, so it is thick. I had to limit myself to a chapter or less every day, because by the time you're done, you feel overwhelmed. The sheer amount of information he has been able to internalize is just staggering.(less)
What a great book. Leithart takes us narrative chunk by narrative chunk (these chunks are usually the chapters, but occasionally spans 2-3 chapters at...moreWhat a great book. Leithart takes us narrative chunk by narrative chunk (these chunks are usually the chapters, but occasionally spans 2-3 chapters at a time) through the Book of Kings. As he repeatedly points out, there really aren't two books of 1 & 2 Kings, but rather one book that had been divided into two scrolls because of its length. He gives us all the juicy typological and symbolic details you could want, while taking the surface story as real history. He's most famous for noticing parallelism and chiastic structures, and there is oodles of those as well. The book's strong point is its lack of pretension and academic language. Leithart's prose expects some familiarity with the book, and occasionally cites the Hebrew language, but the commentary functions just fine if you can't read the original languages. He also has plenty of contemporary application as well, from discussing the merits of political theology to God's seemingly spendthrift ways. A nice thing about the book too is that Leithart isn't writing from a place high above us unwashed plebs. He can be astonished by what he reads, admitting God does all sorts of things that doesn't fit into the little box we try to force Him into. We tend to think of the Yahweh of the OT as harsh, mean, vindictive, and whose whrath is quickly kindled. The picture, points out Leithart, is quite the opposite:
"The impression we get from 1-2 Kings is not that God is a stingy disciplinarian with an anger problem. If anything, the God of 1-2 Kings is irresponsibly indulgent towards his people, a God who does not seem to realize he cannot run the world without a dose of law and order. By the time Judah is sent into Babylonian exile in 2 Kings 25, we are not saying 'My, what a harsh God'; if we read attentatively, we are saying, 'It's about time! What took him so long?' The offense of the theology proper of 1-2 Kings is not that God is angry with the innocent. The offense is the offense of Jonah--the offense of God's mercy, the offense of Yahweh's unearthly patience with the irascible and unresponsive" (p. 22).
The biggest difficulty with the book is that no translation is provided. You have to be either really familiar with 1-2 Kings and know what each chapter is about, or be constantly flipping open your Bible to read the chapter, then flip back to the commentary, then back to your Bible for the next chapter, and so on. That can get tiresome, and a lot of times, because Leithart is following the Hebrew text, he can quote a verse or passage translated very differently in the version of your Bible, which can be jarring. Overall, though, no harm, no foul. I mightily recommend it.(less)
I have the third edition with the new cover. The book is a wonderful collection of short fairy tales for children based out of the book of Proverbs. A...moreI have the third edition with the new cover. The book is a wonderful collection of short fairy tales for children based out of the book of Proverbs. As a matter of whimsy, I enjoyed that each story ended like Aesop's Fables with a moral that was a verse out of Proverbs. But the stories are often full of profound insight beyond the key Proverb being illustrated. There is always a Christ-figure in each story, many of which are very clever. Some, like "The Monster's House" actually subvert the fairy tale structure to great effect, and if you know your Bible there are many other passages that they stories illuminate.(less)