R. Michael Fox, ed., Reverberations of the Exodus in Scripture. Eugene, OR: Pickwick, 2014. Pp. xx + 209, paper, $25.00.
How and why does Scripture use the exodus centuries after that event?
This is a focused look at the discipline of intertextuality, or inner-biblical exegesis. As such it includes, but is not limited to, the use of the Old Testament (OT) in and by the New Testament (NT).
The editor has collected essays from a fine group of evangelical scholars. Their product is presented as a work that experiments with “presentation and methodology” and that observes “a central biblical event – the exodus from Egypt – as it recurs in various texts and in various ways in both the Old and New Testaments” (xiv). This volume is not intended to be comprehensive; it is a sampling.
The first and last chapters anchor the other essays.
Chapter one is “The Meaning and Significance of the Exodus Event” by Eugene Merrill (1-17).
Merrill considers the canonical, historical, and theological environment of Exodus (3). Canonically, it is placed after Genesis at the beginning of Israel’s nationhood; historically, it is a real event that occurred in or about the 15th century BCE (4-5); theologically, it manifests God’s activity not only to deliver his people in times of peril, but also “to make that people an intermediary between God and the world of nations” (8-9). He then provides a brief survey of how other OT genres treat the exodus event, both historically and eschatologically.
The concluding chapter is “The Exodus and Biblical Theology” by Robin Routledge (187-209). In it, Routledge examines the exodus motif from the perspective of biblical theology. Much like Merrill he considers community identity, including a self-understanding of what it means to be the people of God in all eras; living as the people of God (“what the people of God … do”); and, the exodus and redemption (“the significance of the exodus as a pattern for divine redemption”). Routledge also proposes a fourth element of “the nature and character of God,” which he weaves in with the other three.
Between these two well-crafted chapters are eight essays: four on selected OT texts (Joshua, Psalms, Ezekiel, and Ezra-Nehemiah); four on NT texts (Luke-Acts, John, Ephesians, and Hebrews).
Like most collections of this nature, a reader finds some contributions of greater value than others – but then, to some degree, that assessment depends on the “eye of the beholder.”
Each of the essays is a limited consideration of the influence and significance of the exodus motif within the text under consideration, whether by quotation, allusion, or echo. As examples, I comment briefly on two chapters.
Daniel J. Estes in “The Psalms, the Exodus, and Israel’s Worship” (35-50) focuses on the extensive links of three events from Exodus 14-15 to the Psalter. He concludes this “demonstrates that the exodus experience was a crucial element in the content of the historical memory of Israel. As such, the exodus was an essential component of the faith of Israel in YHWH” (49).
David Starling in “Ephesians and the Hermeneutics of the New Exodus” (139-159) explores the presence of the exodus theme in a NT epistle. He accomplishes this by identifying references in the epistle that not only draw from Exodus-Deuteronomy, but also use other OT texts freighted with the exodus (e.g., Hos. 9:1-3; Mic. 7:15-17; Ezek. 20:33-38; Isa. 43:16-21).
This book is liberally supplied with helpful footnotes for those desiring to dig deeper. It is presumed the reader is conversant with Hebrew and Greek characters, and there are occasions when an English translation is not supplied for a foreign language quotation (19).
For me, this work could have been enhanced by including an index of Scriptures.
Over all, I found this collection of essays stimulating and enlightening. Although not an introductory work to biblical intertextuality, it is accessible and beneficial for those with an interest in, and some familiarity with, the subject.
Those desiring a more general introduction to this important topic may consider offerings such as Three Views on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament edited by Kenneth Berding and Jonathan Lunde (Zondervan, 2008).
I recommend this book to teachers and students, pastors, and those with an interest in biblical intertextuality.
I give this book 4.0 - 4.5 stars out of 5.
Disclosure: 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.
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