In this concise volume, a team of fresh Old Testament voices explores the theological dimensions of the Pentateuch and provides specific examples of critically engaged theological interpretation. This Pentateuch text is unique in that it emphasizes theological reading, serving as an affordable supplement to traditional introductory Pentateuch texts. Each chapter introduces theological themes and issues in interpretation then offers exegesis of one or two representative passages to model theological interpretation in practice. This useful text will be valued by students of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch as well as pastors. It honors Walter Moberly, whose approach is played out in the book.
The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.
“the book of Numbers is understood as a mirror of the Second Temple community of Jerusalem” (Page 124)
“The book of Numbers can be seen as the glue that joins the two major poles of the Pentateuch: the priestly literature and Deuteronomy. Thus the attempts to discern an independent structure for the book were misguided because the book was never intended to function independently of the other books in the Pentateuch.” (Page 121)
“The biblical texts identify the original inhabitants of Seir as the Horites. It was probably only in the seventh century BCE onward that Edom expanded into this area. Not only did it displace the former inhabitants of the area, but in time Edom also came to be identified with Seir.39 That Mount Seir is a location west of the Arabah is confirmed by Deuteronomy 1:2, which locates Mount Seir on the route between Horeb and Kadesh.” (Page 140)
“Second, the writers of Numbers 20–21 read in Deuteronomy 2:1 that the children of Israel were forced to go around Mount Seir, and they understand this to mean not part of the southeastern Negev, but the entirety of Edom’s territory.” (Page 140)
“They also put into effect the ‘ban’ (Hebrew herem), according to which everyone is slaughtered (21:3). This is the first time this practice, more familiar from the book of Deuteronomy, occurs in the Bible.” (Page 132)
Briggs and Lohr, along with their cowriters, have exploited the inheritance of their teacher Walter Moberly to engage with the best of historical-critical and literary approaches to each book of the Pentateuch. Both for the general landscape of theological perspectives on each book and for the exemplary exploration of a specific text (or two) in each book, this volume provides an essential introduction to the field of theological interpretation at the beginning of the Bible.
—Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary
It is extraordinary how theological interpretation has become a growth industry and has almost become a respectable enterprise—and certainly now a confident one. This is an urbane introduction to its nature, a suggestive theological introduction to each of the books of the Pentateuch. It matches the urbane elegance of Walter Moberly, who inspired it among colleagues and former students. Like Moberly’s work, A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch takes up big theological issues but anchors them in careful, detailed studies of particular passages. It thus illuminates on the macro scale and on the micro scale.
—John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch is a well-proportioned and substantive introduction to the first five books of the Bible with hermeneutical guidance in the form of sample interpretation of key texts for each book. The book is nicely designed and executed—a valuable text for the classroom. It serves as an excellent tribute to Walter Moberly and his own exegetical work. Well done!
—Christopher R. Seitz, research professor of biblical interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto
Few portions of Scripture seem to yield such an unending discovery of riches and resources to scholar and layperson alike as do the five books of the Pentateuch. The essays in this volume add richly and discerningly to those discoveries. Happily, each writer moves beyond the necessary historical and literary questions in order to engage the text theologically. I highly recommend this volume of collected essays to any reader who is interested in pursuing theological interpretation of the biblical text.
—Victor P. Hamilton, professor emeritus of Old Testament studies, Asbury University
A penetrating primer on what it means to read the Pentateuch well as ‘theologically interested interpreters’—and a lovely tribute to the probing insight and pedagogical skill of Walter Moberly by some of his former students and close associates. The authors offer full coverage of all five pentateuchal books along with sustained engagements of several key texts. The volume concludes with an appendix detailing the cumulative scope of Moberly’s distinctive contributions to pentateuchal study.
—Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke University
Richard S. Briggs is the director of biblical studies and hermeneutics at Cranmer Hall, St. John’s College, Durham University. He is the author of Words in Action: Speech Act Theory and Biblical Interpretation and Reading the Bible Wisely.
Joel N. Lohr is university chaplain and director of religious life at the University of the Pacific.