In this third volume of his critically acclaimed Old Testament Theology, John Goldingay explores the Old Testament vision of Israel's life before God. Goldingay sees three spheres of life giving order to Israel's vision: its life in relation to God, its life in community and the life of the individual as a self. Within these frameworks he unfurls a tapestry that is as broad and colorful as all of life, and yet detailed in its intricate attention to the text.
The first volume focused on the story of God's dealings with Israel, or Israel's gospel. The second volume investigated the beliefs of Israel, or Israel's faith. Now the spotlight falls on the Old Testament's perspective on the life that Israel should live in its present and future, including its worship, prayer and spirituality, as well as its practices, attitudes and ethics before God.
With this final volume John Goldingay has given us the third pillar of an Old Testament theology that is monumental in scope and yet invites us to enter through multiple doors to explore its riches. Students will profit from a semester in its courts, and ministers of the Word will find their preaching and teaching deeply enriched by wandering its halls and meditating in its chambers.
Looking for volumes 1 and 2? They are available in the IVP Biblical Theology Collection (4 vols.)!
“Isaiah does not attack worship that is outwardly correct but not sincerely meant; this is not the antithesis he works with. He assumes that the people mean every hallelujah. His critique is rather that their enthusiastic worship of Yhwh is not matched by an enthusiastic living before Yhwh in everyday life. There is a mismatch between their worship and their community life, not between their outward worship and their inner attitude.” (Page 21)
“Israel (we will then find ourselves noting) has a shared story; a destiny, to reveal God to the world; a way of life, which is to be the means of that, as it is characterized by virtues such as faithfulness, decisiveness, compassion, discernment, visionary realism and an openness about failure and wrongdoing, along with means of dealing with these; forms of worship, festivals, disciplines and rites that give expression to the way of life and the virtues, and encourage their cultivation; and forms of leadership that also encourage their cultivation.” (Page 14)
“To put it more strongly, it is questionable whether ‘something called ‘ethics’ exists prior to or independent from ‘doctrine.’ ’18 Likewise, lex credendi lex orandi, the way you believe is the way you pray, or the way you pray is the way you believe. The way you pray, the hymns you sing, indicates (frighteningly) what you believe and shapes what you believe. Doctrine needs to be singable; songs need to be believable.” (Pages 15–16)
“but Israel’s faith as the First Testament reckons it should have been and should be” (Page 13)
“Such slavery was a reality in the Roman world, is accepted in the New Testament and is the institution that shapes the modern understanding of the word slavery through the existence of the enforced ownership and violent submission of African Americans to white slave owners.505 But it is doubtful whether it ever appears in the First Testament or elsewhere in the Middle East.506 According to M. I. Finley, ‘there have been only five genuine slave societies, two of them in antiquity, classical Greece and classical Italy’; the other three are the United States, the Caribbean and Brazil.507 Slavery is a Western phenomenon.” (Page 459)
The fruits of Goldingay's lifelong devotion to the study of the Old Testament are visible on every page. This work is a sure and steady guide that will lead the reader into the riches of Israel's legacy and its God.
—Gary Anderson, professor of Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, University of Notre Dame
In the third and final volume of his massive Old Testament Theology John Goldingay turns to ethics and explores 'the life of the children of God' (Barth). He shows how this is presented as response to the gospel as Israel experienced it and as an expression of their faith in Yhwh. Goldingay sees the ethics of the Old Testament as a direct call to us today: the presentation is as far from antiquarian as it could be. Christians and Jews alike will need to ponder this challenging work.
—John Barton, Oriel & Laing Professor of the Interpretation of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford
John Goldingay writes with magisterial knowledge of the biblical texts and a keen eye for how to open them in fresh ways for scholars, teachers, preachers and all serious readers. Drawing deeply and widely on the scholarly literature--and also on literature that most scholars would not think to consult--he demonstrates with utter lucidity and conviction how the Hebrew Scriptures present a vision of life in community that is still sane, salvific and maybe even more essential for this generation of faith than for our ancestors.
—Dr. Ellen Davis, Amos Ragan Kearns Professor of Bible and Practical Theology, Duke Divinity School
Finally, Goldingay's OT ethics! In a highly readable fashion he demonstrates masterfully that Israel's vision of life before God is not irrelevant to modern existence. In fact, the communal shape of Israel's faith, as well as its profound sense of individual responsibility and freedom, cast our own society's peculiar sicknesses into sharpest relief and point firmly in the direction of a cure. This is first-rate, thrilling stuff—the appropriate culmination of a glittering trilogy.
—Stephen B. Chapman, Duke University
With his characteristic thoroughness and engaging writing style, Goldingay offers a rich reflection on the life God expects of his people. This third volume of his tripartite theology begins with God himself as the appropriate place to ground the meaning and significance of this life. It then turns to explain the centrality of the communities within which individuals share their existence, grow in virtue and find their true self. Faith in action, worship and spirituality as inseparable from ethics, and leadership as service--these are a few of the emphases of the message of the Old Testament developed in this work. Read Israel's Life and deepen your appreciation of the Old Testament's relevance . . . and enhance your vision of a life well-lived and pleasing to God.
—M. Daniel Carroll R., Denver Seminary