Christian theologians rarely study the Old Testament in its final Hebrew canonical form, even though this was very likely the Bible used by Jesus and the early church. However, once read as a whole, the larger structure of the Hebrew Bible (Tanakh) provides a “wide-angle lens” through which its contents can be viewed.
Stephen G. Dempster argues that, despite its undoubted literary diversity, the Hebrew Bible possesses a remarkable structural and conceptual unity. The various genres and books are placed within a comprehensive narrative framework, which provides an overarching literary and historical context. The many texts contribute to this larger text, and find their meaning and significance within its story of “dominion and dynasty,” which ranges from Adam to the Son of Man, from David to the coming Davidic king.
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Dempster’s reading of the storyline of the Old Testament is fresh, provocative, helpful—and doubtless will prove to be the stuff of many sermons and lectures. His closing chapter points to some of the links that bind the Old and New Testaments together, an obviously urgent goal for the Christian preacher and teacher.
—D.A. Carson, research professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
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