woensdag 6 februari 2013

Review of: C.L. Seow, Daniel (Westminster Bible Companion) Westminster John Knox, 2003; in: Interpretation

C.L. Seow, Daniel (Westminster Bible Companion) Westminster John Knox, 2003

Review in: Interpretation 2003 57: 448
Review door: Carol A. Newsom
Gevonden op: http://int.sagepub.com/content/57/4/448.1.full.pdf+html

by C. L. Seow
Westminster Bible Companion Westminster John Knox, Louisville, 2003. 198 pp. $22.95 ISBN 0-664-25675-9

THE BOOK OF DANIEL is no longer the battleground between traditionalists and modernists that it was in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries—at least in mainline Protestant denominations. A historical-critical understanding of the book has triumphed, and virtually every commentator, including the majority of evangelicals, now interprets the book in its final form in relation to the events of the Maccabean revolt in 168-164 B.C.E. The challenge for the interpreter today is to articulate the religious meaning of the book in a way that is exegetically responsible and theologically compelling. Although the "Bible stories" of the first six chapters of Daniel remain a staple for children's education (as in the Veggie Tales video series), these popular interpretations are often exegetically flawed. The apocalyptic chapters in the second half of the book, by contrast, are often avoided as bizarre and even embarrassing.

Seow's commentary succeeds superbly both on the exegetical and the theological planes. As he demonstrates, the themes of human fidelity and religious courage, though present, are subordinated to the book's consistent theological focus on the sovereignty of God and the various ways in which "God is intimately and actively involved with humanity in their struggles, as they face the terrors of this world" (p. 17). Seow does not shirk the theological difficulties of the text (e.g., the violent imagery, the failure of specific predictions) but aids the reader in a critical appropriation of what is of lasting value. Written in a fluid and engaging style, the commentary is accessible without being condescending. Since the interpretation of Daniel requires significant historical, cultural, and literary background, the commentary may be challenging for some readers, but should be well received by serious lay students of the Bible. Though not designed primarily for the academic community, the subtle and original exegesis rewards the scholar as well. The only thing one might wish for is somewhat more attention to the history of interpretation to help explain why the book has been a source of such controversy.


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