vrijdag 1 februari 2013

Review of: Lloyd R. Bailey, Leviticus-Numbers (SHBC), Smyth & Helwys, 2005

Lloyd R. Bailey, Leviticus-Numbers (SHBC), Smyth & Helwys, 2005

Review in: Interpretation 2006 60: 344
Review door: Richard Boyce
Gevonden op: http://int.sagepub.com/content/60/3/344.1.full.pdf+html

by Lloyd R. Bailey
Smyth & Helwys, Macon, 2005. 648 pp. $65.00 (cloth). ISBN 1-57312-060-X.

THIS COMMENTARY ON Leviticus-Numbers is the ninth volume to appear in a new series by Smyth & Helwys, beginning with Walter Brueggemanrís commentary on 1 and 2 Kings in 2001. The series uses a multi-media format including art, charts, maps, a complex series of sidebars, and a CD-ROM that facilitates a wide array of searches. The goal is a series of commentaries that are more easily accessible to a "visual generation of believers." The result is an attractive, though hefty and expensive, volume with numerous illustrations, charts, and boxes that allow the reader a wide variety of entry points.

Lloyd Bailey has the difficult task of not only luring readers into the strange world of Leviticus-Numbers, but addressing why two books so fundamental for the synagogue have become so overlooked by the church. He does so in a wide-ranging style that includes extensive discussions of levels of meaning in the scriptures and proper relationships between the testaments. His primary focus is on the final form of this material, located in a setting of exile, when matters of worship, dress, and diet, and the challenge to trust and obey God, became the primary means of survival for Israel. Seen from this perspective, "every morsel of food raised acutely the question of identity, of obedience to God" (p. 147).

Repeatedly and provocatively, Bailey asks whether a strategy that has proven vital to the synagogue in the past should be so easily set aside by the church in the present. "It may well be true that Christians 'ought not to need such tangible reminders.'... Nonetheless, the fact is they did need them, and the fact is that Christians need them today as well. Ought not' is a poor predictor of reality" (p. 148).

The urgency of this argument, as well as the depth and attractiveness of the presentation, make this commentary worth the price, and the space—even on already full shelves.


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