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Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old…

Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and… (edition 2012)

by G. K. Beale

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Title:Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation
Authors:G. K. Beale
Info:Baker Academic (2012), Paperback, 192 pages
Tags:Religious: New Testament Interpretation

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Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament: Exegesis and Interpretation by G. K. Beale



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As the title suggests, a handbook filled with principles and suggestions as to how to understand the way the NT uses the OT.

This is a shorter work which often refers to a much larger book by the author, a commentary on the use of the OT in the NT. To that end the discussions set forth the principles without as many examples. The examples that are used illustrate the principles well.

The main strength of the book is its systematic presentation of principles by which to first determine what sort of reference the NT is making to a given OT passage (quotation, allusion, etc.), what the NT author means by it, and what it shows regarding how the NT author understands the OT passage. The author has a good discussion as well in defending the ways in which NT authors use the OT as more faithful to its context/purpose than is often asserted. The running bibliography of resources, both in print and online, is also quite useful.

The one main critique I have for the book regards its intended audience: to whom, precisely, is this targeted? An "average reader" will quickly be overwhelmed at the amount of research the author suggests should be done in order to properly understand how a given NT writer is using a given OT reference. Even if he or she could keep up, a large number of the resources are going to be beyond their ability to find them unless one has access to the library of a seminary or university with an excellent religious studies department. If this book is intended for the scholar or the specialist, well and good; they will understand the process and appreciate the great research principles espoused in the book, and will have recourse to the resources cited in the book...but one could imagine that the author's original commentary on the use of the OT in the NT would be more than adequate for their needs. Perhaps the book is aiming to be a handy quick reference for the specialist who would also have already read or been familiar with the original commentary?

The book remains an extremely useful resource and sets forth very proper methods of research and principles by which one can come to a greater appreciation for the use of the OT in the NT...as long as one enjoys doing a lot of research, has familiarity with studies in Second Temple Judaism, Rabbinic Judaism, and Early Christianity, and has great library access to resources regarding such studies. For everyone else, the book seems to be a tease, since it sets forth how things probably should be done and yet represents a time and resource commitment beyond most people.

**--galley received as part of early review program ( )
  deusvitae | Dec 29, 2012 |
In a title by G. K. Beale, Baker Academic’s “Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament” sets out to provide hermeneutical guidance for a consistent interpretation of New Testament citations and interpretations of Old Testament passages. This review is based on the ebook, released 1 SEP 2012, ISBN: 9780801038969.

G. K. Beale’s task seems incredibly ambitious. The publisher’s summary, at first glance, gives the impression that Beale has developed a checklist for the interpretive method, somehow managing to create a unifying theory of interpreting the diverse uses of the Old Testament in the New. However, this is not exactly what Dr. Beale proposes. He promises to present an approach that will provide cumulatively better insight into the meaning of God in Scripture. Although not likely to find a warm welcome among traditional dispensationalists, it should be of great appeal to those in the Reformed camp.

He does not seem to defend “original intent” so much from what the authors intended, but more so of a broader and fuller examination of how God used the OT setting to enhance or emphasize a point made in the New Testament through the human author. In this way, Beale is not advocating a new, revised, updated approach, solely devoted to literal, historical or grammatical methods, but expert guidance on how to read those Old Testament references to glean as much insight, with as much integrity to the text as possible.

After establishing his theological presuppositions and thorough presentation of the idea of typology, the author proposes a “nine-fold approach” in practicing careful analysis of the text in question. His interpretive approach is presented in a thorough and thoughtful manner. He elaborates each of the nine suggestions systematically and in depth.

As an example of this advice, the author suggests seriously engaging one’s own perspective on the intent of the NT authors. Beale demonstrates a real concern with the error of presentism (reading modern concerns into earlier writer’s purposes).

However, one confusing piece of advice is where the author suggests that when “key redemptive-historical events are not repeated” in the New Testament, the passage from the OT could still be a candidate for a “type,” but only if the original OT passage’s “central theological method” is redemptive-historical. This seems to be counter-intuitive. It’s as if the author is arguing that if a NT reference of the Old is not primarily about redemption, then the OT passage must be primarily about redemptive motifs.

Additionally, I was disappointed a number of times when the author would propose a concept begging further commentary, but would end the thought abruptly with the admonition “there is not space enough” here or “this requires more elaboration.” I understand the importance of staying on task, but the issues were put forward so well, that I would have been perfectly pleased to keep going along with the thought.

Overall, I felt this was a comprehensive treatment of practical hermeneutical advice from an influential and well-reasoned theologian in the contemporary field. I believe this would make a terrific text for an intermediate level hermeneutics class in post-secondary environment or as an important guide for any pastor. The guidance offered is clear, leaving me wanting to read more.
  eeharris | Sep 27, 2012 |
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0801038960, Paperback)

This concise guide by a leading New Testament scholar helps readers understand how to better study the multitude of Old Testament references in the New Testament. G. K. Beale, coeditor of the bestselling Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, focuses on the "how to" of interpreting the New Testament use of the Old Testament, providing students and pastors with many of the insights and categories necessary for them to do their own exegesis. Brief enough to be accessible yet thorough enough to be useful, this handbook will be a trusted guide for all students of the Bible.

"This handbook provides readers with a wonderful overview of key issues in and tools for the study of the use of the Old Testament in the New. I expect it to become a standard textbook for courses on the subject and the first book to which newcomers will be directed to help them navigate through these sometimes complex waters."--Roy E. Ciampa, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:21:07 -0400)

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