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19 of 20 found the following review helpful:
Excellent introduction to the PentateuchJul 01, 2007
By Hugh St. Victor
Victor Hamilton's Handbook on the Pentateuch is a very good introduction to the Pentateuch for both undergraduates and beginning seminarians who are taking an exegesis course in Old Testament. For anyone interested in Old Testament studies it is a must. The publishing life of this text has been remarkable since it first appeared in 1982. Unlike the previous reviewer, who essentially wants a commentary on the Pentateuch, the beauty of this text is that it is not that. It is a handbook introduction - a biblical theology of the first five books of the Hebrew Bible. Dr. Hamilton is not writing for the academy, although academicians will find it useful. He is writing for the student and motivated layperson. Besides, Hamilton has already authored the two volume commentary on Genesis that appears in the New International Commentary on The Old Testament (NICOT) series published by Eerdmans. There, the reader will find concise exegesis in a verse-by-verse format. Handbook on The Pentateuch reflects what Dr. Hamilton has done best over the years - teach students Old Testament. Readers will find this to be an engaging text that reflects critical scholarship as well as a pastor's heart.
29 of 34 found the following review helpful:
Fun, imformative, and erudite...Nov 23, 2002
Hamilton's synopsis of the Penteteuch is great for the biblical scholar at heart. Laypersons will also enjoy this book, as it flows quite well and keeps the reader intrigued. Hamilton's analysis of the hexameron (the work of the six creative periods) is especially fascinating, as he pulls parallels from mythological cosmogony to demonstrate that the biblical account of the hexameron is unique in many respects, but that the underlying motif is not new to other cultures outside of the Bible. Also, this book doesn't carry an ostentatious Evangelical flavor to it; it is very objective and can be enjoyed by those from all faiths.
The only real complaint I would have about the book is its format. Hamilton's approach is thematic. This reader prefers verse-by-verse commentary, so the commentary suffers a little bit, in that Hamilton skipped over some of the nuances in the penteteuch which contribute to its overall account. However, I recommend the book for all those interested in a deeper look at the first 5 books of the Bible.
10 of 11 found the following review helpful:
Great startAug 02, 2007
By Oldster hanging in there
Handbook on the Pentateuch,: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, Deuteronomy
This makes sense - the big picture and all of its details fit. This was my feeling as I worked my way through Hamilton's book. In fact, the discovery was not only a big relief, after scanning a number of books of its type and feeling overwhelmed and lost in issues I did not understand and never knew existed, excitement fill my heart and mind. Just enough and but not too much for this novice adventurer into the Old Testament.
1 of 1 found the following review helpful:
Very helpful for identifying multiple viewpointsNov 03, 2011
By Stephen Legg
This book was assigned as part of the reading for an OT survey course in a M.Div program. I found Hamilton's compilation of the many positions taken on various aspects of the scriptures to be most helpful. As another reviewer pointed out, the book provides insights from a broad spectrum of Christian traditions. Nonetheless, the author tends to defend the conservative viewpoint more often than not. Ironically, one of the criticisms some level at Hamilton is his hesitance in expressing his own opinion; he is accused by some of giving every opinion but his own! I didn't find this to be case, entirely. It is true that he is concerned with giving the most popular opinions across a large swath of Biblical scholarship, but a careful reading reveals that the author's interjections tend to back up some opinions more than others.
Overall, I found this book to be quite helpful for a survey course. The bibliographies at the end of each section, alone, make the book a worthwhile addition to your shelf.
3 of 4 found the following review helpful:
Great resource, a must have for the lay person and scholar alikeJan 15, 2009
By Todd Serpico
This is a very well done book. It deals with many of the issues, represents the various points, and yet comes from a sound, conservative standpoint. I very much have enjoyed this book.
I notice someone else complained that it was not a verse-by-verse commentary, but this is not a commentary, it is a handbook. It deals with themes and issues, and in so doing, this is one of the better ones I have ever been exposed to. I very much have enjoyed it and recomend it.
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