Book Notice: Heath Thomas and Others Interpret Deuteronomy

January 15, 2013 by Bruce Ashford

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Yes, SEBTS professor Heath Thomas has perpetrated another act of literature. Thank you for having been about to ask. In addition to his recently published monographs, and the several manuscripts upon which he is working, he recently contributed an essay, “Life and Death in Deuteronomy,” in the new book Interpreting Deuteronomy: Issues and Approaches (eds., David G. Firth and Philip S. Johnston; Apollos 2012). Interpreting Deuteronomy aims to further the ongoing discussion about Deuteronomy by bridging the gap between narrative and scholarly introduction. That is, the contributors aim to help readers take the next step in interpreting the major sections, themes, and overarching narrative of Deuteronomy.

The volume has three parts. In part one, James Robson and Paul Barker survey the current scholarly approaches to Deuteronomy and provide context for the approach of Interpreting Deuteronomy. In part two, John Walton, Peter Vogt, Philip Johnston, David Firth, and Heath Thomas examine particular themes in Deuteronomy. Part three includes essays by Csilla Saysell, Greg Goswell, Jenny Corcoran, and Christian Hofreiter on the reception of Deuteronomy (for instance, its use in Ezra–Nehemiah).

In his essay, Thomas studies the very significant concept of life and death in the book of Deuteronomy. He argues:

“For Deuteronomy, ‘life’ does not simply mean Israel’s ‘existence’, but rather Israel’s proper existence before God in his divinely appointed place. Conversely, ‘death’ does not simply equate Israel’s non-existence, but rather to Israel’s rejection of God and banishment from his divinely appointed place. . . . As with its ANE neighbours, communal identity for Israel, as described in Deuteronomy, is rooted in the relationship between God, his land and his people” (pp. 177–78).

In addition to Thomas’s essay, this volume includes essays from top-notch Old Testament scholars such as Firth, Johnston, Paul A. Barker, John H. Walton, and others noted above. This book will certainly help students and teachers of the Old Testament to better understand and apply Deuteronomy in their studies, teaching, and lives.

For those of you who might be interested in studying with our very fine Old Testament faculty—at the bachelor’s, master’s, or doctoral level—here is some further information on those faculty members and on the degrees we offer:

Borger, Todd (Ph.D., Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew. Dr. Borger served in Asia for years before coming to teach at SEBTS.

Madden, Shawn (Ph.D., University of Texas at Arlington) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Director of Library Services and author of Kings: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text (Baylor Press, forthcoming). Before coming to SEBTS, Dr. Madden served in the United States Marine Corps.

McDaniel, Chip (Th.D., Dallas Theological Seminary) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of several Greek and Hebrew interlinears for Logos Bible Software and “Mission in the Old Testament” in Mission in the NT: An Evangelical Approach (Orbis Books). Dr. McDaniel has been known to grow his beard to epic proportions, especially during the winter months.

McKenzie, Tracy (Ph.D., Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is Assistant Professor of Biblical Studies and author of Idolatry in the Pentateuch (Wipf and Stock). Dr. McKenzie is presently working on a second Ph.D. in Germany.

Moseley, Allan (Th.D., New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary; Post-Doctoral Study, Duke University Divinity School) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of Thinking Against the Grain: Developing a Biblical Worldview in a Culture of Myths (Kregel). Dr. Moseley is the pastor of Christ Baptist in Raleigh and is known as a top-shelf expository preacher.

Rooker, Mark (Ph.D., Brandeis University; Additional studies: Hebrew University, Jerusalem) is Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, author of The Ten Commandments: Ethics for the Twenty-First Century (B&H); Leviticus, NAC Commentary (B&H); Biblical Hebrew in Transition: The Language of the Book of Ezekiel (Sheffield); and co-author with Eugene Merrill, Michael Grisanti of The World and The Word: Introducing the Old Testament (B&H). Dr. Rooker is from Texas, played QB in his football days, and brings with him a deceptively keen sense of humor.

Thomas, Heath A (Ph.D., Old Testament, University of Gloucestershire) is Associate Professor of Old Testament and Hebrew and author of Poetry & Theology in Lamentations: The Aesthetics of an Open Text (Sheffield Phoenix Press, manuscript accepted); ‘Until He Looks Down and Sees’: The Message and Meaning of the Book of Lamentations (Grove). Dr. Thomas bears an uncanny resemblance to Patrick Jane, the lead star of the TV series The Mentalist.

Southeastern offers several degrees with a focus on the Old Testament. The Bachelor of Arts in Christian Studies with a minor in Biblical Studies introduces undergraduate students to the knowledge and skills central to the work of pastors, particularly in the area of Old and New Testament competency. The Master or Arts (Biblical Languages) prepares students to serve as translators and as field supervisors for Bible translation teams. The Master of Arts (Old Testament) provides serious students with an opportunity for advanced study beyond the Master of Divinity or baccalaureate degrees.

The M.Div. with Pastoral Ministry prepares students for pastoral ministry in the local church with and is grounded in study of the Old and New Testament. The M.Div. with Christian Ministry offers the same strong core education while giving one freedom to pursue elective courses in the area of Old Testament and Hebrew. The M.Div. with Advanced Biblical Studies offers the greatest opportunity for focus in Old Testament and Hebrew exegesis, preparing one for a pastoral or teaching ministry. The Th.M. in Biblical Studies equips post-M.Div. students who want to enhance their theological training, either for preparation for doctoral study or as an advanced degree for service in the church. Students can take the thesis or non-thesis tracks under the supervision of a professor in the area of Old Testament. Finally, the Ph.D. in Biblical Studies with a concentration in Old Testament prepares students to teach Old Testament, Hebrew, and other courses to college or seminary students, and to write about the interpretation and theology of the Old Testament.

We invite you to come study with our preaching faculty in the B. A., M.Div., Th.M., or Ph.D. programs of Southeastern. For more info visit our website (http://www.sebts.edu/) and check out the Admissions and Academics links.

 

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