Old Testament Theology: Israel's Faith is the second of John Goldingay's magisterial three-volume Old Testament Theology. The award-winning first volume, Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel, followed the story line of the First Testament, developing its narrative theology. This volume finds its point of departure in the Prophets, Psalms and Wisdom literature, where we encounter a more discursive thinking that is closer to traditional theology.
Whereas the first volume followed the epochal divine acts of Israel's "gospel" narrative, here Goldingay sets out the faith of Israel under the major rubrics of
In a style that cleaves closely to the text, Goldingay offers up a masterful exposition of the faith of the First Testament, one born of living long with the text and the refined skill of asking interesting questions and listening with trained attention. Never one to sacrifice a close hearing of a text for an easy generality, or to mute a discordant note for the sake of reassuring harmony, Goldingay gives us an Old Testament theology shot through with the edge-of-the-seat vitality of discovery.
The first volume of Old Testament Theology has triggered lively discussion in the academy. This volume too will be welcomed and discussed by scholars. But its fresh presentations of theological motifs, as well as its engagement with contemporary contexts, will also greatly enrich the treasury of insights this series makes available to preachers and communicators of the Old Testament.
"In this book John Goldingay follows up his volume on Israel's gospel with an equally lively and engaging treatment of Israel's faith. Here he tackles the Old Testament's view of God, Israel, 'the Nightmare,' Humanity, the Nations, to name a few. Goldingay models theological exposition at its best: rigorous wrestling with biblical texts; illuminating dialogue with other disciplines, including systematic theology; transparent personal reflection; and penetrating insights. Its intellectual rigor offers grist for the academic mill, its theological depth rich food for the weekly pulpit. Frequent references to popular culture and comments on contemporary life further measurably enhance this volume. I highly recommend it for academics, clergy and students."
"In Israel's Faith, Goldingay offers us the second in a series that will most likely constitute his magnum opus. While the first volume (Israel's Gospel) masterfully traced the theological story of Israel, this volume provides a discerning synthesis of key theological streams in the Old Testament. Such a task is possible only for a select few in any generation, and with this volume Goldingay confirms his place among that group.
The strength of the volume is that it steers clear of the old etymological and lexical fixation of earlier Old Testament theology and focuses instead on key themes as well as images which express the theology of the Old Testament. Goldingay is able to write First Testament theology on its own terms and thus enable the Old Testament to operate as Christian Scripture, rather than as background to the New Testament and Christian theology. At the same time the volume showcases the value of conversation with the Christian systematic theological tradition without smothering the witness of the Old Testament. Those interested in the fruit of a lifetime of reflection on the Old Testament will find a place for this volume in their library."
"John Goldingay has set himself, and now two-thirds completed, a monumental task. The shape and size of the emerging sculpture is now clear. The finished work will certainly be immense in terms of the number of words. But it is also emerging as a hugely significant contribution to contemporary Old Testament scholarship, which will be a great help to theological teachers at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. This volume, in structure as well as content, not only maps out for us the faith of the First Testament with great clarity and in a lively readable style, but also introduces the reader to a vast range of secondary literature. Difficult questions are embraced rather than avoided, but at the same time Goldingay manages to convey a love for the text and for the God revealed in the text--something not always achieved by biblical scholars."
"This second volume of John Goldingay's planned trilogy combines world-class scholarship with enjoyable reading. He takes his readers on a journey of discovery, often challenging common assumptions about Old Testament theology as he examines what the text actually says about God and the world, Israel and the nations, and human existence. I expect the book to become a valuable resource for a wide range of people."
"John Goldingay's second volume of his comprehensive three-volume Old Testament Theology focuses on the major theological themes of God, Israel, the nightmare, the vision, the world, the nations and humanity. Following his masterful narrative theology of volume one (Old Testament Theology: Israel's Gospel) that traces Israel's 'gospel' by focusing on the divine actions of creation and redemption, this second volume examines the faith of the Prophets, Psalms and Wisdom Literature. The move is from narrative theology to systematic themes. Goldingay possesses the rare talent of combining scholarly acumen with literary artistry and an engaging style. By means of theological astuteness, literary clarity, well-honed biblical skills, keen insights and an attendant hermeneutical interest, Goldingay produces a splendid volume for scholar and pastor alike. These two volumes belong in every scholar's and pastor's library."
"Goldingay's reputation as a master of Old Testament theology will be further enhanced by his treatment of the prophets and sages in this volume. His study is deeply rooted in a profound reading of specific texts in the light of an extensive understanding of their Old Testament context. Not just for scholars, all clergy will benefit greatly from reading this magnificent book."
"The fruit of a lifetime of teaching and reflection, exhaustive in scope and mature in articulation, John Goldingay has assembled a vast reflective account of what the Old Testament says about God, Israel, humanity and creaturely existence. Goldingay especially enjoys the challenges of the Old Testament for present faith and life, and he rises to them. Comprehensive and engaging."
"Grounded solidly in the study of specific texts, John Goldingay demonstrates that the Old Testament is no second-class citizen in the biblical theological conversation. His command of the text and related literature, including historical and systematic theology, is evident throughout. A special dimension of the book is a deft and straightforward analysis combined with a refreshing personal touch in working with theological issues. This approach enhances his relational way of working with Old Testament themes, especially material about God and humankind. This second volume of Goldingay's immense theological project will open up and enhance many fruitful theological conversations in the years to come."
"Goldingay witnesses powerfully and faithfully to the 'not us' God who continues to vex and save, threaten and restore. It is no wonder we will not finish the interpretive task. Goldingay has moved us decisively along the way in a task that cannot be completed."
"Reading John Goldingay on the Old Testament is like listening to a lover talk about his beloved. Filled with thoughtful interpretation and a sense of deep admiration for the text."
"The scholarly ability of the author is incontestable, as is his insight into the importance of the message for the modern-day reader. The book will prove to be an invaluable resource for student and minister alike."
"I have been enjoying these volumes more than any other books I have read in the last decade. In the future, if I recommend any books relating at all to the Bible or theology, I will recommend these first."
". . . Quite enjoyable to read . . . thorough, insightful, and incisive commentary . . ."
"Its fresh presentations of theological motifs, as well as its engagement with contemporary contexts, enriches the treasury of insights this series makes available to preachers and communicators of the Old Testament."
4. The Nightmare
5. The Vision
7. The World
8. The Nations