Saturday, 20 August 2011

Old Testament Theology- A Thematic Approach by Robin Routledge

I was given this book by a good friend which was really nice as it is probably not something I would have been drawn to but I have enjoyed it immensely. It does what it says on the tin, it is a thematic approach to the Old Testament, no surprises there. The surprise was how readable it was which for a book that is about the theology of the Old Testament really is a surprise. It's probably aimed at first year Theology undergraduates but is very readable so it could benefit anyone. I haven't purposefully avoided any Old Testament scholarly works but I think this is the first O.T. text I've read since I was a 3rd year theology student. For this reason I found the large introduction useful as it covered all the major players in Old Testament studies and their perspectives as well as their different schools of thought.

The book covered major themes in the Old Testament occasionally demonstrating how they relate to a New Testament understanding. For me the most informative section was in the chapter 'God and the future' especially 'Messianic expectation'. Routledge is an evangelical who believes the whole Bible so he interacts with the New Testament. He argues that many of the terms that we rightly associate with Jesus found within the Old Testament are not necessarily considered Messianic. I'd never thought of that before and have automatically presumed that any passage that speaks of Jesus, such as the prophet, the Son of Man, the Servant are all Messianic. He also traces some of these themes into the inter-testament period and saw how they developed. In the same chapter I was a little disappointed with his treatment of the after life but I did a large essay in the 3rd year at HTC so I had explored it in more depth than it is treated in this book. I appreciate the way he interacts with more liberal scholarship but sometimes it is unclear if he believes in some of their ideas, especially predictive prophecy and the number of authors for the book of Isaiah.

This book is not an Old Testament introduction because it doesn't cover book by book or explore all the themes in the Old Testament, how could it when it's only 350 pages? It would be  good to read alongside a more traditional Old Testament introduction and worth a read as a stand alone volume!

God Bless

Stephen <><