T. Desmond Alexander, senior lecturer in Biblical Studies at Union Theological College, author numerous books including From Eden to the New Jerusalem and a major commentary on Exodus, and co-editor of The New Dictionary of Biblical Theology has left a mark on evangelical biblical theology. It is fitting, then, that he would be due a festschrift. Enter GlossaHouse’s The Seed of Promise, edited by Paul Williamson and Rita Cefalu. These editors have gathered a number of essays on matters dear to Alexander’s heart and those who appreciate his work.
The Seed of Promise
Most essays focus on the Messiah and are loosely arranged according to the books of the canon, with chapters on Genesis, Joshua–Judges, Ruth, Kings, Psalms, “Wisdom literature,” Prophets, Mark, Acts, Romans, and Hebrews.
As with any edited volume, the essay’s objective quality and reader’s subjective enjoyment of the chapters will vary. For me, the most helpful:
- J. Gary Millar’s argument for the structural and messianic significance of Solomon, Hezekiah, and Josiah in the book of Kings
- Stephen Dempster’s chapter on Jehoshaphat in the final chapter of Kings; Rita Cefalu on Acts 2–3; and Brian Rosner’s on Romans 16:20.
- James Hamilton’s republished essay on allusions to Gen 3:15. This is a key and lasting essay.
Some chapters plainly veer from Alexander’s own messianic approach to the OT. For example, Philip Johnston’s essay on the Psalms argues for a relecture approach, where the psalms had an originally nonmessianic intended meaning but were re-read by the NT authors as concerning Christ. Not only is this approach at odds with Alexander, but it is not how the apostles claimed to interpret the Psalms (see Cefalu’s helpful essay on Acts)..
For most, The Seed of Promise is not essential reading as only a few essays truly tread fresh ground. That said, for students or scholars interested in messianic interpretation of the OT, the impact of T. D. Alexander, and extensions and alternatives to his thought will want to read this book.
Many thanks to GlossaHouse, who provided this book for free. I was not required to write a positive review.