I must admit I’ve delayed writing this review. It’s not that I didn’t like Stephen Dempster’s Micah commentary; in fact, it was the opposite. I liked it so much that I was intimidated to review it (even after writing so many reviews). It’s just that good. Micah all the expected features of a commentary in the Two Horizons series. A 50-page introduction discusses usual issues such as authorship, setting, and structure as well as Micah’s placement in the Book of the Twelve (interestingly, Micah’s prediction of the temple’s destruction is at the very center of the Twelve). A 120-page commentary follows; one that somehow doesn’t feel as brief as it may look. A 70-page theological reflection concludes the commentary, in which Dempster considers Micah’s themes (e.g. justice, land, temple, messiah), contribution to Biblical theology, and contemporary relevance (e.g. cheap grace, justice, idolatry).
Tag: Stephen Dempster
I’m a bit late to the game on this one, but I just finished reading Stephen Demspster’s JETS article “Canons on the Right and Canons on the Left: Finding a Resolution in the Canon Debate” (PDF) and it was a fascinating argument for an early established Old Testament canon (before Jesus’ time), and also gave some theological bases for the Hebrew OT order. For readers of Dominion and Dynasty (my review), some of this is familiar territory – though he does go in more depth here. However, I would like to share some interesting parallels Dempster drew between Psalms 1 and 2 serving as a dual-opening to the Writings collection.
Is the Old Testament just a collection of loosely related books? Or is it fair to consider it a ‘book’ in its own right, with discernible plot, characters, and recurring themes tying together the individual ‘books’? In Dominion and Dynasty Stephen Dempster attempts to illustrate the latter, believing that, “the Hebrew Bible, despite being composed of many texts, is not for that reason precluded from being a Text” (21). Seeing the OT canon as a carefully composed Text, Dempster attempts to read it in a literary manner, emphasizing the unity. A unique element in this book is Dempster’s reliance on the Hebrew canonical order, rather than the one we find in our English Bibles today. He holds that this is how the OT would have appeared to Jesus (36), and therefore it is important for us to see it as He did.
Our Bibles today follow a different order than that found in the Hebrew Bible. Why? Is there a correct order, and if so, which is it? In this post I would like to present a few unfinished thoughts on this question and hopefully spark some discussion.