Wednesday, May 14, 2008

The Promise-Plan of God by Walter Kaiser, Jr.

[Originally posted 1/8/08]
I just stumbled across this forthcoming title from Zondervan which looks to be very exciting. I have benefited immensely from his Toward an Old Testament Theology (and some of his other books) and I'm looking forward to this revision and addition, too.

The Promise-Plan of God: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments
Coming April 2008 from Zondervan
432 pages

ISBNs: 0310275865 / 9780310275862

Purchase: Zondervan | WTS | CBD | Amazon

Walter C. Kaiser Jr. (PhD, Brandeis University) is the Colman M. Mockler distinguished professor of Old Testament and president emeritus of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary in South Hamilton, Massachusetts. He has taught at Wheaton College and at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Dr. Kaiser has written numerous books, including Toward an Exegetical Theology: Biblical Exegesis for Preaching and Teaching; Hard Sayings of the Old Testament; Exodus in the Expositor's Bible Commentary; The Messiah in the Old Testament; A History of Israel; and coauthored An Introduction to Biblical Hermeneutics: The Search for Meaning. Dr. Kaiser and his wife, Marge, currently reside in Cedar Grove, Wisconsin.

Exploring the difficulty in determining the true nature, method, scope, and motivation for biblical theology, this book proposes the promise of God as the center of Old and New Testament theology and applies the solution to each of its eras. [source]

Recognizing the major crisis in biblical theology, namely the inability of the discipline to restate and reapply the authority of the Bible, Walter Kaiser offers a solution to the unresolved issues of definition and methodology in biblical theology. A proper understanding of biblical theology, explains the author, "shows us an inner center of plan to which each biblical writer consciously and deliberately contributed; however, this inner biblical unity, which biblical theologians traditionally have been loathe to adopt for fear of gratuitously imposing a grid of their own devising over the text, is a center that is inductively supplied and confirmed by the text of Scripture itself. That center is the promise of God."

This book is a complete revision of Walter Kaiser's Toward an Old Testament Theology. Extending the discussion into the New Testament, Dr. Kaiser now offers a biblical theology of Old and New Testaments.
  • In Part I of his book, Dr. Kaiser discusses the inherent difficulty in determining the true nature, method, scope, and motivation for Old Testament theology.
  • In Part II, he applies his solutions clearly and methodically by chronologically discussing the Old Testament eras from the Prepatriarchical (Prolegomena to the Promise) to that of the Postexillic (Triumph of the Promise).
  • In Part III, Dr. Kaiser now explores the central theme of the promise of God in the New Testament story.
  • A special section examines the connections between Old and New Testament theology.

"This textbook is different," says Dr. Kaiser, "in that it takes the Bible's own system of organization as the solution to the very issues that have perplexed us the most, while also strictly observing the historical sequence of divine revelation." [source]

I've received a review copy of this new release and have been picking through it over the past few weeks. As I've been reading this volume, I've also been reading Eugene Merrill's Everlasting Dominion: A Theology of the Old Testament (B&H, 2006) and Bruce Waltke's An Old Testament Theology (Zondervan, 2007). On its way to me is Merrill's Kingdom of Priests, 2nd edition (Baker, 2008). I'm enjoying the opportunity to be immersed in the world of OT History and OT Theology.

Each of these volumes is unique and distinctly Evangelical. In my mind, Kaiser and Merrill have a similar approach. I'm more familiar with the writings of Walter Kaiser, but have recently been turned on to the scholarship of Merrill by means of a hearty recommendation from Dr. Layton Talbert. Both hold similar positions, but present them in slightly different ways. Both emphasize the importance of recognizing the progressive nature of God's revelation to man. Both are a welcome addition to my library.

To me, Waltke's writing is more technical in nature. He does not refrain from addressing and digging into highly technical matters. I still need to read more before I say more. In the meantime, here is a link to the Zondervan site where you can browse this volume.

Browse Waltke's An Old Testament Theology

: Book Review--The Majesty of God in the Old Testament (Baker Academic, 2007)