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Archive for September 3rd, 2012

Purchase: Amazon

I’m reviewing this commentary in mind for the exegete rather than the person who’s looking for a devotional read through Jonah. To that end, it was surprisingly good and I thought this volume was the best critical commentary on the book of Jonah. Plenty of insights that are given above the usual obvious observation, especially at the greater syntactical and structural level of the book. It is part of the Old Testament Library commentary series, and my previous exposure to some of the volumes in this set has made me biased against this particular volume. However, this is a good example of why exegetes must weigh each individual commentary on it’s own merit rather than the series as a whole–for even good series have it’s weak volumes, and vice versa. The author James Limburg clearly loves the story of Jonah, who have even made it a hobby of his to visit different locations of Europe with artistic references to Jonah. This passion spills over into his commentary. Some notes of caution about this volume for the conservative expositor: Limburg believes that Jonah was written long after Nineveh was destroyed (Limburg, 78). That might be a rather trivial point compared to the fact that Limburgh does not believe the events of Jonah ever happened (Limburgh, 24). Yet despite this problem, he manages to draw out very good exegetical insight of the text itself. Ironically, Limburg does a good job defending the prayer of Jonah 2 as being part of the original composition of the text rather than the liberal game of redaction criticism, etc. I’ve also appreciated his appendix that provided a survey of the impact and references to it historically in the Apocrypha, first century literature (Josephus), Rabbinic Judiasm, Islam and the Protestant reformation. The most intriguing survey in the appendix for me personally was seeing just how whacky Rabbinic hermeneutics and embellishment can get.

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