in Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries

by Donald E. Gowan

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Pages 172 pages
Publisher Abingdon Press
Published 2001
ISBN-13 9780687084210
Gowan takes full account of the most important current scholarship and secondary literature, while not attempting to engage in technical academic debate. The fundamental concern of this and every volume is analysis and discussion of the literary, sociohistorical, theological, and ethical dimensions of the biblical texts themselves. Each volume attends to issues of special concern to students of the Bible: literary genre, structure and character of the writing, occasion and situational context of the writing, wider social and historical context, the theological and ethical significance of the writing within these several contexts, and the like. Daniel--one of the most misused books of the Bible--is read in this commentary as a powerful message concerning hope and responsibility for believers who, for various reasons, have to face the theological question, "Who's in charge here?" The book of Daniel insists that the God of Israel is in charge, in spite of what circumstances may indicate; then finds ways, through story and vision, to reassure the faithful that there is a future for them after all. The commentary shows that what might be taken as just "Sunday school stories"--the lions' den and the fiery furnace--do raise issues from real life that have faced believers time and again across the centuries. It also helps readers to understand how to read Daniel's predictions of the future in a way that is most faithful to Scripture as a whole. The author explores the widely disparate meanings that have been attributed to the visions in the book. He investigates four basic interpretations that form the basis of reading the Book of Daniel.


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Can there ever be too many commentaries? Certainly the market is flooded with anabundance of choices. Leaving aside comprehensive works such as those in theHermeneia series, for this reviewer a good commentary fulfills one of the followingpurposes. First, it can provide a succinct, up-to-date, and balanced summary of the stateof scholarly inquiry into a particular book. A second alternative is to suggest a newinnovative approach to the study of the topic. Donald Gowan’s contribution to this serieson the book of Daniel is a good example of the first option. The series is designed toprovide compact, critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament fortheological and university students, as well as congregational education. The fundamentalconcern of the series is the analysis and discussion of the literary, sociohistorical,theological, and ethical dimensions of the biblical text (9–11). It is no easy task toadequately cover these various topics in a small volume, and Gowan is to be commendedfor his fine work.The book begins with an introduction that surveys four topics. First, Gowan explores“The Interpretation of Daniel” and outlines four basic ways the book has been readthroughout history (13–18). [Full Review]