Encountering the Book of Hebrews: An Exposition
Encountering the Book of Hebrews: An Exposition

Encountering the Book of Hebrews: An Exposition

in Encountering Biblical Studies

by Donald A. Hagner

5 Rank Score: 5.22 from 2 reviews, 0 featured collections, and 1 user libraries
Pages 224 pages
Publisher Baker Academic
Published 2002
ISBN-13 9780801025808


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Donald Hagners exposition of Hebrews is an entry in Bakers Encountering Biblical Studies series. According to two prefaces (from the series editor and the publisher), books of this series explicitly are intended for students at evangelical Christian colleges. This volume specifically is for use in upper-level book-study courses. The publishers five guiding principles for the series are that books evidence evangelical scholarship, be comprehensible for upper-level college students, be pedagogically sound, include appropriate visual materials, and be enticing to students by focusing on biblical teaching concerning crucial doctrinal and ethical matters (12). A fair review of Hagners volume must take into account these five issues. Furthermore, Hagner notes in his preface that his book is an exposition, not an exhaustive discussion of Hebrews, and that students should read his textbook with traditional commentaries at hand for detailed information (1415). In light of these criteria, one can say that Hagner has succeeded. He presents a reasonable and coherent reading of Hebrews, as one might expect from an author who also has written a traditional commentary on the subject (originally in 1983, but now available in the New International Biblical Commentary series [Peabody, Mass.: Hendrickson, 1990]). Indeed, Hagner makes Hebrews a very comprehensible text for undergraduate readers. Some might question, however, at what price this success has come. Sometimes it seems that goals of clarity and brevity have been deemed more important than discussing issues that really do make Hebrews a confusing book for students. [Full Review]
It is particularly pleasant to see scientific books that are addressed to college and university students by such scholars as Donald A. Hagner. The book belongs in the Encountering Biblical Studies series, which has published some volumes of undergraduate-level texts from an evangelical point of view. It is very important to publish such books that are pedagogically oriented, written with collegians in mind. Before I read the book I wondered why an author who has already published a good commentary on the Epistle to the Hebrews in 1990 would publish a new one. Hagner emphasizes that the present book is completely independent from his first commentary and that is not a commentary, but rather an exposition. The second impression was that the new book was particularly thin (213 pages) as a commentary on Hebrews. However, Hagners aim now is not to give a detailed verse-by-verse commentary, like those that we are used to seeing in such a New Testament document, but a guide book for students to assist them in their encounter with Hebrews. This axiom should be taken into consideration in order not to misjudge Hagners book. Inside the book are plenty of illustrations-photographs, figures, tables, and charts that help readers to understand basic meanings and theological ideas. Sidebars and excurses exploring exegetical ethical and theological issues can be found as well. [Full Review]