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Guest Post by Andy Naselli

Here’s a PDF of an article from the latest issue of SBJT:

James M. Hamilton Jr. "John Sailhamer's The Meaning of the Pentateuch: A Review Essay." The Southern Baptist Journal of Theology 14:2 (2010): 62-76.


1. Introduction

2. Points of Appreciation

2.1. Impressive Research in Latin and German
2.2. Focus on the Messiah
2.3. Focus on the Final Form of the Text

3. Puzzling Features of the Book

3.1. Incidental Questions
3.2. Repetitions and Redundancies
3.3. Text or Event?
3.4. Sailhamer’s Dialogue Partners

4. Points of Disagreement

4.1. Pentateuch 2.0
4.2. Abraham and Moses
4.3. The Event at Sinai and the Purpose of the Law
4.4. Other Disagreements

5. Conclusion


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5 thoughts on “Jim Hamilton Reviews Sailhamer on the Pentateuch”

  1. This is quite a helpful review. Anyone who has read or intends to read Sailhamer should ponder Hamilton’s essay.

  2. David says:

    I too am thankful for this essay. I have enjoyed Sailhamer’s book so far, and I believe this essay will help me appreciate it more appropriately.

  3. Craig Hurst says:

    I read Sailhamer’s book over the course of a few months and found it to be fruitful (though there was a lot of repetition I feel I would have to read it again to truly get a better grasp of some of his points). I do agree with many of Hamilton’s disagreements. The most enlightening conclusion of Sailhamer was to look for the theological point(s) embedded within the Pentateuch’s compositional strategy.

  4. Justin says:

    What most amazes me (and what I wish Jim Hamilton had picked up on in his review) is the fact that Sailhamer never addresses Deuteronomy 6:20-25 where we read:

    “In the future, when your son asks you, “What is the meaning of the stipulations, decrees and laws the LORD our God has commanded you?” tell him “We were slaves of Pharaoh in Egypt, but the LORD our God brought us out of Egypt with a mighty hand…”

    How do you write a book entitled The Meaning of the Pentateuch without referencing a passage which addresses the meaning of the Law in such a direct and explicit fashion? In fact, if you look at the index there is not a single reference to Deuteronomy 6 in the entire book! Very strange.

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Andy Naselli (PhD in Theology, Bob Jones University; PhD in New Testament exegesis and theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is assistant professor of New Testament and biblical theology at Bethlehem College and Seminary, research manager for D. A. Carson, and administrator of Themelios. His family belongs to Bethlehem Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter.