Goldingay – Old Testament Theology (vol. 1) – Contents

This is the second main installment on John Goldingay’s Old Testament Theology (vol. 1) from IVP Academic.  This is a lengthy book that is a part of a monumental three volume set.  Each text has a different purpose, not just flowing “chronologically” or “canonically” through the Old Testament (somewhat ironically, the title of the book is “Old Testament Theology,” though throughout he calls it the “First Testament”).  Volume 1 focuses on the main story line of the Old Testament all the way through the life of Jesus and the early Church.  Rather than “seeing Christ in the Old Testament,” Goldingay shows the life of Christ and the early Church as flowing from the Old Testament story.

I can see two noticeable effects of this approach.  First, in telling the story, Goldingay treats texts together that some readers may not customarily think of together.  For example, when discussing creation, he brings to bear all of the Old Testament material concerning creation, such as the early chapters of Genesis along with texts about creation in places like Job and Psalms. This may seem pretty standard to some; however, other circles tend to treat Genesis 1 and 2 in isolation from the rest of the Biblical material about creation.  Of course, this introduces the reader to some tensions in the creation accounts.  Yet Goldingay is comfortable with this (as am I).

Another effect is that the main story line is kept in tact without getting caught up in too many details.  Those of us who work within a church context are all too familiar with either making commitments ourselves or working with those who make commitments to read through the Bible in a certain time period, whether it be 90 days, one year, or three years.  People often abandon these commitments by the time they get to Leviticus if they even make it that far.  I think part of the problem is that the overarching story line “stalls” a bit from roughly midway through Exodus to midway through Numbers.  In my own opinion, this material, though important, is less captivating than the overarching narrative.

Goldingay’s aim is to leave that material for another volume and to attempt to follow the overarching story as closely as possible in this first volume.  For many, I think this will be a breath of fresh air.  But, I am slipping a bit into evaluation before covering the contents of the book.  In light of that, below I have copied from the book description the headings that Goldingay gives to the major sections of the story. In a couple of subsequent posts, I will give my personal evaluation of the book.

Winner of a 2004 ECPA Gold Medallion Award! In this first volume of a proposed three-volume Old Testament theology, John Goldingay focuses on narrative. Examining the biblical order of God’s creation of and interactions with the world and Israel, he tells the story of Israel’s gospel as a series of divine acts:

  • God Began
  • God Started Over
  • God Promised
  • God Delivered
  • God Sealed
  • God Gave
  • God Accommodated
  • God Wrestled
  • God Preserved
  • God Sent
  • God Exalted
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