In this post, I will discuss one of the things that doesn’t work very well, at least in my opinion. This should not overshadow that this is an excellent Old Testament theology text. I think that anyone who is serious about the study of Old Testament theology from a religious believer’s perspective, should read this book.
The one major problem that I have with the book is that the Old Testament as story leading into the life of Jesus doesn’t work very well for me without the Deuterocanonicals. I know, I know, enough with the Catholic stuff, right?
But, really, for me not having a serious treatment of the deuterocanonicals feels like a gaping hole. Goldingay seems to feel this tension himself at times:
None of these considerations is watertight-my community is not sure whether to recognize the Hebrew canon or Greek canon ….
So, why not discuss the deuterocanonicals at least like an appendix to the Old Testament (e.g. as the NRSV does)? In Catholic theology, the term “deuterocanon” does two things. It marks the books as both canonical and disputed. I realize the Protestant perspective is different marking these books as “apocryphal.” But, why not treat the books in such a way to at least recognize that they are disputed?
I cannot say too much about Goldingay’s reasoning because he only gives a few lines in the introduction as to why he focuses on the texts of the Hebrew canon. But, I am unconvinced, especially when it feels to me like a chapter is missing at the end.
I realize that for some this is a matter of perspective. But, once a person goes from reading the Old Testament with the deuterocanonicals to reading it without them, it’s not quite the same. It is especially not the same when one reads from the perspective of the Old Testament as a story. The Old Testament story does not have the same flow into the New Testament without them.