Rickie D. Moore and Brian Neil Peterson
Voice, Word, and Spirit: A Pentecostal Old Testament Survey(Nashville,TN: Abing-
don, 2017). 296 pp. $34.99 paperback.
Rickie Moore and Brian Peterson are to be commended for their work toward a Pentecostal Old Testament (OT) Survey as a formally published first of its kind. The need is demonstrably present for such a publication that addresses OTstudies from a Pentecostal perspective, but (as always) one of the dangers in presenting such a specific framework is that one has not properly detailed what such a framework might look like and how it might be applied methodologi- cally. The use of “Pentecostal” and its use in this volume is just such an issue. While the claim is made that they have “explicitly engaged with the faith and practice of the Pentecostal movement and the recent scholarship that has been generated by this contemporary, global, Christian movement” even a cursory glance at the bibliography reveals a very limited engagement with the wider work of Pentecostal scholars in OT studies (x). Granted, there are not a lot of monograph length works in this field.
The overall structure of the book follows a simple chapter-by-chapter struc- ture concerning each individual book of the OT canon (with the exceptions of 1–2Chronicles and Ezra-Nehemiah). The books are then split into four larger sections in order to introduce ideas and themes deemed relevant to each respective section: Pentateuch, Historical Books, Poetic Books, Prophetic Books. Each book is then parsed by use of a “Hook” (authored by Peterson) that relates some personal comments/stories intended to grab the reader, “Quick Facts,” “Structure,” “Summary” (where the largest sections are found), “Debated Issues” which are regarded as research paper ideas, a brief statement intended to summarize the essential theme/s (“The Message of the Book”), and “Closing the Loop” (authored by Moore) where the intent is to connect OT and Pente- costal themes.
Readers might desire a more thoroughgoing appraisal of what constitutes “Pentecostal” in order to make better sense of the “Closing the Loop” sections which at times simply discuss the Spirit (with implication being that this makes it “Pentecostal”). Understandably the nature of the intersection of OTand Pen- tecostal is complicated by theological constructions and practices which are not always readily apparent in readings of the OT. Of a more Pentecostal fash- ion, the methodology overall presents engagement with the text in dialecti- cal conversation with multiple voices that follow trajectories proposed else- where regarding Pentecostal hermeneutics. It is of note that the writers have attempted,inPentecostalhermeneuticalfashion,anOldTestamentSurveythat offers a move from “us interpreting Scripture to Scripture interpreting us” (x).
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For instance, this volume offers occasional Pentecostal tie-ins when personal testimonies are shared of God’s work in the lives of the authors.
Moore and Peterson offer an accessible and readable college levelOTSurvey which is no small undertaking. Difficult or unique terms/names are defined by a glossary at the end of the volume. This might be better arranged by indicating in the text proper that a particular term/name may be found in the glossary.The addition of “Debated Issues” as a way of highlighting research questions which have been debated inOTscholarship and may be of interest to students makes this volume of greater use even for professors who might simply want to offer a few paper ideas in more advanced/narrower OT exegetical courses beyond the Survey course. They also try to steer the reader through multiple ways the texts have been read often noting divergent interpretations, but without actu- ally indicating major or typical figures who have espoused such readings.
As an OT Survey, this volume offers many historical critical comments in order to introduce collegiate readers to the broad (and sometimes narrow) scopeof thefieldofOTstudies.However,theyalsooffermoreliteraryandnarra- tological readings of the texts particularly as they offer summaries of content (which may actually be more attuned to a Pentecostal responsive hearing of these texts). This volume also provides numerous images, maps, and charts throughout to aid the reader in better conceptualizing content and arousing interest.
One curiosity in the text relates to the alternating use of YHWH/God. The usage at times reads as following a close reading of the biblical text (which is commendable), but at others appears to alternate for variety’s sake. For exam- ple, a comment about the “Spirit of God” upon Othniel (78) misses that this is explicitly the “Spirit of YHWH” (Judges 3:10). In a textbook that is attempting a closer literary and theological reading of the text of Scripture this falls short. While students using this textbook would not necessarily notice such matters, it works against the overall usefulness by professors helping students to be bet- ter readers of the Scripture (and thus better read by the Scripture).
Contemporary illustrations and applications which are a strength for a con- temporary readership become dated within a short time of publication when overly contextualized. Broader application and illustration might actually prove more beneficial for long-term use of this text. As such, many of the intro- ductions and comments throughout that fit this narrow contextualization (ref- erencing films, current events, etc.) read more fitting for the way the lectures might be delivered to a class this year in the U.S. context. This detracts from this volume’s wider Pentecostal global readership that would benefit from a Pentecostal hearing of the OT, but would not have the same appreciation or understanding of contemporaryU.S.applications.
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One recommendation for any potential future update to this volume would be to consider including potential bibliographic entries at the end of each chapter that point to potentially helpful Pentecostal works relevant to that book of the OT. Otherwise, this volume offers a beginning work toward Pen- tecostal ways of constructing theological praxis through responsively hearing the texts of Scripture.
Rick Wadholm Jr.
Trinity Bible College & Graduate School, Ellendale, North Dakota
PNEUMA 40 (2018) 213–279