Leviticus: Word Biblical Commentary [WBC]   -     By: John E. Hartley
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Leviticus: Word Biblical Commentary [WBC]

Thomas Nelson / 1992 / Hardcover

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Product Description

Although it is at the heart of the Pentateuch, the book of Leviticus is sometimes dismissed as dry and legalistic mat- erial with little relevance to modern religious concerns. But in this commentary Dr. John Hartley perceives that the message of Leviticus--the significance of pure worship and holy living--is also the heart of vital faith in any age. Amid the prescriptions for sacrifice and ritual to be obser- ved by Israel in the wilderness, the author finds useful ob- servations for the people of God today. The author's sensitivity to theological concern makes this commentary useful in expository preaching. His introduction includes essays on the themes of holiness, God's presence, the covenant, sacrifice, and the relation of Leviticus to the New Testament. Hartley is professor of Old Testament and Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies in the C.P. Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. He holds degrees from Greenville College, Asbury Theological Seminary and Brandeis University.

Product Information

Format: Hardcover
Number of Pages: 496
Vendor: Thomas Nelson
Publication Date: 1992
Dimensions: 9.5 X 6.2 (inches)
ISBN: 0849902037
ISBN-13: 9780849902031
Availability: In Stock
Series: Word Biblical Commentary

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Publisher's Description

Although it is at the heart of the Pentateuch, the book of Leviticus is sometimes dismissed as dry and legalistic material with little relevance to modern religious concerns. But in this commentary Dr. John Hartley perceives that the message of Leviticus—the significance of pure worship and holy living—is also the heart of vital faith in any age. Amid the prescriptions for sacrifice and ritual to be observed by Israel in the wilderness, the author finds useful observations for the people of God today.

The emphasis of Leviticus on true worship, and on ordering the ethical life according to the will of Yahweh instead of idols, was at the heart of Israel’s raison d’etre, Dr. Hartley notes. Viewed in this light, such prescriptions as the “Holiness Code” (chapters 17-26) are far more than a list of ritual observances; they are Israel’s response to God’s charge to “be holy, for I, Yahweh, your God, am holy.”

Leviticus’ focus on the Aaronic priesthood also receives special attention in this treatment. The Levites are the designated communicators charged with transmitting God’s law through Moses—indeed, the purpose of the book “to preserve divine sermons for the instruction of the congregation in cultic and ethical matters.” Yet, despite their insistence on correct form and content in worship, the Levites do not become authoritarian protectors of a secret code in the manner of pagan priests. Since the formulas were proclaimed to the congregation, they became an informed laity exerting a balancing dynamic on the priests as well as receiving ministry from them.

The author’s sensitivity to theological concern makes this commentary useful in expository preaching. his introduction includes essays on the themes of holiness, God’s presence, the covenant, sacrifice, and the relation of Leviticus to the New Testament.

On the widely disputed question of authorship Dr. Hartley affirms the text’s claim that “Yahweh spoke to Moses . . .” and that Leviticus helped shape the nation’s worship and life instead of merely reflecting existing practices. Yet he also acknowledges the evidence that some of the material shows the community’s dynamic interpretation of how God’s word through Moses was to be applied in their daily lives. This two-edged sword of loyalty to the text and to the community’s life makes the commentary useful in “discovering ways that contemporary communities of faith may be shaped and empowered by the received Word of God.”

Author Bio

John E. Hartley is Professor of Old Testament and Chair of the Department of Biblical Studies in the C.P. Haggard School of Theology at Azusa Pacific University. A graduate of Greenville College and Asbury Theological Seminary, he holds the M.A. and Ph.D. from Brandeis University. Post-doctoral studies have been pursued at Harvard Divinity School and in Jerusalem. He is the author of the Book of Job in the series The New International Commentary on the Old Testament. He was co-editor of the five-volume series Wesleyan Theological Perspectives, authoring three articles for this series. He has also contributed to major works, including the International Standard Bible encyclopedia revised.  He is an ordained elder in the Free Methodist church.

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  1. 5 Stars Out Of 5
    A wonderful addition to any library
    December 8, 2012
    Paul Burnes
    Quality: 5
    Value: 5
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Hartley's treatment of Leviticus is concise and thorough. He centers on what is the core of Leviticus, not some dry abstract set of ancient laws, but the principles of holiness and love that are contained within those laws. This and the Apollo commentary on this book are ones I use over and over again.
  2. Clovis, NM
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    5 Stars Out Of 5
    Written with scholarly detail.
    April 3, 2011
    RICHARD HOLT
    Clovis, NM
    Age: 45-54
    Gender: male
    Quality: 5
    Value: 4
    Meets Expectations: 5
    Hartley is a respected and talented scholar of the first rank. His work on Leviticus is very helpful for those who have received formal education in Hebrew and Old Testament studies. Others could find help here as well, but might be better served using a more accessible commentary. Those looking for an introductory study might want to look elsewhere, as will those seeking a devotional commentary or one that emphasizes application. This is a heavyweight scholarly contribution to the study of Leviticus. It is conservative. It is virtually exhaustive in the range of relevant topics discussed. It includes comments on structure, meaning, philology, and textual concerns. The detailed notes and bibliographies are also excellent.
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