In A Severe Mercy: Sin and Its Remedy in the Old Testament Mark J. Boda tackles an enormously fascinating topic and examines its thematic articulation as it is given in the Hebrew Scriptures or Old Testament. Boda uses Brevard Childs' now legendary methodological approach known as 'canonical-thematic' and uses it to trace the trajectory of harmatology in the canonical form and shape of the Old Testament.
The hermeneutical foundations for this enterprise have been laid by others in the past decades, especially Brevard Childs in his groundbreaking work in Biblical Theology. Yet A Severe Mercy also reflects recent approaches to integrating biblical understanding with other methodologies in addition to Childs'. Thus, it enters the imaginative space of the ancient canon of the Old Testament in order to highlight the "word views" and "literary shapes" of the "texts taken individually and as a whole collection." For the literary shape of the texts as a collection, it identifies key subthemes and traces their development through the Old Testament canon.
The breadth of Boda's study is both challenging and courageous, resulting in the first comprehensive examination of the topic in the 21st Century.