Cover Image: The Meaning of the Pentateuch

The Meaning of the Pentateuch:
Revelation, Composition and Interpretation

John Sailhamer (IVP, 2009)

Blurb Review by Paige Britton


A long but rewarding read, this volume explores the value of the Pentateuch (and of the whole Old Testament) for teaching the "Pauline" concept of justification by faith. According to Sailhamer, Abraham and faith, not Moses and the law, are shown to be the hero and emphasis of the Pentateuch. Sailhamer also argues the object of that faith is identified as an eternal King from the tribe of Judah. Dwelling especially on what he calls the "compositional seams" of the text (points in the text which especially reveal the author's thought), Sailhamer offers evidence of the themes that instructed careful readers, such as the Prophets and (in NT times) Anna, Simeon, and Paul. In Sailhamer's view, the Old Testament thus becomes the searchlight that illuminates the new move of God in the person and work of the Messiah Jesus.


Part One: Approaching the Text as Revelation
1. Understanding the Nature and Goal of Old Testament Theology
2. Finding the Author's Verbal Meaning
3. What Is the "Historical Meaning" of Biblical Texts?
4. Finding the Big Idea in the Final Composition of the Text

Part Two: Rediscovering the Composition of the Pentateuch Within the Tanak
5. Textual Strategies Within the Tanak
6. The Composition of the Pentateuch
7. Exploring the Composition of Legal Material in the Pentateuch

Part Three: Interpreting the Theology of the Pentateuch
8. The Nature of Covenant and Blessing in the Pentateuch
9. Is There a "Biblical Jesus" of the Pentateuch?
10. The Purpose of Mosaic Law in the Pentateuch
11. The Theme of Salvation in the Pentateuch


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