Bible Review 12:6, December 1996

First Glance

Bible Review

Social, political and theological upheaval surrounded Israel’s transformation from a loose confederation of tribes to a united nation led by David. At the center of the storm stood Saul, selected by the Israelites against Yahweh’s will to be their first king. In “Saul as Sacrifice—The tragedy of Israel’s first monarch,” L. Daniel Hawk describes Saul’s life as the embodiment of Israel’s metamorphosis. Like a sacrificial offering to Yahweh, writes Hawk, Saul’s death appeased the Israelite deity and allowed his people to proceed toward the golden age of the monarchy under David.

Associate professor of Old Testament and Hebrew at Ashland Theological Seminary, Hawk wrote Every Promise Fulfilled: Contesting Plots in Joshua (Westminster/John Knox, 1991). His hobbies include hiking and playing keyboard and singing with his classic rock and blues band, Reaction.

The Yonan Codex’s “15 minutes of fame” came in the mid-1950s. This ancient Syriac-Aramaic Bible, some scholars claimed, not only was one of the very earliest copies of the New Testament but was written in the language spoken by Jesus. After being exhibited at the Library of Congress, the codex made a noisy tour of the Bible Belt to raise funds for its purchase by the Library of Congress.

Then, suddenly, the commotion ceased—when scholars proved that the codex was not as old as had been claimed and that Jesus spoke a different dialect of Aramaic. In “Bible Hype: The saga of the Yonan Codex,” Bruce M. Metzger recalls the role he played in helping to burst this ancient Bible’s bubble.

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