Notes on the Book of Joshua

Notes on the Book of Joshua May 1, 2010

I have been working through the OT for my lectures for Seattle Pacific University for my course entitled “Christian Scriptures.”  I want this to be a theological and hermeneutical intro to the Bible and not just, what I like to call, “Bible Trivia.”  Anyway, I have finished my lectures on the Pentateuch.  Now, I am about halfway through my lecture on Joshua and 1-2 Samuel. Here are some bibliographic thoughts on Joshua.

On very general matters, I enjoyed the bird’s eye view of Richard Nelson’s The Historical Books, though I disagree with some of the specifics he offers about Joshua per se.  Also, honorable mention should be made of Victor Hamilton’s excellent Handbook on the Historical Books.  These are important general resources for non-specialists (like me!).

As far as commentaries, there are so many, that I did not want to drown myself in them (as I am giving a short 40 minute lecture on Joshua!).  So, I chose condensed commentaries to consult.  I benefited from Richard Hess’ Tyndale Commentary on Joshua – a balanced and reliable treatment.  My OT Colleague here at Ashland Seminary has a nice Berit Olam commentary on Joshua and he just published another work on this book for Wipf & Stock called Joshua in 3D. I have not seen the new 3D version yet!  Speaking of forthcoming commentaries – I also am eager to see Gordon McConville’s Two Horizons Joshua (Eerdmans) which should be out shortly (mid-May?).

Otherwise, I regularly consult the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology for excellent engagements with the theology of a biblical text from experts – in this case Joshua is handled nicely by Richard Hess as well (see above).

Finally, I think it is worthwhile to mention two discussions of Joshua and genocide.  The Zondervan Counterpoints Series has a volume on Show Them No Mercy: 4 Views on God and Canaanite Genocide with C.S. Cowles, Eugene Merrill, Daniel Gard, and Tremper Longman III.  Also, John Goldingay is always stimulating and sometime provocative in his theological reflections in Israel’s Gospel (see 474-504).  Though I have not had a chance to work through it, nearly everyone recommends Susan Niditch’s work on this subject in War in the Hebrew Bible.

If/when I get a chance to see McConville’s commentary, I will update my comments.

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