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Liturgical Press, 2000 - Bibles - 303 pages
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What does Joshua hold to be the essential marks of Israelite identity? What distinguishes "Israel" from all other peoples? In tracking these themes, L. Daniel Hawk reveals in Joshua a profound struggle to define the people of the God of Israel. Hawk shows that the themes surrounding Joshua express fundamental markers of national identity: religious practice (obedience to the commandments of Moses), ethnic separation (extermination of the peoples of Canaan), and possession of land ("the land that YHWH gives"). Through the medium of narrative, Joshua tests each of these markers and demonstrates that none clearly characterize the people of God. Instead, Joshua presents Israel as a nation fundamentally constituted by choosing: YHWH's choosing of Israel and Israel's choosing of YHWH. In the present day in which ideologies of religion, race, and territorial possession have given rise to countless expressions of violence, Hawk expresses the particular value of reading Joshua. The Joshua story holds a mirror up to all who regard themselves as the people of God. The reflection is both repelling and inspiring but until we confront it, what it truly means to be the chosen people of God will remain elusive. Chapters are "Rights of Passage (1:1-18)," "Who's Who in the Promised Land? (2:1-12:24)," "Strangers in the Night (2:1-24)," "Changing State (3:1-4:24)," "First Things First (5:1-15)," "Going in Circles (6:1-27)," "Ai Spy (7:1-8:35)," "Foiled Again (9:1-10:27)," "Conquering Canaanites (10:28-12:24)," "Organizing Israel (13:1-21:45)," "Altar Egos (22:1-34)," "Unfinished Business (23:1-18)," and "Decisions, Decisions (24:1-33)." Includes twelve charts that lay out structural features of the book. ?Hawk continues to establish his reputation as one of the leading practitioners of literary analysis of Old Testament narrative.? Interpretation ?Hawk?s commentary is masterfully written and can be read with great benefit as a significant contribution to the study of the Book of Joshua.? Faith and Mission?It makes a positive contribution to the range of commentaries on this ancient text.? Scripture Bulletin?Hawk?s scholarship is sound and his conclusions are presented in a clear manner.? Journal of Hebrew Scriptures ?. . . a useful addition to the growing corpus of literary approaches to Scripture.? Themelios"This reading discloses that the narrative of Joshua is one punctuated by choices." Old Testament Abstracts"His commentary emphasizes the way in which the book constructs identity." Theology Digest ?This is the best literary treatment of Joshua presently available. Its treasure-trove of stylistic insights and intertextual readings bring the Joshua?s familiar narratives to life in fresh new ways. Even boring lists of cities and boundaries add their voice to the book?s chorus of themes. Though readers may question some of his readings, the author?s exposition is clear and usually compelling. I highly recommend this book.? Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. Professor of Biblical Literature North Park Theological Seminary Chicago "This work will be a valuable tool both for those who wish to engage in a close reading of the text of Joshua and for those who are looking for a primer in the art of close reading." John N. Oswalt Research Professor of Old Testament Wesley Biblical Seminary Jackson, Mississippi"In this provocative and instructive study, Hawk analyzes both the literary composition of the book of Joshua as well as the theological principles that such a composition conveys. In so doing, he carefully presents the book as a unified and intentionally designed whole rather than a random collection of otherwise independent stories. While the typical reader of Joshua might readily conclude that central to the book and to Israel's identity are ethnic purity, correct religious practice and the possession of the land, Hawk persuasively argues that the unifying theme in Joshua is actually that of decision-making. In tracing this theme through to its climax in Joshua 24, Hawk skillfully weds literary expertise with theological sophistication. All who read this work will not only gain a fresh understanding of the book of Joshua, but a new lens through which to view their own lives." Terry L. Brensinger Messiah College Grantham, Pennsylvania". . . at a time when issues of ethnicity are paramount in the discussion of the origins of Israel, Hawk's work promises to raise this discussion to new levels." K. Lawson Younger, Jr. Professor of Old Testament, Semitic Languages, and Ancient Near Eastern History Trinity International University?The interpreter of the book of Joshua faces a daunting task. Knotty historical problems and textual obscurities abound, as does terrible violence toward the Canaanites. Troubling questions surface concerning the ethics of the conquest and the morality of the God who achieved it. The book?s category entitled ?Additional Notes,? where more specific details are addressed and some chapters contain footnotes. The book of Joshua receives a nice treatment. Because the volume is geared to a believing Christian audience, the author emphasizes the role of God?s mission and grace more than a scholarly treatment would. . . . The treatment of the book of Judges is outstanding. The author uses Judges to focus on important issues facing the Christian world, particularly the role of women and anti-Semitism. . . . The author forces her audience to deal with questions about feminism such as in her discussion of Deborah and Barak, even to the extent of wondering why, ?the author of the book of Hebrews places Barak in his trophy cases of heroes of the faith? (p. 172.). . . . Hawk offers a unique, provocative reading of Joshua and an excellent addition to the Berit Olam series. . . the richness of its insight and its ability to sustain literary coherence through Joshua commends his treatment.? Hebrew Studies

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"This contribution by L. Daniel Hawk interprets the Masoretic Text of Joshua as a structured and coherent whole, offering a balanced and generally persuasive example of close reading. Common sense takes precedence over methodological extremism, so that the reader has no trouble following Hawk’s argument and agreeing that it is consistent and sound. . . . Joshua can be a distressing book for modern people to read, reflecting as it does many of the most problematic aspects of recent history and current events. Hawk insists that Joshua must nevertheless be considered as ‘required reading’ among us, both as a mirror to reflect the repellant features of our quest to define ethnic identity and as an inspiring witness to healthier possible options."
—Richard D. Nelson, associate dean for academic affairs and W. J. A. Power Professor for Biblical Hebrew and Old Testament Introduction, Perkins School of Theology
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Rights of Passage 1118
Whos Who in the Promised Land? 211224
Strangers in the Night 2124

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About the author (2000)

L. Daniel Hawk, Ph.D., is professor of Old Testament at Ashland Theological Seminary.

David W. Cotter, OSB, STD, is general editor of the Berit Olam: Studies in Hebrew Narrative and Poetry series, published by Liturgical Press.