This week I finished The Pentateuch as Narrative, a 479 page (minus appendices) biblical-theological commentary on the first five books of the Bible. I don’t remember exactly when I started reading it but it was well over a year ago (Does anyone else remember when they start things? I never write stuff like that down, not realizing that I will want it later.) I found this commentary through Tim Mackie (one of my favorite people that I don’t know; he’s had a huge influence on my theology and faith and teaching). He’s compiled a list of his favorite resources and that’s something I want to work on for myself as well. I’d love to have that on Substack and the blog.
This commentary insists that the entire Pentateuch is a story. That it’s not disjointed parts or lists of laws but instead the story of how God is at work in the world. It also insists that the rest of the story can be read as echo after echo of Genesis 1-3. It’s huge and very good. I’ve underlined and written notes throughout it (because I hadn’t started my new note taking process yet) and even marked spaces where I disagreed or questioned the reasoning. One annotation reads, “I think Heiser would like a word.” That’s a nerd joke. If you don’t get it, don’t worry about it.
This isn’t going to be a review of the book. Part of me is itching to do that but it would be very time-consuming and will have to wait. On my reading list for the summer is John Walton’s book Wisdom for Faithful Reading and I’m interested to see how it is both similar and different. My love for the pentateuch is probably not going away. I still have a year left in seminary but when I’m done I’m going to complete the Bible Project Classrooms on Genesis and Exodus.