Unveiled

Unveiled

Author Clare and Micah Hayns
Publisher BRF £12.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9781800390720

I can thoroughly recommend this lovely book. It tells the stories of 40 women in the Old Testament, highlighting the choices that they made in often very limiting circumstances. Each of the women is beautifully illustrated by the author’s son. Micah Hayns studied art in Florence but brings a contemporary feel to his drawings which sensitively reflect the characters of these women, several of whom I had never noticed in the Bible before – Jochebed and Rizpah being two. Clare Hayns is Chaplain at Christ Church College, Oxford. She is a great storyteller and she adds a reflection after each story, and prayers, which come from a great variety of sources. These make this a book a fine way of enlivening your Bible study and of getting to know the Old Testament better, either alone or in a group. It deals quite thoughtfully with the problems some of these old stories raise for us and suggests some ways of understanding them. This book would make a lovely gift.

Reviewed by CLARE DISBREY

Old Testament Analysis

 

Psalms

Psalms

Author Simon P Stocks
Publisher BRF  £6.95
Format pbk
ISBN 9780857467317

This book is small in size, but substantial in content – 111 pages filled with important ideas and helpful insights. It is part of the BRF ‘Really Useful Guides’ series, and this designation is most apt. Stocks has written for a wide audience, including those with little previous knowledge of the psalms, but those who have used them daily for many years will nonetheless find much that is new and fascinating. He is especially strong on the poetic imagery of the psalms, and how these relate to the context of life in ancient Israel. I was also impressed by the way the author is not afraid to address the difficult questions posed by the so-called ‘vengeful’ psalms, including the seldom-used Psalm 58. While some of these may never become favourites, the ideas described will open our minds to wider issues, including the overriding need for justice. This book will help readers to pray the psalms with new hearts, and greater dedication, and is strongly recommended.

ELIZABETH HOGG

Old Testament Analysis

 

God BC

God BC

Author Anthony Phillips
Publisher Sacristy £9.99
Format pbk  (2nd edition)
ISBN 9781910519837

This is a refreshing book which opens up the Old Testament in an absorbing and original fashion. Phillips has revised his thesis, originally published in 1977, to show how God’s grace – a word absent in the OT – permeates the history of God’s people. His text has to be read theologically. Although it is founded on profound scholarship and knowledge, there are no footnotes or references. Phillips sometimes makes sweeping statements that cry out for justification. He alleges, for example, that there is no evidence for Israel’s presence in Egypt; and does not believe in the independent source of the Pentateuch known as E. But in contrast there are some beautifully wrought interpretations, especially on the 8th century prophets, Amos and Hosea. He is also fascinating on Ezekiel, whom he regards as the father of Judaism (rather than Ezra). But, in perspective, the scholarship lying beneath this book matters less than the driving force of the message: that God’s love for humanity is unrestrained, and visible throughout the Hebrew scriptures despite the violence of the age and the formalities of the law. God BC is a provocative but highly recommended read.

ALICE BURDETT

Old Testament Analysis