On-line version ISSN 2072-8050
Herv. teol. stud. vol.64 n.2 Cape Town Jun. 2008
Boekbesprekings / Book Reviews
Anderson, B W 1988 The unfolding drama of the Bible
Publishers: Fortress. Pages 93. Price: Unknown
Reviewer: Dr F J Boshoff (Ermelo)
This booklet is intended as a study guide to assist the reader to fully understand the Biblical message from beginning to end. The study guide originally appeared in 1953 and was reprinted in 1957 and 1971.
Bernhard W Anderson, emeritus professor of Old Testament Theology at the Princeton Theological Seminary distinguishes between two types of Bible study. On the one hand there is what he terms the academic approach, in which the Bible is viewed from the outside as if by an observer.
Then there is the other approach which he advocates, in which the world is observed almost from within the Bible and through the window of Biblical faith. He approaches the Biblical message as a drama in three acts, with a prologue in the beginning and an epilogue as a conclusion. After the prologue, which deals with creation, the genesis, follows the first act which he calls: The formation of God's people. This act deals with the exodus from Egypt and the institution of the Covenant. The people's disobedience, decay and injustice signal the end of the first act.
He calls the second act: The reformation of God's people. This act deals with the exodus and the return from exile in Babylon. Ezra and Nehemiah take a prominent place on the stage and there is strong emphasis on observance of the Law and of religious rituals. The third act is called: The transformation of God's people. This act traces the development of traditional ethnic people into the Christian community of saints and religious people the world over. And so the Church of Jesus Christ appears on the stage. The Acts of the Apostles, in particular, report on the rise and expansion of the Church.
According to Anderson, this Biblical drama does not only have a beginning and a climax, but also a conclusion. All things, history and nature, heaven and earth form part of God's plan, of Him who is the First and the Last, the Alpha and the Omega. The original Paradise is recreated when the Lord says there will be a new heaven and a new earth. Anderson presents this study guide in the form of eight lectures. At the end of each lecture topical questions are listed which lend themselves to discussion in the context of Bible Study. He also recommends other works for further study and enrichment that will lead to a better understanding and more insight.
This booklet is particularly suited to Bible Study purposes and will be of great assistance to the study leader. It will also be of particular value to anyone who wishes to have a better understanding of the course Biblical events took, as well as the reasons behind the events and the significance thereof.