Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Book notice: Collected Writings on Scripture, by D. A. Carson

Collected Writings on Scripture, by D. A. Carson; compiled by Andrew David Naselli
Wheaton: Crossway: 2010

Weighing in at 335 pages (including indices), this book is a collection of essays and articles by D. A. Carson from various sources, all relating to Scripture in some way. I was provided a review copy by Crossway.

From the title alone, someone might hope that this book includes earlier books such as Exegetical Fallacies or The King James Version Debate. It does not. Rather, the sources range from chapters in published books (Festschriften, anthologies) to journal articles.

There are ten chapters, divided into Essays (nine of them, pages 19-193), and Reviews (five of them, pages 197-319). Finally we have Subject, Name, and Scripture indices.

The reading-level ranges from moderate to academic. As an example of the former, "Approaching the Bible" (chapter one) is an overall introduction to the inspiration, authority, canonicity and interpretation of Scripture. It sweeps along complex subjects adeptly, even touching on literary forms (inclusio, chiasm) and the contribution of archaeology to interpretation. As to the latter, the appeal of the ending Reviews will be more narrow.

In my scan of the book, a few things stood out to me. The chapter titled "Recent Developments in the Doctrine of Scripture" is from 1986. It interested me because I had to tussle with Rogers and McKim, and other dodges that Carson deals with. I was surprised, however, at how easy Carson went on Robert Gundry, a supposed evangelical who saw the Gospel of Matthew as riddled with historical (and other) errors.

One feels that some of the chapters will appeal more to academics, simply because of their date. Chapter Four deals with redaction criticism, and comes from 1983; chapter 6 reviews three books on the Bible which were published in 1980-1983. But the next chapter takes on three more books about the Bible, including Peter Enns and N. T. Wright, both 2005.

One notes some typos, such as the reference to Ollenburger's "Pursing [sic; "Pursuing"] the Truth of Scripture" (309), "diversity" for "diverse" (308). Also, given the relocation of the articles, some statements no longer work and remain unedited, such as the reference to "The kind of argument developed by Grudem in chapter 1 of this volume" (175), which "this volume" is not that volume, but the original volume. (A similar "oops" is in footnote 21, p. 62.)

Scan the table of contents, see if it is what you are looking for. The indices and footnotes adorn the volume, and Carson's steady, thorough approach is felt throughout. Given that it's from Carson, you know it will have value.


Anonymous said...

Thanks for the notice. Haven't read anything by Carson, but this book certainly looks interesting. I'll have to check it out.

trogdor said...

Thanks for the heads-up. I thoroughly enjoy Carson's writing when he slums it to a level I can understand (i.e. nothing about 'variegated nomism'). Such obvious brilliance plus a pastoral heart makes for some powerful writing.

Thomas Louw said...

Have you read Frame's book. 'The doctrine of the word of God" How good is it. I can't find it in South Africa. I was wondering if it is worth while getting it posted.

DJP said...

I have it for review, but it's very large. It's reputed to be amazing. I've heard Frame's lectures on the word of God and they are, as one would expect, reverent and creative and intelligent and informative and challenging and unorthodox in the sense that Frame doesn't simply repeat a creed, but wrestles thoughtfully before teaching.

I'm confident it'd be a great purchase, but that is on the basis above, not on reading -- yet.