I’m currently reading a little treasure of a book entitled “Life and Language in the Old Testament” by Mary Ellen Chase. I happened upon this book by chance in a used book store on the South Side of Pittsburgh. Having no first-hand knowledge of this author I was skeptical at first, but I took it to be a low stakes gamble with a price tag of 8$. I’m always eager to read something different in the realm of Old Testament studies, and this book did not disappoint.
Chase is no theologian, and when her comments do broach the realm of theology there is the slight hint of higher-critical leanings. However, her great strengths are her appreciation for the literary uniqueness of the Old Testament and her grasp of Hebrew thought patterns. She writes like a novelist, with vivid, descriptive language, and has an unmistakable love for the rich literary features of the Hebrew Bible. The categories and tendencies of Hebrew thought and language, so different from out own, are masterfully described with enthusiasm that is contagious to the reader.
Chase’s approach is an important one. In the Reformed tradition we tend to see any given Hebrew text as a theological nut to […]