Book Reviews

Commentaar Op Het Oude Testament, Genesis, Deel I, door Dr. W. H. Gispen; J. H. Kok, Kampen, The Netherlands; 391 pages, $59,90 (Dutch money). (reviewed by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema)

This is another volume in an extensive series of commentaries on the Old Testament. The value of these commentaries is, of course, very limited in our country, due to the fact that only those who are able to read Dutch can use them. Besides, these are not intended to be popular commentaries. They are highly technical and useful only to those who can follow the Hebrew language.

This first volume covers the first eleven chapters of Genesis in 391 pages. This commentary deals very carefully and technically with the language and translation of the text. It is replete with references to the opinions and comments of many other commentators. It makes many references to heathen mythology, as, for example, in connection with the flood. Generally speaking, the commentary is conservative. Thus, for example, in connection with Genesis 1:5 Dr. Gispen writes (I translate): “There is no single ground to think of anything else than a day of 24 hours.”

My only criticism of a negative nature is that the author does not furnish very much in the way of positive exegesis of the text. There seems to be so much attention paid to matters of language, translation, and the views of others that there is very little room left for any extensive explanation of the sacred narrative.

Nevertheless, for those who are able to read Dutch and to handle the Hebrew language, I recommend this volume as an excellent and helpful addition to your library.

Concise Dictionary of Religious Quotations, by William Neil, Ed.; Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co., Grand Rapids, Mich. 214 pages; $7.95, cloth. (Reviewed by Prof. H. C. Hoeksema)

This is a rather attractively printed book, and it is thoroughly indexed both as to sources and subjects. Many speakers and writers like to make use of a choice quotation in connection with their subject, either by way of introduction or by way of support or explanation of some position which they are setting forth. Personally, I do not do this very often. But this is a matter of taste. And, for those who follow such a practice, a kind of dictionary of quotations is of course, a helpful volume.

This volume, too, could be helpful. However, there are certain things which detract from its usefulness. One of these is the fact that all quotations from Scripture are taken from the New English Bible. Worse, however, is the fact that the term “Religious” in the title is taken in the broadest sense of that term: this book does not contain quotations only from Scripture or from Christian writers, but from Jewish, Mohammedan Hindu, Buddhist, and outright secular sources as well. Generally speaking, the choice of quotations, even from Christian writers, would not be mine. As one example of this, I mention the fact that John Calvin is conspicuous by his absence from this book.

This book is of limited usefulness.