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Spring 2001 · Vol. 30 No. 1 · pp. 109–10 

Book Review

Peace and Justice Shall Embrace: Power and Theopolitics in the Bible

ed. Ted Grimsrud and Loren L. Johns. Telford, PA: Pandora Press U.S., 1999. 249 pages.

Reviewed by Wilma Ann Bailey

This book was written as a festschrift in honor of Dr. Millard Lind, a longtime professor of Old Testament at what is now Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary, Elkhart, Indiana. A brief biographical sketch, a tribute, and an exhaustive list of Lind’s publications appear at the beginning and end of the volume.

The book is a collection of essays and articles written by former students of Lind, most of whom are scholars in the theological disciplines. The essays range in nature from sermons to scholarly treatises. All have a strong biblical focus and are tied together by themes of peace, justice, and power. Only one, Tom Yoder Neufeld’s “Power, Love, and Creation: The Mercy of the Divine Warrior in the Wisdom of Solomon,” has a deuterocanonical book as a base text. The other contributors chose familiar texts from the Protestant canon.

Because of the eclectic nature of the book, it is impossible to summarize it in a coherent manner. It contains a mixture of fresh material and critiques of work done by others. The following is only a sampling of the rich diversity of ideas and approaches that appear in the book. In a series of sermons, Arthur Paul Boers draws parallels between passages in Jeremiah and Matthew that in his words denounce lies and model truth. Daniel Liechty, examining the exodus and creation narratives from a political standpoint, notices how Israel diverges from the ideologies of surrounding kingdoms that give divine sanction to the will of the king.

Daniel L. Smith-Christopher offers a psychological analysis of Ezekiel, suggesting that he was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of what he had witnessed when he was taken captive to Babylon. J. Denny Weaver, drawing on his experience as a member of a Christian Peacemaker Team in Haiti and his reading of the prophetic book of Jeremiah, affirms prophetic acts as expressions of solidarity with a people even when they are not always successful in changing the immediate situation. James E. Brenneman, analyzing texts in the Bible that offer conflicting interpretations of the same situation, argues that the Scripture “models for us the interpretive principles of dispute and advocacy, dialogue and commitment” (61).

Strengths of this collection are that all of the authors bring Anabaptist perspectives to the text, and they all directly or through implication connect their texts to contemporary life. {110}

To be sure this book is not without its controversies. One could argue, for example, with Daniel Liechty’s statement that Israel’s cult, civil law, “national identity and consciousness” (25) were premonarchic, or Douglas Miller’s assertion that the author of Ecclesiastes had a “vision for change” (172).

A glaring weakness of the book is the lack of the voices of women and scholars of significantly different sociocultural backgrounds. Should not a text about justice be just?

A college or seminary course studying issues of peace and justice or an adult Bible study group will find this book to be more than stimulating.

Wilma Ann Bailey
Assoc. Prof. of Hebrew and Aramaic Scripture
Christian Theological Seminary, Indianapolis, Indiana

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