Book Review: “Tracking the Master Scribe”

9780190205393My review of Sara J. Milstein’s Tracking the Master Scribe has been published in the most recent issue of Canadian-American Theological Review. Here is an excerpt from the conclusion, but you should subscribe to read the full review and all the excellent articles in the journal!

Biblical scholars and informed lay readers interested in literary structure and comparative studies will find much to appreciate about Milstein’s book. Theological readers will find in Milstein’s work and the stream of books on textual development of the Hebrew Bible an important reminder—dare I say, a corrective—concerning the significance of diachronic studies for theological readings of the Hebrew scriptures, amid the recent turn toward “Theological Interpretation” and other synchronic readings. In particular, Tracking the Master Scribe has drawn attention to the significance of introductory material in framing the body of a text—as a complement to significant studies that focus on narrative endings.

Even the reader who does not share all of Milstein’s conclusions will appreciate her contributions to close readings of the texts and her compelling comparative evidence from Mesopotamian literature, which remains relevant to non-diachronic readings of biblical texts. Finally, Milstein is a genuine pleasure to read for her brevity, her style in prose, her sense of humor, and the clever stories and sayings that frame the chapters—usually as part of the introduction, of course.

Benjamin D. Giffone, “Review: Sara J. Milstein, Tracking the Master Scribe: Revision through Introduction in Biblical and Mesopotamian Literature (London/New York: Oxford University Press, 2016),” CATR 9.1 (2020): 78–82.

About Benj

I’m a native North Jerseyan, transplanted to Pennsylvania...lived and taught in Eastern Europe for six years…Old Testament professor, ordained minister, occasional liturgist…husband to Corrie…father to Daniel and Elizabeth.
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