Review: Echoes of Exodus

36899328.jpgBryan D. Estelle is Professor of Old Testament at Westminster Seminary California. He has an M.Div. from Westminster Seminary California and both an M.A. and Ph.D. from The Catholic University of America. Estelle has written essays and articles in various publications, as well as Salvation Through Judgement and Mercy: The Gospel According to Jonah (P & R Publishing, 2005). Most recently, Estelle has written a biblical-theological exploration on the Exodus motif that proves to be a timely look into one of Scriptures richest themes.

Echoes of Exodus: Tracing a Biblical Motif opens with an introductory chapter that orients the reader to the thematic presence of exodus throughout the Old Testament and into the New. The exodus motif more than the story of liberation from Egyptian oppression, according to Estelle. It is an all-encompassing motif about “God’s crafting a people for himself by bringing them to the very abode of his presence at Mount Sinai. Yet there is more . . . The deliverance from Egypt did not stop at Sinai, where God meets with his people. The deliverance was intended to include the Promise Land” (p. 3). That is, the Promise Land in both an immediate and eschatological sense. It is here that Estelle embarks on a biblical-theological voyage through the contours of the Old and New Testaments.

Before exploring the canonical landscape, Estelle spends a great deal of time establishing the hermeneutical foundations for his analysis of the exodus motif—a methodological establishment built upon the interpretive approach embodied by John Calvin and Campegius Vitringa. Estelle then moves the reader to Genesis, Exodus, the Psalms, Isaiah, and the Exilic and Post-Exilic Era. Estelle creates a visible awareness of the exodus motif in the Old Testament before turning the attention towards the New. The concluding five chapters explore the Jesus and the New Exodus in Mark and Matthew, Luke-Acts, Paul, 1 Peter, and Revelation. The salvific emphasis of this book demonstrates that “discussing the whole complex salvation is necessary if we are to fairly present God’s plan of redemption” (p. 323). The big-picture is an imperative element and Estelle provides a masterful framework for such discussion.

Echoes of Exodus is a wellspring of exegetical and biblical-theological riches. The sheer scope of Estelle’s engagement is extraordinary. Two examples of such engagement are noteworthy, and worth mention here. First, Estelle’s keen demonstration and utilized presence of intertextuality is a masterful representation of biblical theology. Estelle knows the rich history of biblical theology in the Reformed tradition and he exemplifies such with excellence. Moreover, Estelle’s unusual awareness of the sometimes-peripheral nature of the exodus motif affords readers the ability to more easily uncover the scarlet thread of God’s redemptive plan. Second, while the caliber of conversation occasionally presupposes a level of understanding that may be foreign to readers lacking a seminary education, Estelle is a gifted communicator and a skilled writer. Echoes of Exodus is easy to read and engaging on almost every page.

Echoes of Exodus: Tracing a Biblical Motif by Bryan D. Estelle demonstrates mature reflection and keen awareness on one of the richest biblical-theological themes of the Christian Scriptures. Estelle is insightful and easy to read, and the scope of his exploration has provided a fascinating demonstration of how to properly embody a biblical-theological mindset when approaching the Bible. If you’re interested in biblical theology and you’re looking for a book that will trace the heartbeat of God from Genesis to Revelation, then Estelle’s Echoes of Exodus is a worthwhile purchase. Trust me. It will be difficult to put down!

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