Skip to content

Robert Jenson’s new Ezekiel Commentary

I have been perusing Robert Jenson’s new Ezekiel commentary in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible series and have found much to like.  Jenson does not hedge his bets but rights in a straightforward, winsome manner affirming confidence in the text and its theological meaning.  For example in reference to the date of Ezekiel, he affirms the date given in Ezekiel 1:2 writing:

“…there seems to be no good reason to doubt this dating . . . though of course some scholars have managed it.” (20)

I particularly appreciate his description of his approach and aim as seen in these two excerpts. The second one is particularly good.

“I am committed to premodern Christian exegetes’ aim, to read the Bible as a single dramatically coherent narrative of the coming of Christ and his kingdom.” 23

How the academic community came to be committed to an antidoctrinal, and thus in this case ironically ahistorical mode of exegesis, is an often told tale that need not be repeated here.

The present commentary, like the others in the series, thus offers alternatives to the modern academy’s prejudices.  I will not often argue theoretically the legitimacy of Christological or Trinitarian or ecclesiological readings I present, but will mostly allow them to convince readers by their own sense and appropriateness to the text at hand – or not.  I do ask for suspension of a priori incredulity – who knows, the church might be right about how to read her own scripture.” 25-26

Lastly, He expects readers to encounter God in the text and provides this winsome warning at the close of his introduction:

“The purpose of a commentary is to assist readers’ involvement with the text.  Perhaps readers should therefore take warning before going further.  Attention to a text can turn into experience of its matter, and the judgments and promises of God as given through Ezekiel are so extreme that they can easily undo ordinary religiosity – to say nothing of the disastrous spiritual adventures that might be ignited by his visions.” 30

Leave a Reply