I was very excited to open up Douglas A. Knight’s Law, Power, & Justice in Ancient Israel. It seems like such a great topic to explore and one that is difficult to find books about. Surely this great ancient people must have a rich history and Knight’s book bills itself as one that will peel back the cover on this topic.
The excitement quickly faded for this reader though as I read the introduction that Knight had penned. With a disclaimer that would probably be more fitting on the cover than on the pages, Knight discloses that a large portion of what the reader is about to consume is speculation. While Knight’s admission is admirable, the tone of the book takes on a feeling of theoretical impulse from that point forward.
From a Biblical discernment standpoint, Knight’s book could not be more off base had he set out to undermine the Christian religion itself. Knight does raise a valid point that surely, in the history ofIsraelthere must have been more law and code that governed society. However, his assertion that perhaps the laws found in the Old Testament were penned by men who aimed to use the laws for their own various devious purposes is bordering on heresy.
Knight asks the question of purpose for the laws? Whose purpose to the Biblical laws fulfill? Yet this reader failed to find any discussion of the laws being for God’s purpose. Instead, Knight uses paranoia made by modern day dishonesty and abuse of legal authority to draw a conclusion that Biblical law was meant solely for the have to abuse the have-nots. At best, this book is a rehash of arguments by those who seek to undermine ecclesiastical (or ecclesial; look up) instruction for churches as set forth in New Testament scripture. Knight places God’s law on the same level as papal law. Worse of all, the majority of Knight’s conclusion is based off of his own self-disclosed speculation.
Based upon these facts, this book, which will become available tomorrow to the public, would not be recommended reading.