This massive volume contains the fruit of over a half century of the author’s study of the leading lights in critical investigation of the OT. These “personalities” are “far and away the most important factor” in the history of OT scholarship in Rudolf Smend’s judgment (p. xii). The author stresses three things: that this is not a formal history of OT scholarship (which would have required more attention to problems, methods, results, schools of thought, and their interrelations), that every scholar profiled offers much that can be learned, and that these scholars are united “in the service of the unique book (that is, the OT) entrusted to them and to us by the synagogue and the church, but also by the university” (p. xii). It is the university’s labors on the OT, though, that Smend primarily chronicles, not the church’s or the synagogue’s.

Fifty-four scholars appear for detailed attention, not...

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