Review Published on DaSilva’s “The Apocrypha”

Review Published on DaSilva’s “The Apocrypha”

My review on David DaSilva’s new work, The Apocrypha, has been published in Westminster Theological Journal 76. I’m attaching the PDF here for the full text.  This work is part of a new series, Core Biblical Studies, that provides succinct introductions to topics in biblical studies. There is another volume on the Dead Sea Scrolls that looks good as well. With Second Temple Judaism all the rage in biblical studies nowadays, these introductions will surely be helpful for professors introducing their students to this world into which Jesus and the apostles were born. DeSilva has written a much larger work on the Apocrypha and his material is basically drawn from there, so he is definitely qualified to write this work. I thought it was helpful to introduce the various books as well as basic theological and ethical themes that show up in the Apocrypha, although I also found some of his unsupported biases popping up here and there, to which I draw a small amount of attention in the review.


Greek Alphabet Song

For those who need a catchy and effective tune to use for memorizing the Greek alphabet, I have found William Mounce’s tune to be just that (even my wife can sing it!).

Find it here.

War Scroll Annotated Bibliography

The War Scroll is an important document for understanding second temple Judaism, and for comparison with the various eschatological hopes of the period, particularly of the NT. However, while there was an influx of studies soon after the discovery and editing of 1QM, the War Scroll was seldom published on. Articles here and there were published, but only recently in the past two decades have studies really began to appear again and advance our understanding of the War Scroll.

The following annotated bibliography provides a brief description of the various major sources (articles excluded) to consult for beginning one’s study of the War Scroll. I would suggest reading in the following order. First, read 1QM in Duhaime’s and Martínez’s translations, noting the important differences. Then read Yadin’s entire commentary to get a grasp on most of the document, with his views in mind (which I summarize below). Then read the introductions to the commentaries by Carmignac and van der Ploeg. Next, read Davies’ work for a full summary of evidence that suggests literary disunity in 1QM. Then, read Duhaime’s War Texts to get a grasp on all the critical issues involved with all the texts that scholars agree to be related to 1QM. Finally, read Schultz’ monograph for a comprehensive treatment of 1QM’s literary unity and previous scholarship. Along the way, spot-read in any of the commentaries, especially Jongeling’s, on important passages of interest.

Please note that I have omitted works in modern Hebrew, of which there are several important ones. You may find these in Schultz’ bibliography. He studied in Jerusalem and read them all and interacts with them. A couple studies treat 1QM’s literary unity and the relation of the cave 4 texts, and if one is able to read modern Hebrew, one should consult these works. If I missed anything, please comment and let me know, thanks!


Dupont-Sommer, André. The Essene Writings from Qumran. Translated by G. Vermes. Cleveland, Oh.: World Publishing, 1962.

  • This is an older translation that does not provide the Hebrew text. It is therefore difficult to determine what he has determined the Hebrew text to be at certain points (e.g., the important 1:3-5). There are few footnotes, which leave the reader with little rationale for translation or text-critical choices. Dupont-Sommer published this work before the cave 4 texts were published, so it is a bit outdated, but it provides a smooth English translation for those who want to read the document in a different version.

Duhaime, J. “War Scroll (1QM, 1Q33),” Pages 80-203 in Damascus Document, War Scroll, and Related Documents. The Dead Sea Scrolls: Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek Texts with English Translations 2. Edited by James H. Charlesworth. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 1995.

  • Duhaime here provides a critical Hebrew text with a wooden English translation. There is a somewhat lengthy introduction of the critical issues of the text with reserved judgments throughout. Duhaime’s larger work on the War Text should be consulted for all the critical issues involved, but this work is today a standard critical text for the War Scroll and its related documents.

Martínez, Florentino García and Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar. The Dead Sea Scrolls Study Edition. 2 vols. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 2000.

  • This work provides the Hebrew (or Aramaic) and English on adjacent pages. Martínez makes some different text-critical choices than Duhaime and they therefore serve as useful conversation partners. However, while Duhaime provides footnotes with some rationale for decisions, this work provides no footnotes and no explanations for emendations, conjectures, and the like. However, as a study edition of the War Scroll in its original Hebrew, this work is required.


Yadin, Yigael. The Scroll of the War of the Sons of Light against the Sons of Darkness. London: Oxford University Press, 1962.

  • Yadin’s commentary assumes a literary unity to 1QM and the war detailed within it. He argues for a three-stage war, using his vast knowledge of second temple and rabbinic Jewish sources to support his argumentation. The commentary consists of a lengthy introduction (about two-thirds of the book) followed by a translation with brief footnotes that mostly refer back to the introduction. Yadin does make some text-critical decisions that are worthy of consideration and that should be compared to the various critical texts. This commentary is the standard that should be consulted first when beginning to study the War Scroll, as is evident by the frequent reference to it in all other works on the War Texts.

Carmignac, Jean. La Règle de la Guerre des Fils de Lumière contre les Fils de Ténèbres. Paris: Letouzey et Ané, 1958.

  • Carmignac, like Yadin, assumes literary unity in 1QM, but sees one war presented in two different perspectives in columns 1-2. The rest of the document then details the war. The work is of decent size, with a smaller introduction and much more commentary on the text. One should consult Carmignac on various passages under study for his lucid interpretations of texts and his attention to the use of the OT, but one must also keep in mind his assumption of the portrayal of the war in 1QM.

van der Ploeg, J. Le Rouleau de la Guerre. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 2. Leiden: Brill, 1959.

  • This work espouses various sources and redactions in 1QM, but the commentary treats the text as presenting one war, albeit in a poorly redacted fashion. The work is also much briefer than the others, which allows for quicker interaction but leaves something to be desired in the area of argumentation. Text-critical notes are also not the most detailed. Van der Ploeg notes many allusions to OT texts, but overall this work does not advance the field much further than Yadin and Carmignac. The one area in which van der Ploeg does contribute is to the discussion of 1QM’s literary unity, in which he is one voice of many arguing for multiple sources and various redactions.

Jongeling, Bastiaan. Le Rouleau de la Guerre des Manuscrits de Qumrân. Studia Semitica Neerlandica 4. Assen, Netherlands: Van Gorcum, 1962.

  •  Jongeling’s commentary is quite thorough and interacts with all three commentaries published before his (including Yadin, whose original Hebrew was published prior to 1962). It is probably the largest commentary of the early group of four (i.e., Yadin, Carmignac, van der Ploeg, Jongeling) and deals thoroughly with text-critical issues, grammatical issues, and hermeneutical issues (e.g., use of the OT). The benefit of using Jongeling’s commentary of the others is that he so well summarizes the various positions espoused up to 1962 and provides arguments for each position, allowing the reader to gather information on the several interpretive possibilities involved in each passage.


Davies, Philip R. IQM, the War Scroll from Qumran: Its Structure and History. Biblica et Orientalia 32. Rome: Biblical Institute Press, 1977.

  •  Davies’ work is foundational for studies on the redactional history of 1QM. Columns 2-9 are composed from seven different sources composed after Maccabean success fueled Jewish military ambitions. Columns 15-19 are the product of a heavily redacted Maccabean war rule, an earlier stage of which is found in 14:2-12a. Columns 10-12 were independent hymns redacted into a single prayer before battle, probably deriving from Macabbean times, while columns 13 and 14 were also independent fragments. Lastly, col. 1 was added to give a dualistic tinge to the entire document, in line with cols. 15-19, and a war timeline was created that sought to synthesize the two different accounts of the war in 2-9 and 15-19. Although Davies’ work evidences some stretching of evidence, some arbitrary redactional conjectures, and some circular reasoning, his work still holds weight with those who see redactional disunity in 1QM.

Duhaime, Jean. The War Texts. Companion to the Qumran Scrolls. New York: T&T Clark, 2004.

  • This is the most thorough and current introduction to the critical issues of the War Texts (which are 1QM, the cave 4 texts that correspond to it, and a couple other texts such as 4Q285). It should be consulted soon after one has begun research on the texts, especially when dealing with the cave 4 texts to determine redactions in 1QM.

Schultz, Brian. Conquering the World: The War Scroll (1QM) Reconsidered. Studies on the Texts of the Desert of Judah 76. Leiden: Brill, 2009.

  • Schultz’s extensive monograph is a great advance in the discussion of the literary unity of 1QM. He reads cols. 1-2 as two different stages of the war, with cols. 15-19 presenting a secondary, later account that is supposed to present the same stage of the war as col. 1. Cols. 2-14 relate to the col. 2 war, but cols. 10-14 were taken from cols. 15-19 and adapted to the war of col. 2. His work especially does justice to the OT background employed by the author(s) of 1QM. Typically allusions are noted by commentators, but his work really addresses the passages used by exploring how the author may have understood himself to be part of the fulfillment of these OT texts. Although his work still supposes some redaction (he does not deny it), his work has presented a strong case for literary unity in 1QM as we have it. This is the most important book written on the War Scroll since Yadin’s commentary.

Review of Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism

My review of Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Ansberry and Hays, has been published in American Theological Inquiry. I think this was a very important and timely project to appear in order to show what happens when Evangelicals try to use historical-critical conclusions while still retaining Evangelical tenets, such as inerrancy. I found quite a few internal inconsistencies in this attempt, which suggests the two ways of approaching Scripture simply aren’t as compatible as the authors wish them to be. See the review here, pp. 58-61.

My Recently Published Articles

I recently updated my publications page as a way of making my work easily available to any who might be interested in the topics addressed.  I uploaded PDFs of my three peer-reviewed articles, which may be of interest to anyone working in these areas. Any feedback is appreciated.

Scacewater, Todd. “Galatians 2:11-21 and the Interpretive Context of ‘Works of the Law’.” Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society 56 (2013), 307-23.

  • I argue here that Gal 2:15-21 should be interpreted in light of the Galatian situation, not the Antioch situation. This has particular relevance for the NPP, since reading Gal 2:16 in light of the Antioch incident is fundamental to the entire position. This paper was fun to write, and I hope to get some feedback on it in one form or another.

Scacewater, Todd. “The Predictive Nature of Typology in John 12:37-43.” Westminster Theological Journal 75.1 (2013), 129-43.

  • I argue that John’s view of typology is that it is a form of prophecy. I believe he sees the prophecies in Isa 6:9-10; 53:1 as typological in that the rejection of Isaiah the prophet foreshadowed Jesus’ rejection. But John treats this fulfillment in the same he does other direct prophecies. There is also evidence within Isaiah that the Servant in Isa 53 is a prophetic figure, and is therefore the directly prophesied antitypical fulfillment of Isaiah’s own suffering. So typology is really a form of prophecy, at least for John. I hope to write a follow-up article arguing the same point from a passage in one of Peter’s epistles.

Scacewater, Todd. “Divorce and Remarriage in Deuteronomy 24:1-4.” Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012), 63-79.

  • Several scholars had discussed the purpose of this law — to protect women, to discourage divorce, etc. All the purposes are man-centered (anthropocentric .. I actually used that word; a bit pretentious in retrospect…).  I argue that the purpose is explicitly stated in v. 4, to protect the land from defilement, and then weigh in on the rationale behind the law, which is what the other commentators were searching for, although they were calling it the “purpose.” I find that the rationale behind the law is the idea of corporate identity in the one-flesh union of marriage, and that, rather than supporting divorce and remarriage in this passage, Moses actually implicitly condemns it by referring to it as defiling. This is certainly a difficult passage, but one that I believe is important to deal with when pastorally counseling believers who want to follow God’s will in marriage.

Articles on Martin Hengel’s Life and Work

I found this paragraph in a post by Wayne Coppins:

For further reflections on Martin Hengel’s life and work, see esp. my translation of his essay “A Young Theological Discipline in Crisis” in Earliest Christian History (cf. e.g., Larry Hurtado 1 and Michael Bird) and Roland Deines’ heavily documented essay in this same volume. See also e.g. Roland DeinesJohn DicksonLarry Hurtado 2David NeffDaniel B. Wallaceand The Telegraph.

Check these out, especially the ones with personal stories about students and professors dining with Hengel at his home, which I had heard previously he was famous for. I was also astounded by his grasp of the primary literature languages, which, according to one of these accounts, is what he generally read the primary sources in (Latin, Greek, and whatever else).

The full article by Wayne regards German translation issues, , but I wanted to share the links he had on there as I found them enlightening.

Science vs. Religion Debate: Craig, Plantinga, Gale, Smith

Check out here a debate on the relationship between science and religion between the following participants:

Christian debater (1): William Lane Craig
Christian debater (2): Alvin C. Plantinga
Atheist debater (1): Richard M. Gale
Atheist debater (2): Quentin P. Smith

The arguments they bring up aren’t groundbreaking, but it was at least entertaining to see Craig and Plantinga team up in a debate. I will note that Smith’s argument that (1) there is no “first moment” of the universe and therefore (2) there is no cause to the universe’s beginning seems to me self-refuting, since you could apply the same argument to evolution: (1) there is no “first moment” of one species beginning to evolve to the next, and therefore (2) no species ever changes from one to the other. Craig makes the same point about motion, and although neither of them mention it, Smith’s argument is really just one of Zeno’s paradoxes and I fail to see how he seriously intends that to be a legitimate argument a first cause of the universe.

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