Ezekiel 1–19 (Word Biblical Commentary vol 28)

Written by W. H. Brownlee Reviewed By David G. Deboys

It is a matter of regret that the publishers have issued this volume in this form. Brownlee died before completing the work and it has been edited into the Word format by Drs L. Allen and G. Keown. The Introduction is Brownlee’s article on Ezekiel from the second volume of the revised ISBE. But this merely highlights part of the problem—Brownlee’s article was deemed to be sufficiently idiosyncratic, not least in its avowal of a Palestinian provenance for the book of Ezekiel, that the ISBE editors appended a balancing article by W. S. LaSor! No mention of this is made in the present volume, and of course the balancing article isn’t here. A no less serious problem centres on the freedom with which Brownlee emends the traditional Hebrew text. One can scarcely quarrel with a responsible critique of the Massoretic Text on the basis of a thoroughgoing comparative study of it with the ancient versions. But the emendations here are on a highly subjectivist basis and far too often on alleged grounds of metre. Even if such wholesale emendation may be justified in some circumstances, it ought to be out of court in a series designed for, among others, ‘seminary students and working ministers’. But it is doubtful if anyone lacking Hebrew and a thorough grounding in textual criticism will profit much. Of course there are good things in this commentary, but if you need a reliable commentary on Ezekiel, this volume will not satisfy that need.

David G. Deboys