Faith & Fossils: The Bible, Creation, and Evolution. By Lester L. Grabbe. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2018. ISBN: 978-0-8028-6910-4. xiii + 182pp. A$33.60.
= a supplemented edition of a book review submitted to the Scottish Bulletin of Evangelical Theology for a 2019 issue.
Lester Grabbe’s name will be familiar to anyone who has had much cause to read thoroughly in Old Testament scholarship, notably the history and historiography of ancient Israel, with a focus on the exile and early second temple period, having authored A History of the Jews and Judaism in the Second Temple Period (Continuum/T&T Clark, 2004, 2008) and Ancient Israel: What Do We Know and How Do We Know It? (Continuum/T&T Clark, 2007) as just two examples from his prolific output. Faith and Fossils therefore represents a branching-out into a side interest for Grabbe, rather than his core expertise, yet he determines to balance the scales in Bible and evolution discussions by approaching the topic with biblical scholarship backing in contrast to the scientific expertise that often motivates such writings (p. ix). The book combines three primary themes, autobiography, biblical genre & backgrounds, and certain lines of scientific evidence into an argument for Christian openness to evolution as a practical reality about the world’s origin that need not clash with the fundamentals of the faith or the relevant biblical texts when rightly understood. While the world does not lack books seeking to persuade the person in the pew for or against evolution, Grabbe’s scholarly credentials and clarity win him a deserved place in the debate. Continue reading