Monday, December 14, 2020

Book: 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory

So, today’s book comes from Kregel Academic’s “40 Questions” series. These are some of the best introductory works in Biblical Studies and Theology as academic pursuits that you will find—I’ve yet to hit a weak point in the series, from Historical Jesus through Creation and Evolution and on to Elders and Deacons.

Today’s is 40 Questions about Typology and Allegory from Mitchell Chase. Chase’s PhD is from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary, where he serves as an adjunct professor while also pastoring with the Kosmosdale Baptist Church.

Chase begins the work by looking at the Bible’s overall story. This use of the first 2 questions sets the understanding necessary to work through the remaining questions on typology and allegory.

After laying that baseline, the next batch of questions look into literary theory: “What is typology?” is the first, then there are more details about typology developed in that section. This is followed by a section on the historical use of typology and then the flow of the Biblical text, by sections, is examined for typological use. That concept is then repeated with Allegory, but with far fewer subsections about the definition of allegory.

Each section has discussion questions to reinforce the chapter’s points, which help this to be used for a study book either for studious adults or in the college classroom.

The main question I would raise of this book is one of need: How deep is the need for a book on Typology and Allegory? Does the wider reading audience, those not required to read this for a class, really need the book?

A look at a few representative passages might help:

Take, for example, Chase’s time spent on Song of Solomon. That’s a portion of Scripture that is often moved into allegory entirely or taken down to be exclusively about marriage, as if there are no layers of meaning. Question 36 addresses allegory in Song of Solomon, and helps to highlight how the reader can draw meaning there. It’s quite helpful—and will be for anyone trying to balance why this portion of Scripture is there!

Another example would be found in the chapter asking “How was typology practiced in the early church?” Right now, there is a lot of popular literature celebrating the early church (and there should be!) but it’s valuable to see how they understood Scripture and not read-back our own modern methods.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this entry in the 40 Questions series. It will take its place on the shelf with the set for ready reference.

A sample can be found here at the Kregel Website.

Book received from Kregel Academic in exchange for the review. Opinion is my own and also very late compared to the deadline.

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