The Visions and Prophecies of Zechariah, by David Baron

January 21, 2011 at 17:39 (Book Reviews, Highly Rated Books, Theology) (, , , , , )

8/10

An altogether terrific commentary, in spite of its rather dispensationalist bias throughout. Notwithstanding his prejudices, Baron manages to present an eschatology that ought to be palatable to any literal reader of the Old Testament. His own prophetic insight is considerable, and his dogmatically literalist viewpoint is justified by his futurist application of Zechariah’s apocalypse, and his vindication, nearly half a century after some parts of his book was written. His unswerving determination to see contemporary Israel as significant to this prophetic book is surprising, considering the date of publication–although it is impossible to read this without detecting just a little bit of wishful thinking, rather than honest exegesis.

Weak points would include a very occasional tendency to wax vitriolic when dealing with admittedly self-contradictory works of his contemporaries, as well as very little presentation of views that are at variance to his particular reading. This is an excellent book for those who already agree with Baron’s perspectives, or for those who have a general understanding of amillennial or other preterist readings of the text, but not for those looking for a neutral presentation of the facts. This is of course partly due to the absolute lack of consensus as to how to read the book of Zechariah with a rationalist-symbolic paradigm (or indeed any prophetic scripture); and yet it would be nice to be able to see Baron’s exposition on some of the other extant readings of Zechariah. In the few instances where he does briefly explore another’s hypothesis, his exposition is clear and precise.

Other failings could be Baron’s writing style, which is decidedly brusque, and as terse as the prophet himself! This is compensated for by his charming eloquence, and while the book’s precise and scholarly style leaves it a little prickly, the drier parts of his book are offset by their origin as speeches, which forced Baron to clarity verging on redundancy, and of course excuses brevity on some subjects which might have otherwise been elaborated.

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