David. A. deSilva is a very well educated and intelligent scholar. This writer appreciates his contributions, but this reader was disappointed in this end with his introduction to the Apocrypha. I am critical of critical scholarship. I wrote a short and inadequate review of his text on Amazon, because Amazon offered and its Amazon not JBL or JETS. DeSilva responded with humor that I “returned disappointment for disappointment” (Amazon Review).
I was disappointed when I read deSilva’s text, Introducing the Apocrypha, to inform evangelicals (39–41). In deSilva’s intro to the chapter “Additions to Daniel,” he spoke of the legends and tales of Daniel in Daniel 1–12 (deSilva, 222 ). That is an appropriate position for a critical scholar, but not really evangelical. I must stand by Jesus’s attribution of the prophet Daniel to the book of Daniel (Matt 24:15).
In “Third Isaiah” of the Anchor Bible Dictionary, Christopher Seitz noted that critical analysis is speculation. He revealed, “It is one of the ironies of historical analysis in biblical studies that while skepticism over historical veracity rules in one part of the canon, other literary witnesses are accorded absolute historical reliability; the nature and dosage of selectivity is what produces different results” (3:502).
Are There Strengths to deSilva’s Introductions?
DeSilva’s introductions are very useful for presenting the author, date, and setting of each apocryphal writing. DeSilva provided more than simple dates. He explained how scholars date each document. He did not avoid admitting the limitations and difficulties of scholarship to date texts. A strength of deSilva’s book is that he provided the breadth of academic positions to become familiar. For instance, deSilva noted that the Jewish writer believed in the cessation of prophecy (1 Macc 4:46; 9:27; 14:41). Josephus also understood that prophecy ceased (Ag. Ap. 1.40–41).
Disappointment in deSilva’s Rejection of Biblical Inerrancy
What is so disappointing about deSilva’s introductions? DeSilva wrote to inform evangelicals (40). However, many of deSilva’s points appear to disregard