Book Reviews Old Testament

Book Review: Old Testament Cosmology and Divine Accommodation (John Hilber)

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When we read the Bible, we can see that there are certain discrepancies between what the Bible says about how the world/universe works and what we know about our universe today. Is there actually a firmament? Is there a solid dome surrounding the world with water above it? John Hilber, Professor of Old Testament at Grand Rapids Theological Seminary, has written a book to help us understand how God spoke through the authors of the Old Testament in ways that they understood, specifically when it comes to how they understood the physical world and universe.

John Hilber started out his academic career as a geology major at the University of Washington, but later went to seminary, became a pastor, and then got his PhD in Old Testament and Ancient Near Eastern Studies. He taught first at Dallas Seminary before heading to to Grand Rapids Theological Seminary. Though his book is quite heavy to read (especially if you know little about relevance theory and speech-act theory), he has been a pastor before so he understands the practical implications of his topic and how understanding the Bible better helps our faith.


This is a really interesting book for those wanting to go deeper into hermeneutics, especially along the lines of speech-act theory. It is something that should be considered by teachers and professors when it comes to hermeneutics and such courses. I hope Hilber can write more on this topic in the future, hopefully in more accessible prose for a wider audience. I really enjoyed his points and biblical examples, but the explanations of relevance theory were hard to wrap my mind around. Anyway, if you’ve read a lot of hermeneutics and want to go deeper, especially into the OT, pick this one up. Hilber really brings an important and helpful theory to the table of biblical interpretation.


  • Author: John W. Hilber
  • Paperback: 232 pages
  • Publisher: Cascade Books (April 3, 2020)
  • Preview the book on Google Books
  • Listen to John chat with Mike Heiser about his book on the Naked Bible Podcast.

Find it on Amazon and Cascade Books!

Disclosure: I received this book free from Wipf and Stock. The opinions I have expressed are my own, and I was not required to write a positive review. I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission’s 16 CFR, Part 255

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