by ELISABETHE CORATHIEL
The Restoration of Israel by R. S. Foster (Darton Longman and Todd 60s.) FOR a better understand ing of Israel's continuing influence on World Affairs, the urge to take a fresh look at biblical evidence finds powerful stimulus from R. S. Foster. Warden of St. John the Evangelist's College in Auckland, New Zealand.
Taking the return from exile as his theme he examines closely the formative period of Judaism as we now know it, between the fifth and fourth centuries B.C. as presented in the historical books and the prophets.
This work is a monumental example of unremitting industry, to which he has brought all the resources of his own vast erudition.
If it makes somewhat heavy reading, this is amply compensated by admirable indexing which covers subjects, authors, biblical references (Old and New Testament), Apocrypha and other writings.
Wading through the fog so
often caused by well-meaning but biased writers and translators, Canon Foster never hesitates to tackle knotty problems in a sober way, making his own line of argument abundantly clear and laying particular stress on the "Sitz in Leben" from which various passages under consideration sprang.
The Messianic promises engage his close attention and find an echo in Isa. 56, 7, "for my house shall be called a house of prayer for All peoples"--a point the returned Exiles missed.
Only since the destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple by the Romans in A.D. 70, which seemed to dispel forever Jewish hopes of a restored Israel in Palestine, have the Jewish people in their period of wandering demonstrated their " openness " to the world, pointing a way of humiliation and service which lies at the heart of the prophet's "Servant Songs." Canon Foster suggests hopefully that Exra's work, for instance, is really "the end of the beginning," with God's purpose still evolving continually.