Perry Yoder beams fresh light on ancient text of Leviticus

October 19, 2017

News release

Perry Yoder beams fresh light on ancient text of Leviticus
Volume 33 in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series rolls out

HARRISONBURG, Va.—In the 33rd volume of the Believers Church Bible Commentary series, Old Testament scholar Perry B. Yoder argues that the oft-neglected book of Leviticus illuminates valuable truths and symbols that appear in the New Testament.

Writing for pastors, laypersons, and scholars alike, Yoder uses recent scholarship “to encounter a gracious and holy God,” as endorser Melissa Florer-Bixler, pastor of Raleigh (N.C.) Mennonite Church, puts it.

Yoder examines the central question of : how God’s people are to live in light of God’s presence just outside their camp. “How do we begin to worship God? Where do we start?” writes Yoder. “Leviticus begins with rituals for pleasing God. This unadorned beginning reminds us that worship begins with God and our relationship to God, and not with ourselves.” The commentary portrays God as gracious, holy, and present. Leviticus, according to Yoder, unfurls critical characteristics of God in relation to humanity. In the commentary, Yoder traverses difficult interpretive territory such as the sacrificial system, purity laws, and priestly instructions.

David Janzen, associate professor of Old Testament at Durham University, says that Yoder’s commentary will help both pastors and laypersons who are “seeking to understand what can seem like a puzzling but fascinating biblical book.”

Gerald Gerbrandt, president emeritus and professor emeritus of Bible at Canadian Mennonite University, writes, “A consummate teacher, [Yoder has] a singular gift for illuminating the biblical text with an eye to how it informs the church today.”

Yoder is professor emeritus of Old Testament at Anabaptist Mennonite Biblical Seminary in Elkhart, Indiana. His key interests are the Old Testament, particularly the Psalms; ecological responsibility; and peace and justice. He worked as People’s Teacher of the Word, traveling across North America doing Bible teaching, 1975–77; as associate secretary for Peace and Social Concerns for the General Conference Mennonite Church, 1977–78; and taught at Bluffton, Bethel, and Conrad Grebel Colleges before coming to AMBS in 1985. He retired in 2005 but continues to teach Anabaptist Short Courses online.

The Believers Church Bible Commentary series is a cooperative project of the Brethren in Christ Church, Brethren Church, Church of the Brethren, Mennonite Church Canada, and Mennonite Church USA.

The commentary is available for purchase from MennoMedia for $29.99 (paperback) and $23.99 (ebook) from 800‑245‑7894, the MennoMedia webstore at www.HeraldPress.com, Amazon, and other online sources. Canadian customers can order from CommonWord (877‑846‑1593), Parasource (800‑263‑2664), and elsewhere.

For more information or to schedule an interview with the author, contact LeAnn Hamby at 540‑908‑3941 or email LeAnnH@mennomedia.org.

—Staff release

Melodie Davis
MennoMedia
540‑574‑4874
MelodieD@mennomedia.org