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Melchizedek Passages in the Bible A Case Study for Inner-Biblical and Inter-Biblical Interpretation

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Book Announcement: Melchizedek Passages in the Bible. A Case Study for Inner-Biblical and Inter-Biblical Interpretation


Few obscurities of the Bible have evoked more interest than the mystery of the identity of Melchizedek. The enigmatic figure, disclosed in only three biblical texts, has attracted a huge amount of literature and speculation, the most common among them – that he was the preincarnate Christ.

Melchizedek,  first mentioned in Genesis 14,Abraham, returns from the rescue of his nephew (Lot), encountered this ancient dignitary who was king of Salem (early Jerusalem; cf. Psa. 76:2). His stature is revealed in that he “blessed” Abraham (the greater always blesses the lesser), and to Melchizedek the patriarch paid tithes, i.e., gave to the king-priest a tenth of his spoils (the lesser tithes to the greater).

Now a unique book “Melchizedek Passages in the Bible” by Alan KamYau Chan, just published by De Gruyter Open illustrates how the mysterious figure is understood and interpreted by later biblical writers, "... Using the “blessing” motif as a framework, Chan also argues that Numbers 22-24, 2 Samuel 7 and the Psalter: Books I-V (especially Psalms 1-2) provide a reading paradigm of interpreting Psalm 110. The very structure of Hebrews provides also a clue to how the author interprets the Old Testament texts. Finally, it offers new insights on the way by which the author of Hebrews arrived at his Christological  interpretation of Melchizedek.

Through the study of Melchizedek, the author recovers the interpretive possibilities that connect the Old Testament with the New Testament. “Dr. Chan looks for linguistic and canonical patterns that help the reader to enter the complex intertextual world of Scripture. It is with joy that I welcome the transition of this significant work from research to publication." Says Willem A. VanGemeren, Professor Emeritus of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, at the Trinity Evangelical Divinity School.


The book is available to read, download and share fully in open access on De Gruyter Online.