Radner, Ephraim Leviticus. Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible. Edited by R. R. Reno. Grand Rapids: Brazos, 2008.
Ephraim Radner recognizes the primary problem with a commentary on Leviticus is the relevance of the book to Christians today. He clearly states in the introduction to the commentary his dissatisfaction with critical and even Reformation approaches to the book of Leviticus.
Historical-critical approaches end up providing an account of the state of Israel’s religion at a certain period. At best, they may comment about the function of the book as a tutor that would lead God’s people into greater (and less opaque) spiritual truth in the future.
Radner criticizes Reformation approaches for being too repetitious. They are right, as far as they go, to make connections between the sacrificial system and Christ. But one can only make this point so often before growing tedious. Radner prefers the approaches of Origen and of medieval Jewish commentators.
In practice, Radner comments very little on the details of the sacrificial regulations but instead launches directly into figural interpretations that range from connections to Cain and Abel to Christological interpretations grounded in Hebrews.
In other sections, however, Radner’s comments are more traditional. In chapter 18, for instance, he addresses the modern questions raised by this passage’s treatment of homosexual behavior before moving to his figural interpretation of the passage as relating to the church as a family.
Overall Radner’s comments seemed distant enough from the actual text that I didn’t come away with a better understanding of Leviticus. In making his commentary relevant for Christians today, Radner seemed to leave Leviticus in the shadows.