Publisher Westminster John Knox Press
A good, helpful commentary on short and often overlooked book. Nielsen capably handles intertextual issues, and does a fine job noting nuanced character depictions and the difficulties of sifting kinsman-redeemer traditions.
Written by a woman with special interests in intertextuality and plot development. [Full Review]
A comparison of Nielsen's commentary with many earlier volumes in the OTL series provides an excellent example of a "sea change" that has occurred in the exposition of the Hebrew Bible in the past half century. While those earlier volumes are intent on exposing various literary layers and developments in Israelite thought by means of traditional literary (source) criticism and other historical-critical methods, Nielsen primarily employs new literary criticism and its close methodological relatives to get at the message of the book in its present form. Two such divergent approaches can yield either complementary or contradictory perspectives on the biblical text. Nielsen's well-considered contribution provides the latter. Her reading of Ruth constitutes an alternative to many earlier scholarly readings, effectively undermining both their methods and their conclusions. What she presents is a cautiously conservative reading of Ruth, which will put a smile on many in the pulpit, but a frown on just as many at the university chalkboard. The commentary falls into two major blocks. In the first block (pp. 1-35), Nielsen briefly discusses the structure and genre of the book before embarking on some occasionally controversial discussions of its literary, historical, and theological contexts. The second block (pp. 39-99) consists of a section-by-section exposition of the book, divided according to the chapters in the biblical book, and subdivided into sections distinguished primarily by location of action. Instances in the book that illustrate the ideas presented in the first block are succinctly brought out in the second. [Full Review]