Book review: 'How Often Would I Have Gathered You' valuable aid to understanding the Old Testament

By Rosemarie Howard

For the Deseret News

Published: Sunday, March 23 2014 5:00 a.m. MDT

HOW OFTEN I WOULD HAVE GATHERED YOU: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints,” 2nd edition, by Val D. Greenwood, Edenwood Press, $19.95, 378 pages (nf)

“How Often I Would Have Gathered You: Stories from the Old Testament and Related Sources for Latter-day Saints,” by Val D. Greenwood, is an easy-to-read guide through 229 Old Testament stories.

Arranged chronologically, the stories begin with the pre-Earth council in heaven and conclude with the return of Israel from captivity. Greenwood captures the essence of each story in clear, modern English without sacrificing the sacred nature of the scriptures.

“Some books of the Old Testament — notably the literary writings and the books of many of the prophets — are not included within the scope of these stories merely because those books contain no stories,” the author writes in the book’s preface.

The stories selected for retelling reflect the theme of the book’s title and illustrate the Lord’s willingness to bless his people when they are obedient and remember to worship him as the only true God, as well as the consequences of disobedience and rebellion.

A member of The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, the author writes from a Mormon point of view, referencing non-Old Testament sources such as the Pearl of Great Price, the Book of Mormon, the Doctrine and Covenants and the works of the Jewish historian Flavius Josephus.

The book is divided into 12 sections, and includes relevant footnotes instead of endnotes; several helpful maps, a pronunciation guide, bibliography, name index and subject index. This second, enhanced edition of the book, which was first published in 2007, also contains additions, corrections and refinements to the text and footnotes.

Although the book’s intended audience is adults, not children, it could certainly be used to assist adults in teaching children about the wonderful Old Testament stories. It is a valuable aid to a better understanding of the meaning and relevant messages of this often neglected book of scripture.

Greenwood lives in Riverton with his wife, Patty. He also wrote “The Researcher’s Guide to American Genealogy," now in its third edition. His website is at newviewoldtestament.com.

Rosemarie Howard lives in a 100-year-old house on Main Street, Springville. She enjoys creating multimedia projects. Her website is at dramaticdimensions.com.

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