A Tale of Two Reviews
For an interesting experiment in dueling reviews, check out the two reviews of Stephanie Lynn Budin’s The Myth of Sacred Prostitution in Antiquity over at Review of Biblical Literature. Mayer Gruber and Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer review the book with quite differing conclusions.
I truly recommend Gruber’s review. It serves as another case in point of always doing your lit review (as well as another amazing Israeli scholar whose work seems to be being overlooked). His summary at the end is amazing for the conflagration it ignites:
For students and scholars of biblical studies, the target audience of Review of Biblical Literature, I cannot recommend this book because it offers nothing of value to them…. In short, Budin claims to prove what has already been proven and camouflages the evidence for her unoriginality by systematically removing from the index the names of a distinguished group of scholars (some of whose work indeed appears in her bibliography and in the body of the book) who already proved more than a quarter of a century ago that neither Hebrew Scripture nor Akkadian texts mentioning qadishtu refer to sacred prostitution.
However, a real contrast can be seen in Tiemeyer’s review. Hers gives an overall summary of the work without the (well deserved) vitriol that Gruber brings to the discussion. Tiemeyer sums up her review
Budin presents a coherent and convincing case, although, at times, her style is rather
polemical and her verdict a foregone conclusion…. Despite these minor shortcomings, the book definitely is important, and I hope it will have the impact it deserves.
I recommend reading both reviews, but I’m not sure I’ll be reading Budin’s book.