Logos Bible Software is offering a free book each month in 2012. For June, you can download The Four Hundred Silent Years, by H. A. Ironside. The book can be read with either Logos Bible Software, Vyrso, or Bilbia.com, either on your desktop computer or using the Logos App for iPad or the Android. Follow the link to download the book and enter the drawing for the 65-volume Complete Works of H. A Ironsides.
Ironside (1876-1951) was a pastor and teacher often associated with the Plymouth Brethren, although he is well-known for his evangelistic preaching throughout America. He was a visiting lecturer at both Moody Bible Institute and Dallas Theological Seminary, although he never accepted calls from either school to join the faculty. He wrote commentaries on most books of the Bible as well as a large number of short booklets and tracts. Many of his books have been republished by both Kregel Books and Loizeaux Brothers. Ironside popularized of Dispensationalism in his books and was sometimes called “the Archbishop of Fundamentalism.” He is a member of the Brethren Writer’s Hall of Fame (although I suspect this is an unofficial list).
The Four Hundred Silent Years is a short book (only 104 pages) on the intertestamental period traces the history of Israel. He first treats the period from the rise of Persia through the Hellenistic period in a chapter, with an emphasis on Ezra and Nehemiah. There is a chapter each on the Maccabean revolt and the “end of the Asmonean Dynasty.” He describes the rise of the Herodians as “The Edomite Ascendancy” and close the book with a 10 pages summary of the Literature of the Jews. The books is written in a narrative style with very little reference to primary sources (1 Maccabees or Josephus). This will make the book a fairly easy read for the casual reader.
It is difficulty to describe this book as useful since it was completed well before the publication of the Dead Sea Scrolls, in fact, before most of the literature collected by Charlesworth’s Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha was available to scholarship! His chapter on the “Literature of the Jews” contains only a few books from the Apocrypha, although he mentions the Pseudepigraphical books found in R. H. Charles, published just a year before Ironside’s own little book. These books are only mentioned,
I think that this book is interesting, however, because Ironside is described as a fundamentalist and an early proponent of Dispensationalism. He at least made the effort to understand the intertestamental period – something fundamentalists 100 years later largely ignore (or worse, consider Catholic!) This little book is therefore at least a historical artifact, although the general outline of the history he retells is not inaccurate. There are better and more “up-to-date” re-tellings of this history, but this is a decent overview of the Maccabean period.
The book is free for Logos / Vyrso users, download a copy of The Four Hundred Silent Years and enter the drawing for the Complete Ironside.