The Point of the book: Horton went into this critical examination to prove that there was a connection between the Qumran Community and the Book of Hebrews in regards to the Melchizedek Tradition. Wanting to show the point of overlap and perhaps their dependence on source material, he traces the development of Melchizedekian thought from the Genesis account, through Psalms, over to Qumran, through the early Church and Rabbinical sources and finally the Gnostics before heading back to the book of Hebrews. What’s great about the book is that when he gets to the end, his point was negatively proven. Not only did he not establish a connection between Qumran and Hebrews but he reversed his position to show that the author of Hebrews cares very little for Melchizedek at all.
The Good: The book deals with the material fairly and whenever there is a question as to the author’s reconstruction, he sagely points out the fact that his conclusion is possible but maybe not probable. The Author deals with each of the sources as they stand (for example examining the Genesis account on its own and seeing how a possible interpretation is that Abraham received tithes from Melchizedek). There are a ton of footnotes and the bibliography section is extensive to allow further personal research.
The Bad: It’s difficult to place any of the book in a Bad category on account that its bad for a person who doesn’t have the technical know-how of a more scholarly professional. For example, there are many sections of the book that delve into untranslated Greek, Hebrew, German, Latin and Coptic. Dealing with those sections requires lots of contextual reading but sometimes he really doesn’t aim to enforce the meaning of those words with the context. But that, like I said, is not necessarily bad since you don’t want to spend a lot of time establishing the contextual meaning of relatively easy Greek concepts like kurios and kosmos. The Hebrew is a bit more difficult on account that, well its Hebrews.
The Ugly: The footnotes in the 1976 edition are a mess, condensing several footnotes onto one line to save page space and I guess page count.
Conclusion: The book is a good read for folks who want to see how the Melchizedekian thought progresses through the first five centuries; it’s helpful for the Biblical scholar and finally its extremely helpful for a person who wants a solid backing for Christ’s own Priesthood: but more info on that on my detailed overview of the book below.
Overview (or the part you don’t have to read):