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Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle (85 vols.)

by 75 authors Young, Brad H., Boyd, Gregory A., Eddy, Paul Rhodes, Scott, J. Julius, Jr., Ronning, John, Carter, Warren, Mason, Steve, Neufeld, Thomas R. Yoder, Schreiner, Thomas R., Dorsey, David A., Longman, Tremper, III, Moloney, Francis J., Keener, Craig S., Thompson, James W., Schneider, Tammi J., Hagner, Donald A., Gray, Patrick, Matthews, Victor H., Moyer, James C., Achtemeier, Elizabeth, Achtemeier, Paul J., Alexander, T. Desmond, Fee, Gordon D., Das, A. Andrew, McRay, John, Phillips, Thomas E., Williams, David J., Ware, James P., Aageson, James W., Simmons, William A., Yamauchi, Edwin M., Hoerth, Alfred J., Mattingly, Gerald L., Pennington, Jonathan T., Larsen, Timothy, Greenman, Jeffrey P., Brown, Jeannine K., Bockmuehl, Markus, Benjamin, Don C., Greenlee, J. Harold, Sandgren, Leo Duprée, Cohick, Lynn H., Currid, John D., Walton, John H., Evans, Craig A., Sparks, Kenton L., Murphy, Frederick J., Schnelle, Udo, Bird, Michael F., McDonald, Lee Martin, Stronstad, Roger, Hubbard, Moyer V., Allison, Dale C., Jr., Fretheim, Terence E., Warrington, Keith, Reeder, Caryn A., Tov, Emanuel, Baker, David W., Arnold, Bill T., Davidson, Richard M., Seitz, Christopher R., Bridge, Steven L., Fisk, Bruce Norman, Sloane, Andrew, Twelftree, Graham H., Broyles, Craig C., Hess, Richard S., Branch, Robin Gallaher, Bock, Darrell L., Hurtado, Larry W., Keith, Chris, Kirk, J. R. Daniel, Briggs, Richard S., Lohr, Joel N., Stevens, Marty E.

5 publishers Baker Academic, Hendrickson, Baker, Brazos, Apollos 1992–2013

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Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle (85 vols.)
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Overview

The Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle contains 85 volumes of recent, in-depth Old and New Testament commentary and research. The bundle comprises seven collections:

The Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle brings you outstanding scholarship from respected contemporary scholars and theologians. It provides insight into the historical, cultural, social, religious, literary, and theological contexts surrounding the Old and New Testaments.

Explore Christianity’s roots. Deepen your understanding of key themes found in the biblical text. Analyze various biblical interpretation methods. Discover how Scripture is relevant in twenty-first-century living.

The Logos Bible Software edition of the Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about the Word of God.

Key Features

  • Extensive background studies on Old and New Testament times and culture
  • Interpretation and exegesis of Scripture
  • Insight into the lives and thought of key biblical figures

Individual Titles

From Paradise to the Promised Land: An Introduction to the Pentateuch

  • Author: T. Desmond Alexander
  • Edition: 3rd
  • Publisher: Baker
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 384

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This text has been a popular introduction to the Pentateuch for more than 15 years, offering a unique alternative to the too-common critical approaches that focus on the books’ composition over content. Instead of providing commentary for individual passages, T. Desmond Alexander takes a holistic view of the books, revealing the “big picture” and identifying prominent themes and connections between the Pentateuch and the New Testament. With this new edition, T. Desmond Alexander keeps the book fresh and relevant for contemporary students by updating the references and adding material that reflects recent pentateuchal research as well as his maturing judgments. The result is a revision that will prove valuable for many years to come.

There is no doubt that theology undergraduates and anybody who takes an interest in the riches of the Pentateuch are indebted to Alexander for providing us with a highly readable, informative, and at times even innovative book.

—Michael Widmer, Themelios

In this up-to-date and scholarly work, Alexander shows how the first five books of the Bible make sense and hang together. More than that, they lay the foundations of Christian theology so that no one can properly understand the rest of the Bible who has not come to terms with them. Alexander will be found to be a lucid and reliable guide to this vital part of Scripture.

Gordon J. Wenham, Trinity College, Bristol

Two virtues about From Paradise to the Promised Land have especially struck me. One is the comprehensiveness of the way it seeks to help us grasp the Pentateuch. The other is the way Alexander shows us how different themes hold these books together—themes such as the sanctuary, kingship, and the land. Both these features open up possibilities in grasping the Pentateuch as a whole.

John Goldingay, Fuller Theological Seminary

Desmond Alexander provides an introduction that considers the Pentateuch as a whole, both thematically and theologically. The Pentateuch is presented as a unity, yet the variety of topics within it receive substantial and penetrating treatment. It is the sort of study that many readers and their teachers have long wanted on this first section of the Old Testament.

—J. Gordon McConville, University of Gloucestershire

An excellent overview of major themes in the Pentateuch. . . . An excellent tool that should be used by anyone planning to preach or teach through these books.

Biblical Booklist

[A] wealth of useful and accessible information on the Pentateuch. . . . This book is especially welcome as a solid introduction accessible to undergraduate students.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

A good literary introduction to the Pentateuch.

The Bible Today

Eminently useful. . . . Studying the Pentateuch by means of commentaries can be compared to looking at the separate pieces of a jigsaw puzzle. While we may find something of interest in each piece, it is only when all the pieces are put together that we get the complete picture. Alexander puts the puzzle together in ways that bring the larger picture of the Pentateuch into a sharp, Christ-centered focus.

Concordia Journal

T. Desmond Alexander is a senior lecturer in biblical studies and the director of postgraduate studies at Union Theological College in Belfast, Ireland. He is the coeditor of the New Dictionary of Biblical Theology. Alexander received his PhD from The Queen’s University in Belfast.

A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch: Interpreting the Torah as Christian Scripture

  • Editors: Richard S. Briggs and Joel N. Lohr
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 224

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

In this concise volume, a team of fresh Old Testament voices explores the theological dimensions of the Pentateuch and provides specific examples of critically engaged theological interpretation. This Pentateuch text is unique in that it emphasizes theological reading, serving as an affordable supplement to traditional introductory Pentateuch texts. Each chapter introduces theological themes and interpretative issues in interpretation then offers exegesis of one or two representative passages to model theological interpretation in practice. This useful text will be valued by students of the Old Testament and the Pentateuch as well as pastors. It honors Walter Moberly, whose approach is played out in the book.

Briggs and Lohr, along with their cowriters, have exploited the inheritance of their teacher Walter Moberly to engage with the best of historical-critical and literary approaches to each book of the Pentateuch. Both for the general landscape of theological perspectives on each book and for the exemplary exploration of a specific text (or two) in each book, this volume provides an essential introduction to the field of theological interpretation at the beginning of the Bible.

Richard S. Hess, Earl S. Kalland Professor of Old Testament and Semitic Languages, Denver Seminary

It is extraordinary how theological interpretation has become a growth industry and has almost become a respectable enterprise—and certainly now a confident one. This is an urbane introduction to its nature, a suggestive theological introduction to each of the books of the Pentateuch. It matches the urbane elegance of Walter Moberly, who inspired it among colleagues and former students. Like Moberly’s work, A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch takes up big theological issues but anchors them in careful, detailed studies of particular passages. It thus illuminates on the macro scale and on the micro scale.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

A Theological Introduction to the Pentateuch is a well-proportioned and substantive introduction to the first five books of the Bible with hermeneutical guidance in the form of sample interpretation of key texts for each book. The book is nicely designed and executed—a valuable text for the classroom. It serves as an excellent tribute to Walter Moberly and his own exegetical work. Well done!

Christopher R. Seitz, research professor of biblical interpretation, Wycliffe College, University of Toronto

Few portions of Scripture seem to yield such an unending discovery of riches and resources to scholar and layperson alike as do the five books of the Pentateuch. The essays in this volume add richly and discerningly to those discoveries. Happily, each writer moves beyond the necessary historical and literary questions in order to engage the text theologically. I highly recommend this volume of collected essays to any reader who is interested in pursuing theological interpretation of the biblical text.

Victor P. Hamilton, professor emeritus of Old Testament studies, Asbury University

A penetrating primer on what it means to read the Pentateuch well as ‘theologically interested interpreters’--and a lovely tribute to the probing insight and pedagogical skill of Walter Moberly by some of his former students and close associates. The authors offer full coverage of all five pentateuchal books along with sustained engagements of several key texts. The volume concludes with an appendix detailing the cumulative scope of Moberly’s distinctive contributions to pentateuchal study.

—Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke University

Richard S. Briggs is the director of biblical studies and hermeneutics at Cranmer Hall, St. John’s College, Durham University. He is the author of Words in Action: Speech Act Theory and Biblical Interpretation and Reading the Bible Wisely.

Joel N. Lohr is university chaplain and director of religious life at the University of the Pacific.

Mothers of Promise: Women in the Book of Genesis

  • Author: Tammi J. Schneider
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 240

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Genesis’ women played a vital part in shaping Israel’s foundation, growth, and development, but most exegetes have not given them adequate attention—until now. Through a fresh close reading, respected Hebrew scholar Tammi Schneider examines the roles and functions of these women who, with the men, form the basis for the future of Israel.

Schneider looks at each woman’s story from various angles and within the context of her relationships Genesis’ messageas a whole. Allowing the details of the text to challenge traditional readings, Schneider also includes ancient Near Eastern background material and archaeological insights for a fresh reading of familiar stories. Sections cover the matriarchs (from Sarah to Rachel), mothers of potential heirs (including those who threaten the promise), mothers before the promise, and women who do not bear children but still play a role. Women not often discussed, such as the wives of Lamech and Esau, are included. The result is a creative and reliable discussion to supplement studies of Genesis and of the roles and importance of women in the Bible.

Schneider’s extensive study of the women in Genesis revitalizes and enhances the current understanding of these women and the book of Genesis as a whole. . . . It has the potential to be used as a textbook for a variety of courses, yet it is thorough, well-documented, and deals with the original language of the text and thus is a good resource for further scholarly research.

Review of Biblical Literature

With remarkable clarity, precise detail, lucid thought, comprehensive research, and careful attention to text and translation, Tammi Schneider offers scholars and students a marvelous and intriguing volume that brings to life the women of Genesis. This beautifully crafted text raises new questions and presents new insights, especially with regard to the male characters in Genesis. Schneider’s work makes a brilliant contribution to the field of biblical and gender studies.

—Carol J. Dempsey, associate professor of theology, University of Portland

You might be tempted to think that over the past couple of decades everything that could be said about the women in Genesis has been said. Tammi Schneider shows that this is not so, bringing a whole new set of questions and making it possible for us to see some quite new things.

John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Tammi Schneider has marshaled impressive amounts of raw data to re-examine two dozen female characters in the book of Genesis. Using an innovative method that focuses primary attention on the precise wording of each woman’s appearance(s) in Genesis, Schneider investigates each character with both passion and rigor. Readers who have grown too complacent in their putative understandings of these literary figures will find fresh breezes rustling every page of this study.

—R. Christopher Heard, associate professor of religion, Pepperdine University

Many interpreters of the book of Genesis, conscious of the male preference obvious within the stories, argue that the women portrayed there serve men’s goals. This position might describe the way many stories seem to unfold but it ignores the fact that Genesis, indeed the entire Bible, really highlights God’s goals. Schneider’s reading of several biblical stories shows how God works through women to accomplish these ends. . . . [Her] approach brings the women alive in new and exciting ways. The book is meant for readers who have some basic knowledge of biblical analysis. It will also make a fine contribution to the area of gender studies.

Bible Today

[Schneider] complements familiar observations on women’s roles in Genesis with several new insights. Notably she challenges the utility of the category ‘matriarchs,’ rephrasing questions of inheritance rights, attending to the nuances of the Hebrew, and adducing possible connections between biblical narrative and ancient Near Eastern legal custom. . . . Schneider’s ‘new method’ of ‘verbing the character’. . . yield[s] intriguing readings concerning women’s generally positive relationships to each other and to Israel’s Deity, as well as their surprisingly negative relationships to their husbands and fathers. This volume will be especially useful for church and synagogue adult education programs. . . . Recommended. General readers; upper-level undergraduates and above.

Choice

Schneider’s extensive study of the women in Genesis revitalizes and enhances the current understanding of these women and the book of Genesis as a whole. This work serves to demonstrate how inadequate the term ‘Patriarchal History’ is to describe these texts and revolutionizes the way this biblical book should be read. . . . [Schneider] has presented a very convincing and complete portrait of the women in Genesis. This book provides several services to the academic community. It has the potential to be used as a textbook for a variety of courses, yet it is thorough, well-documented, and deals with the original language of the text and thus is a good resource for further scholarly research.

Choice

Tammi J. Schneider is a professor of religion at Claremont Graduate University in Claremont, California. She is the author of Sarah: Mother of Nations and a commentary on Judges in the Berit Olam series.

Interpreting the Old Testament: A Guide for Exegesis

  • Author: Craig C. Broyles
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 272

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Serious students of the Old Testament quickly realize that interpreting ancient Scripture is inherently difficult. Understanding the literature of the Old Testament poses unique challenges and requires methods very different from those used to interpret the New Testament. Interpreting the Old Testament is designed to provide students a useful methodology for interpreting Old Testament texts. The authors, all leading evangelical scholars, were chosen because of their particular expertise in the various aspects of the interpretive process; they offer insight and wisdom, helping you unlock the Word. Not simply a book of theory, this work provides practical help to students as they seek to understand and apply the Old Testament.

A fine book for those who are beginning their journey into the serious study of the Old Testament. . . . This book will no doubt serve as a standard reference tool and textbook for years to come.

—Richard E. Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This book is a splendid introduction to the exegesis of the Old Testament. It presents and critiques the range of scholarly tools that have been developed to bring out the sense of Scripture and also gives hand-on examples of how they may be used in specific passages. Both the explanations given by the contributors and their citation of further reading in each area open doors for the serious student of the Old Testament to the meaning of the sacred text.

Leslie Allen, Fuller Theological Seminary

Craig Broyles and his colleagues have written a fine book for those who are beginning their journey into the serious study of the Old Testament. The chapters are easy to read yet truly informative—even formative—for the reader. The basic questions are asked and receive clear, concise, and penetrating answers. This book will no doubt serve as a standard reference tool and textbook for years to come.

—Richard Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

This volume presents a useful overview of several pertinent issues for today’s readers of the Old Testament. We should all be grateful to the editor and authors for bringing us up to date regarding recent trends in interpretive theory and the latest tools necessary for interpreting the text for our changing world.

Bill T. Arnold, Asbury Theological Seminary

This is a solid, dependable collection of essays on the various topics related to the contemporary practice of exegesis.

Canadian Evangelical Review

The book as a whole gives a strong impression that exegesis is an art of listening, being attentive to the voice of God that speaks through the Bible.

Calvin Theological Journal

This book has many strong points. . . . [It] will be useful and fruitful for the reader who is entering the world of OT interpretation for the first time.

Concordia Journal

Firmly grounded in theoretical issues but the orientation is thoroughly practical, setting out systematic approaches and providing worked examples and guides to further resources. . . . The book challenges those who read the Bible at face value to penetrate beneath the surface and mine its riches, and seeks to provide the tools and skills to do so.

Journal for the Study of the Old Testament

Craig C. Broyles is a professor of religious studies at Trinity Western University, Canada. He is author of The Conflict of Faith and Experience: A Form-Critical and Theological Study of Selected Lament Psalms and coeditor of Writing and Reading the Scroll of Isaiah: Studies of an Interpretive Tradition.

The Old Testament: Text and Context, 3rd ed.

  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews and James C. Moyer
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 368

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

This new edition of a classroom standard provides students with an accessible introduction to the literature, history, and social context of the Old Testament. Written by two seasoned Old Testament professors, the book pays attention to methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre and includes illustrations, sidebars, maps, and study questions.

The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently.

Review of Biblical Literature

With its focus on student learning, Matthews’s and Moyer’s revised and updated text is even more brilliant than their first edition. Artistic in its design and solid in its content and presentation, this work provides students with the necessary background to understand the Bible and its diverse cultures and rich heritage. With its engaging style and sharp attention to biblical methodology, archaeology, history, and literary genre, as well as its clear explanations of important biblical terms and thoughtful study questions, this text is a gem for both students and teachers alike. I have used the first edition of this book for several years, and my students have enjoyed it tremendously. I look forward enthusiastically to sharing this second edition with them. It is a superb work, and I am grateful to Victor Matthews and James Moyer for providing teachers of the Bible with a text that answers the needs of today’s students.

—Carol J. Dempsey, associate professor of theology (biblical studies), University of Portland, Oregon

Here’s a useful book for those just beginning to approach the Old Testament for the first time at any depth. It is clearly based on classroom teaching and is attractively laid out with ‘boxes’ and ‘insets’ for special details, diagrams, and some pictures. Study questions at the end of each section would help a student on his/her own to grasp what has just been studied. . . . A helpful book that brings the text to us, and its context and questions of interpretation.

Anvil

Matthews is well-known for his work in biblical backgrounds. . . . Such expertise in backgrounds moves this book beyond a simple introduction of the content and themes of each OT/HB [Old Testament/Hebrew Bible] book to illuminating the worlds both within and behind the OT/HB books. . . . The authors have given significant revision to certain portions of the text, restructured the chapters, and reworked the study questions to facilitate class discussion and critical thinking. . . . The book is well organized and well written. It is easily accessible to the college-level student and written with such students in mind. . . . The authors make generous use of maps, charts, photographs, and sidebars to illuminate the information in the main discussions, and each section and chapter ends with study questions. . . . The great strength of this book is, as suggested by the title, the blending of matters related to the text and the context of the OT/HB. It not only summarizes what is in the OT/HB but also provides insight into the world of the biblical characters and biblical writers by integrating relevant archaeological data, social-historical issues, and insights from critical scholarship. . . . This textbook does a fine job of preparing the student to read the OT/HB intelligently. . . . A very good introduction to and survey of the OT/HB.

Review of Biblical Literature

In the second edition the authors have done a significant revision. . . . However, the basic structure remains the same. . . . Important concepts are printed in bold and explained fully in a glossary at the end of the book. This is a fine undergraduate textbook that examines not only the literary and historical aspects of the biblical texts but also the social context of the people.

The Bible Today

This book is more a total reworking than a simple revision of the original text. . . . The authors believe they have achieved greater clarity, expansion, and greater attention to certain sections, especially on the prophets. My reading confirms that the authors have met if not surpassed their goals. Restructured chapters provide better uniformity in length, an aid to teaching. Reworking study questions permit better class discussion and critical thinking exercises. New sidebars help in translation and explanation of ancient texts. There are updated archaeological insights and an expanded glossary. . . . This book would be a helpful resource for all congregational and seminary libraries and an excellent text for students and teachers.

Church and Synagogue Libraries

Originally published in 1997 and now presented as a thoroughly revised second edition, the book by V. Matthews and James C. Moyer is a textbook for undergraduates on the OT. [It] combines the history of Israel (ably surveyed) with the introduction to the individual books that are dealt with in the canonical sequence. . . . The book includes helpful study questions.

International Review of Biblical Studies

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, Studying the Ancient Israelites, and the best-selling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

James C. Moyer is a professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, and the author of numerous articles.

Old Testament Turning Points: The Narratives That Shaped a Nation

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 208

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Adam and Eve, God’s covenant with Abraham, the deportation of Judah and their eventual return to Jerusalem—these are a few of the key Old Testament stories that serve as signposts for guiding readers through the Old Testament. According to Old Testament professor Victor Matthews, these stories are essential to the identity of Israel as God’s people.

Matthews identifies eight landmark stories that not only shaped Israelite identity but also continued to echo throughout the Old Testament as Israel grew into its role as the people of God. He examines the stories in detail, showing how they provide a foundation for later Old Testament stories and events. Helpful sidebars, a glossary, indexes, and a selected bibliography provide readers with tools for further exploration.

The author offers great insights in each chapter and does an exceptional job weaving together literary, sociological, and canonical perspectives as he explains each narrative. [The book] offers something for the seasoned scholar as well as the beginning student of OT studies. . . . Well worth the read.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Old Testament Turning Points draws the reader into selected pivotal moments in the life of ancient Israel. Matthews engagingly retells well-known narratives in a manner that allows the reader not only to hear these stories afresh but to recognize the echoes of these stories across the Old Testament canon. Rather than describe motifs, Matthews ably demonstrates themes through telling an appropriate story. Similarly, rather than inform the reader of the technical niceties of reading strategies and methods, Matthews demonstrates those strategies through his exposition.

Rick R. Marrs, Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Religion, Pepperdine University

The Hebrew Bible is a story of transformation and change. Its heroes are forced to follow God into an uncharted future in times of uncertainty and crisis. Thus the central stories in the Hebrew Bible are often about turning points in life: some are cautionary tales of failure, while others point a way forward into a future with God. Matthews guides the reader through a handful of the most powerful stories of transition found in the narratives of Genesis through 2 Kings. For the reader who joins the journey, it becomes clear that in their retelling, old stories have the power to provide new insights for contemporary travelers.

Thomas Dozeman, professor of Old Testament, United Theological Seminary

Matthews skillfully blends sociological, literary, and canonical perspectives into rich explorations of key biblical texts. Old Testament Turning Points focuses squarely on the biblical texts themselves and thereby offers an innovative and stimulating alternative to surveys of the Old Testament. Beginning and seasoned readers alike will find much to ponder in its pages.

—L. Daniel Hawk, professor of Old Testament and Hebrew, Ashland Theological Seminary

Readers of the Old Testament often find it difficult to keep the big picture in mind because of the myriad of details covered in the text. Victor Matthews has helpfully reminded us all of the big picture in his treatment of the major turning points in ancient Israel’s story. His attention to both literary structure and historical context in ancient Israel and in the broader ancient Near East is most enlightening. Those who make the effort to read this volume will be richly rewarded with a storehouse of information to help in understanding the Old Testament.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., W. Marshall and Lulie Craig Professor of Bible, Baylor University

Concerned to help contemporary readers hear the message of the Bible as it was originally heard, Victor Matthews has presented us with a splendid offering that goes a long way toward filling in many gaps that separate us from the biblical audience. His careful articulation of eight ‘turning points’ in the overall plot of the Old Testament, summarized and, more importantly, contextualized within the biblical canon as well as the ancient Near East, results in a very useful guide. Those seeking to gain an informed overview of the Old Testament story as originally heard should find this book quite helpful.

Mark A. Throntveit, professor of Hebrew and Old Testament, Luther Seminary

Matthews has written extensively on Old Testament history and on Israel’s setting in the ancient Near East. Consequently, the reader expects a thorough presentation of the historical events behind the biblical narrative and is not disappointed. More, the author provides occasional side-bar references to extra-biblical literature to show the historical and intellectual context of the people of the Old Testament. This presentation of history and culture may be this small volume’s greatest strength. . . . This volume offers something to the reader regardless of theological stance. Matthews is a careful historian who knows the ancient Near Eastern world and the modern scholarly world. There is much to be learned here. . . . The author’s twelve pages of ‘Works Cited’ is a good reading list for Old Testament history. Moreover, the author provides a brief, but helpful, glossary of terms. . . . A biblical index and subject index make the book more user-friendly, too.

Midwestern Journal of Theology

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, Studying the Ancient Israelites, and the best-selling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

Making Sense of the Old Testament: Three Crucial Questions

  • Author: Tremper Longman III
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 160

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Though essential to the Christian faith, the Old Testament remains an enigma to many. Some view it as disjointed and difficult to understand, or as nothing more than a collection of archaic documents, irrelevant for Christians today. In clear and concise language, Tremper Longman addresses three questions to help resolve this problem:

  • What are the keys to understanding the Old Testament?
  • Is the God of the Old Testament also the God of the New Testament?
  • How is the Christian to apply the Old Testament to life?

Christians face a number of obstacles to their understanding of the Old Testament; differences in culture, worldviews, traditions, language, and geography impede understanding of the ancient texts. And throughout the history of the church, there has been much debate concerning the differences between how God related to humans in the Old Testament and in the New. Longman points out false stereotypes Christians may encounter, demonstrating that the presentation of God is consistent across both Testaments. His work provides practical principles for achieving a fuller understanding of what the Old Testament says, and looks at each section—law, history, poetry, wisdom, and prophecy—explaining the issues involved in application to today’s Christian life.

Longman has put us in his debt for addressing the most difficult topics involved in making sense of the Old Testament.

Asbury Theological Journal

Longman’s prose is readily accessible.

Publishers Weekly

Thought-provoking.

The Expository Times

Provides practical direction for those seeking to gain a more thorough understanding of the Old Testament. . . . This book can be used with success in a church setting. It conveys in a simple fashion important concepts for the study and use of the Old Testament. . . . Longman conveys the concepts in an accessible manner

Minister’s Packet

Longman has written a nice primer with an evangelical approach to the topic at hand . . . The book would be a great resource for pastors who want to teach these topics to their congregations in a systematic and effective fashion. Longman’s material provides good apologetics that may be used to counter those who errantly claim that Jesus is starkly different from God in the Old Testament.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., W. Marshall and Lulie Craig Professor of Bible, Baylor University

If the Old Testament (OT) seems more confusing than comforting to you, then perhaps you should pick up this readable book. . . . This book is excellent for anyone who wants to know why the OT is important for faith and life, or how Reformed Christians approach the OT. It is also a valuable refresher in sound principles of biblical interpretation, explaining why Paul said that all Old Testament Scripture is profitable!

New Horizons

Longman’s discussion deals with numerous issues which have prevented many people from seeing the relevance of the OT for Christian living today. He does this in a clear and easily understood way, even when treating highly complex and hotly debated issues of hermeneutical, theological, and philosophical import. This book will be an enormous help to anyone who wants to read the OT with greater discernment and competence.

Biblical Booklist

Tremper Longman III is the Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California. Before coming to Westmont, he taught at Westminster Theological Seminary in Philadelphia for 18 years. He has authored or coauthored numerous books, including An Introduction to the Old Testament, How to Read Proverbs, and commentaries on Daniel, Ecclesiastes, Proverbs, Jeremiah and Lamentations, and Song of Songs.

The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets: The Achievement of Association in Canon Formation

  • Author: Christopher R. Seitz
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 144

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5

Just below the surface of any Christian view of the Bible is the knotty issue of the biblical canon. How and when was it decided which books would make up the Bible? What makes a book canonical?

Respected Old Testament scholar Christopher Seitz has long been at the forefront of canon research. His particular interest has been the prophets—the interrelationships among the prophetic writings provide important evidence that any understanding of canon must incorporate. In this volume, Seitz delves more deeply into the prophetic corpus, showing how the Old Testament fits into the canon’s development. Drawing on the latest research on the biblical prophets, Seitz challenges current understandings of the formation of the Christian canon and reveals canonical connections woven into the fabric of the prophetic books. He argues that the Law and the prophets cohere and give shape to the subsequent Christian canon.

A meaningful contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding the development and arrangement of the Old Testament. Future explorations of these issues would do well to consult and engage Seitz’s provocative claims.

Expository Times

Seitz offers an alternative vision of the Old Testament: its structural logic, its internal relationships, its history of formation. The result is incisive, exhilarating, and quite constructively provocative. It will be read and discussed with much profit by theologians, biblical scholars, pastors, and seminarians.

—Stephen B. Chapman, associate professor of Old Testament, Duke Divinity School

Seitz has made a major contribution to canonical studies. He argues that the common distinction between Scripture and canon is illusory because it fails to understand the fundamental theological force at work in the prophetic documents that relates them to each other and to the Torah. Seitz shows that the Law and the Prophets of Israel were indispensable to the New Testament not only for the purposes of background, context, and theology but also for the shaping of the New Testament canon itself.

—Stephen G. Dempster, Stuart E. Murray Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Atlantic Baptist University

The Goodly Fellowship of the Prophets takes the discussion concerning Old Testament canon formation to another level. Seitz mounts an impressive array of arguments against standard conceptualities of Old Testament ‘canon development’ as he demonstrates that the early church never operated without a canon. With great scholarly care, insight, and breadth, Seitz argues that the material form of the Old Testament canon is a significant hermeneutical matter that demands special attention. This is a work that should shape the discussion within the discipline.

—Mark S. Gignilliat, assistant professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

[Seitz] is a prolific author particularly interested in OT studies with special attention to Hebrew prophecy, theological interpretation of Scripture, and canonical reading of the Book of the Twelve. . . . This book offers a good analysis of the canonical formation of the tripartite Hebrew Scriptures and their place in shaping the Christian canon of the Bible. . . . The current volume is a solid contribution to the growing field of canon studies. . . . Seitz’s research will provide an enduring resource for scholars engaged in research of the biblical canon.

—Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

This short book advances a large thesis in the massive debate about canon formation . . . Though likely not the final word on the subject, this book still represents a meaningful contribution to the ongoing discussion regarding the development and arrangement of the Old Testament. Future explorations of these issues would do well to consult and engage Seitz’s provocative claims.

Expository Times

There are many positive aspects to Seitz’s book, including the following: (1) He focuses on the final form of the text, which is certainly an advantage over older literary critical views. (2) He uses the canonical approach to its best advantage, and, while I do not agree with all that this view contends, it asks some important questions concerning the development of the text. And (3) he (and others) have shown fairly convincingly that the prophets seem to have been aware of each other’s work. I also believe that Seitz is correct in his critique of what has become the traditional view of the development of the OT canon. . . . For the careful reader there is much profitable information that can be mined from [this book].

Bulletin for Biblical Research

Christopher R. Seitz is a professor of biblical interpretation at Wycliffe College, University of Toronto, in Toronto, Ontario. He previously taught at the University of St. Andrews and Yale University. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Figured Out, Prophecy and Hermeneutics, and commentaries on Isaiah 1–39 and 40–66.

Creation Untamed: The Bible, God, and Natural Disasters

  • Author: Terence E. Fretheim
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 176

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Earthquakes, floods, tsunamis, and hurricanes have plagued the earth throughout history. What is God’s role in natural disasters and the human suffering they cause? This is a vexing perennial question. When destruction occurs due to “forces of nature,” is the hand of God visiting judgment on a particularly sinful people, or has God simply left humanity to fend for itself?

The Bible often speaks of natural disasters, but its insights have been insufficiently explored. In Creation Untamed, leading Old Testament theologian Terence Fretheim offers fresh readings of familiar Old Testament passages—creation, the flood, Sodom and Gomorrah, the plagues of Egypt, the suffering of Job, and the biblical laments—to provide biblical resources for working through this topic. He presents an understanding of creation as good, but not perfect; examines the human experience of suffering; and explores the role of humans in the creative process. Fretheim shows the God of the Bible to be a compassionate, suffering, relational God, one we can turn to in prayer in times of disaster.

Rich in biblical insight, theological nuance, and pastoral wisdom, this accessibly written volume will benefit anyone thinking about the God of the Bible in relation to human suffering. It will appeal to students in courses on the Bible, theology, or pastoral care as well as to pastors and thoughtful lay readers.

Fretheim dives headfirst into the swirling storm of practical biblical and theological questions that we all ask about God, tragedy, and suffering. Highly recommended!

Dennis Olson, Princeton Theological Seminary

There is no issue in contemporary faith more vexing than how we are to understand God’s will and action in the event of natural disasters like tsunamis and hurricanes, wildfires and floods. Fortunately for readers, there is no more reliable guide for thinking biblically about these issues than Terence Fretheim. In this thoughtful and compact volume, Fretheim helps us not only to see clearly our own created vulnerability but also to encounter biblical testimony to a God who becomes vulnerable with us.

Bruce C. Birch, professor of Old Testament emeritus, Wesley Theological Seminary

Who better than Fretheim to take up the hard contemporary question concerning the destructive forces on exhibit in creation! The author has spent his life thinking about these issues and reading these old texts forward toward our time and place. He begins with the conviction of the goodness of God’s creation, and from there he launches into the dangers of reality and takes us with him.

Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Terence Fretheim explores the biblical materials to grapple with the devastation of natural disasters. He encourages readers to reconsider their traditional understanding of the relationship between God and suffering. I enthusiastically recommend Creation Untamed to all who want to be honest with the Bible and with life.

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Biblical Studies, Westmont College

This is vintage Fretheim: provocative theological reflection combined with a careful reading of the biblical text. What does human suffering say about God? At a time when hard questions lead some to turn away from the Old Testament, Fretheim finds rich resources for probing the depths of the person of God and for rethinking the relationship of the divine to the world.

M. Daniel Carroll R., distinguished professor of Old Testament, Denver Seminary

With characteristic erudition, theological depth, and lively engagement, Terence Fretheim illuminates one of the most perplexing issues of faith: why natural disasters? Fretheim brings together a wide range of biblical texts and ably mines them for their wisdom about God’s ways in the world. Such wisdom is critically needed when so much misunderstanding characterizes religious discourse today.

William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

Throughout history and yet today people have tended to view natural disasters as vengeful ‘acts of God.’ Fretheim has done us a great service by masterfully exposing how thoroughly this traditional perspective conflicts with a careful reading of the Bible’s creation texts. Not all readers will agree with all of Fretheim’s proposals, but all will benefit from the fresh perspective he brings to the biblical texts, the unsettling questions he invites us to consider, and the magnificent portrait of a loving, power-sharing, relational God who brings into being a dynamic creation full of beauty and risk.

Greg Boyd, senior pastor, Woodland Hills Church, St. Paul, MN

Terence E. Fretheim is Elva B. Lovell Professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, where he has taught for more than 50 years. He is the author of more than 20 books, including commentaries on Genesis, Exodus, First and Second Kings, and Jeremiah and God and World in the Old Testament, The Suffering of God, and The Pentateuch.

At Home in a Strange Land: Using the Old Testament in Christian Ethics

  • Author: Andrew Sloane
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 272

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The Old Testament is a problem for many Christians. Some find it puzzling, or even offensive; others seem to glibly misuse it for their own ends. There are few resources aimed at enabling ordinary Christians to understand the OT and use it in their lives as followers of Jesus.

In At Home in a Strange Land: Using the Old Testament in Christian Ethics, Andrew Sloane seeks to address this need. He outlines some of the problems that ordinary Christians face in reading the Old Testament as part of Christian Scripture and provides a framework for interpreting the Old Testament and using it in Christian ethics. He identifies some of the key biblical texts of both the Old Testament and the New Testament that inform Christian ethics and challenge us to live as God’s people. Using the paradigm of learning to travel in unfamiliar places, Sloane seeks to equip the reader with tools for understanding many of the puzzling and difficult passages found in the Old Testament. In sum, the book aims to “rehabilitate” the Old Testament for ordinary, even skeptical, twenty-first-century Christians.

Unlike many other books that address these topics, Sloane’s work brings together questions of interpretation and “ethical application” in one book aimed at lay people.

An excellent introduction to help Christians apply the OT to their moral lives. . . . Sloane regularly refers to contemporary songs and films that address related topics, thus providing helpful connections for younger readers. This is a welcome text.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Utilizing the metaphor of travel, Andrew Sloane invites his readers on a journey through the ‘strange land’ of the Old Testament, focusing on how the Old Testament may be used in Christian ethics. Sloane proves to be a superb guide! Avoiding footnotes and technical jargon where possible (and carefully defining terms where necessary), he succinctly and clearly describes ‘the equipment for the journey’—the nature and authority of the Old Testament, appropriate hermeneutical methodology, and a general framework for understanding Old Testament ethics. He then presents a practical approach for ‘getting going’ on the journey, richly illustrating the basic steps of exegesis from a sample ethical passage in each of the major Old Testament genres. The heart of the work, ‘avoiding pitfalls, hacking through the jungle,’ grapples with difficult ethical ‘terrain’ (issues) in the Old Testament—slavery, ritual impurity, and holy war— and provides penetrating insights for coming to grips with these issues. In his further exploration of Old Testament ethical ‘territory,’ Sloane draws profound ethical implications from Gen 1–3 (for environmental concerns and gender relations) and from the Decalogue in Deut 5 (for the overarching moral vision of the Old Testament). Finally, he effectively shows how to ‘bring the Old Testament home’ by examining a modem ethical issue (cloning) in light of Old Testament principles, and by applying Isaiah 46 (the critique of idolatry) to modern forms of idolatry. A concise annotated bibliography recommends resources for further exploration. Sloane has admirably succeeded in his stated goal of assisting readers, not only to visit, but to find themselves ‘at home in the strange land of the Old Testament.’

—Richard M. Davidson, J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament, Andrews University Theological Seminary

How can a Christian read the Old Testament and find in it moral value for the present day? How can this be done without falling into the pitfall of naïve legalism . . . or unthinking rejection . . . ? [Sloane] deftly handles some of the most challenging issues raised by Old Testament texts (e.g., slavery and holy war) and draws out their contemporary moral value. . . . Not everyone . . . will agree with every detail or conclusion in the book. But to differ a good argument is needed. I am the better equipped to engage my world having read this book, and I commend it with enthusiasm.

—Graham A. Cole, professor of biblical and systematic theology, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Sloane has given us an exemplary ‘manual’ to bring a ‘strange and neglected’ literature (the Old Testament) ‘home’ to our ethical thinking and Christian living. . . . I am encouraged by Sloane’s treatment of a needed topic in an engaging style. . . . I am delighted to commend it to the church in general and college students in particular.

—J. Lanier Burns, research professor of theological studies and senior professor of systematic theology, Dallas Theological Seminary

The ‘strange land’ of which Sloane speaks is the Old Testament. This image was chosen because he has found a lack of understanding of and appreciation for the Old Testament in many Christians. The book is organized around the idea of a Journey into this strange land. Methods of interpretation make up the equipment needed for the journey. Sloane treats troublesome biblical issues such as slavery and holy war as pitfalls to be avoided, and demonstrates his approach in his analysis of the Genesis creation stories as well as Isaiah 46. The writing is very conversational. The author begins each chapter with a long description of events from his own life, thus establishing a comfortable setting for treating biblical issues that might be unfamiliar to his readers. In this way he shows the commonality between these issues as found in the Old Testament and as experienced in today’s world. The beginning reader will derive much profit from this book.

Bible Today

At Home in a Strange Land provides a needed corrective for Christian ethics by facilitating the use of the rich resources of the OT. . . . A careful reading of the book reveals that [Sloane’s] work is deserving of critical scholarly attention. He offers the reader fresh insight into the OT, its milieu, and its meanings. One of the primary contributions of At Home in a Strange Land is that it addresses some of the thorny issues of biblical authority and interpretation. . . . A helpful introduction to the OT as a resource for Christian moral decision-making and ethical living.

Andrews University Seminary Studies

Andrew Sloane joined the faculty of Morling College (the Baptist Theological College of NSW) in 2002 as lecturer in Old Testament and Christian thought. He initially trained as a medical doctor before turning to theology. He completed his theological education at Morling College and has worked in Baptist churches in Sydney and Newcastle and lectured at Ridley College in Melbourne. He has written on Old Testament, interpretation, ethics and philosophy.

Getting the Old Testament: What it Meant to Them, What it Means for Us

  • Author: Steven L. Bridge
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 248

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As readers of texts written in antiquity we frequently find ourselves in the position of one who overhears a conversation without the benefit of context. The likelihood of humorous (or tragic) misunderstanding is palpable. In Getting the Old Testament: What It Meant to Them, What It Means for Us, Steven Bridge examines a number of important texts and genres found in the Old Testament. By bringing what is known of their original historical and literary context to light, he clearly demonstrates how important it is to know the cultural background of those to whom a text was originally addressed. Bridge helps us as modern readers to grasp the intended significance of these ancient texts.

Using modern illustrations from Bart Simpson to fortune cookies, and discussing texts from Genesis to Jonah to Ecclesiastes, Bridge succeeds in making difficult texts come alive for the reader and shows how they practically apply to modern life. Each chapter begins with a story, event, or illustration that draws the reader into Bridge’s point with regard to the clearest understanding of a particular text or given group of texts. The most poignant of these illustrations is found at the beginning of his chapter on the book of Job, in which he begins with the story of Lou Gehrig and the disease that took his life, ALS (known more commonly as Lou Gehrig’s Disease) and ends with his own father’s death from ALS.

An annotated list of suggested readings as well as subject and Scripture indexes make this a practical book for college classes.

Steve Bridge’s Getting the Old Testament is a fun and easy way to get a good overview of how modern biblical studies have opened up our understanding of the Old Testament. He combines contemporary examples, light but scholarly descriptions, and many charts to craft a very readable understanding of the development and purpose of the Hebrew Scriptures.

—Lawrence Boadt, CSP, emeritus professor of Scripture studies, Washington Theological Union

A genuinely fresh approach to teaching Scripture, this book eloquently speaks to both the academy and the religious community.

Jacob Neusner, Distinguished Service Professor of the History and Theology of Judaism and Senior Fellow, Institute of Advanced Theology, Bard College

Professor Bridge combines a deep and accurate appreciation for traditional literary and historical scholarship with an intense desire to identify and communicate a message to Gen Next students. Appropriately in the contemporary mode, he confronts our twenty-first-century readerly responses to the Hebrew Bible and uses those connections to build appropriate meanings. This is a marvelous volume for drawing us into the text, probing it, and probing ourselves.

—Barry Bandstra, Evert J. and Hattie E. Blekkink Professor, Hope College

In the quest for the ultimate undergraduate textbook, Bridge’s Getting the Old Testament has got a significant place. . . . There is much to recommend this book. The scope is ambitious and the format compelling: to give an introduction to the Hebrew Bible is no mean task.

Expository Times

Steven Bridge finds God in the countless contradictions of the Old Testament—the places that make most Christians squirm. . . . Many fundamentalists gloss over these contradictions or try to explain them away. For Bridge, it is the contradictions themselves that hold the greatest depth and teachings about God. . . . Every now and then it is healthy for Christians to read such books as Getting the Old Testament, because they drag us away from the temptation to become influenced by the forcefully argued and emotionally-charged renderings of the Bible by Christian fundamentalists. Bridge shows that it is these fundamentalists who are missing out on the Bible’s true riches, by refusing to enter into the dangerous crevices and strange, seemingly senseless juxtapositions and irrationalities of the Old Testament.

Catholic Herald

Overall, there is much to commend in this book. Bridge effectively grips his audience with numerous poignant and engaging illustrations from personal experience and from popular culture (e.g. The Simpsons, The Bible Code, Alan Jackson’s ‘Where Were You,’ and more). His clear writing style is full of humor and is accessible to the introductory student, and his charts, tables, and appendices superbly parallel his prose.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Overall, Bridge’s concern for traditional and literary critical scholarship has been effectively combined with his desire to communicate those approaches [to] a contemporary audience. This book would be a useful supplement to any Old Testament Introduction class or to any professor looking for ways to communicate with GenNext students.

Review of Biblical Literature

Steven L. Bridge is a professor of theology and the chair of the department at Saint Joseph’s College of Maine. He has taught biblical studies at parishes, high schools, colleges, and universities throughout the United States for over a decade.

The Literary Structure of the Old Testament: A Commentary on Genesis–Malachi

  • Author: David A. Dorsey
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 330

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In modern writing, a variety of written markers—italics, bold type, punctuation, parentheses, and so forth—are used to indicate emphasis and clarify meaning. The authors of the Old Testament could not rely on such devices since their writings were originally composed for oral presentation. They instead used literary structure to highlight certain ideas and to convey meaning and emphasis accurately. Unfortunately, as we read the Old Testament we frequently overlook this inherent literary structure. What we need is a guide to help us see the literary structure that permeates the Old Testament and clarifies the meaning of each Old Testament book. David Dorsey has provided such a guide.

The author opens the book with a brief historical survey of the various approaches to understanding the structure of the Old Testament. He examines what is meant by the term literary structure and gives examples of how the structure of a given text illuminates the author’s writing, meaning, and purpose.

Dorsey then proceeds book by book through the entire Old Testament identifying the structure and offering commentary on how that structure clarifies the meaning of the text. He illuminates the big picture of each book, providing a framework for further study. No pastor, teacher, or student should embark upon the study of an Old Testament text without consulting this indispensable guide.

Herman Gunkel and the form critics have taught us that the meaning of texts cannot be divorced from the literary genres and forms in which they are composed. More recently the symbiotic connections between meaning and literature on a more macro-structural level have come to be appreciated. David Dorsey has now carried this important insight logically forward in his brilliant analyses and syntheses of not only Old Testament passages but of whole books and collections of books. With intuitively artistic sensitivity to texts in their wholeness, Dorsey has provided for the scholar and layman alike a fresh way of reading the sacred literature. He avoids the twin pitfalls of not seeing the forest for the trees or failing to discover the trees because of a focus on the forest alone. The trees are here all clearly exposed but not in isolation—they exist in such patterns and relationships as to produce a forest of wondrous beauty. Bible study will never be the same again for anyone who takes advantage of the creative insights afforded in this remarkable volume.

Eugene H. Merrill, Distinguished Professor of OT Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Understanding structure is pivotal to understanding the meaning of Scripture. David Dorsey ably guides us toward a better sense of the structure and style of the books of the Old Testament. This book will become a standard reference tool for all serious students of the Bible.

Tremper Longman III, Robert H. Gundry Professor of Religious Studies, Westmont College

This is an unusual and fascinating book. It is the first comprehensive treatment of the native structure of the Old Testament books and its significance for their meaning and message. Expositors will find it of inestimable value for looking at the books in a way that is natural to the literary nature of the Old Testament itself and, at the same time, the theological significance of that structure.

—Richard Averbeck, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

The statement on the back of this helpful volume notes: ‘In modern writing, various markers—italics, bold type, punctuation, parentheses, and so forth—are used to indicate emphasis and clarify meaning.’ The authors of the Old Testament did not have or use such devices, writing out of an oral culture as they did. So what is the proper emphasis in certain texts? How do we understand the structure and style of certain Old Testament material? Dorsey . . . guides the reader into this subject with great care and sensitivity.

ACT 3 Review

Serious Bible students will discover many insights in this valuable volume.

Biblical Viewpoint

This is an important book because it provides in a large format volume an introduction to the study of structure of the books of the Old Testament. . . . This is one of the earliest works in this newly developing field. I expect much good from it in the future.

Presbyterian Banner

Dorsey writes with a clear, uncomplicated prose that enhances the value of the book. The Hebrew forms, all transliterated and translated, are kept to a minimum. I would certainly recommend this for all Old Testament translators and anyone looking for a good introduction to issues of literary structures in the Bible.

Bible Translator

David A. Dorsey is professor of Old Testament at the Evangelical School of Theology in Myerstown, Pennsylvania. He is the author of The Roads and Highways of Ancient Israel.

The Old Testament Roots of Our Faith, rev. ed.

  • Authors: Paul J. Achtemeier and Elizabeth Achtemeier
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1994
  • Pages: 160

The heart of the Christian faith rests upon the confession that “Jesus is Lord,” yet faithful Christians sometimes overlook the fact that the Jesus’ lordship is firmly rooted in the Old Testament’s promises and prophecies. Moreover, knowing Jesus more fully entails knowing the story of God’s salvation planned before the foundation of the world. Modern readers tend to forget that the declaration that “before Abraham was I am” underscores the continuity between the promise to Abraham and its fulfillment in Christ. Acquiring a basic understanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments with respect to salvation’s drama will enrich every reader’s faith and appreciation for the Scriptures..

Elizabeth Achtemeier was an adjunct professor of Bible and homiletics at Union Theological Seminary in Virginia. She has authored a number of books, including Nature, God, and Pulpit and Preaching from the Old Testament.

Paul J. Achtemeier is the former Herbert Worth and Annie H. Jackson Professor of Biblical Interpretation at Union Theological Seminary, Richmond, Virginia. He has served as the president of both the Society of Biblical Literature and the Catholic Biblical Association. He has authored a number of books, including 1 Peter (Hermeneia)  and is the general editor for Harper’s Bible Dictionary.

Africa and the Bible

  • Author: Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 304

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Two hundred years ago, the “curse of Ham” was used to legitimize slavery. Both Ethiopians and Arabians claim the queen of Sheba, and it is thought that Moses and Jesus may have been black.

Much has been said about the connection between Africa and the Bible. Unfortunately, despite numerous references to Africa and Africans in the Bible, most scholarly works exploring ancient Africa ignore biblical references. On the other hand, contemporary afrocentric biblical studies often ignore the wealth of archaeological discoveries and historical discussions bearing on the subject. With Africa and the Bible, well-respected scholar Edwin Yamauchi fills these voids, offering a scholarly interpretation that integrates biblical exegesis, archaeological evidence, and recent historical discussions.

Africa and the Bible explores the historical and archaeological background of biblical texts that deal with Africa and the Bible, examines the exegesis of these texts, and traces the ramifications of later interpretations and misinterpretations of these texts. Yamauchi deals with such topics as the curse of Ham’s son Canaan, Moses’ Cushite wife, the Ethiopian eunuch, Simon the Cyrene, and afrocentric biblical interpretation. Along the way, he dispels myths, interacts with current theories, and provides sound judgments as to what the Bible does and does not say.

Students and scholars of the Bible, of African studies, and of global Christianity will appreciate the extra features Yamauchi employs. He includes photographs, maps, charts, an appendix critiquing Martin Bernal’s Black Athena, and Scripture, author, and subject indexes. An extensive bibliography of more than 300 entries will guide readers to the diverse literature associated with the connections between Africa and the Bible. Lay readers interested in history and the Bible will enjoy the book’s insightful comments and accessible style.

Africa and the Bible was a Christianity Today Book Award winner.

Sensitive both to Afrocentric interests and to data from ancient Egypt and elsewhere, this work reveals, as his works always do, Professor Yamauchi’s brilliant multidisciplinary competence. He interacts respectfully with different views, and even those who disagree with some elements of his approach or would welcome an even fuller exploration of some issues will find the book a rich treasure of resources. Few readers of the Bible have had access to the information he provides about Nubia and the Nubian Pharohs of Egypt.

Craig S. Keener, Palmer Theological Seminary

Writing in a refreshing style that carefully abstains from scholarly obfuscation, Yamauchi has collated an extraordinary range of scholarly data on the historical and archaeological background of the biblical texts dealing with Africa. His efforts provide the reader with a primary source of information for everything from the Queen of Sheba to Black Athena.

—Donald White, University of Pennsylvania

Drawing on a vast range of sources—ancient and modern, literary and archaeological—Yamauchi offers a superb discussion of the major questions concerning the relationships between the Bible and Africa. His final chapter presents an especially helpful response to contemporary Afrocentric approaches to the Scriptures. This fascinating study will be welcomed by those who need an introduction to the issues and those who are looking for a foundation for further study.

Daniel I. Block, Wheaton College

At a time when Africans are forming an increasing proportion of the world’s Christians and Africa is becoming one of the major theaters of Christian life and activity, the issue of Africa’s place in the Bible takes on a new importance. How valuable it is, then, to have such a volume as this—thorough, sober, succint, learned and judicious.

—Andrew F. Walls, University of Edinburgh

Edwin Yamauchi is professor of history emeritus at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A coedited work of his, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Persia and the Bible

  • Authors: Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 584

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Cyrus, Darius, and Xerxes—who were these Persian kings? Internationally noted historian Edwin Yamauchi uses the latest archaeological information from Iran, along with over 100 photos and maps, to paint an illuminating portrait of Persia’s people, kings, cities, and role in Old Testament history. An invaluable guide to traversing the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, Esther, Ezra, and Nehemiah.

In his historical-archaeological study, Yamauchi . . . attempts to explain Persian history and culture in the context of biblical accounts, enlarging upon this connection in brief discussions of numerous topics surrounding Persian rulers, seats of government, and religion. The brevity of the discussions and summary presentations of controversial and contradictory theories may prove frustrating for the serious student of Persian history. Still, the book contains many useful elements: a broad survey of the literature and recent archaeological findings; indexes including biblical issues; pertinent maps, diagrams, and illustrations; a large, select bibliography; and meticulous documentation. A valuable basic biblical reference tool or a point of departure for more advanced historical research.

—Paula I. Nielson, Loyola Marymount University

Persia and the Bible represents an impressive achievement.

Biblical Archaeologist

A superb survey. The author’s unique contribution is in providing constant interaction with the Bible, both in terms of how the Scripture serves as a primary source for Persian history and especially by demonstrating how a knowledge of Persian civilization will deepen the reader’s understanding of Scripture.

Near East Archaeological Society Bulletin

Archaeology provides vital, if sometimes scanty, clues that enable the reader and teacher to understand the background of the relevant biblical passages with their distinctive theological viewpoint. This book will enable us all to relate the appropriate and abiding message of the Bible to our own world with its similar problems.

Donald Wiseman, emeritus professor of Assyriology, University of London

The people, places, and religion discussed in the book are important for understanding the post-exilic history of Israel. Yamauchi explores all of these areas in great depth in what is undoubtedly a standard text in the field.

Ashland Theological Journal

Edwin Yamauchi is professor of history emeritus at Miami University, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A coedited work of his, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament

  • Author: John D. Currid
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1997
  • Pages: 208

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The role of Egypt in the Old Testament, particularly in the Pentateuch, is a significant one. John Currid’s in-depth study of that role sheds valuable light on this important aspect of Israel’s history and Scriptures.

Currid observes that more biblical scholars today are returning to the study of Egypt and its texts. “My hope,” he writes, “is that this volume will add to the growing interest in and understanding of the Egyptian connections with the Old Testament.”

After surveying the scholarly interest in Egypt and the Bible and highlighting the uniqueness of the Hebrew worldview, Currid proceeds through the Old Testament canonically, showing Egyptian influences throughout. He explores the creation story, Joseph narrative, Serpent confrontation, ten plagues, and route of the Exodus, plus Solomon’s contacts with Egypt, the relationship of Hebrew poetry to Egyptian wisdom literature, and the links between Hebrew prophecy and Egyptian magic and soothsaying. The result is an enlightening guide to Egyptian influences on Israelite history.

This valuable study offers the most up-to-date information available on archaeological discoveries and includes Currid’s original translation of Egyptian hieroglyphics. Photographs, indexes, and a bibliography enhance the study.

Kenneth Kitchen writes in the foreword: “In the increasingly erratic world of Old Testament studies, where there is still too often a stubborn refusal to pay proper attention to the firm factual framework of reference that the ancient Near Eastern world offers us in assessing the nature and worth of the biblical writings, Currid’s well-documented book is a breath of fresh air and represents a valuable contribution.”

Ancient Egypt and the Old Testament will serve as a text in courses on archaeology and the Old Testament, Old Testament history, and Old Testament backgrounds.

John Currid has written an excellent study of the Egyptian background of certain parts of the Old Testament. The author has read widely and commented judiciously on a number of very interesting topics, such as the itinerary of the Israelitesa as they fled Egypt, the plagues, Solomon’s marriage to an Egyptian princess, the invasion of the pharoh Shishak, and comparisons with Egyptian wisdom literature.

Edwin Yamauchi, Miami University

The evidence that Currid presents is quite persuasive. . . . He is quite skillful in detecting reflections of Egyptian culture in the biblical text.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

An interesting book on a subject that very few people have the courage to discuss.

—Francesca Jourdan

Professor Currid has provided a thorough, stimulating, and informed study of the many ways that the world of ancient Egypt can illumine the pages of the Old Testament. Those who take seriously the importance of reading the Old Testament in light of its cultural context will welcome his balanced assessment of the data. This is a valuable tool for background studies.

John H. Walton, Moody Bible Institute

John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations, and he is author of Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide.

Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide

  • Author: John D. Currid
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1999
  • Pages: 128

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Many people today are familiar with archaeological undertakings in the land of the Bible and the fascinating objects that have been discovered. However, the process of archaeology is generally not well understood. How do excavators know where to dig? How do they identify what they’ve found? John Currid provides many answers in this basic guide to Palestinian archaeology.

Currid, a field archaeologist and Old Testament scholar, surveys the history of archaeological work in the Holy Land and the development of excavation methodology. He highlights pioneering individuals and their contributions, and explains the purposes of topographical survey, site identification, digging techniques, and find analysis. Utilizing the book’s practical outline of archaeological investigation, the final chapter describes the site identification, history of excavation, and finds at et-Tell (Bethsaida). Complete with color photographs, line drawings, and sidebars, this book offers a concise introduction to Palestinian archaeology useful for college classes, study groups, and excavation teams.

Currid’s volume is a useful introduction to archaeology—its history, vocabulary, and methods—for the beginner. The systematic unveiling of these themes provides a ‘stratigraphy’ for study that many students and laypersons will find fascinating. In addition, the short bibliographies add substance to the work, allowing readers to take the additional step of further study. Such aids to first-time student excavators have often taken the form of xeroxed handouts. Currid has provided them with an easy reference work that they can read on the plane to Israel and pull out during the excavation to explain what is happening around them.

Victor H. Matthews, Southwest Missouri State University

At last, a book on the basics of Palestinian archaeology! John Currid’s much-needed text fills a significant gap in the currently available literature in the field. Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible is an excellent introduction that will be of great assistance to the beginning student as well as to the interested layperson.

Bryant G. Wood, Associates for Biblical Research

Professor Currid has written an excellent manual for the history and practice of archaeological excavation in the Middle East, systematically outlined with considerable bibliographical documentation. I recommend the work as supplementary reading for courses requiring a knowledge of the history and methodology of ancient Near Eastern archaeology. I plan to use it as a supplementary text in my classes, both on the introductory and advanced levels.

John McRay, Wheaton College Graduate School

In this brief study, Currid sketches the birth and development of archaeological method and answers many of the basic questions having to do with field work. The book should be a ‘must read’ for anyone intersested in volunteering to participate on a dig in Palestine. The bibliographies concluding each chapter will greatly help the reader who wishes to know more.

—Alfred J. Hoerth, author of Archaeology and the Old Testament

John D. Currid (PhD, Oriental Institute, University of Chicago) is Carl W. McMurray Professor of Old Testament at Reformed Theological Seminary. He has served on several archaeological excavations, and he is author of Doing Archaeology in the Land of the Bible: A Basic Guide.

Jeroboam’s Wife: The Enduring Contributions of the Old Testament’s Least-Known Women

  • Author: Robin Gallaher Branch
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 288

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Much has been written about prominent women of biblical history like Sarah, Ruth, and Esther. However, relatively little attention has been paid to the obscure women of the Old Testament whose words are not recorded in the Bible and some of whom aren’t even named. Yet often these less prominent women played important roles in the unfolding of God’s plan. Indeed, the appearance of such obscure women sometimes signals the emergence of some great event. More than that, these lesser-known women, frequently faced with seemingly impossible circumstances, modeled unflinching integrity and moral courage.

In Jeroboam’s Wife, Robin Gallagher Branch introduces us to seven obscure yet notable biblical women. By examining their historical and cultural settings with scholarly care and penetrating insight, she brings these women out of obscurity and highlights both the unique challenges they face and their indelible contributions. By interacting with contemporary biblical, social, and psychological scholarship, she presents ancient biblical history in fresh and relevant ways.

Thoughtful questions for personal reflection or group discussion guide contemporary readers to ponder the deeper significance of these women’s contributions and to reflect on points of personal application.

Robin Gallaher Branch has taken a series of humble Scripture passages, generally overlooked and passed by, and revealed the wisdom and insight waiting for one who will simply give herself to them. Her careful scholarship, combined with a child-like joy in discovery, makes these women, many of whom Jesus would consider among “the least of these,” come alive.

—Mike Gatliff, pastor, Second Presbyterian Church, Memphis TN

A welcome addition to the growing literature that explores the significance of female biblical characters, major and minor, who are vital participants in biblical salvation history.

Catholic Biblical Review

Dr. Robin Gallaher Branch joyfully draws forth portraits of women and girls who find the middle road between being timidly inarticulate and stridently verbose. in separate chapters, Dr. Branch reveals the paths the seven least-known women and girls took to meet different life-challenges. She shows how each grew emotionally and spiritually to reach hope and finally to achieve surprising courage.

—Mary V. Battle, associate professor of English, University of Memphis

Robin Gallaher Branch’s penetrating probe into the stories of some of the forgotten—and even silent—women of the Old Testament is a tour de force, combining feminist hermeneutic with careful narrative and character analysis. There is a lot more here than most readers will expect. Branch’s careful and illuminating interpretation of these texts is a necessary resource for all future attempts to understand them.

—Stephen G. Dempster, Stuart E. Murray Associate Professor of Religious Studies, Atlantic Baptist University

Robin Gallaher Branch has been writing extensively on the women of the Bible, especially those mentioned in the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible. This book is the fruit of many endeavors in this regard. It is well-written and brings some of the most obscure women of the Hebrew Bible to light. This major contribution should be read by everybody interested in the role of women in the Bible and society.

—Herrie van Rooy, professor of Old Testament, North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa

Robin Gallaher Branch deftly walks the reader through a historically-informed, imaginative characterization of these relatively unknown women, thus introducing us to them. The cadre of women are silent no more! Their places within the story of God are overlooked no longer! Branch’s love of stories is readily observable in her sensitivity to detail in the biblical accounts, as well as in her care and creativity as a (re-)teller of these stories.

Troy A. Miller, associate professor of Bible and theology, Crichton College

Robin Gallaher Branch received her PhD in Hebrew Studies from the University of Texas at Austin. She was a Fulbright scholar, and later, an associate professor at the University in Potchefstroom, South Africa. She is currently a professor of Bible and theology at Crichton College in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ancient Near Eastern Thought and the Old Testament: Introducing the Conceptual World of the Hebrew Bible

  • Author: John H. Walton
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 368

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This volume provides a thoughtful introduction to the literature of the ancient Near East and a well-considered apology for its importance to exegetical work. John Walton suggests that there are three important roles comparative studies can play in biblical interpretation: critical analysis, defense of the biblical text, and exegesis. He focuses particularly on the third aspect and its importance for preventing misinterpretation through the imposition of modern worldviews.

In the main body of the text, Walton offers a thoughtful introduction to ancient Near Eastern literature and the “common cognitive environment” that it provides for understanding the world of ancient Israel. After surveying types of literature, he considers the perspectives they offer on beliefs about gods, religion, the cosmos, people, and history. Throughout his study, helpful comparative sidebars focus on Old Testament interpretation to illumine the continuities and discontinuities between the Israelites and their neighbors. This study provides an excellent introduction to the field of comparative studies and will be an important guide for students, scholars, and clergy who want to make use of extrabiblical resources to enrich their understanding of ancient Israel and its scriptures.

Comparisons between the culture of biblical Israel and the other cultures of the ancient Near East have long been a fundamental part of biblical scholarship, but more often than not, they have been presented in piecemeal, isolated fashion. In his new book, John Walton offers a much broader reach, giving us arguably the most extensive review of these cultural comparisons now available together with a serious meditation on what the enterprise of cultural comparison is all about in biblical study. One may not always agree with his views, but invariably one will come away challenged to rethink the purpose and value of such comparisons for understanding the Hebrew Bible and its world.

Peter B. Machinist, Harvard University

As no other author has done, Walton penetrates beyond the simple comparisons often made to bring back intelligence about the contexts and constitution of the ancient world, stressing the ideas Israel and its contemporaries held in common—such as ‘deity is on the inside, not the outside’ of life—and discussing accounts of creation, views of history and of the future. Yet Walton repeatedly demonstrates how Israel’s faith was distinct, its God revealing his will by writing his law on his people’s hearts, a metaphor from divination implying that they reveal his law to others. That’s one of many cases where interpretation gains from ‘comparative exploration.’ This book deserves the attention of all serious Bible teachers and students.

—Alan R. Millard, University of Liverpool

This book is a must read for serious students of the Old Testament. John Walton has employed his extensive background and experience to write this excellent survey of the interface between the ancient Near East and Israel. I especially appreciate his sidebars on ‘Comparative Exploration,’ which enable readers to ‘zero in’ on the comparative topic of their choice relatively easily. The book is thoroughly readable yet very scholarly. Thus, beginning students, seminarians, and the interested public will find gold mines of conceptual information in this excellent work.

Mark W. Chavalas, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

John Walton has produced an important and useful guide to entering into some of the major worldviews and value systems found in ancient Mesopotamia, Egypt, and Israel. As a unique contribution to the study of that era, his work both introduces readers to this thought world and bridges the gaps between ancient Near Eastern texts and the perspectives of the Bible. Walton’s engaging style makes this an ideal introductory text for these important areas of Bible backgrounds.

Richard S. Hess, Denver Seminary

John H. Walton (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament at Wheaton College. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including A Survey of the Old Testament, Old Testament Today, and The IVP Bible Background Commentary: Old Testament.

Peoples of the Old Testament World

  • Authors: Alfred J. Hoerth, Gerald L. Mattingly, and Edwin Yamauchi
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 400

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The ancient Israelites lived among many nations. Knowing about the people and culture of these nations will enhance your understanding of the Old Testament. Peoples of the Old Testament World provides up-to-date descriptions of the people groups who interacted with and influenced ancient Israel. Detailed accounts by specialists cover each group’s origin, history, rulers, architecture, art, religion, and contacts with biblical Israel.

Part 1 covers the region of Mesopotamia and includes articles on the Sumerians, Babylonians, Assyrians, and Persians. Articles covering the Hittites, Canaanites and Amorites, Phoenicians, Arameans, Philistines, and Egyptians compose the second section. Part 3 explores the people of Transjordan—the Ammonites, Moabites, and Edomites.

Photographs, a chart of chronology, a map of the ancient Near East, and three comprehensive indexes complete the volume.

Gives a superb introduction to major peoples of the biblical world (e.g., Babylonians, Hittites, Canaanites, Egyptians). The authors successfully assimilate and convey textual and archaeological information using the latest scholarly works as well as time-proven resources.

Biblical Archaeology

This excellent work will be recognized as the standard encyclopedic reference on the major non-Israelite people groups mentioned in the Old Testament. Not only would it be an important addition to seminary and Bible school libraries, but it is fashioned in a manner to be profitable for secular university libraries. It is expected that it will be a resource for the next generation of scholars.

Near East Archaelogical Society Bulletin

The book gives a superb introduction to major peoples of the biblical world. The authors successfully assimilate and convey textual and archaelogical information using the latest scholarly works as well as time-proven resources. This book would make a fine textbook for students in an upper level undergraduate class or in a graduate class, a good reference book for well-read lay person, or an excellent resource book for professionals in the field.

Biblical Archaeologist

A useful volume for students and others who read the Hebrew Bible with predominately historical interests.

Religious Studies Review

Alfred J. Hoerth recently retired as the director of archaeology at Wheaton College, where he taught for almost 30 years.

Gerald L. Mattingly is a professor of Bible at Johnson Bible College in Knoxville, Tennessee.

Edwin M. Yamauchi is a professor of history at Miami University in Oxford, Ohio. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Persia and the Bible, Greece and Babylon, The Archaeology of New Testament Cities in Asia Minor, Harper’s World of the New Testament, and Africa and Africans in Antiquity. A co-edited work, Peoples of the Old Testament World, won a Biblical Archaeological Society Award.

Studying the Ancient Israelites: A Guide to Sources and Methods

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 240

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The Old Testament was not written in a vacuum. It was written by and to a specific people who lived within specific social, historical, political, and literary contexts—contexts not only of their own culture but also of the surrounding peoples. Clearly, an understanding of ancient Israel and the ancient Near East is essential for proper interpretation of the Bible.

Unfortunately, as students seek this kind of understanding, they are confronted with a variety of competing opinions and methods regarding the culture, history, sociology, and geography of the biblical story. Does archaeology ‘prove’ the Bible? Is the Bible history, and if so, what kind? How should the Old Testament be approached as literature? These and other questions are addressed in Studying the Ancient Israelites, which provides a guide to the tools, methods, and goals of the study of ancient Israel. The book also examines the insights that can be gained from geography, archaeology, literary study, sociology, and historiography, as well as the limitations of each of these disciplines. Here is an excellent text for Old Testament study.

Not only does Matthews write with the authority of a scholar with years of experience in the cultures of Israel and the ancient Near East, he also writes to bring the material to the educated layperson. This is an excellent background work, thus I would encourage all to read it as a prelude to any study of Israel. Studying the Ancient Israelites is full of practical, sensible help in understanding ancient Israel. The work contains specific examples concerning the various disciplines that have been used to study ancient Israel: archaeology, sociology, historical geography, historiography, and literary approaches.

Mark W. Chavalas, professor of history, University of Wisconsin-La Crosse

Matthews is a sure-footed guide for students looking for help in sorting out the claims and counterclaims of scholars. This concise volume clearly introduces readers to the various issues surrounding the study of the ancient Israelites, offering insightful comments on the methods used in the investigation and why they are important.

J. Andrew Dearman, professor of Old Testament, Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, and the best-selling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

The Social World of Ancient Israel: 1250–587, BCE

  • Author: Victor H. Matthews and Don C. Benjamin
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 352

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Getting a fix on the social context of the Hebrew Bible is imperative for anyone reconstructing either the “story” of the text or the “history” behind the text. Resources in this area often prove overspecialized and arcane, and readerly tasks as simple as scanning their table of contents can require highly sophisticated skills in cultural anthropology or Semitic languages. Social World of Ancient Israel, 1250–587 BCE offers those interested in learning about the biblical world a more user-friendly framework for viewing the broader picture; at the same time, it relies on the latest methods of cultural anthropology and biblical analysis in its presentation. Painting a picture in broad but precise strokes, the authors portray the landscape of ancient Israel in new and exciting colors that expert and student alike will appreciate.

Social World of Ancient Israel takes a unique look at the most prominent social institutions of the world of early Israel and the period of the monarchy, and then shows how properly understanding these social institutions is essential for sound biblical interpretation. Immersing the reader in five major areas of antiquity’s daily life —politics, economics, diplomacy, law, and education—Matthews and Benjamin explore the ways in which knowing how “players” function in these institutions (configurations include “father/mother,” “prophet/wise one,”, and“host/stranger”) can shape our understanding of earliest Israel. Perhaps most significantly, the book gently exposes the inefficiency of past anthropological models for interpreting the relationships, attitudes and social conventions of earliest Israel. Its corrective insights will enable scholar and student alike to plot new approaches for studying the Hebrew Bible and the ancient people of Israel.

Social World of Ancient Israel offers the most refreshing and innovative approach to ancient Israelite society that I have ever read. The book uses different roles in village life and state institutions to open up the biblical world. Clear and engaging for beginners, full of insights for biblical scholars, this book fills a major need for a masterful synthesis of life in ancient Israel.

Mark S. Smith, New York University.

Victor H. Matthews is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and professor of religious studies at Missouri State University. He received his PhD from Brandeis University, and he has written numerous popular as well as scholarly articles. He is the author of Manners and Customs in the Bible and coauthor of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East and The Social World of Ancient Israel.

Don C. Benjamin teaches at Rice University. He is coauthor of Old Testament Parallels: Laws and Stories from the Ancient Near East and author of Deuteronomy and City Life.

The Enemy in the Household: Family Violence in Deuteronomy and Beyond

  • Author: Caryn A. Reeder
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 224

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Three laws in Deuteronomy command violence against a family member—the enemy in the household—who leads others away from covenantal obligations to God. Several biblical and postbiblical narratives make use of such violence. In The Enemy in the Household: Family Violence in Deuteronomy and Beyond,readers will find a fresh approach to troubling biblical texts.

Caryn Reeder explores the “family violence” passages in Deuteronomy, tracing their ancient interpretation and assessing their contemporary significance. The Enemy in the Household examines such “constructive” violence carried out to protect the covenant community by investigating the reading practices of ancient Jewish and Christian interpreters of Scripture and their applications of these passages. It also provides modern readers with a model for the ethical interpretation of these difficult texts. The book will appeal to professors and students in Old Testament/Deuteronomy courses as well as those covering ethics and the Bible.

Ancient and modern interpreters have struggled to understand and apply the passages in Deuteronomy that legislate violence against family members as judgment for covenant unfaithfulness. Caryn Reeder sorts through the Old Testament texts as well as the pertinent literatures of Hellenistic Judaism, Roman-period Jewish writers, the Tannaitic Rabbis, and the New Testament, offering meticulous analysis that helps modern readers understand the theological and cultural issues as well as the interpretive dilemmas. It is the rare scholar who can interact with these literatures so adeptly, but Reeder shows sophisticated insight at every turn. The Bible’s call for constructive family violence is of great interest both in academia and the church, and Reeder’s balanced treatment provides much-needed perspective to the discussion.

—John H. Walton, Wheaton College

Ancient and modern interpreters have struggled to understand and apply the passages in Deuteronomy that legislate violence against family members as judgment for covenant unfaithfulness. Caryn Reeder sorts through the Old Testament texts as well as the pertinent literatures of Hellenistic Judaism, Roman-period Jewish writers, the Tannaitic Rabbis, and the New Testament, offering meticulous analysis that helps modern readers understand the theological and cultural issues as well as the interpretive dilemmas. It is the rare scholar who can interact with these literatures so adeptly, but Reeder shows sophisticated insight at every turn. The Bible’s call for constructive family violence is of great interest both in academia and the church, and Reeder’s balanced treatment provides much-needed perspective to the discussion.

John H. Walton, Wheaton College

Reeder offers us an in-depth study of the laws of ‘constructive family violence’ in the book of Deuteronomy. She contributes to our interpretive lens by means of an ethnographically sensitive exegesis of these laws in Deuteronomy as well as a thorough review of their conceptualization in subsequent believing communities. Here is a very helpful resource for those engaged in the study of family law, the marking of social boundaries in Israel, and even church discipline.

—Sandra L. Richter, Wesley Biblical Seminary

Caryn Reeder is unafraid. She is unafraid of a subject on which many fear to speak. She is unafraid of parts of the Bible that others either ignore or expunge. And she is unafraid of controversy, whether among the ancient rabbis or within today’s church.

Jo Bailey Wells, Duke Divinity School

This book is an excellent study on three verses in Deuteronomy, but it is about so much more. Through its focus on these three verses that suggest family violence, this volume demonstrates what careful research and well-applied theory can reveal about the text, Deuteronomy, family, and society, and the impact interpretation, both ancient and modern, has on meaning.

Tammi J. Schneider, School of Religion, Claremont Graduate University

Caryn A. Reeder (PhD, University of Cambridge) is an assistant professor of religious studies at Westmont College in Santa Barbara, California.

Flame of Yahweh: Sexuality in the Old Testament

  • Author: Richard M. Davidson
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 850

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Flame of Yahweh offers a thorough exploration of gender relationships and sexual activity in the Old Testament. Topics include sexuality in Eden, the elevation vs. the denigration of women, exclusivity vs. adultery and premarital sex, permanence vs. divorce and remarriage, intimacy vs. incest, and sexuality in the Song of Songs.

Written from a theologically conservative perspective, Richard Davidson provides a meticulously researched work that makes extensive use of other ancient Near Eastern documents on subjects ranging from homosexuality to gender relations. At the same time, the author offers clear explanations of terms and historical context that make the work accessible and engaging.

This volume represents a most remarkable achievement. With encyclopedic breadth and extraordinary depth the author explores what the Old Testament has to say about every conceivable subject related to human sexuality. His discussions of the ancient Near Eastern cultural contexts, from which Old Testament writings emerged and to which they appear to have responded, are exceptional; and his treatment of specific biblical passages is generally balanced and thorough. Regardless of where readers find themselves in debates concerning sexual morality of gender relations, in the future, all who embark on serious study of biblical perspectives on these issues would do well to start with Davidson’s work.

Daniel I. Block, Professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

Richard M. Davidson is J. N. Andrews Professor of Old Testament Interpretation at Andrews University. He is the author of In the Footsteps of Joshua and A Love Song for the Sabbath, as well as many encyclopedia and journal articles.

The Face of Old Testament Studies: A Survey of Contemporary Approaches

  • Authors: David W. Baker and Bill T. Arnold
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 512

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The developments in Old Testament studies during the past 25 years have created a mountain of scholarly data that challenges even the best-read researcher. From textual criticism to literary approaches, from historiography to social science, each discipline possesses unique patterns of development, scholarly personalities, and methodologies. The Face of Old Testament Studies tackles the challenge of organizing this wealth of data through a collection of essays on 16 major areas of contemporary Old Testament research.

Each contributor traces recent developments in his field of expertise, delineating new directions and crucial methodologies that have emerged in the mainstream academy. One distinctive of this compilation is that it also pays attention to conservative scholars who have made contributions of significance that have been recognized beyond their own camp.

This reference work affords professors and students an overview of the salient issues and current approaches to Old Testament research. Suitable as a textbook for Old Testament introduction, Hebrew exegesis, and Old Testament theology courses, it will also be helpful for nonspecialists who desire to keep up with developments in Old Testament studies.

A splendid book that will be an important reference work in the field and useful both to beginners and to seasoned students. The editors have assembled an impressive series of authors, all of whom are competent, some of whom are leaders in their fields. The book is immensely well-documented by well-read authors! Judgments made on scholarly work are consistently judicious and fair. The reader can count on an informed, well-balanced entry into the excitement of current study.

Walter A. Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary

In a world where knowledge of every subject is growing more quickly than at any other time in history, this volume of essays provides an exceptionally helpful way of keeping abreast of current Old Testament scholarship. Contemporary approaches to a wide range of issues are not only clearly explained but also carefully critiqued, offering a distinctively evangelical assessment of Old Testament studies at the end of the twentieth century. For those who wish to familiarize themselves with the current state of affairs, this collection of essays, written by recognized experts in their own fields, is indispensable

T. Desmond Alexander, Union Theological College

Probably the best attempt to describe the present state of Old Testament scholarship. The authors are all recognized scholars who have contributed significantly to Old Testament studies. They examine an amazing amount of literature and so give the reader access to most of the important essays and books in the last decades. While all of the essays are competent reviews of the issues and the debates, some of the essays are themselves helpful contributions to further thinking about the issues under discussion. It will be most useful for anyone teaching Old Testament.

Patrick D. Miller, Princeton Theological Seminary

The editors are to be commended for both the scope and thoroughness of the essays. The contributors to this volume represent the best of evangelical scholarship, interacting seriously with the most recent research on a wide range of subjects but maintaining a high view of the Old Testament as a source for understanding the history, culture, and faith of ancient Israel.

Daniel L. Block, professor of Old Testament, Wheaton College

This collection of essays on the state of Old Testament studies by prominent Old Testament scholars is a welcome addition to the library of both scholars and students of the Old Testament. The essays review the literature and present the challenge of thinking through a number of issues that have been raised in the last twenty years. A magnificent contribution to the state of Old Testament scholarship.

—Willem A. VanGemeren, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School

Bill T. Arnold (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including Encountering the Book of Genesis, Dictionary of the Old Testament: Historical Books, A Guide to Biblical Hebrew Syntax, and a commentary on 1 and 2 Samuel.

David W. Baker (Ph.D., University of London) is a professor of Old Testament and Semitic languages at Ashland Theological Seminary. He is a coeditor of the Apollos Old Testament Commentary series and the author or editor of numerous other projects.

Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel

  • Author: Marty E. Stevens
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 224

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The temple in Jerusalem was both the center of ancient Israel’s religious life and an economic center for the nation. In this groundbreaking study of the economic functions of the Jerusalem temple, Marty E. Stevens, who worked for 15 years as a certified public accountant prior to getting a PhD in Old Testament, demonstrates that the temple acted as the central bank, internal revenue collector, source of loans, and even debt collector for ancient Israel. Applying a broad knowledge of temple-systems throughout the ancient Near East, Stevens sheds light on the roles played by various officials mentioned in Scripture and their tasks within the temple complex. Neither “Big Brother” nor “big business,” the temple still served government and commerce in the course of conducting its religious functions. This fascinating book opens new avenues for understanding the Jerusalem temple and its impact on Israelite society.

Professor Stevens has generously provided both the guild and the church a marvelously accessible study of the economic role of the temple in ancient Israel. She brings to her analysis the precision of an accountant, the judiciousness of a historian, and the passion of an educator. Her work will prove to be an indispensible reference work and an engaging textbook.

William P. Brown, professor of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

This study presents an entirely new way of looking at the Jerusalem temples and their personnel. Stevens brings to light the most neglected aspect of temple life in most previous scholarship, i.e., the commercial role it played in the culture of its times. She has introduced fresh ways of conceiving its function as the power behind the throne and nation.

John M. Halligan, professor of Bible, St. John Fisher College

Marty E. Stevens holds a PhD in Old Testament from Union Theological Seminary and Presbyterian School of Christian Education. Prior to embarking on an academic career, she worked for 15 years as a CPA in the US, Canada, and Europe. She teaches biblical studies at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg.

Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World: An Introduction, 2nd ed.

  • Authors: Victor H. Matthews
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 256

Victor Matthews, a veteran teacher and expert on the world of ancient Israel, introduces students to the Hebrew prophets and their social world. Drawing on archaeology and ancient Near Eastern texts, Matthews examines the prophets chronologically, placing them and their message into historical context. He explores pertinent aspects of historical geography, economic conditions, and social forces that influenced a prophet’s life and message and explains why prophets served an integral purpose in the development of ancient Israelite religion. He also explores how prophets addressed their audience and employed rhetorical methods, images, and metaphors to communicate effectively. Logically organized, clearly written, and classroom friendly, this book meets the needs of beginning as well as advanced students. It is a substantially revised and expanded edition of the successful Social World of the Hebrew Prophets.

This is a user-friendly, insightful introduction to the prophets and their times. It brings together for readers the prophetic books, the figures they represent, and the world that produced them.

Andrew Dearman, professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Matthews’s The Hebrew Prophets and Their Social World suits the needs of the college and seminary classroom in exemplary fashion. In it, Matthews sets the biblical prophets in their broader social context and in their specific historical contexts. He describes the phenomenon of prophecy, traces the outlines of its developments in ancient Israel from Moses to Malachi, and sketches the key themes in the preaching of each of the classical prophets. Supplemented by inserts that examine important background issues and a very helpful glossary and couched in readable, direct prose, this introduction sets a high standard.

Mark Biddle, Russell T. Cherry Professor of Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond

The sheer genius of Victor Matthews as the author of this text, now in its second edition, is his ability to take very dense material and present it in a way that is thoroughly engaging, well researched, and brilliantly written. This study packs a lot of punch in a short amount of space and welcomes both students and scholars alike into the rich world of the ancient Near Eastern prophetic tradition and each of Israel’s prophets. This text is an excellent resource, an indispensable tool for learning, and should be used in every biblical course on the Prophets.

—Carol J. Dempsey, professor of theology (biblical studies), University of Portland, OR

My students often have difficulty coming to terms with the Hebrew Prophets because they are so diverse and yet all part of the same phenomenon of prophecy in ancient Israel. Victor Matthews has produced a very readable volume that provides the information students and other readers of the Old Testament need to begin a fruitful journey with the Prophets. He has put the prophetic books in the full context of the Hebrew Bible and in the process helped his readers understand a number of issues in biblical interpretation. His volume demonstrates the value of approaching the prophetic books with attention to their social setting. The volume is a fine beginning point for those who would interpret with integrity the Old Testament prophetic books.

—W. H. Bellinger Jr., Baylor University

This [book] is clear and well organized. Sub-headings, highlighted terms, and offset boxes make this text a wonderful pedagogical tool for teaching an introductory course in the prophets. [Matthews’s] primary focus on the prophets’ social world with attention to the various literary forms and techniques found in the prophetic texts is a welcome addition to the collection of texts already written about Israel’s prophets. Without any sacrifice of content, the work is concise, reader-friendly, and thoroughly engaging. This is an excellent resource of scholars, teachers, students, and general readers of the Bible.

Interpretation

Victor H. Matthews (PhD, Brandeis University) is dean of the College of Humanities and Public Affairs and a professor of religious studies at Missouri State University in Springfield, Missouri, where he has taught for more than 25 years. He is the author of numerous books, including The Old Testament: Text and Context, Studying the Ancient Israelites, and the best-selling Manners and Customs in the Bible.

Israelite Religions: An Archaeological and Biblical Survey

  • Authors: Hess, Richard S.
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 432

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The last several decades have witnessed important discoveries of archaeological and documentary materials from the ancient Near East that shed light on ancient Israel and its religious practices. These extrabiblical materials have had a significant impact on scholarly debates regarding the religion of Israel and the interpretation of the Bible. Until now, however, there have been few introductions that juxtapose these contemporary discoveries with the biblical narrative to help students understand ancient Israelite religions.

Richard Hess provides just that in this accessible account of the discovery of archaeological and textual materials and the debates that have arisen over their importance for biblical studies. After a general introduction to the study of religion, he surveys the field of ancient Israelite and pre-Israelite western Semitic religious traditions. He then turns to consider the biblical literature and how other documentary evidence might enlarge our understanding of ancient Israelite religious practices and beliefs. One of the central scholarly debates concerns the question of when the Israelites developed their monotheistic impulse. After examining the evidence, Hess argues for the early establishment of the monotheistic tradition in ancient Israel.

Hess brings a wealth of knowledge to this study, and scholars, students, and clergy interested in the contemporary study of the ancient Near East and the Old Testament will welcome the expert guidance provided in this illustrated volume.

Having dedicated the last 50 years, full-time, to the study of the Bible and archaeology, I found Richard Hess’s Israelite Religions a veritable tour de force. Not only is it a remarkably inclusive review of major issues in our field but it also presents a well-informed critique of these matters. This comprehensive study attests to the broad erudition of the author and his unusual ability to communicate recondite material in an intelligible manner. This book will serve as an extraordinary resource for a long time; the bibliography alone makes it invaluable. Hess’s control of both ancient and modern languages, as well as anthropology and archaeology, enhances the value of his lucid presentation.

—Philip J. King, professor emeritus of biblical studies, Boston College

This new study by Richard Hess is a scrupulously detailed analysis of the most relevant research on the history of ancient Israel. The author has given ample attention to the main views and approaches to the subject. However, this is more than a review of the current state of the art. Professor Hess gives his own interpretation of the evidence, literary and archaeological. The result is a balanced, thoughtful presentation of the religion(s) of ancient Israel as he sees it (them). Every scholar and advanced student will want to use this erudite but clearly written essay on the religion of ancient Israel.

—Anson F. Rainey, emeritus professor of ancient Near Eastern cultures and Semitic linguistics, Tel Aviv University; adjunct professor of historical geography, Bar Ilan University

Writing from a tradition with high regard for what the Bible knows about ancient Israel, Richard Hess puts Scripture in dialogue with the full range of evidence for Israel’s religious life. In a lucid, accessible text for students, Hess also pushes forward a crucial conversation among scholars about the Bible and the ancient world.

—Daniel E. Fleming, professor of Hebraic and Judaic Studies, New York University

Richard S. Hess, well known for his numerous studies in biblical and ancient Near Eastern topics, now brings his extensive knowledge to bear on ‘Israelite religions.’ The plural form of the title is decisive: everywhere the accent is on the pluriformity and complexity of Israelite religion(s) in various periods and locales. The subtitle is equally critical: Hess surveys an immense array of biblical and archaeological data both judiciously and economically. Throughout the book, Hess’s attention to what may be unique or distinctive about Israelite religion(s) vis-a-vis its cultural congeners is instructive. Moreover, his care to define key terms, his correlation of textual and artifactual material, his awareness of the relationship of Israelite religion to biblical theology, as well as his trademark skill in onomastics—not to mention the useful and extensive bibliography—are among the aspects that make the present book not only welcome but also essential reading on the subject.

—Brent A. Strawn, associate professor of Old Testament, Candler School of Theology and Graduate Division of Religion, Emory University

Richard Hess’s book on Israelite religions displays impressive knowledge of their archaeological and ancient Near Eastern background as well as of the modern scholarly literature (over one thousand items in the bibliography!). Even those who will question some of Hess’s more conservative conclusions will learn much from this fascinating volume.

John Day, professor of Old Testament studies, Oxford University

Echoing the works of William Foxwell Albright and Cyrus Gordon, Richard Hess’s new book on Israelite religion offers a survey of Israelite religion fundamentally based on the framework and claims of the Bible and informed by archaeological evidence and extrabiblical texts. The book provides a clear, conservative treatment of this material from the Middle and Late Bronze Age down through the demise of Judah in 586. To the scholarly discussion of these sources, Hess adds his own expertise, particularly in Bronze Age texts. The field now has a general treatment of Israelite religion produced by a scholar with a strong faith in the Bible’s veracity. Even if readers do not share Hess’s strong trust in either the Bible’s historical claims or his high dating for many biblical texts and traditions, this volume nonetheless presents a good listing of research.

Mark S. Smith, Skirball Professor of Bible and Ancient Near Eastern Studies, New York University

Richard S. Hess (PhD, Hebrew Union College) is a professor of Old Testament at Denver Seminary. He is the editor or author of a number of works, including the commentary on Joshua in the Tyndale Old Testament Commentaries series, Family in the Bible, and Israel’s Messiah in the Bible and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Ancient Texts for the Study of the Hebrew Bible: A Guide to the Background Literature

  • Authors: Kenton L. Sparks
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 608

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The Hebrew Bible represents no mere collection of books but a stunning array of literary genres. To fully illuminate the history and culture of the Old Testament, it is necessary to compare these ancient writings to similar texts written concurrently by Israel’s neighbors.

Beginning with an overview of the important literary archives of the ancient Near East, Sparks provides exhaustive references to the ancient literary counterparts to the Hebrew Bible’s major genres. Surveying the ancient writings found throughout Egypt, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Palestine, Sparks provides a brief summary of each text discussed, translating brief portions and linking them to literarily similar biblical passages. Exploring over 30 genres—wisdom, hymns, love poetry, rituals, prophecy, apocalyptic, novella, epic legend, myth, genealogy, history, law, treaty, epigraphic materials, and others—it offers an exemplary guide to the fertile literary environment from which the canonical writings sprung. Rich with bibliographic material, this invaluable catalog enables the reader to locate not only the published texts in their original ancient languages but to find suitable English translations and commentary bearing on these ancient texts. A number of helpful indexes round out this outstanding resource. Providing students with a thorough introduction to the literature of the ancient Near East--and time-pressed scholars with an admirably up-to-date research tool—it will become a syllabus standard for a myriad of courses.

For generations, specialists have begged for a book that would convey the literary richness of the ancient Near East to students of the Bible and of the classics. Kent Sparks—s handy reference guide is now here to fill that need: elegant in presentation, judicious in contents, with precise summaries of opinions, and helpful bibliographically.

Jack M. Sasson, Vanderbilt University

Students and scholars of every level will save days of catalog and preparation time for any one project just by having this ready to hand.

—Daniel Fleming, New York University

In addition to being highly conversant with ancient Near Eastern studies, the discussions show familiarity with contemporary theory in several fields outside of the biblical and ancient Near Eastern fields. The book thus constitutes a companion work to collections of translations of ancient Near Eastern texts . . . and a helpful aid for comparative study in general. . . . This is the sort of book that all scholars of Hebrew Bible should have in their libraries. In this day and age, it is difficult for those involved in comparative research to be equally conversant with all aspects of comparative study. For those who are not engaged in comparative research, this work gives ready access to current research in various biblical genres and their ancient Near Eastern and Egyptian literary counterparts. Whether one works in comparative research or not, this book will undoubtedly provide needed coverage. For teaching purposes, itI will also serve as a great aid. Thanks to this book, ancient Near Eastern texts have never been so accessible for biblical studies. Since this is such a helpful book for both students and professors, one may hope that the author will issue revised editions of this work for decades to come.

Journal of Hebrew Scriptures

Sparks’s fifteen chapters provide a genre-based discussion of ancient Near Eastern texts that in some way contributes to the study of the world, the literature, and the text of the Hebrew Bible. . . . While the primary audience for Sparks’s book is students, it will also serve as a helpful reference guide for biblical scholars.

Old Testament Abstracts

This is the fullest collection sui generis to date. . . . The book is illustrated with a number of maps and charts. The exposition is lucid and clear. The book is a good reference guide for the serious student of biblical literature. Academic libraries of institutions with programs in Bible studies, comparative religion, and comparative literature will be the primary address for this book. I recommend it for the reference shelf both for undergraduate and for graduate students.

Association of Jewish Libraries Newsletter

Kenton L. Sparks (PhD, University of North Carolina) is professor of biblical studies and special assistant to the provost at Eastern University in St. Davids, Pennsylvania. He is the author of several books, including Ethnicity and Identity in Ancient Israel.

Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction

  • Author: Frederick J. Murphy
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 448

Apocalypticism is not a specialized or peripheral topic in biblical studies. It represents the central, characteristic transformation of Hebrew thought in the Second Temple period, and it’s the context in which the New Testament books were written. Frederick Murphy defines apocalypticism while discussing its origins, its expressions in the Hebrew Bible, and its bearing on Jesus and the New Testament. This text will be useful for students of early Christianity and will work well as a supplemental text for Second Temple Judaism, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament courses.

Years ago Ernst Käsemann asserted that Jewish apocalypticism was the mother of Christian theology. If you want to understand that claim, read Rick Murphy’s masterful guide to all the relevant ancient Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts. This remarkable synthesis is a fitting memorial to a beloved teacher, respected scholar, and fine human being.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Lucidly written, accessible, and reliable, Murphy’s book is an ideal textbook for college courses. Its distinctive strength lies in its exposition of the role apocalypticism plays in the New Testament.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

A master teacher, Professor Murphy has left us a legacy in this volume that will serve students for years to come. He covers the entire range of apocalyptic imagery and eschatology from its roots in the prophetic texts of the Hebrew Bible through the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish works of the Second Temple period. Text boxes, charts, illustrations, and extensive bibliographies make this a classroom-friendly volume.

Pheme Perkins, professor of theology, Boston College

This book is without a doubt the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to apocalypticism available. It was written by a master scholar and teacher whose many years of intimate acquaintance with the ancient texts and whose pedagogical adeptness in communicating the material are evident on every page. This superb study will benefit both those who are new to the apocalyptic genre and worldview and those who are ready for a fresh and deeper look into a subject whose importance for understanding early Judaism and Christianity cannot be exaggerated.

Daniel C. Harlow, professor of religion, Calvin College

Frederick J. Murphy (1949–2011) was, for more than 25 years, a professor of New Testament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He authored numerous books, including Fallen Is Babylon: The Revelation to John, Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Jesus, and An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels.

Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament

  • Author: J. Julius Scott Jr.
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 416

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This survey of intertestamental Judaism illuminates the customs and controversies that provide an essential background for understanding the New Testament. Helpful charts, maps, and diagrams are incorporated throughout the text.

To be recommended for its cautious approach to controversial subjects.

International Review of Biblical Studies

This volume provides a wealth of practical information furnished in a tightly written style, which will make it a helpful basic reference for general discussion of the major tensions and trajectories within intertestamental Judaism. . . . Scott’s 30 years of teaching experience is evident in the way he has very compactly brought together an enormous amount of material about an area of biblical study that is constantly expanding. . . . Scott has served Christian students well by opening a door into the Jewish world and literature leading up to the development of Christianity.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

This . . . is an excellent one-volume introduction to the historical and cultural backgrounds of early Christianity. The layout of the book is very straightforward and easy to follow. In addition, the table of contents is more complete than most books published in the present day, and it serves the reader well. . . . An outstanding survey of the historical and religious developments in Second Temple Judaism as they relate to New Testament Studies.

Review of Biblical Literature

This easy-to-read reference is a great help in understanding the New Testament.

Conservative Theological Journal

Professor Scott has provided students and pastors with a first-rate study of intertestamental Judaism and how this period—its literature and institutions—serves as background for a better understanding of the New Testament. What makes this book especially useful is that it not only offers an accessible overview of the data (history, institutions, religious thought) but also engages with the ideas and controversies that emerged within the Judaism of this period. The reader is thus given an especially helpful entry into the complex and varied phenomenon called early Judaism—of which Jesus, Paul, and most of the other New Testament writers were a part.

Gordon D. Fee, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, Regent College

Overall, the volume offers a very detailed yet readable treatment of its topic, clearly relevant for the Christian student yet valuable for numerous other readers as well.

Themelios

I recommend this study to anyone who wants to become a better interpreter of the New Testament.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

J. Julius Scott Jr. received his PhD from the University of Manchester. He is an emeritus professor of biblical and historical studies at Wheaton College Graduate School.

Christianity in the Greco-Roman World: A Narrative Introduction

  • Author: Moyer V. Hubbard
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 344

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Background becomes foreground in Moyer Hubbard’s creative introduction to the social and historical setting of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches in Asia Minor and Europe.

Hubbard begins each major section with a brief narrative that features a fictional character in one of the era’s great cities. He elaborates on the various cultural aspects of the setting portrayed in the vignettes, and discusses the implications of those venues for understanding Paul’s letters and applying their message to our present lives. Addressing a wide array of cultural and traditional issues, Hubbard covers:

  • Religion and superstition
  • Education, philosophy, and oratory
  • Urban society
  • Households and family life in the Greco-Roman world

This work is based on the premise that the better you understand the historical and social context in which the New Testament—and like Paul’s letters—was written, the better you will understand the writings of the New Testament themselves. Passages become clearer, metaphors are deciphered, and images are sharpened. Teachers, students, and laypeople alike will appreciate Hubbard’s unique, illuminating, and well-researched approach to the world of the early church.

Hubbard uses imaginative stories to present various aspects of life in the Greco-Roman world, followed by discussion of key issues.

Preaching

An excellent introduction to the Greco-Roman world that uses insights from the ancient Mediterranean cultural milieu to interpret the New Testament. . . . Christianity in the Greco-Roman World would be a good text to use in any introductory course on the New Testament and its social world, both on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The author has a wide-ranging knowledge of the field, and this book includes several good features, such as the inclusion of numerous citations from a range of primary sources (both literary and non-literary). Given that many undergraduate students have very little familiarity with the Graeco-Roman world, the descriptions found here of important aspects of it . . . will be very illuminating, especially as these are connected directly to relevant New Testament passages.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

While there is no substitute for reading primary source materials, Hubbard’s work brings readers close to the originals. Suggestions are given at the end of every main section for further reading in primary and secondary source materials. Hubbard is to be commended for the extensive amount of research behind this work. Numerous quotations help give readers a glimpse of how people in the Greco-Roman world thought and lived, and the effect the gospel had on those social norms. . . . Blending narrative and prose keeps the readers’ attention and it makes the Greco-Roman world come alive.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Much of the Christian world lacks sufficient awareness of the wider context in which the figures of the New Testament moved. Moyer Hubbard . . . addresses this need in his book . . . targeting undergraduate-level readers and working expositors. There is much to praise about Hubbard’s effort. . . . This work is a well-written narrative, well organized and thoroughly indexed enough to remain a useful reference.

Expository Times

[An] evocative work. . . . Hubbard begins each chapter with a fictional narrative based on a name found on an ancient inscription. . . . These sections will appeal to the postmodern penchant for story-telling and do provide a glimpse into a world completely foreign to the modern reader. . . . The vast array of inscriptions included throughout the pages of this work is invaluable. . . . This single feature makes this monograph useful to the undergraduate student looking for a general understanding of first-century life in the Greco-Roman world. . . . This book is a valuable tool for the student of the Bible or general interest reader who wishes to better understand the prevailing cultural influences as the church came into existence and began to grow in the first century.

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism

Moyer V. Hubbard received a BS from Multnomah Bible College, a ThM and MDiv from Western Seminary, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. He is an associate professor of New Testament language and literature at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Hubbard is the author of New Creation in Paul’s Letters and Thought and of a commentary on 2 Corinthians.

Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period

  • Author: Michael F. Bird
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 224

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What was the extent and nature of Jewish proselytizing activity amongst non-Jews in Palestine and the Greco-Roman diaspora leading up to and during the beginning of the Christian era? Was there a clear missional direction? How did Second-Temple Judaism recruit converts and gain sympathizers? This book strives to address these questions and provides an update of the discussion. A source book of key texts is provided at the end.

One of the more fascinating discussions in New Testament scholarship today involves the question as to what pre-Christian Judaism thought about mission, if it did so at all. In this book, Michael Bird not only brings much-needed definitional clarity but also offers a sensible and clear path through the multifaceted thicket of historical evidence. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of either first-century Judaism or Christian origins can ill afford to neglect taking a study like this along for the journey.

Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College

This excellent study takes up the question of whether ancient Judaism at the time of Jesus and the early church was missionary in character. Scholarly opinion has been divided on this issue, although most recent authors question whether Judaism was a missionary religion as such. Bird notes that the question of what the fate of the Gentiles might be stems from two fundamental biblical convictions: first, that God is the God of the whole world, and second, that Israel is an elect people. After carefully reviewing the evidence Bird concludes that, while Second Temple Judaism welcomed proselytes and in some instances significant numbers of Gentiles became incorporated into Judaism, deliberate outreach or attempts to convert Gentiles were only sporadic and not at the core of Jewish consciousness.

The Bible Today

Bird offers a compelling discussion regarding whether or not Second Temple Judaism may rightly be identified as having maintained an active and consistent mission to Gentiles. . . . This source book, which offers the original Greek, Latin, and Hebrew texts along with their translations, is in itself a useful resource for those interested in the subject. Bird’s lucid study is accessible for use as an introduction, yet at the same time it will be recognized as a genuine contribution to the ongoing discussion of Jewish attitudes toward mission and conversion in the Second Temple period.

Theological Book Review

[Bird] contributes significantly to the ongoing discussion of early Jewish missionary activity through his engaging monograph. . . . There is little to criticize in this book. . . . Bird is spot-on in his nuanced linguistic and historical judgments. Indeed, this book might profitably serve as a supplementary text in a course focusing on either missiology or biblical backgrounds. The text models careful research that has relevance for both reading the New Testament and rightly understanding missions. Bird’s book takes its deserved place in the line of missions-related studies by New Testament scholars such as Eckhard Schnabel and I. Howard Marshall—scholars who model careful historical study in the service of the academy and the church.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Michael F. Bird is a lecturer in theology at Crossway College and an honorary research associate at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission and The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective.

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life

  • Author: Lynn H. Cohick
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 352

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Lynn Cohick provides an accurate and full picture of the earliest Christian women, examining a wide variety of revealing first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman documents. She organizes the book around three major spheres of life: family (daughter, wife, mother, and widow), religious community (including both official and unofficial activities), and society in general (work, slavery, prostitution, and benefaction). Cohick shows that although women during this period were active at all levels within their religious communities, their influence was not always identified by leadership titles nor did their gender always determine their participation levels.

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians corrects our understanding of early Christian women and offers an authentic and descriptive historical picture of their lives. The book includes black-and-white illustrations of the ancient world.

Dr. Cohick offers a richly detailed and finely nuanced invitation into the lives of women in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The study profits from her integrated examination of literary, epigraphic, iconographic, and archaeological evidence. She exposes gender bias and ideology in literary evidence without discarding what reliable evidence these texts offer for the reconstruction of women’s ‘real life’ experience. She remains attentive throughout not only to issues of gender but also to issues of status, class, and ethnicity and to the bearing these have on the levels of self-direction, involvement, and influence enjoyed by women in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This book challenges some oft-heard generalizations about women, women’s roles, and women’s influence, replacing these with the more complicated and varied realities of women’s experience in the ancient world.

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

Many preconceptions exist about the role of women in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds at the time of Jesus. . . . By taking us through the world of women at that time, Cohick offers a solid glimpse of first-century culture—a wonderful window into the world of the New Testament that is well worth the read.

Darrell L. Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

She carefully assesses the available information—from literature, artwork, inscriptions, and even business receipts—sketching a portrait of ‘real women’s experiences’ in the early days of Christianity. This portrait is one that moves beyond the stereotype of women sequestered at home, but it takes full account of the patriarchy that characterized their world. To combine fascinating storytelling with careful historical assessment is no simple task; Cohick does so with ease.

Jeannine K. Brown, interim dean for the faculty and professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary

This is an important book for all students of the New Testament, however novice or advanced. Cohick’s historical sensibilities and sympathetic reading of the whole range of available evidence overturn a number of caricatures that have for decades plagued claims about women (and men) in the world of the early church. Her presentation of the life of the ordinary Roman woman from Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian sources is a model of careful exploration and nuanced reconstruction. It deserves to be read attentively and consulted often.

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

This is an excellent historical resource book that describes in detail the situation of women in the Greco-Roman world. . . . Throughout, the author maintains a non-ideological stance; while she is clearly appreciative of women’s role in this historical context and aware of the constraints imposed on women, her goal is to be as objectively descriptive as possible. The end result is a fine resource, well documented and almost encyclopedic in character, yet still making fascinating and informative reading.

The Bible Today

Lynn H. Cohick received her PhD in New Testament/Christian Origins from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and the coauthor of The New Testament in Antiquity. She previously taught at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology.

Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide

  • Author: William A. Simmons
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 352

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Making sense of the New Testament requires navigating a labyrinth of different cultural, religious, political, and economic groups that existed in first-century Jewish society—as well as in the Roman Empire at large. In this introduction to the major people groups of the New Testament world, William Simmons clarifies New Testament history and teaching. He provides a historical analysis of major Jewish groups (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes) and important Greco-Roman groups (Philosophers, Herodians, and Centurions). Important subgroupings within the first-century church—Hebrews and Hellenist, for example—are set in the larger context of the Judeo-Roman mix. Color photographs of ancient sites and archaeological discoveries highlight the descriptions. A helpful resource for anyone interested in understanding the New Testament world better, this book also makes an excellent textbook for an introductory college or seminary course on early Christian history or backgrounds.

Scribes. Pharisees. People of the land. These and other groups are interwoven throughout the New Testament narrative, often appearing with little or no explanation. Peoples of the New Testament World draws upon current scholarship to illuminate the nature and significance of these groups for the serious student of the Word.

Peoples of the New Testament World is text only. Images are not included.

This book is highly recommended for general survey courses and those seeking to understand the cultural context of the New Testament. Simmons has produced a richly illustrated and extensively researched monograph that deserves to take its place among the existing handbooks on the New Testament.

Criswell Theological Review

The breadth of material covered in the space of just a few hundred pages is impressive. One comes away with a basic knowledge of lifestyles ranging from emperors to slaves; from high priests and lofty philosophers to people struggling to maintain religious identity in the face of daily necessities. . . . References for further reading are provided, and each chapter has its own annotated bibliography to help guide one to clarification on specific topics. All in all this is a clear, well-presented coverage of a subject that is sure to be of interest to students of the New Testament.

Expository Times

An insightful and accessible introduction to some of the religious, political, and social groups that made up the world of the New Testament. . . . The chapters are lucidly organized, with an introduction to each group followed by a nuanced discussion of the significance of the group for the New Testament. . . . Ample (but not exhausting) footnotes and annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter provide up-to-date resources for readers interested in pursuing any particular topic in more detail. . . . Numerous charts, illustrations, photographs, and maps make this a very attractive volume. . . . This book offers readers a solid introduction to the religious, political, and social context of the New Testament. It would be a particularly good choice as a supplementary textbook for introductory courses on the New Testament, although pastors, church teachers, and some graduate students will also find it useful.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This book has much more detail than most dictionary articles and commentaries. It is well researched and includes helpful annotated bibliographies after each chapter. . . . It can be read cover to cover or serve as a reference volume. It is packed with illustrations and maps that help illuminate the context and contribute to the interesting nature of the subject matter. . . . Students of the New Testament will profit from this book.

Bibliotheca Sacra

William A. Simmons is a professor of New Testament studies and Greek at Lee University. He has taught New Testament studies and Greek for more than 20 years in Europe and the United States. His specialty is Pauline studies.

Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective

  • Editors: Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 272

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In this volume, leading international scholars provide cutting-edge perspectives on various facets of the biblical writings, how those writings became canonical Scripture, and why the canon matters. Craig Evans begins by helping those new to the field understand the different versions of the Hebrew Bible (Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Targum, Vulgate, etc.) as well as the books of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. Later essays define “canon” and explain the development of canons in various Jewish and Christian communities, examine the much-debated tripartite canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, and discuss questions of authority. The book includes insightful explorations and perspectives to challenge more advanced readers, including an essay on the complexities of biblical writing, a critical investigation of the usefulness of extracanonical Gospels for historical Jesus research, and an exploration of the relationship of Paul to the canonization process. The result is a thought-provoking book that concludes with discussion of an issue at the fore today—the theological implications of canon.

Contributors:

Given the centrality of Scripture in the preaching task, it is important that preachers have a solid understanding of the canon of Scripture. In Exploring the Origins of the Bible, a team of scholars explores various issues related to the development and canonization of the biblical writings. This is a meaty but worthwhile volume.

PreachingNOW

[These essays] provide basic information for students and general readers who want to go deeper in understanding the issues involved in the study of the biblical canons. . . . This book well introduces the issues and some of the evidence in regard to canon formation. . . . The scholarly honesty of the presentations makes a plea for a view of inspiration and authority consonant with the messy details of history.

Review of Biblical Literature

Exploring the Origins of the Bible is an introductory volume for a theological student to understand the various historical issues related to the compilation and growth of the canon. . . . This volume could prove a helpful text for introducing students to the complexities in understanding the historical process in which the text of Scripture came to the church today.

Themelios

A useful acquisition for theological reference libraries.

Religious Studies Review

Among the strengths of the book is the diversity of perspectives that the authors bring. . . . Another strength of the book is the attention it gives to the importance of the Septuagint (LXX). . . . [This work] provides helpful insight into discussion revolving around the biblical canon. It introduces fresh information, challenges assumptions, and defends the importance of its subject matter, having implications for history, hermeneutics, textual criticism, and theology. . . . A must read for those doing serious biblical or theological study within the academy.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Th[is] volume provides students and nonspecialists with an informative orientation on the complex issues of canon formation.

Journal of Ancient Judaism

In several instances, the essays in this volume . . . may serve as helpful overviews of current scholarship on the canon, aside from their own contributions. The concluding focus on theological ramifications and the basis of canonical authority sets this volume apart from many other works on the subject. . . . On the whole, this collection of essays provides an informative presentation of many of the issues surrounding discussions of canon formation. The essays are written so as to be easily accessible to the non-expert, yet they do not (generally) over-simplify this enormously complex subject. Finally, the breadth of topics covered in this volume is impressive and gives fairly equal attention to both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament, while also addressing practical theological concerns, which surround and arise from scholarship on the origins of the Bible.

Hebrew Studies

Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College. He has received degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Western Baptist Seminary, and Claremont Graduate University. Evans is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and is the author or editor of numerous publications.

Emanuel Tov is the J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project.

In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism among Early Christians

  • Author: Graham H. Twelftree
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 352

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Although the Synoptic Gospels treat exorcism as a significant aspect of Jesus’ ministry, other parts of the New Testament (e.g., John and Paul) say little to nothing about exorcism. Which is more reflective of early Christian belief and practice? The answer to that question has relevance both for biblical scholars and for the contemporary church.

Graham Twelftree explores this debated issue by examining exorcism in the New Testament world before embarking on a chronological study of all relevant New Testament passages. He supplements his New Testament exploration with an analysis of how second-century Christians and critics viewed exorcism. This comprehensive study yields a nuanced view of the early Christian church and its view of Jesus as a model for ministry.

Graham Twelftree has proved himself, by several top-level monographs, as the expert of the day in his cautious, meticulously detailed examination of Jesus as an exorcist and miracle worker. He now judiciously extends the examination to the early church’s view and practice of exorcism from Paul through to the Greek Apostolic Fathers. There is no better, nor even comparable, treatment. This will dominate a generation of study.

—Max Turner, professor emeritus of New Testament, London School of Theology

Contemporary accounts of exorcisms abound but there has been very little written on the practice from a rigorous biblical and historical perspective until now. In the Name of Jesus fills this gap and provides the reader with numerous helpful insights into the text of Scripture and into the practice of the church in the second century. This book is exceptionally well researched and will prove to be an indispensable source for biblical scholars as well as anyone interested in the theme of spiritual warfare. I cannot think of anyone better suited to write this volume than Dr. Twelftree.

Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature, Talbot School of Theology

For over two decades Graham Twelftree has closely studied the question of exorcism. This stimulating and graciously provocative work is essential reading for anyone working in the field.

—Rikk Watts, professor of New Testament, Regent College

This excellent study . . . helps to anchor the Christian phenomenon of exorcism within the wider cultural milieu of the first and second centuries.

Expository Times

A meticulously detailed exegetical study on exorcism in the early church. . . . The major strength of the book is the inclusion of literature from the second century, whereby Twelftree is able to demonstrate that the function of Jesus in early Christianity was much more varied than we might conclude from the New Testament. I was also impressed at the breadth, depth, and rigor of Twelftree’s research. . . . Twelftree’s case for the place and practice of exorcism among early Christians is convincing overall and a must-read for anyone interested in the subject. . . . It is undoubtedly the best academic work on the subject. I highly recommend this book to those who wish to delve deeper into the issue of exorcism to understand its nature and place in the church—then and now.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The historical treatment is precisely what makes this book a rich and helpful contribution. No one else has covered the same territory to the depth that Twelftree does in this volume. . . . We are greatly indebted to Twelftree for his careful historical work on this important and neglected topic. . . . This volume needs to be read not only by biblical scholars, but those involved in the ministry of the church.

Evangelical Quarterly

Scholars will be indebted to Twelftree for his career-long interest in, research on, and publications about this topic. His meticulous studies include revisions of previously published opinions and thereby provide up-to-date, rich overviews of possession, exorcism, and related topics.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Graham H. Twelftree received his BA from the University of Adelaide, MA from the University of Oxford, and PhD from the University of Nottingham. He is a distinguished professor of New Testament at the School of Divinity at Regent University. Twelftree has written many scholarly articles and reviews and he is the author of a number of books, including People of the Spirit: Exploring Luke’s View of the Church.

Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority

  • Author: Lee Martin McDonald
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 592

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This volume provides an introduction to the Christian biblical canon and answers key questions about both testaments. It represents a fresh attempt to understand some of the many perplexing problems related to the origins and canonicity of the Bible.

Lee McDonald’s magnum opus is the fair fruit of a lifetime’s labor. His is an updated and fluent historical reconstruction of the canonical process, marked by the careful consideration of the real evidence that encourages a more precise discussion of the history and idea of a Christian biblical canon. Not only does McDonald seek to understand the complex and variegated phenomena of canon formation within the social worlds of both Judaism and earliest Christianity, he is ever alert to the serious theological and hermeneutical questions his discussion engenders about the nature and role of Scripture within today’s faith community. While McDonald’s conclusions will surely be debated, no scholar or student interested in these important matters will be able to neglect his fine book.

Rob Wall, professor of the Christian Scriptures, Paul T. Walls Chair in Wesleyan Studies, Seattle Pacific University

This thorough introduction to the questions concerning the formation of the Christian canon offers a substantial revision of the author’s useful previous work. McDonald does not seek to answer every question he asks, but he asks nearly every question one can imagine, and he answers many of the central ones by drawing on his years of reflection on the topic. . . . I certainly commend this introduction to the Christian canon to all biblical scholars and to our most diligent students. McDonald helps frame for us the questions we must continue to ponder, and he thoroughly summarizes for us the fruit of his extensive labors in this important field.

Review of Biblical Literature

The book is highly recommended for students and scholars alike as an excellent introduction to the central issues at stake in the formation and reception of Christian scripture.

The Catholic Historical Review

This work aims to be an introduction to the study of the canon, and it certainly accomplishes that and much more. . . . The Biblical Canon overall is an excellent work, but only when the reader is readily adept in working through the weighty issues in canon studies. It is a must read for any serious student looking for an in-depth introduction to the study of the scriptural canon for early Jewish and Christian communities.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Lee Martin McDonald was a professor of New Testament studies and the president of Acadia Divinity College. He is the coauthor of Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature and The Canon Debate.

Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Christ

  • Author: Frederick J. Murphy
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 496

This textbook provides an introduction to the Second Temple period (520 BC–AD 70), the formative era of early Judaism and the setting for Jesus and the earliest Christians. Murphy pays close attention to original sources—especially the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus—and introduces students to the world of ancient Jews and Christians. Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Christ, is designed to serve students and teachers in the classroom, and it contains suggestions for primary readings, bibliographies, maps, illustrations, glossaries, and indexes.

This is the ideal textbook for Second Temple Judaism, beautifully crafted, masterful in its exposition, reliable in its facts, sympathetic in its attitude. . . . [Murphy] has taken a complex and diffuse subject, Judaism before 70, and presented it with structure, clarity, and purpose.

Jacob Neusner, distinguished service professor of the History and Theology of Judaism, Bard College

This is not only a history of the Jewish people in the Second Temple period, but specifically a history of the religion, that highlights major religious trends. . . . A splendid textbook for colleges and seminaries.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

Written by a distinguished scholar and award-winning teacher, this volume is both a reliable reference tool and the perfect textbook for a course in Second Temple Judaism. Murphy helps us to appreciate better the Jewish world of Jesus and of the first Christians in all its richness and diversity.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

This is a textbook for courses on Early Judaism, designed to provide the historical and literary background needed for New Testament study. . . . Each chapter is accompanied by a bibliography. Glossary and an index will serve the student well, as does the text itself.

International Review of Biblical Studies

We have here a competently written textbook for beginners that explains in jargon-free language the accepted wisdom of mainline scholarship taken from many disparate historical sciences on the issues in question. . . . The overall portrait of early Judaism is presented here with sympathy and depth.

Religious Studies Review

Frederick J. Murphy (1949–2011) was, for more than 25 years, a professor of New Testament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He authored numerous books, including Fallen Is Babylon: The Revelation to John, Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Jesus, and An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels.

Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed.

  • Author: Steve Mason
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 256

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Throughout Christian history, Joshephus’ works have been mined for the light they shed on the New Testament world. Josephus tells us about the Herodian family, the temple, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. He mentions James the brother of Jesus, John the Baptist, and even Jesus himself. In Josephus and the New Testament, Steve Mason, an internationally acknowledged authority on Josephus, introduces readers to this first-century Jewish historian, allowing them to explore Josephus’ witness to the formative environment of early Judaism and Christianity. Updated text and new maps bring this standard introduction up to date.

Steve Mason is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Josephus today. In this thoroughly revised introduction, he sets out his understanding of the Jewish author and his writings as well as how his works may be responsibly used in the study of Christian origins. The result is the finest introduction to Josephus for students of the New Testament that has been written to date.

—Gregory E. Sterling, dean, Yale Divinity School, Yale University

There can be no doubt that the best aid for understanding the background of the New Testament is its contemporary, Josephus; and . . . the most careful, most comprehensive, and most useful introduction to Josephus as the key to the background for the New Testament is Steve Mason’s book. As one reads it, one senses that a master teacher is talking directly to one in a most delightful, even breezy, style. . . . Even the most advanced student will find the book of great value.

Louis H. Feldman, Abraham Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature, Yeshiva University

One of the most important and interesting personalities in extra-biblical history of the New Testament era is Flavius Josephus (ca AD 37–100). . . . [Mason] is widely regarded as a leader among living Josephan scholars. . . . This new edition is well designed and includes a new series of charts and maps that are helpful in sorting out the various personalities and groups. . . . Mason has written an overview and a lucid and detailed introduction that deals with a quite complicated corpus of work from a singularly unique individual. . . . This work is well indexed (particularly the index of Josephus’ works cited) and provides excellent bibliographic references.

Master’s Seminary Journal

Mason . . . improves upon the first edition of his work on Josephus and the New Testament by substantially rewriting parts of it, notably chapter three on the writings of Josephus, by far the longest chapter at nearly a hundred pages, reflecting the explosion of scholarship in this field. . . . Mason is overly modest in describing the intention of this book as making Josephus accessible to the New Testament reader. This book is now the best one-volume introduction to Josephus for anyone, presenting in language both clear and deft the contemporary appreciation of a master rhetorician whose project bore many similarities to the gospel writers, for whom he provided a foundation and model. . . . The clear introductions and conclusions to each chapter, charts summarizing dynasties and important contemporary events, together with new maps, make this volume especially enjoyable to read.

Heythrop Journal

Mason presents a balanced and informed analysis of Josephus and his writings, presenting fresh, thoughtful assessments of Josephus’ purposes for writing his four known works, contrary to traditional interpretations and frank admission to the limits of present knowledge. . . . This volume is a helpful examination of the writings of an important literary figure who impacts biblical studies.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Steve Mason is the Canada research chair in Greco-Roman Cultural Interaction at York University, Toronto. He is the author of Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees and general editor of the 12-volume series Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary.

The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 348

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Fully one-third of Jesus’ words in the Synoptic Gospels occur in parables—knowing the parables is essential for understanding the person of Christ. In this work, Brad Young displays his unique perspective as a scholar steeped in both Jewish and Christian studies. While parables have timeless messages, reinterpretations in new contexts throughout the centuries have distorted the original meanings and undermined the essence of what Jesus intended. Young examines the parables that best illustrate the parallels between the rabbinic and Gospel parables. He challenges readers to remember that first-century Judaism was not merely the backdrop for Jesus’ teachings but the very stage from which Jesus delivered the message of the kingdom. Jesus’ ethics and theology can be properly understood only in the light of first-century Jewish teachings. Young focuses on the historical development and theological significance of parables in both traditions and examines five theological subjects that are dealt with in parables: prayer, grace, reconciliation, calling, and sovereignty.

Young’s investigation and analysis is both interesting and challenging. The introduction gives a solid overview of parables in general as teaching tools. Young also surveys the relationship between Jesus’ parables and the broader context of Rabbinic Judaism. He makes extensive use of Jewish materials related to Second Temple Judaism including the Mishnah, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the work of modern Jewish scholars and other major secondary sources. The general outline he follows in his exposition of the various parables is logical and helpful . . . Young’s study of the parables is an excellent and stimulating contribution to the study of the parables and is well worth reading.

Ashland Theological Journal

Brad H. Young is the associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 256

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Meet the Rabbis explains how rabbinic thought was relevant to Jesus and the New Testament world—and how it should still be relevant today. Rabbinic literature explores the meaning of living life to its fullest while in right relationship with God and humanity. However, many Christians are not aware of rabbinic thought and literature. Most individuals in the Western world today—Christians, atheists, agnostics, secular community leaders, or some other religious and political persuasions—are more knowledgeable of Jesus’ ethical teachings from the Sermon on the Mount than the Ethics of the Fathers found in Jewish prayer books. The author seeks to introduce the reader to the world of Torah learning. It is within this world that the authentic cultural background of Jesus’ teachings in ancient Judaism is revealed. Young uses parts of the New Testament, especially the Sermon on the Mount, as a springboard for probing rabbinic method. The book is an introduction to rabbinic thought and literature and has three main sections in its layout:

  • Introduction to Rabbinic Thought
  • Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
  • Meet the Rabbis—a biographical description of influential Rabbis from Talmudic sources
An informative and highly readable volume that will serve its target audience well.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This book represents part of a growing collection of works written specifically for a lay Christian audience that seek to identify the Jewish context of the New Testament and early Christianity. In this volume, Young presents an independent introduction to rabbinic literature and history that highlights aspects of rabbinic Judaism that are instructive for understanding early Christianity. It also seeks to reverse a long-standing negative attitude toward Judaism (particular Pharisaic-rabbinic Judaism) displayed in many popular and scholarly discussions of the background of the New Testament. Young offers an overwhelmingly positive image of Judaism and its role in shaping early Christianity. Young places particular emphasis on the history and character of the rabbis, the corpus of rabbinic literature and the idea of an oral Torah, and rabbinic thought. This work is most successful in its treatment of points of contact between rabbinic thought and early Christianity, and analysis of where these commonalities diverge.

Religious Studies Review

This text presents insights to both interest and challenge students of the Bible with the hope that they might choose to pursue a closer study of the Jewish sources and resources that are available for study. This book is of value for all students, particularly undergraduate students.

Theological Book Review

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Paul the Jewish Theologian: A Pharisee among Christians, Jews, and Gentiles

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 192

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Paul the Jewish Theologian reveals Saul of Tarsus as a man who, though rejected in the synagogue, never truly left Judaism. Author Brad Young disagrees with long-held notions that Hellenism was the context which most influenced Paul’s communication of the gospel. This skewed notion has led to widely divergent interpretations of Paul’s writings. A correct interpretation of Paul can only be achieved by rightly aligning Paul as rooted in his Jewishness and training as a Pharisee. Young asserts that Paul’s view of the Torah was always positive, and he separates Jesus’ mission among the Jews from Paul’s call to the Gentiles.

The Pharisee Saul of Tarsus is arguably one of the most influential religious figures in the history of Western culture. . . . Brad Young is one of the important theologians who is leading the way for Christians to explore the Jewish roots of Jesus, Paul, and Christianity. . . . Brad Young has endeavored to excavate Paul’s Pharisaic roots for all to examine, while at the same time leaving the family tree firmly planted and continuing to grow.

—Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Appleman Chair of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York

Brad Young offers an extremely well-informed, insightful study of Paul as a Jewish theologian. . . . Among the many important qualities Brad Young gained from his years of study from Jewish scholars is a love for and an almost exclusive focus upon the text, what it actually says and does not say; and this perspective has led him to some new, important, and sometimes ‘unorthodox’ conclusions.

Cheryl Anne Brown, consultant, Theological Assistance Group, European Baptist Federation

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Jesus the Jewish Theologian

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • Pages: 352

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Jesus the Jewish Theologian establishes Jesus firmly within the context of first-century Judaism and shows how understanding Jesus’ Jewishness is crucial for interpreting the New Testament and for understanding the nature of Christian faith. Insights from Jewish literature, archeology, and tradition help modern readers place Jesus within his original context. Particular attention is given to the Jewish roots of Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom of God.

This book illuminates anew how Jewish Jesus was. That should come as no surprise to Jews or to Christians, although it often does. Jesus grew from the soil of his people. In reading this book I was struck again and again with how Jesus’ teachings were paralleled in my own tradition. . . . Young’s book is not intended to diminish Jesus’ teaching, but to show its roots.

—David Wolpe, rabbi, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles

Young . . . permits the words of Jesus to glisten within their own Semitic setting . . . [He] has done his readers a great service in introducing them to Jewish theological thought. . . . What emerges, however, is not ‘Jesus the Jewish theologian’ in any Western, systematic sense. Rather, in Jesus, Young presents an Eastern or Semitic theologian, one who employs a living, vibrant theology.

—Marvin R. Wilson, Harold J. Ockenga Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Gordon College

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, and Paul the Jewish Theologian.

Vines Intertwined: A History of Jews and Christians from the Babylonian Exile to the Advent of Islam

  • Author: Lee Dupree Sandgren
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 864

The study of Jewish and Christian history in antiquity is experiencing a renaissance. Textual witnesses and archaeological sites are being reevaluated and revisited. As a result, author Lee Sandgren asserts that the relationship between Jews and Christians has shifted from a “mother-daughter” paradigm to one better described as “siblings.”

Recognizing that Judaism and Christianity are what they are because of each other and that they were not formed in isolation, Sandgren provides readers and researchers a comprehensive generation-by-generation political history of the Jews—from the fall of the First Temple to the start of the Middle Ages. With a good subject index and a strong chronological framework, this book is a convenient work on this extended period of antiquity. Making use of numerous contemporary studies as well as often neglected classics, Sandgren thoroughly develops the concept of “the people of God” and the core ideology behind Jewish and Christian self-definition.

The author charts the history of this expansive period in striking detail and with formidable accuracy and clarity of expression, with a focus on the implications for the complex relationship between Judaism and emergent Christianity. The coverage of the period before the appearance of Christianity demonstrates the profound influence of both Persian and Hellenistic cultures on Judaism—an important condition that would subsequently play a role in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Sandgren does justice to the complexity of this relationship and its distinctive features both in various regions and over the course of time. His close attention to the history of the relationship also helps avoid simple explanations for both the antipathy that marked this relationship in the early centuries and the startling examples of peaceful coexistence and interaction . . . it is very rewarding reading for anyone who perseveres through the deep scan of history its author provides.

The Bible Today

[Sandgren] presents Jews and Christians as siblings, emerging in the first centuries of the Common Era, with a common ancestry. . . . This he does in great historical detail, including maps and lists of prominent figures. . . . He reflects the latest scholarship; footnotes give ample scope for further exploration. This book is an invaluable source of information . . . More than that, it contributes to the ongoing dialogue between Jews and Christians by looking anew at their early history, and asking difficult questions about the relationship between rhetoric and reality.

Theological Book Review

The book . . . chronicl[es] how proto-Judaism became both Judaism and Christianity and how the two groups influenced each other up until the rise of Islam. In addition, Sandgren adds helpful maps and charts and an important synthesis at the end of each section. He also adds an extensive and useful epilogue explaining some of the other issues pertaining to a modern Jewish-Christian dialogue. . . . His detail is impeccable and his research has depth and is readable. This book does many things well, including showing the complexities of the shared history of Judaism and Christianity. In addition, the comprehensive bibliography includes both Jewish and Christian sources that should be important to both groups. This book is well written and convincing on many of the arguments. . . . Sandgren . . . adds an important historical analysis that should challenge anyone interested in the development and dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. This book is perhaps most profitable as a resource for further research. However, it also asks important questions.

Trinity Journal

Sandgren has done an admirable job in providing a large-scale and broadly middle-of-the-road overview of the history of Jews, Judaism, and the early church. . . . The intended audience is not the specialist, but the person who needs an introduction into any of the periods discussed.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

Sandgren shows a remarkable knowledge of the grand sweep of western history (with occasional reference to its cultural landmarks) as well as the details of both Jewish and Christian history. He is even-handed and nonpolemical in his presentation. . . . One must be impressed with the diligence and erudition required in producing this book. It will be referred to often in discussions of the relations of Jews and Christians in the formative period for both modern religions.

Interpretation

Leo Duprée Sandgren is an adjunct assistant professor of Judaism, Christian origins, and historical fiction at the University of Florida. He has lived in Israel, Africa, and Europe, and he is the author of The Shadow of God: Stories from Early Judaism.

Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology

  • Author: John Ronning
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 400

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At the beginning of his gospel, John refers to Jesus Christ as the Logos—the “Word.” Author John Ronning makes a case that the Jewish Targums—interpretive Aramaic translations of the Old Testament that were read in synagogues—hold the key to understanding John’s descriptive use of Logos as a title for Jesus. Ronning examines numerous texts in the fourth gospel in light of the Targums and shows how connecting the Logos with the targumic Memra (word) unlocks the meaning of a host of theological themes that run throughout the Gospel of John.

John Ronning’s fresh and stimulating study of the Aramaic tradition and the light it sheds on John’s Logos theology represents another important, positive step in Johannine scholarship. The documentation is impressive and the arguments are compelling. There should no longer be any doubt about the role played by the targumic memra (‘word’) in Johannine Christology. Ronning’s book is must-reading for anyone interested in the Johannine writings.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

Ronning identifies an astonishing number of parallels that shed new light on John’s theology more generally. Even those who may not be persuaded will surely acknowledge that this work is a wonderful education on the subject. More important, it is a contribution that changes the nature of the scholarly debate, and as such it cannot be ignored.

Moisés Silva, emeritus professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

The work is well-done and by all means it will captivate biblical scholars and others as well. Ronning offers a bunch of original documents and considers a wide array of contemporary scholarship. The evangelical community will highly praise the newly published monograph on John’s theology rooted in Jewish sources. Furthermore, the work will be welcomed by scholars of Aramaic, Old Testament, and New Testament.

Theological Book Review

Ronning’s work must be recognized for its value to Targumic studies and is a ‘must have’ for those engaged in that field of study. . . . Unlike other works in this field of study, this book is an easy read.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Ronning’s argument is provocative and often convincing. . . . Some interesting points emerge, particularly in the argument that John’s logos theology counters that of the targums in its emphasis on the enfleshment of the word.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

An impressive and somewhat provocative study of the Jewish Targums and the light they shed on the Gospel of John. . . . Ronning is to be commended for a thorough and meticulous study. The number of parallels that he identifies between the Targums and John’s Gospel is striking, and his theological analysis is lucid. Ronning may not be the first to link John’s Logos theology with the ‘Memra’ of the Targums, but his is certainly the most comprehensive and convincing work to date. . . . It is a significant contribution that promises to be a part of the scholarly debate for many years to come and is a must-read for anyone interested in Johannine scholarship and/or Second Temple studies.

Bulletin for Biblical Research

John Ronning is a professor of biblical studies and the doctoral program director at Faith Theological Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.

Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts

  • Author: Craig S. Keener
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 1,248

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Most modern prejudice against biblical miracles goes back to David Hume’s argument that uniform human experience precludes miracles. Current research, however, reveals that human experience is far from uniform; hundreds of millions of people today claim to have experienced miracles. Respected New Testament scholar Craig Keener argues that it is time to rethink Hume’s argument in light of the contemporary evidence available to us. This wide-ranging and meticulously researched study presents the most thorough current defense of the credibility of the miracle reports in the Gospels and Acts. Keener draws on claims from a range of global cultures and takes a multidisciplinary approach to the topic. He suggests that many historical and modern miracle accounts are best explained as genuine divine acts, lending credence to the biblical miracle reports.

The book is all the more valuable because of Keener’s thoughtful and bold analysis of the scientific method and the means by which we can test the miraculous. This massively researched study is both learned and provocative.

—Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history, Baylor University

Seldom does a book take one’s breath away, but Keener’s magisterial Miracles is such a book. It is an extremely sophisticated, completely thorough treatment of its subject matter, and, in my opinion, it is now the best text available on the topic. The uniqueness of Keener’s treatment lies in his location of the biblical miracles in the trajectory of ongoing, documented miracles in the name of Jesus and his kingdom throughout church history, up to and including the present. From now on, no one who deals with the credibility of biblical miracles can do so responsibly without interacting with this book.

J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

From the very beginning of the modern approach to the Gospels, the question of miracles brought controversy. Over the last few centuries, most historical-critical scholars have dismissed them out of hand. However, in recent years, the tide has turned for a growing number of Gospel scholars. It is within this context that Craig Keener’s new two-volume work can be fully appreciated. Those familiar with Keener’s previous work will not be surprised by the remarkable level of scholarship in these volumes. The depth and breadth of research is stunning. The interdisciplinary synthesis is as careful as it is brilliant. The arguments are evenhanded and nuanced. In short, this work takes scholarship on miracles to a new level of sophistication and depth.

Paul Rhodes Eddy, professor of biblical and theological studies, Bethel University

This book is a rarity in the scholarly world in that it is both rigorous in its scholarship and speaks with knowledge and passion about an exciting subject that demands our attention. We have here perhaps the best book ever written on miracles in this or any age. Highly recommended.

Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

In an age of a global church, the time has come for Bible scholarship to be enriched by considering the way Christians read and understand Scripture in non-Western countries and cultures. In Miracles, Craig Keener offers an invaluable example of how that enrichment can take place through hard scholarly work and a passion for integrity. He gives us an exhaustive wealth of historical understanding, anthropological richness, and missiological savvy.

—Samuel Escobar, emeritus professor of missiology, Palmer Theological Seminary; professor, Theological Seminary of the Spanish Baptist Union, Madrid

Keener dares to accuse prevailing approaches to biblical-historical inquiry of operating according to ethnocentric prejudices and presuppositions, and then dares to make the charges stick with an avalanche of interdisciplinary arguments and evidence. He challenges us to ask—not only as persons of faith, but also as committed academicians--one of the most important questions that we can: Is the natural world a closed system after all? This monumental study combines historical inquiry into late antiquity, philosophical and existential criticism of antisupernaturalism and the legacy of David Hume’s epistemological skepticism, and ethnographic study of the phenomenon of the miraculous throughout the Majority World. The result is a book that is important not only for the historical study of Jesus and the New Testament but also for our understanding of our contemporary world beyond the boundaries of our social location and its worldview.

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

Craig Keener has written arguably the best book ever on the subject of miracles. He places the miracles of Jesus and his followers in a full and rich context that includes philosophy, history, theology, exegesis, comparative religion, cultural anthropology, and firsthand observation and testimony. There is nothing like it. Keener’s monumental work shifts the burden of proof heavily onto skeptics. This book is must-reading for all who are interested in the truly big questions of our day.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

Craig S. Keener is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1–2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature

  • Author: Craig A. Evans
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 576

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One of the most daunting challenges facing the New Testament interpreter is achieving a familiarity with the immense corpus of related literatures. Scholars and students must have a fundamental understanding of the content, provenance, and utility for New Testament interpretation of a wide range of pagan, Jewish, and diversely Christian documents. This volume examines a vast range of ancient literature, masterfully distilling details of date, language, text, and translation into an eminently usable handbook. Craig Evans evaluates the materials’ relevance for interpreting the New Testament and provides essential biographies.

Evans’ introduction is more than a map to terra incognita; it is a helpful companion for all who study Judaism and Christianity before the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire.

James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary

Many doctoral students would have loved to have this reference work on their desks during graduate studies. All of the standard exegetical questions (date, provenance, author, historical situation) are answered in a few enlightened sentences. . . . The bibliographies are classified to aid students at various levels of research. . . . Evans’ book is a success, providing vast amounts of information in a minuscule space with extensive leads for further study. His choice of bibliography to continue research is lean and pointed. The very scope of his introduction to Israelite and rabbinic literature make this book worthy of a place on any shelf.

Review of Biblical Literature

Indispensable for libraries, lay readers, and New Testament readers with all levels of academic training. . . . This book is most certainly worth having.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This is a superb text for beginning students making their first foray into the jungle of ancient sources as well as for more experienced scholars already familiar with many of the paths. This book will find much use by those interested in including the ancient sources in their study and research. Some will for the first time discover how to connect the wealth of background material now available to the exegetical process.

Restoration Quarterly

This book can be a significant time-saver for anyone who does research in New Testament and/or reads the better commentaries. It is a quick reference to help track down important references.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Evans, a highly credible scholar, has put together an important reference book that will become a standard volume in the libraries of scholars and students alike. . . . This is a most valuable asset in the library of the every serious exegete.

Seminary Studies

Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College. He has received degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Western Baptist Seminary, and Claremont Graduate University. Evans is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and the author or editor of numerous publications.

Jesus among Friends and Enemies: A Historical and Literary Introduction to Jesus in the Gospels

  • Editors: Christ Keith and Larry W. Hurtado
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 352

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This engaging text offers a fresh alternative to standard introductions to Jesus. Combining literary and socio-historical approaches and offering a tightly integrated treatment, a team of highly respected scholars examines how Jesus’ friends and enemies respond to him in the Gospel narratives. This is the first book to introduce readers to the Gospel’s rich portraits of Jesus by surveying the characters who surround him in those texts—from John the Baptist, the disciples, and the family of Jesus to Satan, Pontius Pilate, and Judas Iscariot (among others).

Approaching the Jesus question from the outside in, the contributors reflect both on what can be known historically about the figures who surround him in the Gospels and on how these figures function within the respective narratives as foils to create distinct portraits of Christ. . . . The content of the discussion will be of interest to scholars while the accessible presentation will make this book a valuable resource for students.

—Tom Thatcher, professor of New Testament, Cincinnati Christian University

It is innovative to ask historical questions about Jesus and the Gospels without getting caught up in the quagmire of the authenticity criteria, and this book is innovative because different authors bring different methods to the texts. And what better topic—asking what Jesus’ friends and enemies thought of him! Time and time again we are taken to the Gospels themselves to see how the narratives shape our understanding of Jesus. It is the breadth of the testimony of these narratives that makes this book sparkle.

Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

The recipe for this book is brilliantly simple: get to know Jesus through those who knew him. Seek out both friends and enemies. Interview family and foreigners, disciples and detractors, men and women. Confer not only with secret allies but also with public opponents, with loyalists as well as traitors. Find out what drew each group toward Jesus or scared them away. Into this mix stir what modern scholars are saying about the impressions Jesus left on the Romans and Jews of his day and about the most responsible ways to read the Gospels. Simmer. Season with clear prose. Serve. Jesus among Friends and Enemies is a great read, a rich introduction to Jesus and his world, and a fresh addition to the often-bland menu of Jesus studies.

Bruce Fisk, professor of religious studies, Westmont College

A fascinating concept for a collaborative book on the historical Jesus—to see him through the biblical and extrabiblical stories about his friends and enemies. This book covers it all, providing clear and robust historical and literary examinations of Jesus from our knowledge of John the Baptist, Mary Magdalene, Nicodemus, Caiaphas, Pilate, Judas Iscariot, and more. This book will inspire classes.

April DeConick, Isla Carroll and Percy E. Turner Professor of Biblical Studies, Rice University

An outstanding teaching resource, Jesus among Friends and Enemies offers a balanced and comprehensive collection of essays treating the historical contexts and narrative methods of ancient Christian and Jewish writers. Though Jesus and the New Testament Gospels are the primary focus, the Dead Sea Scrolls, non-Christian discussions of Jesus, writings associated with apocalyptic Judaism, and noncanonical Gospel traditions are also addressed, providing readers with a rich store of comparative data from which to assess canonical descriptions of Jesus, his friends, and his enemies. Keith and Hurtado are to be congratulated for this superior contribution to the study of Jesus in the Gospels.

—Jennifer Knust, assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins, Boston University

This collaborative work of several New Testament scholars takes a novel and fruitful approach to learning about the historical Jesus and the Jesus of the gospels. . . . The goal is to help the reader cumulatively to see the full dimensions of the Jesus of the gospels through the eyes of those who surround him in the gospel dramas.

The Bible Today

Chris Keith is an assistant professor of New Testament and Christian origins at Lincoln Christian University. He was the 2010 recipient of the John Templeton Award for Theological Promise for The Pericope Adulterae, the Gospel of John, and the Literacy of Jesus.

Larry W. Hurtado is a New Testament and Christian origins scholar. He was a professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology and director of the Centre for the Study of Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh in Scotland until his retirement in 2011. An internationally respected New Testament scholar, he is an expert on the Gospels, the apostle Paul, early Christology, the Jewish background of the New Testament, and New Testament textual criticism.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus: Reading the Gospels on the Ground

  • Author: Bruce N. Fisk
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 320

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This book offers a fresh and imaginative approach to Jesus studies and biblical criticism by providing a gripping fictional account of one student’s journey to the Middle East to investigate the New Testament and Jesus’ life for himself.

Norm, a fictional college graduate, undertakes this journey to discover if he can study Jesus and follow him at the same time and if curiosity will make him a better disciple—or no disciple at all. As Norm hitchhikes simultaneously across the Gospels and the land, readers follow his faith journey as well and wonder if he will be able to reconcile his Christian faith with current critical scholarship. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus offers readers a creative and engaging way to explore many of the major questions surrounding Jesus studies today and affirms the importance of asking probing questions about Jesus and the Gospels.

The book features maps, photos, doodles, sketches, and email exchanges between Norm and his professor. Its classroom-tested material will appeal to professors and students in Jesus, Gospels, New Testament, and religion courses. Thoughtful lay readers will enjoy this book.

A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus is a wonderful travel guide for pilgrims perplexed by the multiple maps hawked by recent scholarship. But it is also an invitation for homebound believers to join a journey of discovery to the mysterious places where history meets hope. Bruce Fisk is a wise and imaginative tour guide, and this book will open new angles of vision for readers seeking to investigate the path of Jesus.

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament and Dean of the Divinity School, Duke University Divinity School

Bruce Fisk has possibly written the most creative, fascinating, and informed book on the Gospels in a generation. My students will love this book. Think Gerd Theissen’s Shadow of the Galilean, but in this case the narrator isn’t a first-century grain merchant but a hookah-smoking college student named Norm. Norm is an honest inquirer who goes in search of the realities behind the Gospels and all along trades correspondence with his liberal professor. The crisp narrative and the theological points Fisk scores are delicately and effectively knit together. In countless cases, I found myself amused and impressed with how Fisk could illustrate things. ‘Genius’ could well describe many of the pages in the book. Fisk is a first-rate scholar as well as a brilliant communicator. Every New Testament teacher owes it to his or her students to consider this as a fresh new text on the Gospels.

Gary M. Burge, professor of New Testament, Wheaton College

With warmth, wit, and penetrating insight, Fisk writes for all who find themselves fascinated by the enigmatic prophet from Nazareth yet unwilling to settle either for the naive certainties of ‘simple faith’ or for the latest ‘assured results’ of biblical criticism. A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus provides no pat answers, but in the spirit of faith seeking understanding, it compellingly poses all the right questions, setting the quest for Jesus in its proper context—the search for meaning in a world of beauty and strife, love and loss.

—Ross Wagner, associate professor of New Testament, Princeton Theological Seminary

Students often find the academic study of the Gospels disorienting as they discover a previously unexplored world of literary, historical, and theological questions opening up before them. In A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Jesus, Bruce Fisk proves himself a reliable guide—knowledgeable, candid, steady, and witty—through this territory. He takes no shortcuts or easy paths as he travels with his readers in the quest to discover faith in Jesus that takes intellectual questions seriously.

Marianne Meye Thompson, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

This volume introduces students to New Testament scholarship by telling them a story—a lively romp that combines travelogue with quest narrative, spun in a style sparkling with wit and replete with idioms of the Facebook generation. Along the way, we are introduced to the key issues that occupy modern scholars, and we discover why those issues would matter to people in the world today, including contemporary college students. This is definitely a creative way of granting students access to modern and postmodern fields of New Testament study.

Mark Allan Powell, Robert and Phyllis Leatherman Professor of New Testament, Trinity Lutheran Seminary

Bruce N. Fisk is a professor of religious studies at Westmont College. He is the author of Do You Not Remember? Scripture, Story, and Exegesis in the Rewritten Bible of Pseudo-Philo and Interpretation Bible Studies: 1 Corinthians. A fresh voice in New Testament scholarship, he often travels with students throughout the world of the earliest Christians—Israel/Palestine, Jordan, Syria, Turkey, Greece, and Italy.

Constructing Jesus: Memory, Imagination, and History

  • Author: Dale C. Allison Jr.
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 624

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What did Jesus think of himself? How did he face death? What were his expectations of the future? And can we answer questions like these on the basis of the Gospels? In Constructing Jesus, internationally-renowned Jesus scholar Dale Allison addresses such perennially fascinating questions about Jesus.

Allison presents the fruit of several decades of research and contends that the standard criteria most scholars have employed—and continue to employ—for constructing the historical Jesus are of little value. His pioneering alternative applies recent cognitive science findings about human memory to our reading of the Gospels in order to “construct Jesus” more soundly.

All New Testament and Jesus scholars and students will want to interact with the data and conclusions of this significant work.

Dale Allison has written another brilliant book. He manages to dissect technical, complicated subjects and then present them to his readers with remarkable clarity and simplicity. Constructing Jesus will be read with great benefit by scholars, pastors, students, and laity. Readers will find everywhere in this book mastery of the topic, judicious assessment of the options, and invariably sensible and compelling conclusions. If you are interested in learning more about the historical Jesus, then you must read this book.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

In Constructing Jesus, Dale Allison’s erudite historical acumen is matched by the simple elegance of his compelling case. Rarely has reasoned judgment sounded so commonsensical. This book deserves to be one of the few to set the course for the next generation of historical-Jesus scholarship.

Bruce W. Longenecker, W. W. Melton Chair of Religion, Baylor University

This is vintage Allison: masterful in his marshaling and exposition of sources, thorough in his interaction with contemporary and opposing views, and robust and persuasive in his argumentation.

James D. G. Dunn, Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University

Displaying jaw-dropping acquaintance with primary evidence and the oceanic body of scholarship on Jesus, a sweet reasonableness toward the complexities involved, and just plain good judgment time after time on controverted issues, Constructing Jesus is essential reading for anyone concerned with the scholarly approach to the Jesus of history.

L. W. Hurtado, emeritus professor of New Testament language, literature, and theology, University of Edinburgh

Lucid, far-ranging, and quietly authoritative, Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus is required reading for scholars, students, and anyone who wants to understand where this most recent phase of the Quest has led us. Once I started, I could not put it down—nor could I stop thinking about its arguments once I finished. This is an important work.

—Paula Fredriksen, William Goodwin Aurelio Chair Emerita of the Appreciation of Scripture, Boston University

This book rightly presents Jesus as an apocalyptic prophet. Elaborating this definition into a more detailed portrait, Allison pushes the envelope by exploring new methods and ideas. These detailed conclusions may be controversial, but the book is a must-read for anyone interested in the historical Jesus.

Adela Yarbro Collins, Buckingham Professor of New Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

With a thorough examination of all relevant texts from Jewish and early Christian sources, Allison situates Jesus firmly within first-century Judaism and presents a convincing interpretation of his life, teachings, and death.

—Biblical Archaeology Review

Dale C. Allison Jr. is the Errett M. Grable Professor of New Testament Exegesis and Early Christianity at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary and is counted among the top Jesus scholars working today. He is the author of numerous books, including The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus, Studies in Matthew, Resurrecting Jesus, The Intertextual Jesus: Scripture in Q, and Jesus of Nazareth: Millenarian Prophet. He is also coeditor of The Historical Jesus in Context and co-author of a three-volume commentary on Matthew in the International Critical Commentary series.

Discovering Jesus in the New Testament

  • Author: Keith Warrington
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 240

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Nearly everyone knows something about Jesus. But how much of what we “know” really comes from the Bible? In this thoroughly insightful book, we find the full portrait of Jesus as described in the New Testament—one that is complex yet rich, one that is diverse yet unified, one that explains who Jesus was and how he continues to speak to our world.

The shelves are full of books, written at all levels, on Jesus. Nevertheless, Keith Warrington has discerned an unresolved need of mid-range readers and addressed it commendably. Discovering Jesus in the New Testament charts the course of reflection on Jesus—his life, works, identity, and theological significance—through the whole of the New Testament writings and does so in a way that is eminently readable and accessible. What emerges is a carefully conceived description of Jesus that embraces both the rich diversity of first-century articulation and the profound common threads of Christology that assure us of a single (though marvelously complex) conversation.

Philip H. Towner, dean, The Nida Institute for Biblical Scholarship, American Bible Society

With clarity and insight, Warrington takes the reader on a whirlwind journey through the multifaceted—yet complementary—presentations of Jesus found in the New Testament writings. Very few introductions to Christology can claim the balance of comprehensiveness, simplicity, and lucidity found in this volume.

Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego

When preaching/teaching from a given New Testament book, consulting Warrington’s treatment provides great insights into the presentation of the Jesus story and theology. . . . Discovering Jesus in the New Testament will make a valuable addition to a pastor’s library, and one that will find repeated usage.

Enrichment

The book is erudite but accessible, and interaction with scholarly literature is found mostly in footnotes. . . . [Warrington] succeeds in noting particular writers’ emphases while maintaining a holistic reading of Scripture, and gives a useful amount of background information for the setting of each book without indulging in unwarranted speculation.

Churchman

Simplicity of analysis, clarity of language, and straightforward descriptiveness make [this book] easy reading, and it may well serve as a good introductory book to New Testament Christology for a general confessional audience.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

Keith Warrington is the vice principal and director of doctoral studies at Regents Theological College in Cheshire, England. He is the author of 10 books, including Discovering the Holy Spirit in the New Testament. His areas of expertise are New Testament and Pentecostal/Charismatic studies.

Are You the One Who Is to Come?: The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question

  • Author: Michael F. Bird
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 208

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“Jesus understood himself as designated by God as the Messiah of Israel.” This thesis may strike many historical-Jesus scholars as dangerously bold. But through careful study of the Gospels, Second Temple literature, and other period texts, scholar Michael Bird makes a persuasive argument that Jesus saw himself as performing the role attributed to the messiah—in the Scriptures of Israel—and believed that Israel’s restoration hinged on the outcome of his ministry.

Bird begins by exploring messianic expectations in the Old Testament and in Second Temple Judaism. In them he finds in them an evolving messianism that provides historical context for Jesus’ life and teaching. He examines the prevailing contention that the messianic claim originated not with Jesus himself, but in the preaching of the early church. Bird argues that such contentions lack cogency and often skew the evidence. Examining the Gospels and related literature, he shows that what Jesus said and did demonstrates that he believed he was Israel’s messiah. His career was “performatively messianic” in a way that shows continuity in eschatological terms between Israel and the church.

Michael Bird tackles a question central to historical Jesus research and to understanding the development of the Christian confession: Who did Jesus say that he was? Thoroughly conversant with the extensive history of scholarship, Bird applies a rigorous critique to the dominant arguments used against attributing a messianic self-understanding to Jesus. He builds a substantial case for Jesus’ messianic self-understanding by analyzing the words explicitly spoken on this topic by or about Jesus during his earthly ministry and by examining the deeds Jesus chose to enact and the roles he would have been understood-—and would have understood himself—to embody by these deeds. Bird brings a fresh perspective and keen mind to this debate, painting a historically plausible picture of a Judean well versed in current messianic paradigms who crafted a ministry that reflected both an awareness of acting as God’s end-time agent and a particular understanding of what that agent was to accomplish.

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

Michael Bird has written one of the clearest and most compelling treatments of Jesus and the messianic question that I have read. Ancient literature and modern literature alike are handled with great expertise and excellent judgment. Readers will find no long-winded, specious theories propounded here. On the contrary, this book lays out the evidence fairly and with economy and then consistently reaches sensible conclusions. In the end, Bird goes where the evidence takes him, concluding that Jesus understood himself as Israel’s Messiah, which explains the nature of the name of the movement that arose in the aftermath of Easter. I recommend this book highly.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

[An] excellent and important new book. . . . Bird demonstrates convincingly that Jesus spoke and acted in ways that were deliberately designed to evoke messianic expectations and hopes. . . . Bird provides a fine overview of scholarship on the varied strands of messianic hope in the period of the Second Temple. He dismantles the classic arguments against a messianic self-understanding for Jesus with surprising ease. . . . In this book we witness the triumph of a plain sense reading of the New Testament in continuity with the teachings of the early Church. . . . Bird gives us a balanced and constructive alternative to the minimalist tendencies in recent scholarship. This book is highly recommended for those seeking to understand the historical Jesus in continuity with both Old Testament expectations and the Christological proclamation of the New Testament Church.

Letter & Spirit

Bird has written a book that is crisp and clear, provocative and challenging, but most importantly which demands careful interaction. As is the nature of such a strong challenge to a prevailing consensus, this book is unlikely to change opinion overnight, but whenever scholars consider the question of whether Jesus had any self-conception of a messianic identity, Bird’s scholarly study will be one of the contributions to the debate which will be impossible to ignore.

Expository Times

This monograph is an exemplary historical tracing of an exegetical issue. Bird presents his arguments clearly, and his rhetorical style easily leads readers down his hermeneutical path.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Michael F. Bird is a lecturer in theology at Crossway College and an honorary research associate at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission and The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective.

The Jesus Legend: A Case for the Historical Reliability of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition

  • Authors: Paul Rhodes Eddy and Gregory A. Boyd
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 480

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Much New Testament scholarship from the last 200 years has seen fit, to one degree or another, to relegate the Jesus tradition as recorded in the Gospels to the realm of legend. But is this really what the evidence points to? By drawing together recent scholarship from a variety of fields, including history, anthropology, ethnography, folklore, and New Testament studies, Paul Eddy and Gregory Boyd show that the evidence actually supports—rather than refutes—the historical reliability of the Gospels and the existence of Jesus.

Eddy and Boyd present the cumulative case argument for the “legendary Jesus” thesis and proceed to put it under the microscope—and seriously bring into question its viability. In the process, they range through issues such as the historical-critical method, form criticism, oral tradition, the use of non-Christian sources, the writings of Paul, and the Hellenization of Judaism. They come to the conclusion that the view of Jesus embraced by the early church was “substantially rooted in history.” Here is an important book in the field of Jesus studies, with potential use in New Testament and apologetics courses.

Eddy and Boyd provide a clearly written, carefully researched, and powerfully argued defense of the historical reliability of the Synoptic Gospels. What makes this book noteworthy is the careful treatment of underlying issues in historical methodology and philosophy. A pleasure to read and a wonderful resource for those who have encountered troubling skeptical claims about the Gospels.

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

I am gratified that my friends and colleagues Paul Eddy and Greg Boyd have taken my work as seriously as they have in this comprehensively researched book. Bravo for their repudiation of any bias of philosophical naturalism! Amen to their urging that the burden of proof is on whomever would reject any bit of gospel tradition as unhistorical. Other than this, I would dispute almost every one of their assertions—but that is why I recommend the book! What can you learn if you only reinforce your own viewpoint? I urge any reader of my books to read this one alongside them!

—Robert M. Price, professor of theology and scriptural studies, Colemon Theological Seminary

A most welcome survey and critique of modern-day imaginative reconstructions of the rise of Christianity that attempt to justify faith in the presupposition of a non-supernaturalistic Jesus. . . . Well-written and organized, containing a masterful command of the literature. Eddy and Boyd show the difference between an open historical investigation of the life of Jesus and much of today’s fictional writing that claims to be historical research concerning the origin of Christianity. A very useful introduction for college and seminary students.

Robert H. Stein, senior professor of New Testament interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Eddy and Boyd have provided a thoroughly compelling cumulative argument—one of the very best available—for the reliability of the Synoptic Jesus tradition. Their book constitutes a superb treatment of the various issues, involving both fresh research and a brilliant synthesis of material from a variety of relevant disciplines (philosophy, anthropology, historiography, as well as New Testament, early Judaism, and Greco-Roman antiquity). It is far better argued and documented than the works of the vast majority of the skeptics it challenges.

Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary

Misinformation about the historical Jesus and the reliability of the New Testament Gospels runs rampant in the twenty-first century. Some of this comes from eccentric or flawed scholarship; some from purely fictitious novels. Eddy and Boyd have surveyed technical and popular writing alike, in meticulous detail, and present what can be concluded responsibly about the trustworthiness of the Synoptic Gospels and the portraits of Jesus they contain. They compile a detailed and erudite case that supports Christian faith, but without the simplistic and unwarranted generalizations that one often hears in grassroots evangelical circles. Highly recommended!

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

This is one of the most important books on methodological issues in the study of Jesus and the Gospels to have appeared for a long time. It deserves to be widely read.

Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews

Paul R. Eddy is a professor of biblical and theological studies at Bethel University. He has coedited four successful volumes and is the author or editor of numerous books.

Gregory A. Boyd is the senior pastor of Woodland Hills Church in St. Paul, Minnesota. He was formerly a professor of theology at Bethel University. Boyd is the author of many books, including the critically acclaimed Seeing Is Believing and the best-selling Gold Medallion Award–winner Letters from a Skeptic.

Jesus according to Scripture: Restoring the Portrait from the Gospels

  • Author: Darrell L. Bock
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 704

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In recent years, historians and biblical scholars have been in active pursuit of the historical Jesus. The Jesus Seminar and similar efforts to place Jesus within his historical context have relied heavily on extra-biblical documents, since many historians consider the Bible propagandistic and biased. Darrell Bock, however, believes that the Gospels’ account of Jesus deserves further examination. Bock argues that when read together, the Gospels provide a clear picture of Jesus and his unique claims to authority. To demonstrate this claim, he offers Jesus according to Scripture.

While it notes how details of the canonical presentation of Jesus relate to first-century Palestinian culture, Jesus according to Scripture is not a historical study of Jesus. Instead, it’s an attempt to show the coherent portrait of Jesus that emerges from the Gospels—a portrait rooted in history and that’s produced its own historical and cultural impact.

Bock begins his work with a brief overview of each Gospel; he surveys its structure, themes, authorship, setting, and date. He then offers an examination of Jesus as portrayed in the Synoptic Gospels—however, he does not attempt to harmonize them, but leaves their narrative lines intact. Readers are invited to appreciate the contribution of each event internally to that Gospel as well as to its parallels. Next, Bock provides a detailed analysis of the Fourth Gospel’s portrayal of Jesus. He finishes with a summary of the main theological themes found throughout the Gospels, thus unifying them into a cohesive portrait of Jesus.

Jesus according to Scripture is an excellent textbook for advanced-college- and seminary-level courses on the life of Jesus. Additionally, pastors, teachers, and those interested in Jesus and the Gospels will enjoy this scholarly yet accessible book.

Darrell Bock is a well-known expert in the Gospels, and in Jesus according to Scripture he provides a detailed analysis of the portrait of Jesus from each Gospel as well as a theological synthesis of Jesus’ message and import as the Gospels portray him. Here we have a much more fulsome and helpful portrait of Jesus than is offered in many recent treatments of the historical Jesus. Highly recommended.

Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

After writing three entire commentaries on Luke, Darrell Bock naturally turns his attention to all four Gospels. Neither a contribution to historical-Jesus research nor a conventional textbook on the Gospels, this is a common-sense yet academically informed commentary—first on a synopsis of Matthew, Mark, and Luke and then on John. Laypersons, theological students, and pastors needing a review course will greatly benefit from it. In many ways, Jesus according to Scripture is a successor to Dwight Pentecost’s Words and Works of Jesus, and a worthy one indeed!

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

This book is a wonderful illustration of the value of canonical criticism. The author’s great knowledge of historical criticism is here employed in a study that takes the final form of the biblical texts as a literary unity. Bock’s work has a wonderful balance between a respect for the uniqueness of each Gospel and an appreciation of the overall unity in the portrait of Jesus provided for the church.

C. Stephen Evans, University Professor of Philosophy and Humanities, Baylor University

This book drives students to the texts of the four canonical Gospels; defends their historical reliability; interpretively distinguishes the Synoptics from John in the main, but somewhat from each other as well; and harmonizes all of them as much as possible. Teachers of courses on the life of Jesus who want a textbook that blends these approaches are likely to find here just what they’re looking for.

Robert Gundry, emeritus professor of New Testament and Greek, Westmont College

In this book Darrell Bock has accomplished for Evangelical theology what the late Raymond Brown achieved for its Catholic counterpart: a judicious synthesis of the scholarship of his colleagues with the concerns of a canonical reading of Scripture. The result is a readable textbook that respects the exegetical diversity of the Gospels while emphasizing the unity of their underlying witness.

Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College

Rooted in outstanding scholarship and written with exceptional clarity, Bock’s presentation of Jesus’ life and teaching will be of great help to pastors, Christian leaders, and students of Scripture. Our students have already benefited from a pre-published version of this volume and speak with enthusiasm about it.

Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature, Talbot School of Theology

Darrell L. Bock is a research professor of New Testament studies at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is the author or editor of many books, including Studying the Historical Jesus and the two-volume commentary on Luke in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series.

Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament

  • Author: Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 336

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Who is the real Jesus, and why does he matter? In Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament, respected New Testament scholar Thomas Yoder Neufeld offers an accessible and thorough introduction to Jesus’ life. Neufeld starts with the Jesus revealed in the Gospels. He covers Jesus’ birth, teachings, miracles, death, and resurrection. Then he builds on this account and assesses recent scholarly and popular studies, like the argument that the historical Jesus is revealed in the Gnostic gospels and other noncanonical texts. The result is a useful guide into the morass of current scholarship.

In a true teaching spirit, Neufeld provides a comprehensive approach that doesn’t overwhelm the introductory reader or student. He clearly explains the nuances of complex issues without oversimplification. Recovering Jesus is thus an invaluable text for undergraduate and seminary students and a helpful resource in nonacademic settings. In the end, readers will come to a deeper understanding of who Jesus is and why he matters.

Thomas Yoder Neufeld has provided readers with ‘the raw material and some of the skill with which to jump into the fray’ of the debates about Jesus. This highly readable book has been carefully honed through years of undergraduate teaching by a scholar who often preaches and teaches in church settings. Well informed and with enviable clarity, Neufeld presents the fruit of the best critical Jesus scholarship—hospitable for students in the pluralistic context of the university classroom. Anyone interested in the Jesus we encounter in the New Testament will turn these pages with great interest and profit.

Graham H. Twelftree, distinguished professor of New Testament, Regent University School of Divinity

Not just another Jesus book, Thomas Yoder Neufeld’s Recovering Jesus integrates sound scholarship with a profound and reflective faith. Written with a wide spectrum of contemporary college students in mind, Yoder Neufeld’s accessible and engaging prose will also attract thoughtful laypeople as well as busy church leaders. His centering the Jesus story in the ethic and theology of the kingdom of God is not only refreshingly true to the heart of our written Gospels but will be especially helpful for those who long to follow Jesus in life. Few scholars of Yoder Neufeld’s breadth and depth write with this clarity of thought and joy on discipleship.

—Mary Schertz, professor of New Testament, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Thomas Yoder Neufeld does a good and accessible job of clearing the decks and showing the way in this introduction to Jesus and his teaching in the context of the scholarly cacophony that surrounds Jesus. Nicely done.

Darrell L. Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

A lucid, engaging treatment of Jesus and the Gospels, attending well to sources and methods. Yoder Neufeld laudably combines faith and scholarship. His lists of reading sources at the end of each chapter are valuable for further study. This book is well designed for introducing Jesus and current scholarship to university students, and to laypeople who want to understand how we know what we know about Jesus.

—Willard M. Swartley, emeritus professor of New Testament, Associated Mennonite Biblical Seminary

Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld is the professor of religious studies (New Testament) at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including a commentary on Ephesians in the Believers Church Bible Commentary series.

Opening Paul’s Letters: A Reader’s Guide to Genre and Interpretation

  • Author: Patrick Gray
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 192

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It is easy to forget that the books of the Bible are not really “books,” but individual documents composed in a wide array of literary genres. This clear, concise, and accessible text on the Pauline letters orients beginning students to the genre in which Paul writes. The book compares and contrasts Paul’s letters with ancient and modern letters. It reveals the distinctive conventions, forms, and purposes of Paul’s Epistles. It focuses on the literary genre of the letter in ancient Greece and Rome and provides an overview of subjects, strategies, and concerns of immediate relevance for readers who wish to understand Paul in his ancient context. Discussion questions are included.

Gray not only describes complicated literary matters in clear and accessible ways but also provides helpful examples to show how knowing this information enriches understanding. His advice to readers wisely makes genre and rhetoric the servants of interpretation rather than straitjackets that demand particular forms or turns in an argument. This combination of introducing new information and demonstrating nuanced usage is just what beginning students need. The balance and clarity of this volume make it an excellent supplement in a course on Paul.

—Jerry L. Sumney, professor of biblical studies, Lexington Theological Seminary

A superb guide to Paul’s letters, impressive in its command of the relevant ancient sources and current scholarly debates. Gray’s exposition reflects a gifted teacher’s instinct for connecting with students through astute use of popular culture and classic literary texts while giving due attention to the fascinating complexity of Paul’s ancient context.

Carl R. Holladay, Charles Howard Candler Professor of New Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Appropriately interpreting a work entails recognition of its literary genre, and that is especially true for reading the Bible, which contains a wide variety of genres. Gray’s delightful new book provides useful guidance to students in learning how to read Paul’s letters as letters, doing so in light of ancient epistolary theory and practice and with an eye to how ancient conventions differ from those used today.

—John Fitzgerald, professor of religious studies, University of Miami

This is the best entry on the letters of Paul in print. Gray covers the basic areas with clarity and balance. He invites students to experience Paul by opening their eyes rather than narrowing them. The cultural examples are a model of pedagogy.

—Gregory E. Sterling, dean, Yale Divinity School

This book should become the go-to introductory book on Paul’s letters. Clearly written and carefully organized, it moves across the complicated landscape of Paul’s letters with ease. Gray always has the reader in mind—the reader of Paul and the reader of this book—as he raises and answers questions that are essential for understanding Paul and his literary setting.

Gail R. O’Day, dean, Wake Forest University School of Divinity

Patrick Gray is the associate professor of religious studies at Rhodes College in Memphis, Tennessee. He is the author of Godly Fear: The Epistle to the Hebrews and Greco-Roman Critiques of Superstition and the coeditor of several books, including Teaching the Bible: Practical Strategies for Classroom Instruction.

Jesus Have I Loved, but Paul?: A Narrative Approach to the Problem of Pauline Christianity

  • Author: J. R. Daniel Kirk
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 224

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Students of the Bible are often drawn to Jesus’ message and ministry, but they are not always as positively inclined toward Paul. In this volume, Pauline scholar J. R. Daniel Kirk offers a fresh and timely engagement of the debated relationship between Paul’s writings and the portrait of Jesus contained in the Gospels. He integrates the messages of Jesus and Paul both with one another and with the Old Testament, and he demonstrates the continuity that exists between these two foundational figures. After laying out the narrative contours of the Christian life, Kirk provides fresh perspective on challenging issues facing the contemporary world, from environmental concerns to social justice to homosexuality. College and seminary students in New Testament and Pauline studies courses, pastors, and church leaders will value this work.

If a book about Jesus and Paul could ever be a page-turner, this is that book. Daniel Kirk invites us to learn from Paul as a faithful interpreter of Jesus, dispelling frequent misinterpretations of both the Lord and his apostle. As Kirk himself says, the heart of this volume is the claim that both Jesus and Paul tell the story of Israel’s God as a narrative that includes you, me, and the whole created order. If we listen to his wise counsel, we will become more faithful communities of the cross-shaped, life-giving gospel.

Michael J. Gorman, professor of biblical studies, moral theology, and history, The Ecumenical Institute of Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University

The perceived tensions between the presentation of the life and message of Jesus contained in the Gospels and Paul’s account of that message are well documented and have been the subject of much historical and theological wrestling. In this volume Daniel Kirk outlines a narrative approach to Pauline Christianity that deconstructs some common and problematic assumptions as well as presents a compelling vision of Paul’s gospel that is in deep continuity with the message of Jesus. In so doing, he renders a Paul who speaks powerfully to the church of the twenty-first century and the world to which it is called to bear witness.

—John R. Franke, theologian in residence, First Presbyterian Church, Allentown, PA

[This book] may very well be a touchstone for the next generation of Christians who can’t accept the traditional Paul (on historical grounds) and yet who want to explore what Paul looks like if we begin with a more accurate understanding of Jesus, of Judaism, of the Bible’s Story . . . and of Paul himself.

Scot McKnight, Karl A. Olsson Professor in Religious Studies, North Park University

The admirable and important goal of this study is to bridge the divide some Christians find between Jesus and Paul. . . . [Kirk] demonstrates that such a supposed divide does not do justice either to the gospels’ portrayal of Jesus or to Paul and his letters. . . . Kirk writes from an explicitly Evangelical background and vocabulary but Catholic readers will benefit, too, from his thoughtful approach.

The Bible Today

J. R. Daniel Kirk is an assistant professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Menlo Park, California. He is the author of Unlocking Romans: Resurrection and the Justification of God as well as numerous articles.

Moral Formation according to Paul: The Context and Coherence of Pauline Ethics

  • Author: James W. Thompson
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 272

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This fresh treatment of Paul’s ethics addresses this question: How, according to Paul, can Christian communities know how God wants them to live? Leading biblical scholar James Thompson explains that Paul offers a coherent moral vision based not only on Christ’s story but also on the norms of the law. Paul did not live with a sharp dichotomy of law and gospel, and he recognized the continuing importance of the law. Thompson makes a distinctive contribution by locating the roots of Paul’s concrete ethical thought in Hellenistic Judaism rather than Hellenistic moral philosophy. Students of New Testament ethics and Pauline theology will value this work.

Books on the moral life according to Paul are relatively scarce. We can be grateful to Thompson for his lucid and readable survey of moral transformation in Paul. Comparing and contrasting Paul’s moral vision with both Greco-Roman and Hellenistic writers provides an illuminating social context in which to interpret Paul.

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

This important study locates moral formation squarely at the heart of Paul’s letters—not by replacing ‘theology’ with ‘ethics’ but by demonstrating that Paul’s agenda was in fact the moral transformation of his communities. Thompson traces the roots of Paul’s moral teaching in the Old Testament and the story of Christ and exposes his indebtedness more to Hellenistic Judaism than to Greco-Roman moral philosophy. Crucially, he positions Paul’s writings in another ‘context,’ in communities of people who have begun new life in Christ, who await the final day, and for whom the present is about metamorphosis into a moral counterculture. Thompson does not try to answer all of our present-day questions; instead, he marks well the path for anyone wanting to explore the contours and coherence of Paul’s moral vision.

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

This is an exceptionally well-thought-through and useful study of Pauline ethics.

The Bible Today

Thompson’s work has many commendable features. He successfully makes the case that Paul’s ethic is a fundamentally coherent one. He further demonstrates continuity in Paul with the Old Testament’s summons to Israel to live in light of a distinctive identity grounded in their redemption by God. He also provides much exegetical support for what theologians have termed ‘the third use of the law’ in Paul’s ethical reflections. . . . Thompson has produced a helpful and engaging discussion of Pauline ethics. In its concern to set those ethics in their context, to demonstrate leading themes and commonalities within Paul’s ethical instructions, and to stress the fundamental coherence of Paul’s ethical reflection, Moral Formation according to Paul is a valuable resource for scholar and student alike.

Themelios

Thompson has written a vitally important book, which shows beyond any doubt that Paul’s ethics are not some epilogue or uninteresting backwater in his epistles, but are a central and integral part of his total theological outlook. The book is clearly and concisely written, and one can follow the logic of the argument with great clarity. Moreover, Thompson demonstrates an able command of Pauline texts that takes his readers into a deeper understanding of many issues relating to Pauline moral instruction. . . . This book must be read by all New Testament scholars working in Pauline studies.

Expository Times

James W. Thompson is the Robert and Kay Onstead Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and the associate dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University. He is the editor of Restoration Quarterly and the author of several books, including Pastoral Ministry according to Paul, Preaching like Paul, The Beginnings of Christian Philosophy, and Hebrews in Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament.

Pastoral Ministry according to Paul: A Biblical Vision

  • Author: James W. Thompson
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 176

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What is the ultimate purpose of pastoral ministry? What emphases and priorities should fuel the pursuit of this purpose? These are perennial questions engaged by pastors, the churches that employ them, and the seminaries that prepare them.

As a New Testament scholar who works at the intersection between biblical studies and practical ministry, James Thompson suggests that we need to recapture the theological foundation for understanding pastoral ministry. In this careful, contextual study of Pauline letters, Thompson draws out Paul’s vision and purpose for his ministry. He concludes that the goal of pastoral ministry is “transforming the community of faith until it is ‘blameless’ at the coming of Christ.” It is corporate, spiritual, and ethical growth that Paul focuses on, as opposed to the frequent contemporary focus on numerical growth and individual needs.

Thompson recognizes the historical and cultural gap between Paul’s ministry context and our own, and he nevertheless believes that this vision of ministry has profound implications for us today. He goes beyond the emphasis on pastoral roles and mere pragmatics of much of the “how to” literature and offers suggestions for application that are rooted in the eschatological and ethical goals of Paul’s vision of pastoral work.

Without a trace of academic disdain for the hands-on, how-to skills of the practice of Christian ministry, Thompson proposes to bridge the gap that often separates biblical theology and pastoral skills. As a respected New Testament scholar, he stands within the biblical message and asks how it can be implemented in a modern pastoral context. He does not deal in generalities, but in-depth studies of 1 Thessalonians, Galatians, Romans, and the Corinthian letters keep the study focused on the concrete grittiness of both text and contemporary situation.

M. Eugene Boring, Emeritus I. Wylie and Elizabeth M. Briscoe Professor of New Testament, Brite Divinity School

The contemporary marketplace of pastoral ministry is long on practical directives, short on biblical and theological wisdom and purpose. Urging that, for Paul, ministry is partnership with God concerned with transforming faith communities, James Thompson both models how to read Paul theologically and with pastoral sensitivity and reconfigures the motivations, aims, and measures of pastoral ministry today. The result is a vision of ministerial formation and congregational shaping that challenges and inspires.

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

This compact book presents a unified vision of pastoral theology based on a careful reading of Paul’s undisputed letters. . . . [Thompson’s] focus remains unremittingly pastoral. One gets a fairly comprehensive overview of Pauline theology in the book. . . . This book admirably fulfills its goal. I highly recommend it for seminary students, pastors, lay ministers, and anyone interested in the pastoral dimensions of Paul’s letters.

Interpretation

With a great deal of emphasis these days on numeric growth, it is refreshing to find an author who points the theological criteria for growth as seen through Paul’s eyes.

Leadership Journal

This is a fine book worthy of being studied by seminary and theology school faculty as well as by members of parish pastoral teams.

The Bible Today

James W. Thompson is the Robert and Kay Onstead Distinguished Professor of Biblical Studies and the associate dean of the Graduate School of Theology at Abilene Christian University. He is the editor of Restoration Quarterly and the author of several books, including Moral Formation according to Paul, Preaching like Paul, The Beginnings of Christian Philosophy, and Hebrews in Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament.

Paul and the Mission of the Church: Philippians in Ancient Jewish Context

  • Author: James P. Ware
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 400

Did Paul urge Christians to engage in mission? What would that have meant in his setting? What should the church be doing now? This essential study examines Paul’s letter to the Philippians in its ancient Jewish context. It makes a convincing case that Paul expected churches to continue the work of spreading the Gospel.

This excellent book makes a strong and convincing case that Paul expected his converts to engage in mission. Along the way it sheds very important light on Jewish attitudes toward gentile conversion and offers some outstanding exegetical treatments of the Letter to the Philippians. This is a first-class contribution to scholarship that will delight all researchers in the field.

John M. G. Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University

In a culture that is increasingly inhospitable to the gospel, our interpretive lenses are sharpening the focus on the centrality of mission in the Bible. It is heartening to see the growing literature on this subject, especially among biblical scholars, and James Ware’s book will be another fine addition to this corpus. Against the important background of eschatology and mission in the Old Testament, Ware amply demonstrates the centrality of mission for Paul and the Philippian church in a time when the eschatological future of Isaiah has arrived. This book is fine biblical scholarship in the service of the missional church.

Michael W. Goheen, Geneva Professor of Worldview and Religious Studies, Trinity Western University

This important study is thorough and insightful. Although Paul’s missionary activity is unprecedented in Judaism, his concern for the gentiles is completely in keeping with God’s ultimate purposes. The difference is that for Paul the eschatological future has arrived and is arriving. This book will be essential for discussions about the biblical and theological roots of Christian mission.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

In this fine book, James Ware presents one of the most helpful biblical-theological studies related to mission that has been published in recent decades. The work is clearly written, cogently argued, and helpfully summarized. For persons interested in a biblical theology of mission, the bibliographic material alone makes this book worth consulting. . . . Overall, I found Ware’s handling of both Second Temple Jewish literature and the Pauline writings excellent. . . . The book would make a nice supplementary text for an upper-level biblical theology or missiology class.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Ware’s careful study, including its exploration of Jewish tradition, adds further depth to contemporary missiology.

The Bible Today

James P. Ware is the associate professor of religion at the University of Evansville, where he teaches New Testament and ancient Christianity. He is the editor of Synopsis of the Pauline Letters in Greek and English.

Interpreting the Pauline Epistles

  • Author: Thomas R. Schreiner
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 192

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Leading Pauline studies expert Thomas Schreiner provides an updated guide to the exegesis of the New Testament epistles traditionally assigned to Paul. The first edition helped thousands of students dig deeper into studying the New Testament epistles. This new edition is revised throughout to account for changes in the field and to incorporate the author’s maturing judgments. The book helps readers understand the nature of first-century letters, do textual criticism, investigate historical and introductory issues, probe theological context, and much more.

This is a wonderfully clear and thorough guide. Schreiner draws on his decades of scholarship to paint a ‘big picture’ of how to read Paul’s letters. At the same time, he breaks the reading process down into smaller steps, and he illustrates those steps with numerous examples. For students who want to move from guesswork and random dabbling to informed, life-changing engagement with the divinely inspired writings of the apostle Paul, there is no better starting place.

Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity International University

In a welcome update to a tried and trusted textbook, Tom Schreiner shows us how to find our way around Paul’s world, letters, language, culture, and theology. Whether one is deciphering Paul’s Greek grammar, learning how to follow his arguments, or studying Paul’s unique vocabulary, Schreiner is a reliable guide to the novice and veteran alike. Seminary students will be forever grateful to Schreiner for giving them this book!

Michael F. Bird, lecturer in theology, Crossway College

The new, updated edition of Tom Schreiner’s excellent little book will be a boon to those who want to be responsible interpreters of Scripture. Although it specifically addresses the interpretation of Paul’s letters, its principles are appropriate to all biblical interpretation. Schreiner, himself a masterful exegete, writes with his typical clarity and with the conviction that these writings are the inspired word of God. Those who read and heed this practical handbook will be in a strong position to feed the flock of Christ.

Donald A. Hagner, senior professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ and Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.

Paul, His Letters, and Acts

  • Author: Thomas E. Phillips
  • Series: Library of Pauline Studies
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 256

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Aside from Jesus, the Apostle Paul had the greatest formative influence on the early Christian movement. Yet who was this passionate missionary who carried the message of Christ throughout the Mediterranean world? The New Testament writings give us not one but two portraits of Paul. We read numerous details of Paul’s life and relationships in the Book of Acts, and we find an additional set of details about Paul’s activities in his letters. Yet how consistent are these two portraits? And which one gives us the most accurate picture of the historical Paul? In this volume, Thomas E. Phillips examines the portrayals of Paul in recent biblical scholarship in light of these two major New Testament portraits. Believing the apostolic conference at Jerusalem to be a watershed event, Phillips draws conclusions that help contemporary readers get a more accurate picture of Paul.

Here is a helpful, detailed compilation of all the historical data that can be gleaned from Paul’s letters and from Acts in the attempt to determine whether the emerging pictures of Paul and his mission are compatible or otherwise. The author concludes that the pictures are somewhat divergent with Acts presenting a later, more attractive Paul, but he presents the evidence with such care and impartiality that readers are free to make their own decision on this complex issue.

I. Howard Marshall, emeritus professor of New Testament exegesis, University of Aberdeen

In this carefully written and accessible book, Thomas E. Phillips shows that portraits of Paul vary widely according to how they see the relationship between Paul’s own letters and claims about Paul made in the Book of Acts. Some scholars discount what Acts says, while others use Acts to correct Paul’s statements. Phillips argues that, while Acts develops its own perspective on Paul, it also provides crucial information.

Bruce Chilton, Bernard Iddings Bell Professor of Religion, Bard College

In this lively book Phillips revisits an old bone of contention in Pauline studies—relating the Paul of the letters to the Paul of Acts. Eschewing oversimplified and preordained responses, he carefully tabulates data sets from both sources, working through comparisons of Paul’s travels, broad cultural background, and relationships with other early church leaders and members to reach a final balanced and judicious weighting of the two sets of sources. The result is the crafting of a careful methodological and biographical trajectory that proponents of both sides of this frequently polarized debate will be able to trace through to arrive at a more reasoned and reasonable position. The main text is clear, with numerous jaunty analogies and metaphors; students in particular will benefit from its narratives, while scholars will profit further from the extensive annotations that Phillips supplies. Overall, Phillips is to be commended for bringing this critical set of questions within Pauline studies back into the foreground, and for engaging it with such sustained, disciplined, and frequently insightful enthusiasm.

Douglas A. Campbell, associate professor of New Testament, Duke Divinity School

This book is particularly helpful . . . in showing many of the main issues on which debate over the compatibility of Acts and the Pauline letters focuses.

Theological Book Review

Phillips has shown how a careful methodology can provide clearer data (e.g., the different images of Paul’s social status). This book . . . can serve as a good introduction to some issues that surround the relationship between the image of Paul in Acts and the historical Paul.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Well-written and accessible. It will be of high value to advanced undergraduates, seminarians, pastors, and new scholars on Paul.

Religious Studies Review

Thomas E. Phillips is a professor of New Testament and Early Christianity at Point Loma Nazarene University. He is the author or editor of several books, including Contemporary Studies in Acts and Acts and Ethics.

Paul, the Pastoral Epistles, and the Early Church

  • Author: James W. Aageson
  • Series: Library of Pauline Studies
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 250

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Paul’s influence on the history of Christian life and theology is as profound as it is pervasive. A brief survey of almost 20 centuries of Christian thought and practice will confirm the enduring importance of Paul for the life of the church in the Roman and Protestant traditions of the West as well as the Orthodox traditions of the East. Even as Christianity, at the dawn of its third millennium, has become increasingly global and traditions have come to develop and intersect in new and complex ways, Paul’s place in the story of Christianity remains deeply rooted in the church’s theology, worship, and pastoral life. In both past and present, Paul’s influence on the Christian church can hardly be overestimated.

Among the many intriguing issues generated by the historical Paul, his New Testament letters, and early church history is this question: what happened to Paul after Paul? Whether we think in terms of the reception of Paul’s theology, or the ongoing legacy of Paul, or early Christian reinterpretation of his letters, the questions persist: what did the early church do with Paul’s memory? How did it reshape his theology? And what role did his letters come to play in the life of the church?

The focus of the present discussion is on the early decades and centuries of Christianity, a time when the memory and legacy of Paul came to serve varied and often competing interests in the emerging church. It was a time when Paul’s reputation and importance to the church were being reinforced and when his epistles were gaining the authority that would ensure their place in the sacred library of Christianity. It was also the time when the Jesus movement forged itself into Christianity, a process in which Paul played a pivotal role and eventually also became an object of revision and transformation himself. What is virtually indisputable in this process is that Paul, during his lifetime and after, played a critical role in making Christianity what it was to become.

This insightful book shines new light on the Pastorals with careful comparisons of their thought and theology. Aageson artfully teases out their theological patterns to clarify their message. He is sensitive to the differences among the Pastorals, and he shows how those differences should shape our understandings of each epistle and the growth of the church. Aageson lays out the complexity of the issues that surround the Pastorals and the image of Paul in the early church and then comes to reasoned conclusions that take in those intricacies of historical circumstance and theological nuances and tensions. Beyond the Pastoral Epistles, Aageson dispels the notion that Paul was important in the second and third centuries primarily for heretics, who forced him on the rest of the church. Aageson uses his broad knowledge of the post-apostolic church and his multiplex approach to demonstrate how images of Paul were important for a wide cross-section of the church. He brings to light the multifaceted nature of the church’s historical development and so does not allow an imposed paradigm to dictate the outline of his reconstruction of its first three centuries of the church’s life. Aageson rewards his readers with insightful analysis of important literature that ranges over 300 years. He demonstrates clearly that his method of seeking patterns of thought has potential in many areas of biblical and post-biblical research.

—Jerry L. Sumney, professor of biblical studies, Lexington Theological Seminary

This is a valuable book for its fresh questions about the theological patterns in the Pastorals and for its comparison of them with the Apostolic Fathers and other early writers.

Themelios

Aageson is to be commended for developing a new method, that of theological patterns, to investigate the Pastorals, Paul’s legacy, and what happened to Paul after Paul.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

This fascinating book provides a different approach to the Pastoral Epistles and fresh insights into their place in the history of the church and early Christian literature. . . . This is a book that I truly enjoyed reading, especially for its fresh approach and numerous insights. Particularly as a Roman Catholic, I hope that Aageson’s short, focused reflection on Scripture and tradition receives wide circulation. All things considered, ’kudos’ is the word that best sums up my reaction to this gem of a book.

Interpretation

[A] highly readable study. . . . With commendable lucidity and convincing argumentation, Aageson uncovers the important place inhabited by the Pastoral Epistles in the developing Pauline tradition and provides a model for better understanding the powerful influence these writings have exercised over later developed conceptions of Paul and Pauline theology. It should be read by anyone remotely interested in the reception history of Paul’s epistles in the early church or in the development of early Christian doctrine and ecclesiology.

Theological Book Review

James W. Aageson is a professor of religion and the chair of the Division of Arts and Humanities at Concordia College. He specializes in the study of early Judaism, Paul, and the history of the early church. Aegeson has traveled and studied widely in the countries where Christianity first developed.

Paul and the Jews

  • Author: A. Andrew Das
  • Series: Library of Pauline Studies
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2001
  • Pages: 256

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Paul and the Jews offers the beginning Pauline student an entrance into the interesting world of Pauline studies. Andrew Das examines the question, “How did Paul’s thinking compare with that of the Jews of his time?” He provides a survey of the scholarly views on this question and then presents his own conclusions.

Arguing for a newer perspective on Paul as a way to understand how the great Apostle viewed the Jewish people and their law in the light of Jesus Christ, Andrew Das has made a significant contribution to Pauline studies that will also serve as a firm exegetical footing for a constructive dialogue between Christians and Jews. Professor Das’ careful reading of Paul’s letters, especially Romans and Galatians, shows that while Paul affirms the centrality of Jesus Christ for salvation, Paul is not a super-sessionist. Paul and the Jews opens new vistas for those searching for an informed understanding of Paul’s thinking about Israel, its law, and its Messiah.

Frank J. Matera, professor of New Testament, The Catholic University of America

The topic of Andrew Das’ new work requires that he address a whole series of issues that have proven controversial in recent Pauline scholarship: the two-covenant theory, the identification of the ‘weak’ and the ‘strong’ in Romans 14, the place of the law in the lives of Christians, and, of course, the ongoing debate between the ‘new perspective’ and traditional readings of Paul. All are tackled head-on in an accessible, informed, and balanced way. Das’ fresh—and thoughtful—proposals are sure to garner attention, and Paul’s impact on Jewish-Christian relations is the subject of stimulating reflections. A book for students and scholars alike.

Stephen Westerholm, associate professor, McMaster University

A. Andrew Das is the Niebuhr Distinguished Chair and professor of religious studies at Elmhurst College in Illinois. He is the author of several books, including Paul, the Law, and the Covenant.

Paul, the Law, and the Covenant

  • Author: A. Andrew Das
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 368

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The now-familiar “new perspective” asserts that the “covenantal nomism” characteristic of second-temple Judaism softened the Mosaic law’s requirement of perfect obedience. Because of God’s gracious covenant with Israel, manifested in election and in the provision of atoning sacrifices, one could be righteous under the law despite occasional failures to obey the law perfectly. This view concludes that Paul, as a first-century Jew, could not have been troubled by the law’s stringent demands, because it was generally understood that the gracious framework of the covenant provided a way of dealing with occasional lapses. Consequently, it is claimed that Paul’s problem with the law must have to do with its misuse as a means of enforcing ethnic boundaries and excluding Gentile believers.

However, as Das demonstrates in this book, whenever the gracious framework of covenantal nomism is called into question, the law’s demands take on central importance. Das traces this development in a number of second-temple Jewish works and especially in the writings of Paul. “Covenantal nomism” is probably an apt characterization of Paul’s opponents, and indeed of Paul’s past life; thus, he can assert that formerly he was “blameless” under the law. But now Paul sees God’s grace as active only in Christ. He emphatically denies that God will show special grace in his judgment of Jews; to do so would be favoritism. Similarly, Paul sees no atoning benefit to the sacrificial system. In effect, Paul is no longer a “covenantal nomist.” Since the gracious framework of the covenant has collapsed, all that remains for Paul is the law, with its oppressive requirement of perfect obedience and ethnic exclusivism. Contra the “new perspective,” the “works of the law” should not be construed so narrowly as only the law’s ethnic exclusivity. Christ is “the end” of the law in general, both in the sense that he is the goal to which the law always pointed, and in that he is the sole agent of God’s grace apart from which the law’s demands would be impossible.

This is a significant contribution to the ongoing discussion of the place of the Jewish law in the theology of the Apostle Paul. Aware of the ‘new look’ in Pauline studies, and of the view of ’works-righteousness’ to which it is opposed, Dr. Das offers observations on a third way to view the law from the Pauline perspective. The argument is presented in a measured and judicious manner, and will repay careful reading.

Paul J. Achtemeier, Emeritus Professor of Biblical Interpretation, Union Theological Seminary

This book is an important exploration of the current debate about Paul’s understanding of the Jewish Law in the light of the reevaluation of the issue connected especially with the scholarship of E. P. Sanders. Andrew Das reexamines the Jewish and Pauline texts and explores the nooks and crannies of the recent debates with a sharp eye for dubious arguments. He makes a good case that it is time to move beyond the ‘covenantal nomism’ theory and combine Sanders’ new perspective with a realization that Paul, after all, was concerned about self-righteousness.

—David M. Hay, Joseph E. McCabe Emeritus Professor of Religion, Coe College

Andrew Das has written an ambitious and wide-ranging study that offers a serious sustained critique of the ‘new perspective’ on Paul’s teaching about the Law. He joins Schreiner and Westerholm in challenging the currently popular view of Dunn, Wright, and others that Paul’s critique of Law is aimed primarily at Jewish particularistic nationalism. Das has done an impressive job of sifting through the voluminous secondary literature on Paul and the Law, forming intelligent critical judgments, and maintaining a consistent position of his own while engaging most of the key passages in Paul’s letters. This book is a solid and professional piece of work that needs to be heeded in contemporary debates about Paul and the Law. I have certainly learned in reading it to be more nuanced in some of my own formulations.

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, Duke University

The work offers a sustained critique of the so-called ‘new perspective’ on Paul’s teaching about the Law. Das joins Thomas Schreiner and Stephen Westerholm in challenging the currently popular view of James Dunn, N. T. Wright, and others that Paul’s critique of the Law is aimed primarily at Jewish particularistic nationalism.

International Review of Biblical Studies

Anyone interested in Pauline studies, and in the New Testament texts examined by Das, will find his study both stimulating and beneficial and might breathe a sigh of relief that a ‘newer perspective’ on Paul has dawned.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

This book is a detailed and careful study that takes into consideration the main line of thought in recent Pauline scholarship. However, it refuses to be ‘uncritical,’ accepting its findings as final. For that reason, Das offers a valuable contribution to the ongoing debate. . . . However, while reading this book we are reminded that Sanders’ Covenantal Nomism is still waiting for a ‘newer perspective,’ that will look at the ‘patterns of religion of both Judaism and Paul from 30 years of distance.’ Whoever will have the depth and breadth to undertake that project would be well served by consulting Paul, the Law, and the Covenant.

Ashland Theological Journal

A. Andrew Das is a Niebuhr Distinguished Chair and professor of religious studies at Elmhurst College in Illinois. He is the author of several books, including Paul and the Jews.

God’s Empowering Presence: The Holy Spirit in the Letters of Paul

  • Author: Gordon D. Fee
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 992

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God’s Empowering Presence is a fresh and original analysis of all the passages in the Pauline corpus that concern the Holy Spirit, including Ephesians, Colossians, and the Pastoral Epistles. Through comprehensive lexical, historical, and grammatical study, Fee provides an exegesis of every Spirit text in Paul’s writings. He investigates the Holy Spirit’s crucial roles in Pauline theology: eschatological fulfillment, divine person of the Trinity, and evidence for and guarantee of salvation.

Fee’s book is the most comprehensive treatment available of Paul’s understanding of the Holy Spirit, a topic that has rarely received sufficient attention in studies of Pauline theology. Fee’s method is exemplary: he first analyzes Paul’s statements about the Spirit in each individual letter and then moves to a synthesis of Paul’s general pneumatology. The result is a book that is deeply exegetical, doing justice both to the particularity of Paul’s writings and to the fundamental unity of his vision for the Spirit’s role in the life of the Christian community. Most importantly, Fee emphasizes insistently that the Holy Spirit must be experienced as a living presence within the church. That message is both faithful to Paul and urgent for the community of faith in our time.

Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, Duke University

With the energy and care that is a trademark of his work, Gordon Fee here fills a significant gap in Pauline studies. Both those who find talk about the Holy Spirit congenial and those who would happily marginalize it will be instructed by this book. Fee makes a genuine contribution as he examines Paul’s letters in conversation with both the exegetical tradition of the academy and the pressing needs of the church.

Beverly R. Gaventa, Helen H. P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary

Fee uniquely combines professional competence as a text critic, an exegete, an author and editor of major commentaries, and a foremost evangelical interpreter of Paul with a lifetime of formation and ministry among the Pentecostals—this century’s providential witnesses to the work of the Spirit of God among us. . . . Fee’s work offers an enduring encyclopedia of Pauline pneumatological exegesis, easy to consult for next Sunday’s sermon . . . a must-have, within arm’s reach, for serious interpreters of Paul’s gospel. . . . Fee’s work is the theological crown of a distinguished exegetical career.

—Russell P. Spittler, senior professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Gordon D. Fee is an emeritus professor at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of several books, including the popular How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, as well as many commentaries.

Pauline Christology: An Exegetical-Theological Study

  • Author: Gordon D. Fee
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 744

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In Pauline Christology, author Gordon Fee provides a detailed analysis of the letters of Paul (including those whose authorship is questioned) individually, exploring the Christology of each, and then attempts a synthesis of the exegetical work into a biblical Christology of Paul.

The author’s synthesis covers the following themes: Christ’s roles as divine Savior and as preexistent and incarnate Savior; Jesus as the Second Adam, the Jewish Messiah, and Son of God; and Christ as the Messiah and exalted Lord. Fee also explores the relationship between Christ and the Spirit, and considers the person and role of the Spirit in Paul’s thought. Appendixes cover the theme of Christ and Personified Wisdom, as well as Paul’s use of Kurios (Lord) in citations and echoes of the Septuagint.

Gordon Fee . . . is one of the foremost Evangelical scholars in North America. He brings his great erudition and theological insight to bear on the topic of Paul’s Christology, which strangely, as Fee points out, has not been the subject of many explicit book-length studies. This work, encyclopedic in its length and format, goes a long way toward making up for such neglect. . . . The exegetical groundwork of the first section is followed by a second half of the volume that weaves the conclusions from these studies into a synthesis under various titles . . . or categories of interpretation. . . . There is no doubt that this substantial study will be a reference point for some time to come.

The Bible Today

This is a monumental book—in some respects, even a watershed book—in both size and significance.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Fee’s book is the most thorough and compelling account of Paul’s Christology to date and is nothing short of a great achievement. It is sure to remain the standard in the field for some time to come.

Review of Biblical Literature

Pauline Christology is a very welcome addition to Pauline studies, filling a gap in the scholarly literature. It is essential reading for New Testament scholars, and of course, especially for those who know and love Paul.

Journal of the Evangelical Society

This is a conservative yet innovative work. It is conservative inasmuch as it rejects any attempt to minimize the centrality of preexistence and incarnation in Pauline Christology. It is innovative in its understanding of the role that the Septuagint and its Kyrios title play in Pauline Christology. Fee’s work is the most complete and thorough presentation of Pauline Christology presently available.

Theological Studies Book Reviews

Fee is a master writer, exegete, and commentator—three ingredients of his scholarship that come to the fore in this book. . . . Readers who have some acquaintance with Greek language and grammar will best be able to follow Fee’s arguments. Fee does, however, provide an English translation and grammatical structure, which parallels the Greek text being discussed. So general readers can excavate the essence of Fee’s main points. . . . The major benefit for readers is the strong emphasis on the supremacy of Christ. Fee powerfully conveys Paul’s Christocentric worldview.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Gordon D. Fee is an emeritus professor at Regent College in Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of several books, including the popular How to Read the Bible for All Its Worth, as well as many commentaries.

Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology

  • Author: Udo Schnelle
  • Translator: M. Eugene Boring
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 704

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This comprehensive introduction to Paul by a leading European scholar, proceeding on the basis of the rootedness of the apostle’s letters in particular concrete circumstances, carefully lays out what can be known of those circumstances on the basis of the available evidence. It then interprets the letters in light of their life setting en route to a comprehensive and coherent description of Paul’s theology. Now available in a lucid translation by a respected American scholar who has adapted the bibliographical documentation for English-speaking students, Schnelle’s introduction is sure to become a leading textbook for graduate students and seminarians and a major point of reference for their professors.

Among recent studies of Paul’s life and thought, Schnelle’s deserves to be ranked not only as one of the most comprehensive but also as one of the most compelling. With methodological clarity and exegetical skill, he demonstrates that the apostle’s theology has to be understood in relation to his ministry and that this requires an examination of his letters individually, in the light of their respective historical, situational, and cultural contexts. Schnelle’s exposition of the basic structures and overarching themes of Paul’s theology is the more credible for being so carefully grounded and is an outstanding contribution to the ongoing discussion of this critical topic.

Victor Paul Furnish, University Distinguished Emeritus Professor of New Testament, Southern Methodist University

Finding the way into the complexities of international research on St. Paul’s life, letters, and theology is far from easy. Professor Schnelle’s richly documented and well-argued work, now in English, provides a very useful guide. It is to be recommended as indispensable to serious students in seminary, master’s, and doctoral programs, not to forget us teachers who need to stay ahead of the best among the next generation.

Hans Dieter Betz, Shailer Mathews Emeritus Professor of New Testament, University of Chicago

Udo Schnelle has established himself as one of Europe’s most accomplished and eloquent biblical interpreters. Much of his work to this point has concentrated on the Johannine literature, but now he turns his exceptional abilities to an interpretation of the Pauline literature. The translation of this massive and comprehensive study of Pauline theology from its original German was done by Eugene Boring, a fine American scholar in his own right, and we own him a debt of gratitude for this labor of love. . . . The clarity and competence of Schnelle’s portrayal of Paul make this a most valuable resource.

Bible Today

A comprehensive introduction. . . . Schnelle’s work wisely exhibits discipline and restraint, lest innovation and speculation move us too far away from terra firma.

Biblical Archaeology Review

[Schnelle] has produced an amazingly comprehensive book on the apostle, in which he sets the treatment of the seven undisputed letters in the context of Paul’s life and ministry, and then sketches thoroughly Paul’s theology. I do not know when in recent years a scholar has grappled with the history behind Paul’s life and produced as coherent a statement of Paul’s thought as it arises out of the circumstances of his ministry. This massive book will no doubt be read primarily by scholars and graduate students and perhaps serve as a textbook or resource for others. Eugene Boring ably translates the book and adapts the bibliographical documentation for English-speaking readers. . . . Schnelle’s work represents an important milestone in Pauline studies. It will be a major conversation-partner for scholars for a long time to come.

Interpretation

Udo Schnelle is a professor of New Testament at the University of Halle in Germany. He is the author of numerous works, including Theology of the New Testament, translated by M. Eugene Boring.

Paul, Women, and Wives: Marriage and Women’s Ministry in the Letters of Paul

  • Author: Craig S. Keener
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1992
  • Pages: 368

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Paul’s letters stand at the center of the dispute over women, the church, and the home, with each side championing passages from the Apostle. Now, in a challenging new attempt to wrestle with these thorny texts, Craig Keener delves as deeply into the world of Paul and the apostles as anyone thus far. Acknowledging that we must take the biblical text seriously and recognizing that Paul’s letters arose in a specific time and place for a specific purpose, Keener mines the historical, lexical, cultural, and exegetical details behind Paul’s words about women in the home and ministry to give us one of the most insightful expositions of the key Pauline passages in years.

This book can be of great help to any person seriously interested in examining why Paul said some of the things he did about women in marriage and women in ministry.

—Alvera Mickelsen, board member, Christians for Biblical Equality

For those comfortable with traditional Pauline ‘arguments’ concerning the subordination of women in the church and home, Keener presents more than they ever wanted to know about Paul’s intended meaning. But for those struggling to understand Paul’s full purpose for women, in his time and ours, Paul, Women, and Wives will prove to be ‘must’ reading. Keener’s comprehensive bibliography and literature review are alone worth the price of the book.

Robert K. Johnston, professor of theology and culture, Fuller Theological Seminary

This book closely examines Paul’s teaching on women. Written by top-notch biblical scholar Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives sets each passage in its historical cultural setting, and then interprets the passage in a way that draws out both the historical meaning and God’s word for today.

Worship Leader

Craig S. Keener is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1–2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Reading Romans through the Centuries: From the Early Church to Karl Barth

  • Editors: Jeffrey P. Greenman and Timothy Larsen
  • Publisher: Brazos Press
  • Publication Date: 2005
  • Pages: 224

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In the 16 searing chapters of his Letter to the Romans, Paul gets to the heart of the Law and the Gospel—of how human beings can be saved through the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ and attain eternal life. In the process, he touches upon such perennially important topics as predestination, the role of the Jewish people in salvation history, and the responsibility of Christians to those in authority.

Not surprisingly, Romans has been used as cannon fodder in many of the theological disputes that have divided Christendom. Martin Luther, whose views lit the firestorm of the Reformation, claimed Romans had shown him that God declared sinners righteous and good works played no part in salvation. Thomas Aquinas and John Calvin both saw in Romans God’s predestination of the elect, although they differed over whether humans were given the freedom to reject the offer of salvation.

Reading Romans through the Centuries brings noted historians and theologians together to discuss how Luther, Aquinas, Calvin, and nine other leading lights of church history understood Romans. Many see Romans as the first truly theological work in the history of the church, and this book shows why it has had such a profound effect on the history of the church.

This helpful book attempts to trace how Paul’s most famous writing has been understood by several of its more influential readers. . . . Each of the chapters provides well-written summaries of seminal issues, though the contributions vary significantly in style and specificity. . . . The obvious strength of such variety is that the contributors are free to discuss what they find to be the most salient issues at hand. . . . This volume will find appreciative readers from a variety of disciplines (e.g. biblical studies, history, theology) who seek to understand better the role Romans has played in shaping Christian thought.

Reviews in Religion and Theology

This collection of essays makes a welcome contribution to the growing interest in the Bible’s history of interpretation. . . . This reviewer feels that study of the Bible’s history of interpretation needs to adopt a more synthetic perspective lest it become an exercise merely in collecting various curiosities of interpretation. This book provides the raw material for just such a discussion.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

The history of biblical interpretation has become a strong focus of scholarship today, and this lucid volume makes a fine contribution to this body of writings.

Bible Today

One of the more valuable features of this collection is that nearly half of the authors had to go hunting beyond commentaries and into sermons, devotional literature, theological treatises, and essays in order to discuss the views of the theologians presented. . . . If the question is raised about impact on the whole theological enterprise, most of the interpreters chosen for discussion in this volume have been at the forefront.

Lutheran Quarterly

The volume successfully lays out how Romans has been read through the centuries and urges contemporary readers of Paul’s letter to consider past attempts to understand Romans instead of simply assuming that recent commentators have a monopoly on exegetical truth.

Themelios

The volume is rich and substantial. . . . One is left sated by this volume’s weight of content.

Review of Biblical Literature

These studies introduce fresh insights into the central place of Romans in Christian thought through the centuries. They reveal key issues in theology, soteriology, and Christology with which scholars have wrestled for the past two thousand years. Consequently, they provide tools for evaluating both the utility and limitations of present critical methods.

Toronto Journal of Theology

Jeffrey P. Greenman is a professor of Christian ethics and the associate dean of biblical and theological studies at Wheaton College. He is the author of Ancient Faith for the Church’s Future.

Timothy Larsen is the Carolyn and Fred McManis Professor of Christian Thought at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the editor of Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals and a coeditor of Women, Ministry, and the Gospel.

The Law and Its Fulfillment: A Pauline Theology of Law

  • Author: Thomas R. Schreiner
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1998
  • Pages: 296

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Thomas Schreiner’s The Law and Its Fulfillment is an excellent evangelical synthesis and critique of Paul’s theology. The major purpose of this volume is to build an accurate, relevant understanding of Pauline theology for students, pastors preaching on Paul’s letters, and those who want to understand how to relate God’s holiness and mercy in greater depth. Schreiner explains, “Grasping Paul’s theology [of the law] is essential for understanding his soteriology, the death of Jesus, Christian ethics, the relationship between Jews and Gentiles in the new community, and the continuity and discontinuity between the Testaments.”

In this excellent book Professor Schreiner reasserts the traditional Protestant understanding of Paul’s approach to the Mosaic law with clarity and exegetical rigor. These qualities have made his treatment of this hotly contested issue one of the standard works in the field.

Frank Thielman, Presbyterian professor of divinity, Beeson Divinity School, Samford University

Schreiner offers a reliable guide to the recent discussion in readable style, helping us know where our views should change and where Calvin and Luther remain on target. Overall Schreiner’s book remains an excellent evangelical synthesis and critique of the issues.

Craig L. Blomberg, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

A trustworthy guide through the thicket of current discussion, Dr. Schreiner provides thoughtful analysis and his own balanced conclusions. This rewarding book is marked by evenhandedness, clear thinking, first-rate scholarship, and above all by solid, faithful exegesis. One of the most helpful discussions available.

Donald A. Hagner, senior professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

The place of the law in the theology of Paul is one of the most difficult and disputed areas in contemporary New Testament study, not least since the advent of the so-called ‘new perspective’ on Paul some 20 years ago. . . . [Schreiner’s] comprehensive work addresses the major issues, engages in a careful exegetical study of the significant Pauline texts relating to the law, interacts with a wide range of secondary literature bearing on the major theological issues, and carefully nuances his conclusions. Dr. Schreiner defends the historic Protestant viewpoint with clarity and conviction. He writes in an irenic spirit, and treats differing positions fairly and courteously. Even if readers disagree on particular points they will be grateful to him for having laid out the issues so clearly.

Peter O’Brien, senior research fellow in New Testament, Moore College

Thomas R. Schreiner is the James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including New Testament Theology: Magnifying God in Christ, Apostle of God’s Glory in Christ, and Romans in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.

Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character

  • Author: David J. Williams
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2003
  • Pages: 416

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Paul’s writings are laced with vivid images from the bustling New Testament world. To understand these metaphors, David J. Williams delves into that Greco-Roman world and uses ancient sources to explore a wide variety of topics, such as architecture, law, commerce, health care, and education. Williams studies this world in chapters with such titles as “Life in the City,” “Family Life,” “Slavery and Freedom,” “Citizens and Courts of Law,” “Travel,” and “Warfare and Soldiering.”

Paul’s metaphors, set apart in bold type, are examined in the light of this background information and restored to their original vitality. Well-known metaphors—the Christian as a slave of Christ, the church as a body, Paul’s two natures being at war within him, the Christian as an athlete striving toward the prize, Jesus’ return as a thief in the night, Christians as adopted heirs of God—and lesser-known metaphors alike come to life for the modern reader through Williams’ careful exposition.

The main text is accessible to the general reader; scholars will appreciate footnotes that discuss the Greek text and provide resources for further study. Appendix 1 lists a select chronology of the Roman Empire, and Appendix 2 provides dates and descriptions of significant ancient authors and tests. Scripture, ancient source, and modern author indexes add to the usefulness of this work.

Paul’s Metaphors: Their Context and Character merits the attention of every serious student of the Apostle to the Gentiles. Gathering under 12 headings the profusion of metaphors that Paul poured into his writing, David Williams has created an indispensable aid for writers of commentaries, crafters of sermons, and just ordinary readers of Paul’s letters. Researched carefully and documented copiously, Paul’s Metaphors is nonetheless a strikingly readable book that demonstrates once again that students of the New Testament cannot neglect the hard work of philology.

—E. Glenn Hinson, senior professor of church history and spirituality, Baptist Seminary of Kentucky

David J. Williams served as the vice principal of Ridley College, University of Melbourne. His publications include The Promise of His Coming and Acts and 1 and 2 Thessalonians in the New International Biblical Commentary: New Testament series.

Paul: His Life and Teaching

  • Author: John McRay
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 480

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The apostle Paul and his significance in the New Testament and Christianity is a perennial topic of interest, but few evangelical surveys of his life offer a truly holistic picture of the man and his world. To fill the void, John McRay offers Paul: His Life and Teaching.

This scholarly yet accessible work explores the apostle’s pre-conversion days, missionary travels, and theological contributions. A specialist in archaeology, the author draws on his more than 40 years of teaching experience, as well as knowledge gained from extensive travels to the places Paul visited. Paul is a comprehensive and readable presentation of Paul’s ministry and theology that weaves together historical backgrounds, archaeological discoveries, and theological themes.

The book is divided into two parts. The first part examines aspects of Paul’s life as a Roman citizen and the leader of the early Christian church, including Paul’s place within the Jewish rabbinic traditions. McRay details Paul’s sudden, intense conversion and the beginning of his ministry and concludes with an exploration of Paul’s journeys. The second part offers a detailed treatment of the form, structure, and theology of Paul’s letters as they relate to the world in which he lived; it also highlights their continuing importance today. Included in this examination are discussions of Paul’s theology of the atonement, understanding of the Law of Moses, and view of the church.

Professors and students will appreciate the book’s broad scholarship and the pedagogical features found throughout, including links to other resources, maps, diagrams, and photos taken by the author during his travels. Pastors and church leaders will use it as a reference, and laypeople will gain a deeper understanding of Paul and his contribution to the Christian church.

The strength of this book is the author’s extensive knowledge of the geography and archaeology of the ancient Mediterranean world.

Choice

A significant introduction to the life and work of the apostle Paul.

Preaching

A good introduction to the apostle’s life and teaching.

Mennonite

[McRay] has written a work that fills a definite gap. . . . This book is a significant contribution to Pauline studies. As one of the few substantial works on Paul written by an evangelical, it will probably find its place as a textbook in many colleges.

Westminster Theological Journal

The presentation is clear and illuminating, and many will profit from the author’s expertise.

International Review of Biblical Studies

Having travelled to the Mediterranean world more than 60 times, [McRay] has an encyclopedic knowledge of his subject and is a leading scholar in his field. Those who have read his earlier work will welcome McRay’s efforts to devote his considerable skills to the life and teaching of the apostle Paul. . . . McRay describes most of the places that Paul visited in Acts. Typically he provides more historical and geographical information than is given by commentaries on Acts. This feature makes the book a very useful companion volume for the student of Acts. . . . McRay’s strengths lie in the fields of archaeology and history. . . Where the book deals with Paul’s background and the details of Acts, it is a veritable treasure trove of information and insights. . . . For the reader who is interested in the life and times of Paul and the historical background to his missionary endeavors, this is an excellent read.

Vox Reformata

John McRay is the emeritus professor of New Testament and archaeology at Wheaton College Graduate School. He is the author of Archaeology and the New Testament and coauthor of Bible Archaeology.

The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction

  • Author: Donald A. Hagner
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 848

This substantial introduction explores the origin and character of the New Testament writings. Donald Hagner deals with the New Testament both historically and theologically, employing the framework of salvation history. He treats the New Testament as a coherent body of texts and stresses the unity of the New Testament without neglecting its variety. Although the volume covers typical questions of introduction—such as author, date, background, and sources—it focuses primarily on understanding the theological content and meaning of the texts.

Throughout this capstone work, Hagner delivers balanced conclusions in conversation with classic and current scholarship, making this an essential resource for seminarians, graduate students, and upper-divisional undergraduates for study and lifelong reference. The book includes summary tables, diagrams, maps, and extensive bibliographies.

Donald A. Hagner is the George Eldon Ladd Emeritus Professor of New Testament and the senior professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary. He is the author of Encountering the Book of Hebrews, The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus, New Testament Exegesis and Research: A Guide for Seminarians, and commentaries on Hebrews and Matthew. Hagner is also coeditor of the New International Greek Testament Commentary and an ordained minister in the American Presbyterian Church.

Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory: The New Testament Apostle in the Early Church

  • Author: Markus Bockmuehl
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 240

After Jesus, Peter is the most frequently mentioned individual in both the Gospels and the New Testament as a whole, yet we know very little about this formative early-church figure. Markus Bockmuehl introduces the New Testament Peter by asking how first- and second-century sources may be understood through the prism of “living memory” among the disciples of the apostolic generation and the students of those disciples. He argues that early Christian memory of Peter underscores his central role as a bridge-building figure holding together the diversity of first-century Christianity. Drawing on more than a decade of research, Bockmuehl applies cutting-edge scholarship to the question of the history and traditions of Simon Peter. New Testament students and professors will value Bockmuehl’s fresh insight into the biblical witness and early Christian tradition.

Bockmuehl has long distinguished himself as a careful historian, sensitive to both Jewish and Greco-Roman dimensions of the early Christian movement and a sensitive reader of literary texts. This well-written and ecumenically sensitive volume draws on all of his impressive skills. New insights abound regarding the portrayal of Peter in the New Testament and in nonbiblical sources from the second century.

—Gary Anderson, Hesburgh Professor of Catholic Theology, University of Notre Dame

Widely esteemed New Testament scholar Markus Bockmuehl here sums up his research into the ‘historical Peter.’ Bockmuehl has a keen sense for the strengths and limitations of historical-critical inquiry. This erudite and accessible book will be welcomed by all who seek to understand not only what historians can surmise about the Galilean peasant Peter but also what such research can contribute to reflection about an ongoing ‘Petrine ministry’ among Christians today.

Matthew Levering, professor of religious studies, University of Dayton

It is a joy to welcome Markus Bockmuehl’s latest study on Peter the apostle. Not since Cullmann in 1952 has there been such a thorough examination of the biblical information on Peter. This quest is pursued along with the Oxford tradition of patristic scholarship and with contemporary methodological sophistication, especially in regard to memory. Inscriptions and archaeology are also mined for their contributions. The whole work is inspired by a heart that beats for truth, for ecumenical understanding, and for reconciliation.

—Benedict T. Viviano, professor emeritus, University of Fribourg, Switzerland

Markus Bockmuehl is a Keble College fellow and a professor of biblical and early Christian studies at the University of Oxford. He previously taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of St. Andrews. Bockmuehl is the author or editor of numerous books, including Seeing the Word, Scripture’s Doctrine and Theology’s Bible, Paradise in Antiquity: Jewish and Christian Views, and Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity.

Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction

  • Author: Jonathan T. Pennington
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 288

In Reading the Gospels Wisely, Jonathan Pennington examines the theological and ethical aims of the Gospel narratives, helping students see the fruit of historical and literary study. He contends that we can learn to read the Gospels well from various vantage points, among them the premodern, modern, and postmodern.

This textbook can stand on its own as a guide to reading the Gospels as Scripture. It is ideally suited to supplement conventional textbooks that discuss each Gospel systematically. Most textbooks tend to introduce students to historical-critical concerns but may be less adequate for showing how the Gospel narratives, read as Scripture within the canonical framework of the entire New Testament and the whole Bible, yield material for theological reflection and faithful practice. Pennington neither dismisses nor duplicates the results of current historical-critical work on the Gospels as historical sources. Rather, he offers critically aware and hermeneutically intelligent instruction in reading the Gospels in order to hear their witness to Christ in a way that supports Christian application and proclamation. This text will appeal to professors and students in Gospels, New Testament survey, and New Testament interpretation courses.

This is a book that could transform many people’s reading of the Gospels. Jonathan Pennington has a wide knowledge of the specialist literature, and he skillfully distills what matters most for the task of reading the Gospels wisely. He is especially concerned that we read the Gospels in ways that are appropriate to the sort of texts they are. What comes across is a powerful sense that the Gospels are not only historical but also life-changing.

Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews

Many books on the Gospels slog through source criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism—important topics to be sure. How refreshing it is, however, to find a book with a new approach, one that reads the Gospels as literature and sees their importance theologically. This book is like a cool drink of water in what is too often the desert of Gospel studies. . . . his arguments must be reckoned with, and they further the conversation in productive and stimulating ways. I believe this is the best introductory book on the Gospels. Both students and professors will find it to be invaluable.

Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Reading the Gospels can be tricky, but it is important to read them with a full appreciation of their theology. Jonathan Pennington’s study helps you get there—and get there well, as well as wisely.

Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

Few academic enterprises of recent generations have been as chaotic and contradictory as the study of Jesus and the Gospels. . . . This learned yet lively volume attempts to transcend past miscues and cash in on lasting insights going back to patristic times. Pennington shows how the fourfold canonical Gospel ought to be read: as the proper entrée to becoming Jesus’ disciple for the sake of loving God by the work of the Spirit. Few works explain more.

Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity International University

Jonathan T. Pennington is an associate professor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The author of Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew, he has published a number of biblical language–learning tools, including New Testament Greek Vocabulary and Old Testament Hebrew Vocabulary.

The Text of the New Testament: From Manuscript to Modern Edition

  • Author: J. Harold Greenlee
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 144

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The Text of the New Testament is a brief introduction for the layperson to the New Testament’s origins. It describes the basics of ancient writing tools, manuscripts, the work of scribes, and how to think about differences in what the various manuscripts say. Geared to the layperson uninformed or confused about textual criticism, Greenlee’s book explains the production of ancient manuscripts and traces the New Testament’s textual development. Readers are introduced to the basic principles of textual criticism, the concept of variant readings, and how to determine which variant has the greatest likelihood of being the original reading. To illustrate the basic principles, several sample New Testament texts are examined. The book concludes by putting textual criticism in perspective as involving only a minute portion of the entire New Testament text—the bulk of which is indisputably attested by the manuscripts.

Greenlee takes the reader on an illustrated journey from the pens of the apostles to the printing press and beyond. It’s as rare as it is refreshing to read such a sane book that rises above the cluttered traffic and confusing signals on the information highway.

Daniel B. Wallace, professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

In all of his writings, Harold Greenlee’s overriding concern is to show that New Testament textual criticism, far from being a secondary or indifferent matter, is a matter of supreme importance. Once the student has started reading Greenlee, he or she will find that this soft-spoken man has relevance to one of the most crucial areas of biblical studies today. Certainly this revision of Greenlee’s classic textbook will be a welcome addition to any pastor or student’s library. I thank God that he has given his church such a warm-hearted and capable scholar.

David Alan Black, professor of New Testament, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

This is one of the clearest expositions of the science of textual criticism one is likely to find. . . . this small volume traces the history of writing, book-making, the various types of materials (papyrus, parchment, paper) and their implications for biblical manuscripts, the work of the scribes and copyists, the art of textual criticism, and the work of translation. Written for a lay audience, it combines sound scholarship with an explanatory style that makes it ideal as a resource for introductory courses on the New Testament or as informative reading for anyone interested in this important aspect of the biblical literature.

The Bible Today

The name of J. H. Greenlee is well known in connection with New Testament textual criticism. . . . An obvious advantage of this book is that it is aimed at the general reader, not the trained New Testament scholar. It starts with a discussion of how ancient manuscripts were written, using good diagrams to explain how papyrus manuscripts were made and the difference between scrolls and codices. . . . The Greek manuscripts are discussed with explanations of their characteristics and how the numeration system for them has developed and operates. The history of New Testament criticism is set out in helpful summary form, along with a very clear discussion of general principles upon which textual decisions are made. The various modern translations (NRSV, NLT, NET, ESV, REB, NKJV) are surveyed in regard to their textual base, with good summaries, of their acknowledged textual preferences. . . . The obvious advantage of Greenlee’s discussion is that he explains New Testament textual criticism without assuming knowledge of Greek. Anyone can pick up this discussion and find intricate questions relating to textual criticism discussed with simplicity and clarity.

Reformed Theological Review

This book is written by a scholar in plain language, it sets out the history of the manuscript evidence that lies behind the New Testament. 10 chapters introduce important issues. . . . Frequently, this most important aspect of the New Testament is ignored. However, to rightly interpret the New Testament every student should be familiar with the insights presented by Greenlee. . . . Greenlee has taken a very complex issue and presented it in clear straightforward terms. His balanced judgment is evident throughout. This text is excellent for an introduction to the subject, it is scholarly based, soundly balanced, and challenging. Worthwhile, it is an introductory window into a very important subject.

Theological Book Review

[Greenlee] communicates with admirable clarity and includes details and insights that are likely to be of benefit to New Testament scholars.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

This book certainly whets the appetite of those at the very beginning of developing an interest in New Testament textual criticism. . . . successfully engages readers with a compelling mix of ancient scribal practices and the texts they produced, by charting the history of the transmission of the Greek New Testament and various translations, and by discussing ‘live’ issues especially in evangelical circles relating to claims about inerrancy of scripture and the superiority of the King James Version. This range of topics amply illustrates the ‘payoff’ that can be gained through a close study of the ancient manuscripts. . . . Greenlee says much that is sane and enlightening in this brief introduction to textual criticism. He is sensitive to the reality that for some readers the issues he discusses will appear controversial. . . . The reality is that [the book’s] clear presentation of the facts still sadly needs to be heard in some circles. Greenlee speaks those facts with a still small voice of calm which will hopefully bring greater clarity to some of the claims that are being made in support of certain English versions of the bible.

Expository Times

A helpful primer for the uninitiated reader. . . . The presentation will help readers appreciate the New Testament text with greater depth and nuance. And ultimately, the idol of false certainty will be challenged as readers are called to appreciate the robust history and tradition of the New Testament text.

Ashland Theological Journal

J. Harold Greenlee was a professor of New Testament Greek, a missionary with OMS International, and an international translation consultant with Wycliffe Bible Translators. He authored A Concise Exegetical Grammar of New Testament Greek.

Killing Enmity: Violence and the New Testament

  • Author: Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 192

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Violence is a persistent, prominent, and troubling feature of human existence. The usual understanding of violence involves physical attack. More broadly, violence can be understood as any kind of intentional harm, whether verbal, physical, or emotional, individual or collective. Pastors, theologians, and Christian leaders of all kinds may be called on to apply the message of the New Testament in situations of violence. But what is that message? The New Testament writers speak often of peace, but what do they have to offer in response to violence? Or does the New Testament, centering as it does on the crucifixion of its central character, perpetuate rather than alleviate the problem of violence?

In this book, Thomas Yoder Neufeld mines classic New Testament texts such as the Sermon on the Mount (or Plain), the cleansing of the temple, the “armor of God,” and the Revelation of John. He also addresses more generally the rhetoric of violence: metaphors and thought patterns that may reflect the violence of first-century Roman imperial reality.

Taking his cue from the ironic wording in Ephesians 2:16, which credits Christ with “killing the enmity” in his own body through his death on the cross, Yoder Neufeld asks whether and how the violent death of the nonviolent Jesus points to the ultimate overcoming of all wrongs, and all violence, by the good and saving God in whom he trusted.

Thomas Yoder Neufeld considers many of the New Testament’s texts that might implicitly or explicitly condone violence of one kind or another. Though he concludes that these texts actually subvert violence, he does so without avoiding the very difficult questions they raise. Readers will be both disturbed and challenged by this timely book.

Michael J. Gorman, Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology, St. Mary’s Seminary & University

Thomas Yoder Neufeld explores violence-related questions throughout the New Testament, including love of enemies, forgiveness, Jesus’ prophetic act in the temple, the atonement, subordination and divine warfare. His book stands out from other recent treatments of the topic because it deals honestly and clearly with the wide range of issues raised in the current debate while still holding to the texts as Scripture; it refuses to downplay the themes of judgment and vindication of the divine purposes; and it recognizes that the cultural, political and confessional location of the interpreter plays a crucial role in how the texts are evaluated. Readers will find it an insightful and indispensable guide.

Andrew T. Lincoln, Portland Professor of New Testament Studies, University of Gloucestershire

That certain rhetorical and theological features of the New Testament accounts can be read as endorsing or fomenting violence is undeniable; that this is how they ought to be read is quite another matter. In this crystal-clear and profoundly responsible analysis, Tom Yoder Neufeld shows how the New Testament writers speak realistically of and to the violence that pervades human experience while simultaneously declaring God’s definitive conquest of violence through the death and resurrection of Christ. In setting forth this paradoxical and subversive truth, Yoder Neufeld exemplifies what it means to be a wise reader of Scripture today.

—Christopher Marshall, head of school, School of Art History, Classics and Religious Studies, Victoria University of Wellington

This book is especially appropriate for those who are new to conversations about nonviolence and Scripture. They will find basic instruction to orient them to the conversation and to relevant principles of New Testament interpretation. . . . Neufeld’s efforts at engaging the newest voices in the ethical appropriation of Scripture will reward those more familiar with the literature. . . . I found this volume to be quite readable and coherent. . . . Readers will be challenged not only to rethink their interpretation of specific passages and doctrines, but also to consider Neufeld’s haunting refrain: how a text is read largely depends on what kind of community is doing the reading.

Englewood Review of Books

This is a serious and provocative study of violence in the New Testament-—paradoxically as a way of framing a New Testament theology of peace and nonviolence.

The Bible Today

Thomas R. Yoder Neufeld is a professor of religious studies and theological studies at Conrad Grebel University College at the University of Waterloo, Ontario. He is the author of numerous articles and several books, including Recovering Jesus: The Witness of the New Testament and a commentary on Ephesians.

The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke: Trajectories from the Old Testament to Luke–Acts

  • Author: Rogert Stronstad
  • Edition: 2nd
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 144

What is the meaning of the Holy Spirit’s activity in Luke-Acts, and what are its implications for today? Roger Stronstad offers a cogent and thought-provoking study of Luke as a charismatic theologian whose understanding of the Spirit was shaped wholly by his understanding of Jesus and the nature of the early church. Stronstad locates Luke’s pneumatology in the historical background of Judaism and views Luke as an independent theologian who makes a unique contribution to the pneumatology of the New Testament. This work challenges traditional Protestants to reexamine the impact of Pentecost and explores the Spirit’s role in equipping God’s people for the unfinished task of mission. The second edition has been revised and updated throughout and includes a new foreword by Mark Allan Powell.

In my opinion, Roger Stronstad’s The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke is perhaps the most important biblical studies book ever written by a Pentecostal. Truly a seminal work, this slim volume caused a seismic shift in the terrain of Pentecostal biblical scholarship, changing forever its fundamental character while sending tremors beyond the tradition in all directions. I am delighted that this exceedingly important piece will continue its well-deserved shelf life, extending its availability for readers old and new. My commendation to Baker Academic for issuing this valuable new edition.

—John Christopher Thomas, Clarence J. Abbott Professor of Biblical Studies, Pentecostal Theological Seminary

The most influential work on Lukan pneumatology of this generation! 25 years ago, Stronstad solidified my earliest convictions about the activity of the Holy Spirit. Today, my students echo the same refrain. Those familiar with Pentecostal/charismatic teaching on the Spirit-filled life find fodder for fresh reflection and exploration. Those not familiar receive a challenging invitation for renewed pursuit of the Spirit. I could not be happier that this book has been revised and will remain in print.

Martin Mittelstadt, associate professor of biblical studies, Evangel University

With the publication of Stronstad’s The Charismatic Theology of St. Luke in 1984, Pentecostal scholarship on Luke-Acts introduced itself to the academic community. Stronstad advanced a simple narrative approach to Luke’s writings: take the text seriously by following the storyline. By tracking plot patterns and considering Luke’s storytelling techniques, Stronstad found Luke’s understanding of the mission of Christ and the church, and the nature of Spirit empowerment to effect it. In our graduate curriculum, this book is the cornerstone of our ‘Pentecostal distinctives’ course.

—Van Johnson, dean, Master’s Pentecostal Seminary, Toronto

Roger Stronstad is an associate professor in Bible and theology at Summit Pacific College in Abbotsford, British Columbia. He is the author of many articles and six books, including The Prophethood of All Believers: A Study in Luke’s Charismatic Theology. Strongstad also coedited Life in the Spirit New Testament Commentary.

Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist

  • Author: Warren Carter
  • Edition: Revised
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 304

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For many years, the well-received first edition of this commentary has offered readers a way to look at scriptural texts that combines historical, narrative, and contemporary interests. Carter explores Matthew by approaching it from the perspective of the “authorial audience”—by identifying with and reading along with the audience imagined by the author. This newly updated second edition focuses on Matthew as storyteller, interpreter, and evangelist. It preserves the essential identity of the original material, while adding new insights from Carter’s more recent readings of Matthew’s Gospel in relation to the Roman Imperial world.

Four of the seventeen chapters have been significantly revised, and most have had minor changes. There are also new endnotes directing readers to Carter’s more recent published work on Matthew. Scholars and pastors will use the full bibliography and appendix on redaction and narrative approaches, while lay readers will appreciate the clear and straightforward text.

With a deft touch and an eye for detail, Carter invites the reader to follow him on a well-planned literary tour of the world of Matthew’s Gospel and its story of Jesus. To begin the tour, Carter acquaints the reader with the social and cultural circumstances of Matthew’s author and audience and then shows the reader the heart of Matthew’s story as he discusses its viewpoint, plot, settings, and characters. To conclude the tour, Carter relates Matthew’s gospel-proclamation to various aspects of contemporary religious experience. Writing for students, ministers, and scholars alike, Carter demonstrates a fine mastery of both historical and literary methods. His book will be touted as a worthy contribution to Matthean studies.

—Jack Dean Kingsbury, emeritus professor of biblical theology, Union Theological Seminary

Warren Carter presents a balanced literary, social, and historical interpretation of Matthew. He concerns himself with these three approaches in order to elucidate what Matthew had to say, how he said it, and how it might be experienced today. . . . His book is a good introduction both to Matthew and to the processes of thoughtful reading. Carter’s work may not be the last word on Matthew’s gospel—indeed, he would not want it to be—but it is a work that helps its readers begin their own dialogue with the gospel, a fitting goal for all biblical interpretation.

—Steven J. Kraftchick, associate professor in the practice of New Testament interpretation, Candler School of Theology

This book is worthy of careful study by student and scholar alike. Carter’s is certainly among the most innovative modern approaches to methods of studying the Gospel from a literary perspective, as well as incorporating more traditional (historical-critical) methodological tools. His method is unique in that, though it intends to provide an audience-oriented approach to complement the wealth of material available from a redaction-critical perspective, he pushes the methodological agenda by incorporating both methods. . . . Carter’s is certainly an important book.

Review of Biblical Literature

This book will be useful to the discerning reader, especially where it provides useful insights into the text of Matthew’s Gospel.

Reformed Theological Review

Carter’s highly praised introduction to Matthew focuses on the narrative aspects of the First Gospel. The new edition has been reset and edited to include much on the gospel’s social world in an ancient agrarian society. Carter ranks as one of the world’s leading authorities on Matthew.

International Review of Biblical Studies

This readable and uncluttered introduction, including extensive chapter endnotes, does not stray far from the scholarly consensus but gives it life by understanding Matthew’s audience. It admirably meets its intended purpose as a text for undergraduate and seminary students who are beginning their study of Matthew. More advanced students will also find it refreshing and helpful.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

I will find this book very useful as a reference tool and recommend it highly for college courses.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Warren Carter is a professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He is the author of many books, including John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, The Roman Empire and the New Testament, Matthew and Empire, John and Empire, and Matthew and the Margins.

Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist

  • Author: Francis J. Moloney
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2004
  • Pages: 240

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The earliest and briefest of the four Gospels has traditionally been ascribed to a disciple named Mark. In some ages, it been overshadowed by its lengthier New Testament neighbors, but its pages hold rich rewards for those who ask the right questions. Who was “Mark,” and what were his purposes—historical, theological, or otherwise? How does he shape his story of Jesus, and what interpretation of the origins of Christianity does that shaping reveal? What is his understanding of his central character, Jesus of Nazareth? And what abiding value does Mark’s story hold for those who read this “good news” as a key part of the charter of the Christian church in its life today?

Seminarians, students, pastors, and readers seeking an introduction to the Gospel of Mark through the lens of sensitive literary, historical, and theological scholarship need look no further. In Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, Francis J. Moloney offers the fruits of top-level biblical scholarship in a broadly accessible format. Students and professors alike will appreciate and profit from his fresh and lucid presentation of the message of one of the Christian faith’s earliest and most enigmatic proponents and the inventor of its most revered literary genre.

If you are seeking a reliable and engaging introduction to the Gospel of Mark, look no further. Moloney’s work presents students and pastors, as well as scholars, with a reliable account of how the Gospel of Mark became such a central text in contemporary New Testament studies, and it offers as an engaging reading of the Markan story that opens new vistas. Moloney provides a thorough study of Markan Christology and ecclesiology, and his final chapter, ‘The Good News of Human Failure,’ is the most insightful statement of Mark’s accomplishment I have read. Clearly written and always compelling in its presentation, Mark: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist is the perfect introduction to a serious reading of the Markan Gospel. Carefully researched and based on an insightful reading of the Gospel text, it will remain a staple of Markan studies for years to come.

Frank J. Matera, professor of New Testament, The Catholic University of America

Moloney plunges deeply into the background, structure, literary character, and profound theology of this Gospel and the community from which it derived. College or seminary courses on Mark might find this a helpful resource, with its clear analysis and rich bibliographical material.

The Bible Today

I highly recommend this book as an introduction to Mark for college and seminary classes. Lay individuals and parish study groups will find this book accessible and beneficial, and scholars will benefit from many fine insights in the text and in the informative endnotes.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

A thorough introduction to Markan theology. . . . The book includes detailed scholarly notes and two bibliographies.

International Review of Biblical Studies

[This] book is definitely one of the most readable introductions to Mark.

Toronto Journal of Theology

Designed for the nonspecialist, this study manages to include a good deal of information about the gospel of Mark in a limited amount of space. . . . As befits this non-technical treatment, Moloney regulates scholarly notes to the end of chapters, thereby rendering the text readable and the pages airy and attractive. . . . This is one of the better introductions to Markan thought. It is recommended for its intended purpose.

Religious Studies Review

Shorter than a commentary, but based on it, and written in a lucid, popular, and accessible style (albeit with well-documented endnotes for the specialist), this book by Moloney will be found of interest to students, scholars, and pastors alike. . . . [T]his is an excellent contribution to recent Markan studies; it will be of value to those interested in this endlessly fascinating Gospel for some time to come.

Expository Times

Francis J. Moloney is the emeritus senior professorial fellow at Australian Catholic University, Melbourne. He formerly served as dean of the School of Theology and Religious Studies at Catholic University of America and as provincial superior of the Salesians of Don Bosco for Australia and the Pacific region. He is the author of many books, including The Gospel of John: Text and Context.

John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist

  • Author: Warren Carter
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 288

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John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist is an accessible introduction to the fourth Gospel. This book examines three aspects of John’s Gospel: John’s telling of the story of Jesus, his interpretation of Jesus for his readers, and his formulation of all of this into the Gospel of Jesus.

Carter surveys the central issues of this Gospel and engages with narrative and historical approaches, the two dominant methods used in interpreting John’s Gospel. He introduces his readers to consider the Gospel’s negotiation of the Roman Imperial world.

This book is written for college and seminary students, clergy seeking resources for teaching and preaching, and laity—especially Bible study groups that like to engage a topic in some depth.

The adage that the Gospel of John is a pool in which a child can wade and an elephant can swim is repeated often. While John is widely accessible on a superficial level, it demands a great deal if one is to read it perceptively. Warren Carter provides serious readers with a thorough orientation to the Gospel, leading students of the Gospel into its literary, historical, and theological facets while providing an overview of key figures and contributions in Johannine scholarship. Everyone needs a guide when entering unfamiliar territory, and, for the adventurous, Carter is surefooted, reliable, and insightful. Those who follow his lead will quickly find John to be a source of endless fascination.

R. Alan Culpepper, dean, James and Carolyn McAfee School of Theology

This is an excellent and substantial introduction to the Gospel of John geared for seminaries or college courses but also useful to anyone wanting to gain a deeper knowledge of this gospel. . . . Equipped with a rich bibliography and laid out in an organized fashion, this introduction provides a strong orientation to the gospel and its interpretation.

The Bible Today

The greatest strength of this book is its emphasis on reading the narrative as an autonomous story and allowing John’s Gospel to speak independently of any other tradition. Evangelical students of the Gospels have a tendency to get mired in the historical minutiae of the text or to harmonize first and thereby miss out on the distinctive theological contributions of the writers. Because of these all too common tendencies, Carter’s volume will prove useful for helping beginning evangelical students read the Fourth Gospel as an independent narrative. This text will prove useful for introductory classes on the Fourth Gospel and is highly recommended.

Journal of the Evangelical Society

The book will serve college and seminary students well, and clergy wanting to do some solid work with the Gospel.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This handbook makes for an excellent primer on its topics and can be warmly recommended.

Bulletin for Biblical Research

In John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, author Warren Carter explains that he is writing for college and seminary students, for clergy seeking resources for preaching and teaching, and for laity seeking to engage in the study of the Fourth Gospel in some depth. He is thus not writing this book for his peers, although specialists will undoubtedly learn from it. In addressing a general audience, Carter does not sacrifice his commitment to scholarly excellence and precision. The result is an erudite but accessible introduction to John’s Gospel.

Toronto Journal of Theology

This book is a first-class introduction to the Fourth Gospel which will prove invaluable to all those approaching serious study of the Gospel for the first time. In an engaging style, Carter comprehensively and clearly examines the significant issues in contemporary Johannine scholarship. . . . Carter has produced a very well-written and remarkably comprehensive introduction to John, which should be well received by student and scholar alike.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament Booklist

Warren Carter is a professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University. He is the author of many books, including Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist, The Roman Empire and the New Testament, Matthew and Empire, John and Empire, and Matthew and the Margins.

Theology of the New Testament

  • Author: Udo Schnelle
  • Translator: M. Eugene Boring
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 912

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The crowning achievement for students of the New Testament is to grasp the whole while discerning the parts, to derive contemporary theological meaning without compromising historical accuracy, to respect the integrity of the ancient texts while interpreting validly within the structures of modern and postmodern consciousness. But how is it possible to communicate the diversely expressed faith of ancient Mediterranean fishermen and tentmakers in a crucified Jewish messiah to the academy and the church of the globalized and pluralized twenty-first century?

In Theology of the New Testament, Udo Schnelle—master teacher, deft exegete, committed churchman, and fully attuned contemporary intellectual—takes up this challenge with extraordinary energy and intelligence. The result is a capstone volume that puts all the pieces together both for students who read it straight through and for professors, theologians, pastors, and others who work through it at their own pace. For all who read it, the book will become a standard reference, a reliable source not only for summaries of particular New Testament books and topics but also for a refreshed and deepened perception of how a transcendent message has been uttered through temporally and spatially fixed actions and words.

The translation, prepared by a leading American scholar who knows the author well and shares similar qualifications and commitments, achieves the literary quality of an original English composition while conveying accurately the sense of the original German and adding bibliographic adaptations for English-language readers.

Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament is, in my view, perhaps the most methodologically sophisticated and theologically significant contribution to the genre in the past 20 years. ‘Jesus of Nazareth: The Near God’ is the common center for his informed and insightful elaboration of the thought of New Testament theology in the context of a contemporary understanding of reality. The author’s critical acumen and theological sensitivity, as well as his obvious control of both primary and secondary literature, make this book a necessary addition to the library of every serious student of the New Testament and an ideal text for advanced courses.

David E. Aune, Walter Professor of New Testament and Christian Origins, University of Notre Dame

A magnificent achievement. Udo Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament comprises philosophical reflection, reconstruction of earliest Christian thought, and a history of biblical interpretation. At heart, however, the volume offers meticulous analysis of the New Testament’s varied constituents. The exegesis is well balanced; the conclusions, sound. Like its subject matter, this investigation gathers most of what is important from previous works and points the way toward a constructive future. Schnelle’s magnum opus will stand as one of the twenty-first century’s few indispensable works in the field.

—-C. Clifton Black, Otto A. Piper Professor of Biblical Theology, Princeton Theological Seminary

Fresh, invigorating, enlightening, and occasionally provocative, this survey of New Testament theology serves well as a handbook of informed discussion of the crucial issues. With the confident hand of a seasoned scholar and a refreshing openness to the transcendent, Schnelle guides the reader book by book through the canon, using the familiar categories of systematic theology to ensure comprehensive coverage. Here is not only outstanding German scholarship but also an entry into contemporary German discussion via exceptionally rich footnotes.

Donald A. Hagner, senior professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

This is a superb and substantial resource provided by an outstanding German biblical scholar.

The Bible Today

The first decade of the twenty-first century witnessed an extraordinary outpouring of New Testament theologies. . . . Udo Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament, elegantly translated by M. Eugene Boring, is the high point of this productive decade. . . . It is, in my view, the finest work of New Testament theology available in English today. . . . This volume offers a delicate balance between history and theology whereby the theology of the New Testament is grounded in historical events, and history is interpreted in light of theological meaning-formation. It provides extended treatments of writings often neglected in New Testament theologies, for example, the Deutero-Pauline letters and the Catholic Epistles. Moreover, rather than denigrating these writings as a falling away from a pristine Pauline or Johannine tradition, it highlights their positive value in light of the new historical circumstances their authors addressed.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Udo Schnelle is a professor of New Testament at the University of Halle in Germany. He is the author of numerous works, including Apostle Paul: His Life and Theology, translated by M. Eugene Boring.

Scripture as Communication: Introducing Biblical Hermeneutics

  • Author: Jeannine K. Brown
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 320

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Jeannine Brown believes that communication is at the heart of what we do when we open the Bible—that we are actively engaging God in a conversation that can be life changing. In this basic guide to the theory and practice of biblical hermeneutics, Brown proposes a communication model as an effective approach to interpreting the Bible. Drawing upon thinkers such as Kevin Vanhoozer, Nicholas Wolterstorff, and Anthony Thiselton, she first explicates and then demonstrates how such a model can enhance our ability to understand Scripture. Brown’s fresh, engaging voice comes through in this clearly written guide for professors, students, and church leaders.

Brown has written an excellent text for hermeneutics classes that is clear and well organized and reveals a superb mastery of the material. Understanding texts as a form of communication rather than as art is a helpful correction to recent trends in interpretation.

Robert H. Stein, senior professor of New Testament interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

In an engaging and conversational style, Jeannine Brown addresses the complexities of hermeneutics and explains how an understanding of those complexities can help readers develop a healthy hermeneutical self-consciousness as they read Scripture, God’s communicative act. She defines important terms and addresses major hermeneutical theories, providing a realistic appraisal of hermeneutical challenges while also offering positive, practical guidelines. Above all, Brown reminds us that reading Scripture is learning to discern a communicative act initiated by God. Such a hermeneutical journey is about treating Scripture as an encounter with a friend, not as a code to be broken. Brown stresses, therefore, what is often lost in similar treatments: that authentic hermeneutical inquiry is not only grounded in faith but also moves us toward a deepening of that faith.

Peter Enns, biblical scholar

Jeannine Brown has proven herself to be a reliable guide for those committed to serious engagement with Christian Scripture. Her ‘communicative act’ model prioritizes the biblical text without undermining the importance of either authors or readers. Complex issues are clearly explained. Controversial issues receive fair-minded treatment. Talk about interpretation is coupled with examples of interpretation. Scripture as Communication will be attractive both to students beginning the journey of biblical interpretation and to those already well on the way.

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

This book contributes substantially to the current conversation within Christianity on interpretation theories and biblical hermeneutics. Jeannine Brown draws from speech-act theory, relevance theory, literary theory, and narrative theology to offer a balanced approach, which she terms the communication theory of interpretation. By grounding her communicative model in the incarnation, she convincingly combines truth and interpretive method, and she does so with impressive clarity and ease. Without any loss of depth, Brown clarifies complex ideas with the help of excellent illustrations that make this book accessible to anyone from pastors to students to experts in the field. A significant achievement!

—Jens Zimmermann, professor of English and Modern Languages, Trinity Western University

Jeannine Brown’s Scripture as Communication is an ideal textbook for introductory hermeneutics courses, steering a middle course between the advanced hermeneutical volumes of Thiselton and Vanhoozer and overly-simplistic books on Bible study methods. The work provides a sound theoretical and philosophical foundation for students to engage the fundamental question of the ‘meaning of meaning’ in the biblical text.

Mark L. Strauss, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary San Diego

[Brown] has an engaging style, making complex ideas and concepts understandable for a wide audience. Her method is made clear through the use of many excellent illustrations. Anyone who desires to improve in the ability to read the Bible in a distinctively Christian manner and to be shaped by the Scriptures will find this book helpful.

Biblicotheca Sacra

Jeannine K. Brown is a professor of New Testament at Bethel Seminary and is the author of The Disciples in Narrative Perspective. She contributed to The Baker Illustrated Bible Commentary and has written for such publications as Journal of Biblical Literature and Catholic Biblical Quarterly.

Product Details

  • Title: Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Volumes: 85
  • Pages: 31,632