Mar 30, 2013

State of the Bible in 2013

The American Bible Society releases in-depth findings from its annual State of the Bible survey. See this infographic.

Mar 29, 2013

The Importance of Structure for Understanding Psalms

"Paying careful attention to structure is important when learning to read the psalms. Like other forms of communication, the psalms have structure and develop according to certain sets of logic. But rather than all of the psalms sharing one structure, each of the psalms tends to have its own unique structure and tends to develop according to its individual logic. And quite often, unlocking the logic of a psalm’s structure is the key to unpacking its meaning. And the more deeply one can understand the structure of a psalm, the more complete one’s understanding of a psalm will be."

Rolf A Jacobson and Karl N. Jacobson, Invitation to the Psalms: A Reader's Guide for Discovery and Engagement (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2013), 21.

You can access an excerpt from the book here.

Mar 27, 2013

The Need for Pastor-Theologians

The following quotation offers some timely words from Gerald Hiestand.

"In a past essay I argued that pastors, not professors, should be leading the church theologically. I’ve since come to realize that this is the wrong way of framing the issue. Though we pastors have attempted to delegate the responsibility of theological leadership to the academy, the simple fact remains that pastors are leading the church theologically; we just have not been doing it well. The theological, gospel integrity of the Christian community will never rise above the level of her pastors. Gifted though academic theologians are—and indeed better positioned for some aspects of the theological task—the burden of theological formation is a yoke pastors have been divinely appointed to carry. For the last 100 years we (in North America, at least) have tried to slip this yoke, and the church and her theology have suffered for it. But it is the sober and joyous duty of the pastor, even before the professor, to nurture the church theologically—to proclaim the truth of the gospel, defend the truth of the gospel, think deeply about the truth of the gospel, and indeed write about the truth of the gospel, in ways that advance the church’s message and nurture her children."

Gerald Hiestand, “A Taxonomy of the Pastor-Theologian: Why Ph.D. Students Should Consider the Pastorate as the Context for Their Theological Scholarship,” Expository Times 124 (March 2013): 270-71.


Mar 26, 2013

$5 Off at Westminster Bookstore

Westminster Bookstore is promoting its brand new website by offering $5 off your purchase for three days only (offer ends on 3/29 at 5 PM EST). Go here and use the coupon code wtsbooks to receive your discount.

Mar 25, 2013

Latest Issue of Review of Biblical Literature

The latest issue of Review of Biblical Literature is out. Reviews can be accessed by clicking the links below. 

John E. Anderson
Jacob and the Divine Trickster: A Theology of Deception and Yhwh's Fidelity to the Ancestral Promise in the Jacob Cycle
Reviewed by Koog P. Hong

Walter Brueggemann; Carolyn J. Sharp, ed.
Disruptive Grace: Reflections on God, Scripture, and the Church
Reviewed by S. D. Giere

Frank Lothar Hossfeld and Eric Zenger
Psalms 3: A Commentary on Psalms 101-150
Reviewed by Leonard P. Maré

Pirjo Lapinkivi
The Neo-Assyrian Myth of Istar's Descent and Resurrection
Reviewed by James R. Getz Jr.

Wali van Lohuizen
A Psycho-Spiritual View on the Message of Jesus in the Gospels: Presence and Transformation in Some Logia as a Sign of Mysticism
Reviewed by John DelHousaye

B. H. McLean
New Testament Greek: An Introduction
Reviewed by Hennie Stander

Jordan M. Scheetz
The Concept of Canonical Intertextuality and the Book of Daniel
Reviewed by Philippus J. Botha
Reviewed by Don Collett

Janet Smith
Dust or Dew: Immortality in the Ancient Near East and in Psalm 49
Reviewed by Ilaria L. E. Ramelli

Susan Sorek
Remembered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine
Reviewed by Carrie Elaine Duncan

Mar 24, 2013

The Advantages of Teaching What You Don't Know

I recently came across Therese Huston’s book Teaching What You Don’t Know. In the book the author addresses the common experience of many professors who are tasked with teaching a course outside of their area of expertise. In a chapter entitled “Why It’s Better than It Seems,” Huston points out four potential advantages to teaching outside of one’s area of expertise (pp. 31–34).

● Learn something new and interesting

● Connect with faculty outside your department

● Broaden your CV

● Develop new areas of research 

While these advantages might not make the preparation any easier, it might provide some encouragement during the process.