Sep 23, 2017

Text-Driven Preaching Workshop on Philemon

There is still time to sign up for Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary’s Text-Driven Preaching Workshop focusing on Philemon. The workshop is on Monday, October 9 (8:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.). Speakers include David Allen, Denny Autrey, Deron Biles, Barry McCarty, Matthew McKellar, and Kyle Walker. No registration details are listed yet, but you can see the announcement here.

Sep 22, 2017

Outlines for Hebrews

Michael Kok continues his helpful series on Hebrews. In this post he links to a number of outlines for the book.

Sep 21, 2017

The 17th Edition of The Chicago Manual of Style

I am not sure how I missed it, but the 17th edition of The Chicago Manual of Style is now out. Grammar nerds everywhere rejoice! The Washington Post has a write up here.

Sep 20, 2017

Pointers for Preaching Habakkuk

Jeff Hampton gives some pointers on preaching Habakkuk here. By the way, Preaching Source is a great resource for preachers. 

Sep 19, 2017

Getting Inside the Brain of a Prophet

The Atlantic has an interesting article and interview with James Kugel here concerning his most recent book, The Great Shift: Encountering God in Biblical Times. The book apparently tries to understand how prophets might have received their revelations by looking at socio-cultural perceptions of self and neuro-scientific research.

Sep 18, 2017

Dating the Book of Hebrews

Michael Kok follows up his post on the authorship of Hebrews here with a post here laying out some of the data to be taken into consideration in dating the book.

Sep 17, 2017

The Appointment of David Friedrich Strauss

This is an interesting article on the controversy surrounding the appointment of David Friedrich Strauss to the faculty of the University of Zurich.

Sep 16, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member. 

Timothy A. Brookins and Bruce W. Longenecker
1 Corinthians 10–16: A Handbook on the Greek Text
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11402
Reviewed by James D. Romano

Colleen M. Conway
Sex and Slaughter in the Tent of Jael: A Cultural History of a Biblical Story
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11476
Reviewed by Gregory Mobley

Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder
When Momma Speaks: The Bible and Motherhood from a Womanist Perspective
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11373
Reviewed by Kimberly Russaw

Lester L. Grabbe
1 and 2 Kings: History and Story in Ancient Israel
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11563
Reviewed by Steven L. McKenzie

Ronald Hendel
Steps to a New Edition of the Hebrew Bible
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11532
Reviewed by Arie van der Kooij

John Jarick, ed.
SOTS at 100: Centennial Essays of the Society for Old Testament Study
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11586
Reviewed by Corrine Carvalho

Jörg Jeremias
Theologie des Alten Testaments
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11521
Reviewed by Jordan M. Scheetz

Mogens Müller and Jesper Tang Nielsen, eds.
Luke’s Literary Creativity
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11375
Reviewed by Nils Neumann

Stanley E. Porter and Bryan R. Dyer, eds.
The Synoptic Problem: Four Views
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11361
Reviewed by Robert K. MacEwen

Allen P. Ross
A Commentary on the Psalms: Volume 3 (90–150)
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11498
Reviewed by J. Clinton McCann Jr.

Sep 15, 2017

The Authorship of Hebrews

Michael Kok has a pretty good discussion on the authorship of Hebrews here.

Sep 14, 2017

Reading Josephus in Greek

If you have ever had the desire to tackle Josephus in Greek you should read this post.

Sep 13, 2017

The Value of a Good Commentary

Michael Barber has a great anecdote here involving Aquinas, Chrysostom's commentary on Matthew, and Paris.

Sep 12, 2017

Apostles Today?

Terry Wilder has a good post here concerning whether we can have apostles today.

Sep 10, 2017

Maximizing Your Study Time

With the start of the new semester, some might be interested in these practical study tips.

Sep 8, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member. 

Alan J. Bale
Genre and Narrative Coherence in the Acts of the Apostles
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10392
Reviewed by Loveday Alexander

Patrick T. Egan
Ecclesiology and the Scriptural Narrative of 1 Peter
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11258
Reviewed by Torrey Seland

Susanna Elm
Sons of Hellenism, Fathers of the Church: Emperor Julian, Gregory of Nazianzus, and the Vision of Rome
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11114
Reviewed by Andrew R. Guffey

Matthew Harmon and Jay E. Smith, eds.
Studies in the Pauline Epistles: Essays in Honor of Douglas J. Moo
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10157
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Jonathan G. Kline
Allusive Soundplay in the Hebrew Bible
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11407
Reviewed by Thomas P. McCreesh, O.P.

Reinhard G. Kratz
Historical and Biblical Israel: The History, Tradition, and Archives of Israel and Judah
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11167
Reviewed by Brad E. Kelle

Jeremy D. Lyon
Qumran Interpretation of the Genesis Flood
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10952
Reviewed by Jonathan M. Potter

Harry O. Maier
Picturing Paul in Empire: Imperial Image, Text and Persuasion in Colossians, Ephesians and the Pastoral Epistles
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9730
Reviewed by Torsten Jantsch

Hans de Wit and Janet Dyk, eds.
Bible and Transformation: The Promise of Intercultural Bible Reading
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11092
Reviewed by Jione Havea

Gary Yamasaki
Insights from Filmmaking for Analyzing Biblical Narrative
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11513
Reviewed by Steve A. Wiggins

Sep 7, 2017

The Beatitudes

Here is a very good post on the Beatitudes (Matt 5, Luke 6).

Sep 6, 2017

Robert L. Thomas (1928-2017)

I just learned that Dr. Robert L. Thomas has gone to be with the Lord. It is interesting to note that both he and Dr. Toussaint were born the same year and passed the same year. I never met the man but I benefited from his writings, most noticeably, his two-volume Revelation commentary.

8 Tech Tools for Church Staff

See this article although I must admit I don't use any of these.

Sep 5, 2017

Stanley D. Toussaint (1928–2017)

I just learned that Dr. Stan Toussaint has gone to be with the Lord. In many ways my life and ministry was shaped by this dear servant. I consider it one of the great privileges in my life to have been able to fill in for him at DTS occasionally from 2008 to 2015. I would often meet with "Dr. T." before such occasions to go over what I was supposed to cover but he would always tell me to teach the text as I understood it. I always felt affirmed by that, yet always mindful that he had probably forgotten more Bible than I knew. 

Sep 4, 2017

Best Free Digital Bible Resources

Mark Hoffman has provided a helpful annotated list here of the best free digital Bible Study resources.

Sep 3, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member. 

Kimberly Ambrose
Jew among Jews: Rehabilitating Paul
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11150
Reviewed by Michael F. Bird

Elie Assis
Identity in Conflict: The Struggle between Esau and Jacob, Edom and Israel
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11182
Reviewed by George Savran

Stephen B. Chapman and Marvin A. Sweeney, eds.
The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11333
Reviewed by Jeffery M. Leonard

Raimo Hakola, Nina Nikki, and Ulla Tervahauta, eds.
Others and the Construction of Early Christian Identities
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10022
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

David Horrell
An Introduction to the Study of Paul
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10387
Reviewed by Nijay Gupta

Bryan M. Litfin
Early Christian Martyr Stories: An Evangelical Introduction with New Translations
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9932
Reviewed by Jan Willem van Henten

John Poirier and Jeffrey Peterson, eds.
Marcan Priority without Q: Explorations in the Farrer Hypothesis
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10389
Reviewed by David J. Neville

Ada Taggar-Cohen and Roy E. Gane, eds.
Current Issues in Priestly and Related Literature: The Legacy of Jacob Milgrom and Beyond
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11091
Reviewed by Mark Awabdy
Reviewed by Brandon R. Grafius

Géza G. Xeravits and Peter Porzig
Einführung in die Qumranliteratur
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10674
Reviewed by Pieter B. Hartog

Sep 2, 2017

Acts as Biblical History

Steve Walton has made his presentation slides (PDF) available here from his recent talk at the British New Testament Society on "Acts as Biblical History."

Sep 1, 2017

The Opponents in Jude

Mike Bird discusses briefly the identity of the opponents in Jude here.

Free Logos Book for September: Mark (NIVAC)

The free Logos Book of the Month for September is David Garland's Mark commentary in the NIVAC series. You can also purchase John Walton's Job or Scot Mcknight's 1 Peter in the same series for $1.99 and $2.99 respectively. And you can enter to win the nine-volume Zondervan Illustrated Bible Backgrounds Commentary: New Testament and Old Testament. Go to the Logos' Free Book of Month page here.

Aug 31, 2017

Oldest Latin Commentary on the Gospels

Apparently, the oldest Latin commentary on the Gospels has been found and translated. You can read about it here.

Aug 30, 2017

Paul and Silas Before the Magistrates at Philippi?

Carl Rasmussen has a nice post here discussing where Paul and Silas would have appeared before the magistrates at Philippi (Acts 16:20).

Aug 29, 2017

The Death of the Christian Bookstore

See this article chronicling the rise and fall of the Christian bookstore.

Aug 28, 2017

Solomon's Throne

Here is an interesting article related to Solomon's throne (1 Kgs 10:18-20). I was most interested in the midrashic details.

Aug 27, 2017

Harry Potter and the Biblical Canon

I am not really a potterite, but I did find this article using the Harry Potter series as a way of illustrating issues related to the formation of the biblical canon interesting.

Aug 25, 2017

Jeremiah: The Man and His Message

Rob Bradshaw has scanned and made available as a free PDF, Alexander Stewart's Jeremiah: The Man and His Message. This is just one of the many free and wonderful resources at Biblical Studies.org.uk.

Aug 24, 2017

Babylonian Tablet and the Oldest Evidence of Trigonometry

This article suggests that a Babylonian tablet dating from 822-1726 B.C. contains the oldest known trigonometry tables .

Aug 22, 2017

Is Learning the Biblical Languages a Waste of Time?

Michael Kruger asks and answers the question, "Is It a Waste of Time for Seminary Students (and Pastors) to Learn the Biblical Languages?" here. While I agree with Kruger's answers, I would rephrase the question a bit. Many I know would not ask this question but rather, "Is learning the biblical languages the best use of time for seminary students (and pastors)?" The answer to this question is a bit more complicated. I would argue that though it may not be the "best" use of time, it is a good and worthy use of time.

Aug 21, 2017

Solar Eclipses in the Old Testament?

Dr. Claude Mariottini discusses solar eclipses in the Old Testament here.

Aug 19, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Jonathan J. Armstrong
The Role of the Rule of Faith in the Formation of the New Testament Canon according to Eusebius of Caesarea
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10801
Reviewed by Chris L. de Wet

L. Julianna M. Claassens
Claiming Her Dignity: Female Resistance in the Old Testament
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11420
Reviewed by Dora Mbuwayesango

David E. Garland
A Theology of Mark’s Gospel: Good News about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10845
Reviewed by Stephen C. Barton

Benjamin D. Giffone
‘Sit At My Right Hand’: The Chronicler’s Portrait of the Tribe of Benjamin in the Social Context of Yehud
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11459
Reviewed by Leslie C. Allen

Donna Laird
Negotiating Power in Ezra-Nehemiah
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11385
Reviewed by Bob Becking

Anthony Le Donne
A Study Companion to The Bible: An Introduction
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9904
Reviewed by José Gómez Galán

Nazek Khalid Matty
Sennacherib’s Campaign against Judah and Jerusalem in 701 B.C.: A Historical Reconstruction
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11455
Reviewed by Ernst Axel Knauf

Scott Shauf
The Divine in Acts and in Ancient Historiography
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10360
Reviewed by Kenneth D. Litwak

Markus Tiwald
Das Frühjudentum und die Anfänge des Christentums: Ein Studienbuch
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11103
Reviewed by Stephan Witetschek

David L. Turner
Israel’s Last Prophet: Jesus and the Jewish Leaders in Matthew 23
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11203
Reviewed by Akiva Cohen

Aug 18, 2017

Syllabus Strategies

There are a number of great suggestions here on preparing for a new semester. I have actually employed a number of these. But even though I am fairly well organized and disciplined, I more than once found that my best intentions and plans would go by the wayside. Nonetheless, having a strategy will help at least in some cases

Aug 17, 2017

Solar Eclipses and Establishing an Old Testament Chronology

Carl Rasmussen has a simple and brief overview here of how ancient solar eclipses helps to establish an Old Testament chronology.

Aug 16, 2017

Preachers Using Technology

Justin Trapp has written a reminder here that preachers throughout history have utilized technology to further the gospel.

Aug 15, 2017

Photo Companion to the Bible: The Gospels

BiblePlaces has just announced the release of a new photo collection called the Photo Companion to the Bible. This new series will illustrate the Bible book by book, chapter by chapter, and verse by verse. I know of no other resource like this one. If you want to use visuals in your preaching and teaching that are good, effective, relevant, and biblical then this collection is a must have.
 

The volumes on Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John are now available. You can check it out and order here. This collection comes with a 100% satisfaction guarantee but I am guessing you won’t need it. I have been using BiblePlaces' resources since 1999 and have never been disappointed.

http://www.bibleplaces.com/gospels-photo-companion-to-the-bible

Aug 14, 2017

Top Ten Jewish Books

Here is a rabbi's list of the top ten Jewish books

Aug 13, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member. 

Walter DietrichSamuel (1 Sam 13–26)
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11808
Reviewed by Mark W. Hamilton


David J. Downs
Alms: Charity, Reward, and Atonement in Early Christianity
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11263
Reviewed by Anthony Giambrone

Thomas J. Kraus and Michael Sommer, eds.
Book of Seven Seals
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11424
Reviewed by Garrick V. Allen

Minkyu Lee
The Breaking of Bread and the Breaking of Boundaries: A Study of the Metaphor of Bread in the Gospel of Matthew
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10658
Reviewed by Wongi Park

Alice Mouton
Rites, mythes et prières hittites
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11235
Reviewed by Robert Marineau

Anton Pritula
The Warda: An East Syriac Hymnological Collection: Study and Critical Edition
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11050
Reviewed by Robert A. Kitchen

Susanne Scholz, ed.
Feminist Interpretation of the Hebrew Bible in Retrospect: Biblical Books
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9644
Reviewed by Jan Jaynes Quesada

Mark A. Seifrid
The Second Letter to the Corinthians
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10006
Reviewed by James P. Sweeney

Mark R. Sneed, ed.
Was There a Wisdom Tradition? New Prospects in Israelite Wisdom Studies
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10687
Reviewed by JiSeong Kwon

Külli Tõniste
The Ending of the Canon: A Canonical and Intertextual Reading of Revelation 21–22
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11196
Reviewed by Darian R. Lockett

Aug 12, 2017

Reading 4Q124

This article explains how one of the Dead Sea Scrolls, 4Q124, was deciphered.

Aug 11, 2017

Struggling Seminaries

This Wall Street Journal article highlights some of challenges facing seminaries today.

Aug 10, 2017

Ktiv: The International Collection of Digitized Hebrew Manuscripts

According to this article, the National Library of Israel has created a massive online database of ancient Jewish manuscripts and images from around the world. "The archive contains nearly 4.5 million images from 45,000 manuscripts, including prayer books, biblical texts, commentary, philosophy, literature and scientific writings in various Jewish-related languages such as Hebrew, Yiddish, Ladino and Judeo-Arabic." You can access the database here.

Aug 9, 2017

Haddon Robinson Remembered

As many of you may know, Haddon Robinson recently passed away. DTS Magazine has a nice article here on the man and his ministry. The piece was actually published before Dr. Robinson's death but is still worth reading or rereading. In 2010, I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Robinson in person. I found him to be as gracious and wise as the article suggests. 

Aug 8, 2017

James Charlesworth's and Lee McDonald's Lectures at the Lanier Theological Library

I just noticed that the videos of James Charlesworth's talk, “The Theological Value of the ‘Rejected Texts’ and Dead Sea Scrolls for Understanding Jesus,” and Lee McDonald's "Why and When Was Scripture Written? Looking at the New Testament Writings” are now available.


Aug 7, 2017

The ISBN

Here is an article on the mysterious ISBN for all my book nerd friends.

Aug 4, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Margaret Aymer, Cynthia Briggs Kittredge, and David A. Sánchez, eds.
Fortress Commentary on the Bible: The New Testament
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10189
Reviewed by Jacqueline M. Hidalgo

Mark J. Boda, Michael H. Floyd, and Colin M. Toffelmire, eds.
The Book of the Twelve and the New Form Criticism
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11093
Reviewed by Aaron Schart

Joshua Ezra Burns
The Christian Schism in Jewish History and Jewish Memory
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11175
Reviewed by Michael Rosenberg

Timo Eskola
A Narrative Theology of the New Testament: Exploring the Metanarrative of Exile and Restoration
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10568
Reviewed by Abson Joseph

Wesley Hill
Paul and the Trinity: Persons, Relations, and the Pauline Letters
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10284
Reviewed by Edmon L. Gallagher

Bo Isaksson and Maria Persson, eds.
Strategies of Clause Linking in Semitic Languages: Proceedings of the International Symposium on Clause Linking in Semitic Languages, Kivik, Sweden, 5–7 August 2012
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10533
Reviewed by Benjamin J. Noonan

Max Küchler
Jerusalem: Ein Handbuch und Studienreiseführer zur Heiligen Stadt
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10984
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Andrew M. Mbuvi
Jude and 2 Peter: A New Covenant Commentary
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10946
Reviewed by Darian R. Lockett

Mark McEntire
A Chorus of Prophetic Voices: Introducing the Prophetic Literature of Ancient Israel
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10829
Reviewed by Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer

Jorunn Økland, J. Cornelis de Vos, and Karen J. Wenell, eds.
Constructions of Space III: Biblical Spatiality and the Sacred
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11305
Reviewed by Bart B. Bruehler

Aug 3, 2017

Tips on Writing and Scholarship

The Eerdmans Blog has tips from some of its authors on writing and scholarship here.

Learning Student's Names

This article provides some helpful tips for learning student's names.

Aug 2, 2017

Anti-Traditional Biases in Biblical Studies?

I posted a link to Joshua Berman's article on the corruption of biblical studies some time back and now Michael Kok has listed links to a number of responses here.

Twelve Pastoral Commitments

Kevin DeYoung has twelve pastoral commitments drawn from 1 Thessalonians 2:1-12 that are worth considering here.

Aug 1, 2017

Free Logos Book for August: Why I Am a Christian

The free Logos Book of the Month for August is Why I Am a Christian by John Stott. You can also purchase Stott's The Incomparable Christ for $1.99. For both offers you can go to the Logos' Free Book of Month page here.

Jul 31, 2017

Ten Ways to Organize Your Bookshelf

This article discusses ten ways to organize your bookshelf. But for an OCD academic like myself, organizing by color or randomly (is that an oxymoron?) is anathema!

Jul 30, 2017

The Problem of Academic Language

This article bemoaning the difficulties associating with much academic language probably also relates to biblical studies as well.

Jul 29, 2017

Four Common Misconceptions about Learning

Here is a brief but helpful reminder concerning four common misconceptions about learning. I actually shared similar points with a student recently.

Schreiner on the Law in Galatians

Check out Tom Schreiner's comments here on the role of the Law in Galatians

Jul 27, 2017

The Distinction between Genre and Style

Leslie Allen, provides a helpful explanation of the distinction between genre and style noting that, 
Genre can provide the skeleton of a passage, but rhetorical style is an aspect of its flesh and blood. If genre helps the informed reader by providing typicality, a stylistic analysis uncovers the passage’s individuality that sets it apart from other examples of the same genre.
(Jeremiah: A Commentary, Old Testament Library, ed. William P. Brown, Carol A. Newsom, and David L. Petersen [Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 2008], 6).

Jul 26, 2017

The Danger of Obscuring the Text

As I was preparing to teach Romans again, I came across the following reminder from Doug Moo. 
The interpreter of Romans is faced with the danger that the text of what Paul himself wrote will become obscured by the reams and reams of material that other people have written about the text. Thomas Hobbes is reputed to have said, “If I read as many books as most men do, I would be as dull-witted as they are.” Certainly it is easy for the interpreter of Scripture to substitute broad reading in books about the text for deep reading in the text itself. In no book of the Bible is this more of a temptation than in Romans, and I hope I have not succumbed to it.
(The Epistle to the Romans, New International Commentary on the New Testament [Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1996), xviii.

Jul 25, 2017

How Many Members Did the First Century Church at Philippi Have?

Eduard Verhoef suggests that the church numbered around 33 in the AD 60s. He arrives at this number by noting that, “All in all we can list 11 people who had chosen to go the way indicated by Paul: Lydia, the goaler [sic, jailer], two bishops, two deacons, Epaphroditus, Eudia, Syntyche, the ‘companion’ and Clement.”

He also then notes, “The 11 people mentioned above will have belonged to different families. The average family may have consisted of two parents, two children and two slaves. Let us say that half of those people comprised the congregation, there were 11 x 3 = 33 members of the congregation.
Verhoef is cautious about the number, noting the uncertainties and hypothetical nature of the data. But he also suggests that 33 is “defendable.” Eduard Verhoef, Philippi: How Christianity Began in Europe: The Epistle to the Philippians and the Excavations at Philippi (London: Bloomsbury, 2013), 21–22.

Jul 24, 2017

New Open Access Journal: Text and Archaeology

There is a new open access journal entitled Archaeology and Text, edited by Itzik Shai and David Small. You can access the first volume here

HT: Aren Maier

Jul 23, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Michael F. Bird
The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9962
Reviewed by Albert Lukaszewski
Reviewed by Youngju Kwon

Ellis R. Brotzman and Eric J. Tully
Old Testament Textual Criticism: A Practical Introduction
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11490
Reviewed by Terry Giles

Andrew J. Brown
The Days of Creation: A History of Christian Interpretation of Genesis 1:1–2:3
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10844
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Alexandra Gruca-Macaulay
Lydia as a Rhetorical Construct in Acts
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11359
Reviewed by Marianne Blickenstaff

David Luckensmeyer and Pauline Allen, eds.
Studies of Religion and Politics in the Early Christian Centuries
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=8152
Reviewed by Aaron Ricker

Dinh Anh Nhue Nguyen, ed.
The Bible and Asian Culture: Reading the Word of God in Its Cultural Background and in the Vietnamese Context
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11146
Reviewed by Jione Havea

Peter Oakes
Galatians
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10275
Reviewed by Bart J. Koet and Jaap F. van der Meij

David Lee Phillips
The Samaritan Version of the Book of Numbers with Hebrew Variants: A Close Textual Study
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10796
Reviewed by Nathan R. Jastram

Daniel Y. Wu
Honor, Shame, and Guilt: Social-Scientific Approaches to the Book of Ezekiel
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11457
Reviewed by Tobias Häner

Jul 19, 2017

Canonization as a Card Game

Apparently, there is now a card game related to the biblical canon. You can read about it here.

Jul 18, 2017

The Idea of Missions in the Old Testament

"J. H. Bavink once observed that “at first sight the Old Testament appears to offer little basis for the idea of missions,” adding that “that entire pagan world is portrayed more as a constant threat and temptation to Israel than as an area in which God will reveal his salvation.” However, when the Old Testament is more thoroughly studied, it soon appears that there is much concern for the future of the nations and that God’s plan of salvation has the whole world in view. Any account of missions in the Old and New Testaments must take account of the fundamental principles found in the revelation of God. The perspective of Holy Scripture is from the beginning universal, ecumenical and missionary. The first concern of the Bible is not with Hebrews but with humanity, The Bible does not begin with the birth of Abraham, father of the people, or with Moses, prophet of God, but with the creation of the world and the advent of man.” 

Richard R. DeRidder, Discipling the Nations, Twin Brooks Series (Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1975), 14.

Jul 17, 2017

Repetition in Genesis

Sam Bray notes here the importance of noting and translating repetitions in the Bible, notably in this case Genesis.

Jul 15, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Barbara Aland, Kurt Aland, Johannes Karavidopoulos, Carlo M. Martini, and Bruce Metzger, eds.
The Greek New Testament with Dictionary
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10092
Reviewed by Timothy A. Brookins

Herbert W. Basser with Marsha B. Cohen
The Gospel of Matthew and Judaic Traditions: A Relevance-Based Commentary
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10403
Reviewed by Akiva Cohen

Martin Leuenberger, ed.
Segen
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10551
Reviewed by Bob Becking

Jack R. Lundbom
Jeremiah: Prophet Like Moses
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10784
Reviewed by Samuel Hildebrandt

Robert D. Miller II, ed.
Between Israelite Religion and Old Testament Theology: Essays on Archaeology, History, and Hermeneutics
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11323
Reviewed by Ryan P. Bonfiglio

B. J. Oropeza
Exploring Second Corinthians: Death and Life, Hardship and Rivalry
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11261
Reviewed by Elliott C. Maloney, OSB
Reviewed by Adam White

Christopher R. Seitz
Colossians
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10027
Reviewed by Devin L. White

Joan E. Taylor, ed.
Jesus and Brian: Exploring the Historical Jesus and His Times via Monty Python’s Life of Brian
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10866
Reviewed by Brian LePort

Risto Uro
Ritual and Christian Beginnings: A Socio-cognitive Analysis
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11290
Reviewed by Maria Karyakina

Jul 14, 2017

Staff Bios

Thom Rainer has some good suggestions here on six things to include in church staff bios. I think this would also relate to faculty bios as well.

Jul 13, 2017

Archaeological Conservation

During my recent participation at the Tel Gezer dig, I learned that what is uncovered must either be protected or conserved. So sometimes what is uncovered is re-covered to protect it. In other cases, what has been exposed is left exposed. In such instances, conservation or preservation is undertaken. In this post, Leen Ritmyer gives an excellent explanation of what is involved in conservation and his involvement at Tel Shiloh.

Jul 12, 2017

Fly Through Animation of Ai (Khirbet el-Maqatir)

Fly Through Animation of the fortress of Ai based on the archaeological excavations at Khirbet el-Maqatir.

The Corruption of Biblical Studies?

This essay does a decent job in pointing out the tensions between religious and academic studies of the Bible and how the latter is not as agenda driven as the former. As the subtitle points out, the "Academic scrutiny of scripture, a discipline prey to intellectual fashion since its inception, is today pursued by many in the service of secular liberal positions."

HT: Rob Bradshaw

Jul 11, 2017

Five “Fake News” Stories Related to Early Christianity

Michael Kruger identifies five “fake news” stories that many people believe about early Christianity here.

Jul 10, 2017

Project Habakkuk

This story might need to be put in the bizarre file, but you can read about a secret proposal called "Project Habakkuk," to build aircraft carriers out of ice during WW II.

Jul 9, 2017

Tandy Archaeological Museum Honored with 2017 Best of Fort Worth Award

You can read this story about the Tandy Archaeological Museum here. I visited the Tandy museum a few years ago but it sounds like I need to make a return visit. The museum has a decent website here and you can view photos of the collections here.

Jul 7, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Aaron Chalmers
Interpreting the Prophets: Reading, Understanding and Preaching from the Worlds of the Prophets
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10623
Reviewed by Samuel Hildebrandt

Panayotis Coutsoumpos
Paul, Corinth, and the Roman Empire
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10644
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Thomas Esposito
Jesus’ Meals with Pharisees and Their Liturgical Roots
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10468
Reviewed by Dennis E. Smith

Simon Gathercole
Defending Substitution: An Essay on Atonement in Paul
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10364
Reviewed by Jarvis J. Williams

David Gowler
James through the Centuries
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10057
Reviewed by R. Alan Culpepper

Michael J. Kok
The Gospel on the Margins: The Reception of Mark in the Second Century
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10242
Reviewed by Elizabeth Struthers Malbon

Helen Leneman and Barry Dov Walfish, eds.
The Bible Retold by Jewish Artists, Writers, Composers and Filmmakers
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11138
Reviewed by James F. McGrath

Gordon H. Matties
Joshua
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10053
Reviewed by Ryan P. Bonfiglio

Lukasz Niesiolowski-Spanò
Goliath’s Legacy: Philistines and Hebrews in Biblical Times
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11294
Reviewed by Carl S. Ehrlich

Diego Pérez Gondar
Caín, Abel y la sangre de los justos: Gn 4, 1–16 y su recepción en la Iglesia Primitiva
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10453
Reviewed by Susana de Sola Funsten

Alistair C. Stewart
The Original Bishops: Office and Order in the First Christian Communities
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9835
Reviewed by David J. DeVore

Patricia K. Tull and Jacqueline E. Lapsley, eds.
After Exegesis: Feminist Biblical Theology
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10897
Reviewed by Lisa W. Davison

Michael Wolter
Paul: An Outline of His Theology
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10916
Reviewed by Matthew V. Novenson

Sami Yli-Karjanmaa
Reincarnation in Philo of Alexandria
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11004
Reviewed by Gregory E. Sterling

Tamar Zewi
The Samaritan Version of Saadya Gaon’s Translation of the Pentateuch: Critical Edition and Study of MS London BL OR7562 and Related MSS
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10508
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow

Jul 6, 2017

Original Turabian?

In the process of packing some things today, I can across this copy of Turabian. There is no indication of a second or later edition so it may be a first edition. In any case, it is only 61 pages long!

 

How to Talk to Famous Professors

Robin Bernstein has some good advice here.

Jul 5, 2017

Two Views on Applying 2 Chronicles 7:14

Steve Gaines argues for direct application here and Russell Moore argues against direct application here (written in 2016). I wonder whether at least some of the differences between Gaines and Russell relates to a failure to distinguish between principles and applications.

Jul 4, 2017

Leviticus and Sexual Morality

Jeff Mirus has a good post here on what Leviticus has to teach us about sexual morality and ourselves.

Jul 3, 2017

Infographic: Singleness, Dating, and Marriage

Crossway has a helpful infographic on singleness, dating, and marriage here.

HT: David Murray

Jul 1, 2017

Free Logos Book for July: The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity

The free Logos Book of the Month for July is The Old Religion in a New World: The History of North American Christianity by Mark A. Noll. For this and other offers you can go to the Logos' Free Book of Month page here.

Jun 30, 2017

On the Value of Biblical Hebrew

Here is a Roman Catholic perspective. Note also the author's encouragement to visit the Holt Land.

Jun 29, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Stephen Carlson
The Text of Galatians and Its History
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10563
Reviewed by Akio Ito

Lynne St. Clair Darden
Scripturalizing Revelation: An African American Postcolonial Reading of Empire
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10688
Reviewed by Lynn Huber

Sally Douglas
Early Church Understandings of Jesus as the Female Divine: The Scandal of the Scandal of Particularity
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11286
Reviewed by Jill E. Marshall

Mariachiara Fincati
The Medieval Revision of the Ambrosian Hexateuch: Critical Editing between Septuaginta and Hebraica Veritas in Ms. Ambrosianus A 147 inf.
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11289
Reviewed by Melvin K. H. Peters

Peter W. Gosnell
The Ethical Vision of the Bible: Learning Good from Knowing God
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10153
Reviewed by C. Fred Smith

Lester L. Grabbe, Gabriele Boccaccini, and Jason M. Zurawski, eds.
The Seleucid and Hasmonean Periods and the Apocalyptic Worldview
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11195
Reviewed by G. Anthony Keddie

Ithamar Gruenwald
Apocalyptic and Merkavah Mysticism
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10250
Reviewed by Andrew R. Guffey

Sylvie Honigman
Tales of High Priests and Taxes: The Books of the Maccabees and the Judean Rebellion against Antiochos IV
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11059
Reviewed by Joshua Schwartz

Sharon Jacob
Reading Mary Alongside Indian Surrogate Mothers: Violent Love, Oppressive Liberation, and Infancy Narratives
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10745
Reviewed by Angela N. Parker

Andre LaCocque
Jesus the Central Jew: His Times and His People
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10414
Reviewed by Tobias Hägerland

Susanne Luther, Jörg Röder, and Eckart Schmidt, eds.
Wie Geschichten Geschichte schreiben: Frühchristliche Literatur zwischen Faktualität und Fiktionalität
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10374
Reviewed by Jonathon Lookadoo

James E. Robson
Deuteronomy 1–11: A Handbook on the Hebrew Text
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11379
Reviewed by Leslie J. Hoppe, OFM

John Christopher Thomas and Frank D. Macchia
Revelation
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11246
Reviewed by Gregory Stevenson

Bruce W. Winter
Divine Honours for the Caesars: The First Christians’ Responses
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10900
Reviewed by Warren Carter

Edwin M. Yamauchi and Marvin R. Wilson
Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-biblical Antiquity
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9980
Reviewed by Oded Borowski
Reviewed by Hennie Stander

Jun 28, 2017

Charles Spurgeon's Schedule

Check out this blog post related to Charles Spurgeon's schedule. I know it puts my schedule to shame!

Jun 27, 2017

Free Hebrew Course

Kevin Bauder notes that you can take a free Biblical Hebrew course taught by William Barrick. You can access it out here.

Jun 26, 2017

Ten Major Themes in Proverbs

Steve Nicholes and his son Benjamin have created a nice visual diagram of ten major themes in Proverbs. You can click on the image below for a higher quality PDF version. 

No automatic alt text available.

Jun 25, 2017

Ten Online Teaching Tips

This post seems to have some helpful suggestions.

Jun 23, 2017

Spurgeon Collection Online

See this article explaining the site here or go directly to the site here.

Jun 22, 2017

Teaching Specific Skills

Maryellen Weimer has a good post here on teaching specific skills to students. Much, if not all, of this also applies to discipleship.

Jun 21, 2017

Prothro on Justification

Peter Leithart interacts with James Prothro's article, “The Strange Case of Dikaioo in the Septuagint and Paul: The Oddity and Origins of Paul's Talk of ‘Justification'” here.

Jun 19, 2017

The Sermon Is not Dead

Those that think that preaching is passé should read this.

Jun 18, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Yitzhak Berger
Jonah in the Shadows of Eden
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11344
Reviewed by Paul L. Redditt

Mark Glen Bilby
As the Bandit Will I Confess you: Luke 23.39–43 in Early Christian Interpretation
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10109
Reviewed by Edmon L. Gallagher

Crispin Fletcher-Louis
Jesus Monotheism: Volume 1: Christological Origins: The Emerging Consensus and Beyond
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10588
Reviewed by Blake A. Jurgens

Amanda C. Miller
Rumors of Resistance: Status Reversals and Hidden Transcripts in the Gospel of Luke
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9815
Reviewed by Eric D. Barreto

Manfred Oeming and Joachim Vette
Das Buch der Psalmen: Psalm 90–151
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11303
Reviewed by Áron Németh

Robert Somos
Logic and Argumentation in Origen
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11157
Reviewed by Mark S. M. Scott

James W. Thompson
The Church according to Paul: Rediscovering the Community Conformed to Christ
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=9934
Reviewed by Christopher T. Holmes
Reviewed by Herman C. Waetjen

Adam Winn, ed.
An Introduction to Empire in the New Testament
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11301
Reviewed by Greg Carey

Jun 17, 2017

The Gateway to Hell at Hierapolis?

Carl Rasmussen has an interesting post here on recent excavations and the "Gateway to Hell" at Hierapolis.

Jun 16, 2017

What Can You Do with a PhD in Theology?

With so few academic positions open, Nathan Finn asks and answers the question here.

Jun 15, 2017

Jun 14, 2017

The Difference between Bible College and Seminary

Chris Dickerson explains the basic differences between Bible college and seminary here.

Jun 13, 2017

Imperatives in Preaching Biblical Narratives

William Barrick has a very helpful post here about the prescriptive nature of Old Testament narratives.

Jun 10, 2017

The Point of Biblical Theology

"The point of biblical theology, therefore, is to reaffirm revelation in history within a robust view of the divinely inspired reliability of the biblical text itself, which will require restoring the humility of the theologian before the text and, supremely, before God, whose text it is.”

Scott Hafemann, “What’s the Point of Biblical Theology? Reflections Prompted by Brevard Childs,” in
Biblical Theology: Past, Present, and Future, ed. Corey Walsh and Mark. W Elliott (Cascade: Eugene, OR, 2016), 119.

Jun 9, 2017

Archaeological Evidence for King David

Kenneth Way has a good post here discussing the archaeological evidence for King David.

Jun 8, 2017

My Screwtape Letter

I was recently going through some of my old seminary assignments and came across a paper that I apparently modeled after C. S. Lewis' Screwtape Letters. I must confess that I do not remember the assignment or the course for which it was created. But, I have lightly edited it and condensed it because I was surprised about how timely it was. So with apologies to the esteemed Lewis, here is a reminder for whom it might be helpful.


Dear Wormwood,

Thank you for enlisting my help concerning Charles. Indeed I have had my eye on him for many years and I can tell you that he is so gullible at times that I even wonder if he is worthy of my expertise. However, I have learned that the Enemy sometimes delights in using one as insignificant as him so we must not take anything for granted. Therefore permit me to suggest possible strategies that you might use against him.

You can help Charles to become dissatisfied with his life by placing those who are more talented, intelligent, and wealthy around him so that he will quickly take his eyes off of the Enemy, forgetting all the undeserved blessings which he already enjoys. Make sure that you remind him how great a sacrifice he is making by going to seminary and is thus entitled to a reciprocal measure of prosperity. Take care though that you do not mention the words “prosperity theology” for he claims to reject it. Allow him to point a finger at the prosperity teachers without recognizing how close he comes to this theology at times. In fact it might even helpful in inflating his pride by reminding him how much more biblical he is than the health and wealth teachers. A little subtlety will go a long way here.

The beauty of cultivating envy is that you can also cultivate greed. By feeding Charles’ envy you can also create an insatiable appetite for more. Let me suggest that you proceed carefully. You must seek to develop this greed within reason. Ideally, greed is most effective when it does not involve much more than a person has, but just a little more than they have now. This approach is effective because most humans feel that they deserve a little more than they have now.

Jun 7, 2017

Is It Proper to Preach the Psalms?

To be honest, I have always assumed that the Psalms could and should be preached. But as Sidney Greidanus points out, Claus Westermann, Donald Gowan, and others believe that the Psalms can be prayed and sung but they should not be preached. but Greidanus offers four reasons why the Psalms should be preached.
  1. "The editors of the Psalter have placed Psalm 1, a torah (wisdom) psalm, at the head of this collection in order to signal that every following psalm is to be read as part of God's torah, teaching, instruction for Israe1."
  2. "Though many psalms originated as a human word to God, every psalm is now part of the Psalter and was accepted in the Canon as God's word for Israel."
  3. "The New Testament authors accepted the Psalter not just as Israel's word to God but as God's word to his people"
  4. "Jesus not only prayed the psalms but used them, more than any other Old Testament book, for his preaching and teaching."

Sidney Greidanus, Preaching Christ from Psalms: Foundations for Expository Sermons in the Christian Year (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2016), 3-4.

Jun 6, 2017

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 but unfortunately you must be a SBL member.

Holly Beers
The Followers of Jesus as the ‘Servant’: Luke’s Model from Isaiah for the Disciples in Luke-Acts
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10393
Reviewed by Phillip Long

Simon Chi-Chung Cheung
Wisdom Intoned: A Reappraisal of the Genre ‘Wisdom Psalms’
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11016
Reviewed by Phil J. Botha

Michael V. Fox
Proverbs: An Eclectic Edition with Introduction and Textual Commentary
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10903
Reviewed by Richard Clifford

Esther Fuchs
Feminist Theory and the Bible: Interrogating the Sources
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=11215
Reviewed by Lisa Davison

Trine Bjornung Hasselbalch
Meaning and Context in the Thanksgiving Hymns: Linguistic and Rhetorical Perspectives on a Collection of Prayers from Qumran
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10246
Reviewed by Blake A. Jurgens

Derek Olsen
Reading Matthew with Monks: Liturgical Interpretation in Anglo-Saxon England
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10516
Reviewed by Brian C. Dennert

Mikeal C. Parsons
Luke
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10245
Reviewed by Joshua W. Jipp
Reviewed by Troy M. Troftgruben

Avigdor Shinan and Yair Zakovitch
From Gods to God: How the Bible Debunked, Suppressed, or Changed Ancient Myths and Legends
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10583
Reviewed by Frederick E. Greenspahn

Bryan A. Stewart
Priests of My People: Levitical Paradigms for Early Christian Ministers
http://www.bookreviews.org/bookdetail.asp?TitleId=10651
Reviewed by Richard S. Briggs

Jun 5, 2017

Temples as Banks in the Ancient World?

I like many others have often taught that temples in the ancient world often functioned as de facto banks. But if Marty Stevens is correct then such a linkage as at best imprecise or inadequate. Note the following helpful clarification from Stevens.
But the ancient temple as “bank” is imprecise and inaccurate. Most precisely, temples functioned as “treasuries” or “depositories,” a place for the storage and retrieval of (precious) commodities and metals by the depositor. Temple archives demonstrate that the temple held deposits by individuals but did not allow others to access them or in any other way use the negotiable instruments that complete the definition of “banking.” Temples lent their own property, not that of others on deposit with the temple. If the temple used the deposits at all, it was acting as a broker at the direction of the depositor, who retained the risk of the use. The defining issue is the accountability for risk. The broker-intermediary does not assume any risk; a banker-intermediary assumes risks as a creditor. So temples were not “banks” in antiquity. Rather, the more precise designation for the role of the temple in antiquity would be “financial intermediary.” As collector, user, and disburser of goods and financial services, the temple transferred value from the contributor to consumer.”
Marty E. Stevens, Temples, Tithes, and Taxes: The Temple and the Economic Life of Ancient Israel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2006), 137.