Aug 10, 2018

The Latest Issue of the 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.

Sandra Coussement, Because I Am Greek”: Polyonymy as an Expression of Ethnicity in Ptolemaic Egypt
Reviewed by Stewart Moore

George H. Guthrie, 2 Corinthians
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Dolores G. Kamrada, Heroines, Heroes, and Deity: Three Narratives of the Biblical Heroic Tradition
Reviewed by Peter J. Sabo

Lydia Lee, Mapping Judah’s Fate in Ezekiel’s Oracles against the Nations
Reviewed by Tobias Häner

Oswald Loretz, Entstehung des Judentums: Ein Paradigmenwechsel 

Reviewed by Jordan M. Scheetz

Thomas P. Nelligan, The Quest for Mark’s Sources: An Exploration of the Case for Mark’s Use of First Corinthians 

Reviewed by Heike Omerzu

Stanley E. Porter, The Letter to the Romans: A Linguistic and Literary Commentary
Reviewed by Markus Oehler

Thomas Römer, The Invention of God
Reviewed by Jeremiah Cataldo

Alessandro Scafi, Die Vermessung des Paradieses: Eine Kartographie des Himmels auf Erden
Reviewed by Bob Becking

Jean Zumstein, L’évangile selon saint Jean (1–12) Reviewed by Jeffrey M. Tripp

Aug 9, 2018

A Review of Israel, the Church, and the Middle East

Bock and Glaser, eds., Israel, the Church, and the Middle East: A Biblical Response to the Current Conflict (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2018).

Israel, the Church, and the Middle East (ICME) is a collection of mostly essays (one section contains the results of a survey and another a statement from the Alliance for the Peace of Jerusalem) that challenges the idea of supersessionism is presents a positive case for Israel’s distinctive eschatological future and how that might or might not relate to the modern nation of Israel. The issue is a timely one both theologically and geopolitically.

Ironically, the best place to start is probably with the final chapter, which contains Darrell Bock’s summary of the previous chapters. This provides a good orientation and distillation of the main points for the various essays that are grouped into four sections: (1) Biblical Foundations, (2) Theology and the Conflict, (3) Yeshua in the Midst of Crisis, and (4) Current Challenges to Peace in Israel.

The most compelling and convincing arguments against supersessionism, or put more positively, the case for a distinctive eschatological future for ethnic Israel, is probably put forward exegetically in the chapters by Yarbrough and Blaising, hermeneutically by Rydelnik who argues for a consistent interpretive approach in both Testaments, and historically by Vlach, who notes that the “restorationism” (“national Israel remains theologically significant in God’s plans”) is neither new nor uniquely dispensational (pp. 119, 134).

The question of how or if modern Israel fits into a restoration matrix is addressed in sections three and four. Bailey asks and answers the question, “Should Christians support the modern state of Israel,” with a nuancing that is too often lacking from both sides of the debate. And kudos to editors in general, and Brown in particular, for not avoiding the thorny and controversial “two-state solution” that many see as the most viable way forward in the Middle East.

Balance is also exhibited in the fact that though the essays are decidedly in favor of a distinctive eschatological future for ethnic Israel, Jews generally, and modern Israel specifically, are not given a biblical, ethical, or political “blank check.” This is evident in Averbeck’s call for Jewish acceptance of the gospel and Bock’s caution against an ethically blind “nationalism” and his call for Israel to seek restoration and justice.

But perhaps the most enlightening and challenging discussions for me were the one’s related to the messianic movement in Israel and the Palestinian church. One can see a field ripe to harvest but also fraught with obstacles, misunderstandings, and downright persecutions. Yet, seeing the faith and love of these Christ followers was exhilarating and convicting.

In sum, ICME is a helpful entrée for those seeking to better familiarize themselves with the case for what Vlach calls “restorationism.” But it is also valuable refresher for those like this reviewer who are relatively familiar with the issues and arguments. 

Thanks to Kregel who provided the free review copy used in this unbiased review.

One can access an excerpt here.

Aug 8, 2018

How to Stop Using Filler Words in Speaking

Harvard Business Review offers some suggestions here on how to stop using disfluencies, or filler words, when speaking. I have found that one of the most humbling exercises in life is listening or watching oneself preach or teach. One reason is that the "tape" reveals how frequently and painfully we employ such fillers.     

Aug 7, 2018

Free Video of Dan Wallace's Textual Criticism Course

Credo Courses is offering the video for Dan Wallace's textual criticism course for free. See here. The offer is good for today only so you will need to act fast.

Aug 6, 2018

Cognitive Biases

The Atlantic has a nice article here by Ben Yagoda on cognitive biases. In raise the problem of such biases in my hermeneutics classes.

Aug 5, 2018

The Latest Issue of the 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.

František Ábel, The Psalms of Solomon and the Messianic Ethics of Paul
Reviewed by Kenneth Atkinson

Euan Cameron, ed., The New Cambridge History of the Bible: Volume 3, From 1450 to 1750
Reviewed by Jeffrey L. Morrow

Barry S. Crawford and Merrill P. Miller, eds., Redescribing the Gospel of Mark
Reviewed by Barry L. Blackburn
Reviewed by Thomas P. Nelligan

Thomas B. Dozeman, The Pentateuch: Introducing the Torah
Reviewed by Rachelle Gilmour

Mignon R. Jacobs, The Books of Haggai and Malachi
Reviewed by Stacy Davis

Nathaniel J. Morehouse, Death’s Dominion: Power, Identity, and Memory at the Fourth-Century Martyr Shrine
Reviewed by Carly Daniel-Hughes

Stanley E. Porter, The Apostle Paul: His Life, Thought, and Letters
Reviewed by H. H. Drake Williams III

Philip Sumpter, The Substance of Psalm 24: An Attempt to Read Scripture after Brevard S. Childs
Reviewed by David Cohen

Gillian Townsley, The Straight Mind in Corinth: Queer Readings across 1 Corinthians 11:2–16 Reviewed by James N. Hoke