Jan 4, 2020

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.

Simon Butticaz and Enrico Norelli, eds., Memory and Memories in Early Christianity: Proceedings of the International Conference Held at the Universities of Geneva and Lausanne (June 2–3, 2016)
Reviewed by Ben Sutton

Daniel Castelo, Sara M. Koenig, and David R. Nienhuis, eds., The Usefulness of Scipture: Essays in Honor of Robert W. Wall
Reviewed by Richard S. Briggs

Josette Elayi, Sennacherib, King of Assyria
Reviewed by Jonathan Valk

Alessandro Falcetta, The Daily Discoveries of a Bible Scholar and Manuscript Hunter: A Biography of James Rendel Harris (1852–1941)
Reviewed by Davina C. Lopez

Salima Ikram, Death and Burial in Ancient Egypt
Reviewed by Christoffer Theis

Jimyung Kim, Reanimating Qohelet’s Contradictory Voices: Studies of Open-Ended Discourse on Wisdom in Ecclesiastes
Reviewed by Douglas B. Miller

Sarah Köhler, Jeremia – Fürbitter oder Kläger? Eine religionsgeschichtliche Studie zur Fürbitte und Klage im Jeremiabuch
Reviewed by Hermann-Josef Stipp

Hendrik J. Koorevaar and Mart-Jan Paul, eds., The Earth and the Land: Studies about the Value of the Land of Israel in the Old Testament and Afterwards
Reviewed by Jacob R. Evers

Christoph Levin, Das Alte Testament
Reviewed by Hannes Bezzel

Nelson R. Morales, Poor and Rich in James: A Relevance Theory Approach to James’s Use of the Old Testament
Reviewed by James D. Dvorak

Mikael C. Parsons and Michael Wade Martin, Ancient Rhetoric and the New Testament: The Influence of Elementary Greek Composition
Reviewed by L. Gregory Bloomquist and Michael Klaassen

William E. W. Robinson, Metaphor, Morality, and the Spirit in Romans 8:1–17
Reviewed by Jesse D. Stone

Jason M. Silverman and Caroline Waerzeggers, eds., Political Memory in and after the Persian Empire
Reviewed by Yigal Levin

Sissel Undheim, Borderline Virginities: Sacred and Secular Virgins in Late Antiquity
Reviewed by Michael Rosenberg

Devin L. White, Teacher of the Nations
Reviewed by Timothy A. Brookins

Jan 3, 2020

The Trinity in Genesis 1?

Scott Swain's has a careful post here explaining how the Trinity might be present textually in Genesis 1.

Jan 2, 2020

Why Matthew Begins with a Genealogy

Patrick Schreiner identifies five reasons here. These are the five but use the link to read the explanations.

1. Matthew’s Genealogy Summarizes the Story of the Bible
2. Matthew’s Genealogy Reminds Us This Is a True Story
3. Matthew’s Genealogy Highlights Jesus’s Inclusive Family
4. Matthew’s Genealogy Shows Us God Is Faithful
5. Matthew’s Genealogy Displays Jesus as Our Only Hope

Jan 1, 2020

Free Logos Book for January: CSB Study Bible

The free Logos Book for the Month for January is the CSB Study Bible. You can also purchase the audio version, the CSB Apologetic Study Bible notes, and the Charles Spurgeon Study Bible notes for $4.99, $6.99, and $9.99 respectively. Unfortunately, I already have the free resource. In any case, you can register for a chance to win the thirteen-volume Holman Reference Collection. For all these offers, go to the Logos' Free Book of Month page here.

Dec 31, 2019

Bible Reading Plan Generator

I want to invite you to join me in reading through the Bible in 2020. There are many resources out there to keep one on track. This plan generator by John Dyer looks to be one of the better ones.

HT: Josh Bleeker

Dec 30, 2019

1 Corinthians as Triage or Surgery

Jack Levison's discussion of the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians is interesting. At the beginning of the article he states,
Flush with references to pneuma and pneumatikos—spirit and spiritual—1 Corinthians seems like a
manifesto of the Holy Spirit. Actually, it is not. The letter is triage, pure and simple. It does not reflect the skilled hand of the surgeon. In this letter, Paul stanches the bleeding of misguided believers ("The Holy Spirit in 1 Cornthians," in Interpretation 72 [2018]: 29).
I am not sure one has choose between triage or surgery. I am inclined to believe it might be a little of both. Although it is obviously fictional, Paul might be like "Hawkeye" Pierce of television's MASH who often operated within triage circumstances and yet saved lives because he was a skilled surgeon.

Dec 29, 2019

A Review of Reading Acts

Joshua Jipp. Reading Acts. Cascade Companions. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2018.

The author is Associate Professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. He has authored several monographs and numerous articles related to the New Testament. 

Reading Acts is part of the Cascade Companions series. This series’ stated aim is to “introduce nonspecialist readers to that vital storehouse of authors, documents, themes, histories, arguments, and movements that comprise this heritage [Christian theological tradition] with brief yet compelling volumes.” This is a worthy goal though “nonspecialist readers” are not specifically defined. Perhaps it refers to the typical layperson (if there be such a one).

In any case, there is much to appreciate about the volume at hand. It is well-written, carefully and fairly argued, and offers thought-provoking insights from one who has clearly spent considerable time in Acts. The book begins by addressing introductory matters and then proceeds thematically and roughly in the order of Acts. A final postscript addresses why one should read Acts and this is followed by a brief bibliography and subject and scripture indices. That being said, this work is difficult to categorize. It is part introduction, biblical theology, commentary, and study guide (with questions). It reminds me of a study Bible but with only the notes and sidebars but with a bit more scholarly heft. This is not bad per se, but who would be inclined to want to give this volume the consideration it deserves?

There are other factors that might hinder this work. The fact that it does not follow the actual text of Acts (at least religiously) makes it a bit difficult for the “nonspecialist” to follow. A better approach might have been to follow the text and highlight the theological threads that run through the book. It is ironic that Reading Acts does not actually read Acts as Acts reads. Another limitation is the bibliography. While one should not expect to have a fully-developed bibliography there are notable and surprising omissions that might be helpful for the “nonspecialist” to be aware of. For example, commentaries by C. K. Barrett, D. Bock, and F. F. Bruce, J. A. Fitzmyer, and B. Witherington are not listed and works like H. Conzelmann’s The Theology of St. Luke, I. H. Marshall’s Luke as Theologian, and Witness to the Gospel: The Theology of Acts edited by I. H. Marshall and D. Peterson are also notably absent. Meanwhile, the author includes six of his own works. There are good and legitimate reasons for referencing one’s own work but does this seeming imbalance really accomplish the mission of the series to introduce readers to the breadth of the Christian theological tradition? 

Reading Acts is a good work. But I am not sure it really fills a void. Having invested considerable time in Acts myself, I appreciate the exegetical and theological bang-for-the-buck but I wonder if the “nonspecialist” will find as much help. I hope so, because Acts is a book well worth the Church’s consideration as it, like the early Church, finds itself in an increasingly non-Christian, pagan, immoral, and hostile world. I suspect that there are better resources to help the “nonspecialist” to tolle lege (take up and read). 

Thanks to Cascade for providing the copy used in this unbiased review.