Review of Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching

Posted in Uncategorized by Joseph Kelly on January 1, 2011

My thanks to Adrianna Wright and IVP for sending me a copy of Reclaiming the Old Testament for Christian Preaching edited by Grenville J. R. Kent, Paul J. Kissling, and Laurence A. Turner.

My expectations for this volume should be laid bare at the outset. Too much is published today that is both mediocre and/or redundant. Particularly in an area such as preaching, I would be hesitant to get caught up into reading very many books if any on the subject. A book on preaching could be compared to a book on how to play a musical instrument. Perhaps the fundamentals can be gleaned from reading a text book, but to truly master the subject one must set aside the book and practice. Preaching is an activity one must be regularly engaged in should one truly want to grow and develop. There is very little need to read more than a couple preaching books because their differences are hardly significant. I do not preoccupy myself with the various preaching theories; they are largely passing fads concerned with packaging material that is often mediocre because too little attention is being placed on content. And so with that in mind, I came to this book looking for a resource that would cover the bare essentials of making use of the Old Testament for a Christian exposition, one that was particularly focused on developing content over delivery. In my estimation, the delivers in this respect, though I found some chapters appealed to me more than others.

Each chapter is the product of a different author writing from within a Christian faith perspective. Generally speaking, each chapter contains a discussion of the topic, its relation to preaching, the relevance of a Christian faith perspective, and concludes with both an example sermon (or sermon outline) and a bibliography of some kind.

Laurence Turner begins the book with the chapter “Preaching Narrative: Plot.” This was one of the chapters I found most helpful, both because the narratives of biblical stories are too often ignored in the preaching of narrative texts and because of the quality of Turner’s treatment. He lays out the basic structure that establishes the general characteristics of plot shared by both ancient and modern literature, and he proceeds to explain how these individual characteristics are significant for understanding plot and plot development. He highlights how one can make use of these characteristics in developing a sermon without requiring that one’s sermon fit any one particular mold or structure. Complimenting the discussion of narrative was Paul Kissling’s chapter, “Preaching Narrative: Characters.” I particularly appreciated the encouragement in this chapter to diversify one’s sermon style, occasionally delivering a sermon from the perspective of the biblical character in the first person. From from encouraging an atomistic reading of biblical characters, he addresses numerous features of narrative storytelling in the Bible that highlight the significance of characters and characterization. Students who might otherwise think it appropriate to preach a “Dare to be a Daniel” sermon will learn from this chapter that there is more to reading biblical characters than the traits we are predetermined to admire in them!

Perhaps my favorite chapter of the lot was Christopher Wright’s ” Preaching from the Law.” Again, this is a topic that is easily and often abused or ignored in Christian preaching, and Wright’s lifelong work in Old Testament Law is apparent. The chapter is in many ways a condensed discussion of issues he raised in Old Testament Ethics for the People of God. He has done a fine job in presenting his basic framework of his understanding OT law and highlighting the most pertinent issues on which to elaborate. Readers interested in further discussion will find themselves redirected to the appropriate discussions in his more expansive volume. I suspect those familiar with and sympathetic to Wright and his work on OT law will be pleased to have this chapter for students to consult to capture the essence of Wright’s work, even if they are not using it in a homiletics course. Because Wright is focused on “finding the message of the law for today,” some might find his chapter less helpful in respect to the various forms or sermon structures most suitable for preaching OT law.

Federico Villanueva and David Firth tackle lament and praise poetry, respectively. Their chapters do a fine job at addressing these topics. Tremper Longman tackles wisdom literature, but leaves me wanting. I must confess that my dissatisfaction with this chapter is due to a significant difference of opinion with Longman when it comes to the text of Ecclesiastes. Longman interprets the frame narrative of the text as a corrective to all that lies within it (a substantial majority of the biblical book!). While this is a legitimate interpretive option, it is not one that  persuades me. I would opt for students reading this book for a class to consult William Brown’s Interpretation commentary as a corrective. I appreciate Longman in the wisdom corpus outside Ecclesiastes, so the other aspects of the chapter I found to be worthwhile.

Grenville Kent, H. G. M. Williamson, Daniel Block each address the preaching of a single book of the Bible, Song of Solomon, Isaiah, and Ezekiel, respectively. Kent enumerates numerous negative and positive pieces of advice for preaching about a delicate topic for public discourse—sex. I can see myself measuring any future sermons on the subject should I have the occasion and comission to so preach against this chapter to ensure that I have handled to topic appropriately. Williamson discussed, among other things, how to handle preaching from a text where authorship and date may prove to be thorny issues if brought up and offered sage advice. I particularly appreciated how he handled the messianic portions of Isaiah, neither ignoring their Christ-focus nor limiting their import to it. Block demonstrated well how one approaches the task of preaching a biblical book holistically, understanding the entire structure and theological contours of the book before preaching from it. Those interested in preaching Ezekiel will find it a most helpful resource.

Earnest Lucas tackles Apocalyptic literature and does a fine job. Alison Lo addresses the Minor Prophets, and I particularly appreciate how she encourages a more holistic reading of the collection of books. For example, she writes about tracing thematic coherence across the minor prophets using “the day of the LORD” as an example. Her advice recognizes some of the interaction that occurs between the prophets, and those who read this chapter should realize that the theological significance in the ways these texts interact with one another is significant for Christian preaching. These prophetic books do not exist in a vacuum, but in a collection of mutually informing/influencing literature. While this is a basic Christian conviction regarding the entire biblical canon, it is true at another level for the collection of the minor prophets.

The final two chapters address two particularly pertinent topics on the Old Testament and Christian preaching. Gordan Wenham addresses preaching from difficult texts, and any who are familiar with Christian culture and the contents of the Old Testament should know there is plenty of challenging material in the Old Testament. Genealogies challenge attention spans; texts containing slavery and violence challenge modern moral sensibilities. These are just a few of the issues Wenham raised. Of course, one can always choose to neglect the challenging texts, but Wenham proposes engaging these texts, but with appropriate understanding and candor. Walter Moberly concludes the book with his treatment of preaching Christ from the Old Testament. Moberly engages much secondary literature on the subject, creating an excellent dialogue of scholars on the issue. The outcome is a christological perspective on the Old Testament that is neither simple nor simplistic; readers are encouraged to take seriously the context(s)of the texts to develop a frame of reference for christological interpretation.

There were some chapters I enjoyed and found more helpful than others, but the book was relatively well balanced in content. I found it odd that the bibliographies at the conclusion of each chapter were different in some respects, and identical in others. A majority included a “Further reading” list or a “Recommended further reading” list with three resources, but some had a longer list, and one had a full bibliography in place of a recommended reading list. Three of the “Further reading” lists included Ellen Davis’ book Wondrous Depth: Preaching the Old Testament. While I do not doubt Davis’ book is superb and worth consulting (I have not consulted it myself), I would have liked to see greater diversity in the recommendations, perhaps more focused on the specific topic being addressed. Most contributors represent a Western cultural perspective, and most are male. Preaching is not an exclusively masculine enterprise, so it would have been great to see more females contribute to this volume. My final evaluation is positive; this book would serve as a fine resource for a homiletics course in both undergraduate and graduate contexts, particularly a course focused on expository preaching. It covers many important topics clearly and concisely. I commend the book to those interested in the topic.

The Biblical Studies Carnival LVIII

Posted in Uncategorized by Joseph Kelly on January 1, 2011

Let the carnival-ing begin!


Some might prefer their Christmas theology filtered through Twitter or a conglomeration of social media applications, but here is the official Biblioblogging Christmas story:

According to K.C. Hulsma (patheos), Christ is NOT the reason for the season, but rather pagan religious practices. James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) finds irony in the secular hijacking of the sacred hijacking of a pagan holiday. From a much different perspective, Allan Bevere (Allan R. Bevere) thinks a theological perspective of the season should place greater emphasis on the resurrection than on the birth of Jesus. John Meade (LXX Studies) uses text criticism to get to the heart of the Christmas message of Luke.

Adam Kotsko (An und für sich) reflects on the prominence/significance of angels in the Christmas narratives and their absence/insignificance in modern culture (with exceptions) while reflecting on secularizing aspects of modern Christmas.

NT Wrong (Scripture, Ministry, and the People of God) discusses the virgin birth. Mark Shea (The Sacred Page) provides an historical survey of the doctrine of Mary’s immaculate conception. Megan (WIT) commends an excerpt on the theology of this subject from Elizabeth Johnson’s Mary, Truly Our Sister. Her blogging companion Bridget (WIT) has an interesting post on Mary as portrayed in artistic representations of the Annunciation. James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) sees in the passing statement that Jesus was “born of a woman” an opportunity to chide mythicists.

Michael Barber (The Sacred Page) entertains the idea that, rather than being “suspicious” of Mary’s pregnancy, Joseph “was a humble man who did not deem himself worthy to play the role of the foster father of the Messiah, who was born ‘of the Holy Spirit’.” Be sure to visit the comments thread as well for a good discussions of the merits and issues surrounding Barber’s interpretation. He also defends the patristic link between Mary and the ark of the covenant as “insightful contemplation” rooted in the New Testament.

Robert J. Myles (Jesus the Bum) explores the flight to Egypt through the lens of dislocation (here, here, here, and here.)

John Byron (The Biblical World) commends the NIV committee for dropping the word “inn” in favor for a more accurate translation of “guest room.” The problem, he claims, is not with room per se, but with the necessary privacy for childbearing, something for which a crowded guest room is not suited. Mark Goodacre (NTPod) also addresses this question in his recent podcast.

Kevin DeYoung (The Gospel Coalition; DeYoung, Restless, Reformed) has some tips about how to understand the fulfillment of passages from the OT cited in the birth narratives of Jesus.

Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) investigates the portrayals of Jesus in the Christmas narratives (here, here, here, here, and here)

Weighing in on the BBC’s Nativity are bibliobloggers Matt Page (Centre for the Study of Christian Origins), Doug Chaplin (Clayboy) (here, here, here, and here), and Mark Goodacre (NT Blog).

Brent Landau’s Revelation of the Magi, “a second- or third-century CE text that gives a legendary account of Matthew’s (probably already legendary) magi,” received numerous reviews from Therese J. Borchard (Catholic San Fransisco), Ben Witherington (Ben Witherington on the Bible and Culture), Amy Becker ({Take & Read}), Elizabeth Scalia ({Take & Read}), Peter Wallace ({Take & Read}), Carl Gregg ({Take & Read}), T.C. Robinson (New Leaven), Angelica Nohemi Quinonez ({Take & Read}), and Scott McKnight ({Take & Read}), to which Landau ({Take & Read}) responds. See also more of Jim Davila’s musings.

Jim West (Zwinglious Redivivus) and Robert Cargill (XKV8R) are quick to call to account the dilettantes who think they have identified Mary’s grandmother.

The Bible and SBL, Technology, and Culture

Chris Brady (Targuman) was the first to share the new policies for SBL call for papers (see also here and here). Brian LePort (Near Emmaus) was not bothered by the changes, but understood why some might be. John Meade (LXX Studies) believes some of the changes create an undue burden on both the program unit Chairs and on the student members. Deane Galbraith (Bulletin for the Study of Religion) points out that the changes infringe on the rights of students who were promised the same benefits of full membership. Maire Byrne (Bible Nerd) recognizes that the changes are particularly damaging to international students. Jason Staples (Professor Obvious) thinks this policy undermines those who would rather “present” than read a paper. Joseph Kelly (כל־האדם) writes a letter to the Executive Director to highlight many of the problematic implications of these changes. Daniel McClellan (Daniel O. McClellan) believes this rational, to increase student participation, isn’t likely given the increased limits placed on students who want to present. James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) questions the viability of this new proposals.

David Stark (New Testament Interpretation) keeps us abreast of some of the goings on with digital technology that would be relevant to those interested in Biblical studies. For those who missed getting a copy of the new SBL Greek New Testament, you can download a PDF copy here. Google has opened up their new eBookstore and a web-based ebook reader.

Steve Wiggens (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World) thinks “we live in a society enamored of a book it doesn’t understand.

Scott Bailey (Scotteriology) and Joseph Kelly (כל־האדם) discuss the relevance of climate change to biblical studies.

Jim West (Zwinglious Redivivus) defends print-on-demand publishing.

The issues of biblical studies and faith were raised by Tim Bulkeley (Bible and Interpretation) and followed up directly or indirectly by Doug Chaplin (Clayboy), Steve Douglas (Undeception), Charles Savelle (BibleX), and Tom Verenna (The Musings of Thomas Verenna). Hector Avalos (Bible and Interpretation) thinks we need more genuinely secular introductions to the Bible.

Tom also writes that about history and identity, that “Human history is the history of all humanity and must be owned by all, which means it must be owned by none.

Michael Carden (Jottings) discusses the literacy (or otherwise!) of biblical scholars.

Deane Galbraith (Religion Bulletin) believes that we are the authors of the Bible.

Roland Boar (Stalin’s Moustache) observes that biblical criticism is being used to hold the high ground, while theologians are venturing out in the academy. Dan (On Journeying with those in Exile) interviews Boer about Marxism and theology.

Bible Translations, Translation, and Biblical Languages

T. C. Robinson (New Leaven) shares some changes he would have made to the updated NIV Bible. Craig Blomberg (BibleGateway) defends the NIV11 decision to translate ανθροποι in 2 Tim 2:2 as “people,” though Denny Burk (Denny Burk) is not persuaded. Matt Dabbs (Kingdom Living) is raises some questions about the NIV11’s use/non-use of confess, to which Claude Mariottini (Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament) responds.

Chad (Political Jesus) continues his pursuit for a new Bible translation, with posts by Jeremy Thompson on the NAB, Joel Watts on the NLT, and Dustin Smith on the NASB.

David Crystal (Bible and Interpretation) talks about the legacy of the language of the King James Version of the Bible.

Joel Hoffman (God Didn’t Say That) discusses top translation traps and advises that “providing too much information makes a translation less accurate.”

Hebrew Bible/Old Testament

Martin Haase (EANN) announces the first publication of a group researching divine embodiment in the Old Testament.

Peter Enns (Science and the Sacred) continues highlighting things Genesis doesn’t tell us (see here, here, and here). He also provides an excellent historical survey of when Genesis has been believed to be written, and the significance he believes is attached to this question. Duane Smith (Abnormal Interests) explores one of these unexplained details, the reason the serpent is regarded the craftiest of all creatures, and finds a companions in the too-often-neglected early twentieth century scholar Umberto Cassuto and Rabbinic literature, exploring also apocryphal and New Testament sources.

Denis Alexander (Science and the Sacred) addresses the question, “How Does a BioLogos model need to address the theological issues associated with an Adam who was not the sole genetic progenitor of humankind?” (see here, here, and here).

Robert Cargill discovered Mark Driscoll, and Driscoll’s trinitarian reading of Genesis/Targum Neofiti really set him off. He sparked some reflections from other bloggers, Tyler Williams (Codex), John Meade (LXX Studies), Joseph Kelly (כל־האדם), and Charles Halton (Awilum). See also a 2008 post on this same subject by Chris Brady (Targuman).

Steve Wiggins continues his podcast inquiring as to the origins of Moses.

Joel Watts shares two class assignments, a brief response paper that he completed for a class assignment on the subject of the moral decline of Israel in Judges. and a rough draft of a paper on Judges 4.17-22.

Steve Douglas (Undeception) vacillates between two different readings of 2 Samuel 14:1-14.

Reflecting on some recent papers he’s written, Daniel McClellon (Daniel O. McClellon) draws conclusions about the universalization of Yhwh in Israel and the rhetorical versus historical nature of 2 Kings 22-23.

John Hobbins (Ancient Hebrew Poetry), in a tribute post to Carolyn Osiek, explores gendered wisdom embodiment in Proverbs and contemporary culture.

Claude Mariottini (Dr. Claude Mariottini – Professor of Old Testament) summarizes the life of the prophet Amos with promises of more to come on Amos’ prophetic call.

Rob Kashaw (Tolle Lege!) highlights a wordplay in Haggai.

Joseph Kelly (כל־האדם) continues providing a translation and notes for Zechariah’s night visions.

John Bergsma (The Sacred Page) shares a messianic reading of the book of Ruth with an eye toward advent.

Steve Wiggens (Sects and Violence in the Ancient World) discusses the importance of literary genre in raising the issue of the date of Daniel.

LXX, Rabbinics, and other Ancient Writings

Joseph Kelly (כל־האדם) provides a reading schedule for The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha to encourage people to read the entire corpus in a year. Tony Burke (Apocryphicity) writes as to why he studies the Christian Apocrypha., which gets Doug Chaplin (Clayboy) thinking about canon and censorship.

Daniel McClellon (Daniel O. McClellon) posts his paper from the recent SBL meeting in Atlanta where he explores the question, “What is Deity in LXX Deuteronomy?” He also writes about when the New Testament misreads the Hebrew Bible, to which John Meade (LXX Studies) responds with the question, “Does the New Testament misread the Hebrew Bible?” Mead also writes about LXX Job 37:18 (here and here) and the possibility that “the NT authors were more, if not exclusively, influenced by the LXX than the Hebrew text.

John Hobbins (Ancient Hebrew Poetry) extols the recent Logos release of the Göttingen Septuagint. Those who missed the $299.95 pre-publication price tag will be sorry when, enticed by Hobbins’ post, they have to fork out $699.95 for it. (But it’s still a deal, says Hobbins!)

Duane Smith (Abnormal Interests), citing a dissertation on the LXX, asks some open ended questions about translations in the ancient world.

Rick Brannan (:-)Blog(-:) announces the completion of the Lexham Greek-English Interlinear Septuagint (LXX).

Simon Holloway (Davar Akher) provides an excellent “overview of the development of the halakha, with attention paid to those texts that, historically, have proven to be most beneficial.

Ken Schenck (Quadrilateral Thoughts) develops a cheat sheet for the ancient Jew Philo.

New Testament

Scott McKnight, in a Christianity Today article, writes about the conflict often seen between Jesus and Paul, and how he proposes this conflict can be resolved. Bill Heroman (NT/History Blog) adds that when one looks at Paul’s actions, one sees clearly his commitment to the kingdom about which Jesus preached. Responses also come from Walter Kaiser(Koinonia), Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology), Andrew Perriman (p.ost). Trevin Wax (Kingdom People) interviews McKnight about the article.

Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) uses the OT to shed light on the Christology of New Testament authors. He also explores the relationship between Jewish monotheism and early Christian Christology. Tommy Thompson and Tom Verenna (Bible and Intepretation) discuss issues of historicity and Jesus.

Richard Fellows (Paul and his Co-Workers) argues that benefactors in the early church were given new names in recognition to their generosity.

Gospels, Q, and Acts

Ishta Kutesa (Near Emmaus) approaches the logos of John 1:1 with an eye on philosophical discourse. David Frank (Better Bibles Blog) explores the complexity of capturing what John was saying. David Ker (Better Bibles Blog) summarizes a collaborative discussion about John 3:16.

Mark Goodacre (NTBlog) shares a few of his favorite fictional Qs. For nonfictional convictions regarding Q, check out the post by Larry Hurtado (Centre for the Study of Christian Origins). See also Doug Chaplin’s (Clayboy) issue with the idea that Luke rewrites Matthew’s birth narrative and thoughts about a possible Q birth narrative (here and here). James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix) straddles the fence as he poses a question to both Q-skeptics and Q-believers.

Steve Douglas (Undeception) wonders whether there is a wordplay going on in Mark 2:28 between Lord of the Sabbath and LORD of Hosts (Sabaoth).

Sean Webb (The Itinerant Mind) explores a second century setting for the canonization of the gospels.

Bill Heroman (NT/History Blog) asks the question as to whether the gospel narratives are chronological.

Philip Long (Reading Acts) explores the character Nathanial from the book of Acts and what it means to be “True Israel.” He also explores Thomas, Andrew,

Ken Schenck (Quadrilateral Thoughts) argues that Paul dies at the conclusion to the book of Acts, and that Luke’s readers were aware of this and so did not include it in the narrative.


If you want to introduce yourself to the so-called “New Perspective on Paul,” Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) can get you there in three (easy?) steps!

Regarding Paul’s infamous mention of Junia in Romans 16:7, Iver Larson (Better Bible’s Blog) and Suzanne McCarthy (Suzanne’s Bookshelf) dialogue yet again about the certainty (or lack thereof) that Junia is a female.

Philip Long (Reading Acts) investigates what Paul means when he commands people to “bear one another’s burdens,” and when he writes with “big letters.”

Andrew Perriman (p.ost) discusses the phrase “Christ became a servant of circumcision” in Romans 15:8.

Ardel Caneday (εξηγησις) adds a substantial footnote about works and justification to his recent SBL paper ““Justification, Judgment & Behavior: Judgment Day’s Coming Verdict Now Announced in the Gospel,” and follows it up with a couple observations about his subject and about original thinking.

Craig Benno (Trinitarian Dance) shares some thoughts about sons in Galatians 3:26.

Steve Douglas (Undeception) asks to what degree Paul’s phrase “Christ crucified” entails penal substitution.

Matthew Montonini (New Testament Perspectives) interviews Tom Schreiner regarding (among other things) his recent Galatians commentary in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary series (see here and here).

Mike Bird (ΕΥΑΝΓΕΛΙΟΝ) sees both horizontal and vertical dimensions of justification in Paul.

Two papers were made available online, Johnathan R. Robinson’s MTh Thesis, “Sex, Slogans and Σώµατα: Discovering Paul’s Theological Ethic in 1 Corinthians 6:12-20” and Brian J. Abasciano’s doctoral dissertation, “Paul’s Use of the Old Testament in Romans 9:1-9: An Intertextual and Theological Exegesis.”

T. C. Robinson (New Leaven) thinks water baptism for Paul is a bigger deal than many recognize it to be.


Mike Bird (ΕΥΑΝΓΕΛΙΟΝ) lists important parallels between Revelation 4 and 5, to which Michael Barber responds with some important parallels between these chapters and Daniel 7.

Matt Flannagan (MandM) continues his monthly column Contra Mundum, this time exploring the infamous number of the beast and discussing the ills of “statism.” Rob Haskell (Fellow Traveler) also takes a stab at decoding 666.

James McGrath (Exploring Our Matrix), after flirting with the idea that Revelation is a pseudepigraphical text, then questions what gets one’s name written in the book of life (see here and here).

Deane Galbraith (Religion Bulletin) notices that Jesus is described as one with “breasts” in John’s vision.


Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) posts his paper, “Toward a Theory of Narrative Transformation: The Importance of Both Contexts in Paul’s Scriptural Citations,” from November’s SBL meeting in Atlanta on his blog. He argues (among other things) that Paul’s citations of Scripture must be understood in both their original and invited contexts, a classic “both/and” approach to an overly polemical discussion.

Gene Robinson (On Faith: The Washington Post) discusses hermeneutical issues surrounding homosexuality and the Bible (see here and here).

Ted Bobosh (Fr. Ted’s Blog) shares numerous thoughts about interpreting the Bible (see here, here, here, here, here, here, and here).

Daniel McClellon (Daniel O. McClellon) raises the issue of inerrancy vs. authority in Jesus’ own hermeneutic, after which John Meade (LXX Studies) and Thom Stark (Religion at the Margins) get involved in a long winded discussion on certain points.

Archaeology and the Ancient World

Owen Chesnut (Roses and Razorwire) responds to Israel Finkelstein’s SBL paper, “Khirbet Qeiyafa: A Cool-Headed Interpretation.” (See here and here.)

Darrell Pursiful (Dr. Platypus) provides an eminently helpful resource page for ancient names. Charles Halton (Awilum) notes some additional resources.

Richard Hess (Bible and Interpretation) writes about Monotheism in the ancient world, and Daniel McClellon (Daniel O. McClellon) responds. Along these lines, James Spinti (Idle Musings of a Bookseller) muses about the ontology of the gods, while Jim Linville (Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop) muses about the efficacy of their incantation texts (the ones related to hangover cures).

Darrell Pursiful (Dr. Platypus) looks into the past and present cultures of angels.

Carisa (Queen of Heaven) surveys the goddess of the sea in the ancient world.

John Hobbins (Ancient Hebrew Poetry) writes about the forthcoming commentary by Amar Annus and Alan Lenzi, Ludlul bel nemeqi: The Standard Babylonian Poem of the Righteous Sufferer.

Dan Batovici (Biblical and Early Christian Studies) reports on a paper by Marcus Bockmuehl, “Jewish and Christian Origins of Creatio ex Nihilo.

Celebrating the recent lunar eclipse, Charles Halton (Awilum) discusses how such events were understood in Mesopotamian and biblical thought.

Robin Perry (Theological Scribbles) comments on three articles from the Westminster Theological Journal by Paul Seely about the cosmology of the Old Testament writers.

Larry Hurtado (Centre for the Study of Christian Origins) plugs a forthcoming book, Readers and Reading Culture in the High Roman Empire:  A Study of Elite Communities.

Rob Crompton (The Snig’s Foot) responds to Jim Linville’s SBL paper, Taking Textbooks to Task over Old Testament Mythology: Why is This Mythology Different from All Other Mythologies?, featured in last month’s Carnival. Rob wants to pay more attention to “the processes by which stories [or so-called ‘myths’] are generated.” Linville (Dr. Jim’s Thinking Shop) responds, and the entire exchange is worth reading.

Geza Vermes (Standpoint.) writes about Herod the Terrible or Herod the Great?, arguing that the terrible Herod of Jewish and Christian traditions be recognized for being great.

Book Reviews

Doug Chaplin (Clayboy) calls one reviewer and RBL to account on a basic factual error in one of the recent RBL reviews.

Charles Savelle (BibleX) reviews Bibleworks 8, not having updated since version 5, and he shares a video from a recent training session.

Steve Douglass (Undeception) reviews fellow blogger Thom Stark’s (Religion at the Margins) new addition to the ever growing corpus of anti-Inerrancy books, The Human Faces of God: What Scripture Reveals When It Gets God Wrong (and Why Inerrancy Tries to Hide It) and reflects on the subject (see here, here, here, and here). Another such book was reviewed by Daniel McClellon (Daniel O. McClellon), Kenton Spark’s God’s Word in Human Words.

Scott McKnight (Jesus Creed) begins reviewing Paul Copan’s book Is God a Moral Monster?: Making Sense of the Old Testament God (see here and here).

T. C. Robinson (New Leaven) shares his thoughts about Carlson and Longman’s Science, Creation and the Bible: Reconciling Rival Theories of Origin.

Joel Watts (Unsettled Christianity) concludes his review of War in the Bible and Terrorism in the Twenty-First Century (see here, here, and here). He also reviews the Ancient Christian Texts Commentaries on Genesis 1-3.

Jim West (Zwinglious Redivivus ) reviews Pekka Pitkänen’s volume on Joshua in the Apollos Old Testament commentary series. See also Charles Savelle’s (BibleX) interview of the author. West then goes on to review the Apollos commentary on Ecclesiastes and the Song of Songs.

Matthew Montonini (New Testament Perspectives) offers his first impressions of Fundamentals of New Testament Greek Grammar and Workbook.

Larry Hurtado (Larry Hurtado’s Blog) looks at the new SBL Greek New Testament.

Tsalampouni Ekaterini (Ιστολόγιο βιβλικών σπουδών / Biblical Studies Blog)  reviews Από τη βιβλική έρευνα στην πίστη της Εκκλησίας. Συνοπτική Θεολογία της Καινής Διαθήκης by Χαραλαμπος Ατματζιδης.

Charles Savelle (BibleX) finds a new textbook resource in The New Testament and Antiquity. He is also favorably disposed to Tom Schreiner’s recent 40 Questions about Christians and Biblical Law.

Mike Kok (Sheffield Biblical Studies) continues his review of Maurice Casey’s Jesus Of Nazareth. Brian Bethune (Macleans.ca) also writes about the book.

Mike Bird (ΕΥΑΓΓΕΛΙΟΝ) briefly reviews Dale Allison’s The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus.

Michael R. Licona ‘s Resurrection of Jesus: A New Historiographical Approach. is reviewed both by Jim West (Zwinglious Redivivus) and Bill Heroman (NT/History Blog).

Nijay Gupta (nijay k gupta) appreciates Did the First Christians Worship Jesus? by James Dunn.

Nick Norelli (Rightly Dividing the Word of Truth) examines James McGrath’s The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in its Jewish Context, Mehrdad Fatehi’s The Spirit’s Relation to the Risen Lord in Paul: An Examination of Its Christological Implications and Gordan Fee’s Revelation commentary.

Those interested in the new Zondervan Exegetical Commentaries on the New Testament can find a host of reviews at Zondervan’s Koinonia blog (here, here, and here).

Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) is intrigued (though “not entirely convinced”) by Elizabeth Struthers Malbon‘s, Mark’s Jesus: Characterization as Narrative Christology. See his Redux post as well.

Michael J. Sandford (Sheffield Biblical Studies) examines Timothy Ling’s The Judaean Poor and the Fourth Gospel.

Jim Davila (Paleo Judaica) cites a snippet of a recent review from the Journal of Theological Studies, Paul in Ecstasy: The Neurobiology of the Apostles’s Life and Thought by Colleen Shantz. He is excited to see work being done “which takes mystical experience seriously as an input to foundational religious traditions.”

Daniel Kirk (Storied Theology) reviews Andrew Perriman’s The Future of the People of God: Reading Romans Before and After Western Christendom. Andrew Perriman (p.ost) responds.

John Byron (The Biblical World) praises the book, Ephesians: A Participatory Guide, to his readers.

Brian Fulthrop (συνεσταυρωμαι: living the crucified life) enthusiastically endorses The Drama of Ephesians. Joel Watts (Unsettled Christianity) reviews the book as well.

Nijay Gupta (Nijay Gupta) reviews the “eminently readable” volume, Reading Revelation Responsibility by Pauline scholar Michael Gorman, and he gives it high marks across the board. He also shares his initial impressions of the massive Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism edited by John Collins and Daniel Harlow.

Stephen Demmler (You Can’t Mean That!) finds one of his SBL purchases, Tradition, Scripture, and Interpretation: A Sourcebook of the Ancient Church, to be one of his more mediocre purchases.

Brian LePort (Near Emmaus) briefly reviews Saint Francis by Robert West.

Peter Head (Evangelical Textual Criticism) shares his thoughts about James M. Robinson’s, The Story of the Bodmer Papyri: From the First Monastery’s Library in Upper Egypt to Geneva and Dublin.

Scott McKnight (Jesus Creed) reviews Michael Legaspi’s The Death of Scripture and the Rise of Biblical Studies (Oxford Studies in Historical Theology).

Jeremy Thompson (Free Old Testament Audio) reviews the Kindle edition of Kevin Vanhoozer’s Theological Interpretation of the Old Testament.

New Blogs/Bloggers

The Near Emmaus team doubles its numbers this month with the inclusion of new and one not-so-new bloggers, Joshua Smith, Ishta Kutesa, and Mark Stevens.

Michael W. Holmes starts an eponymous blog, and has a page devoted to the SBL Greek New Testament that he edited..

Chris Heard (Higgaion) updates his url address.


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