Historisches Textbuch zum Alten Testament

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978-3-525-51693-5I mentioned this book the other day and marveled that there seemed to be no review of it that I could locate, and the kind folk at Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht have sent along a copy.

It is a commonplace that the history of ancient Israel (that is, Israel and Judah) cannot be written and understood on the basis of the Old Testament alone. It is therefore necessary to make sources accessible that provide a kind of external perspective by which the statements of the Old Testament can be assigned to the world to which they relate or seem to relate. Due to scholarly research into the ancient Near East and its languages during the past two and a half centuries two groups of materials have emerged: Ancient Near Eastern texts and findings from archaeological work. The book offers a selection from the former group focusing on such written documents that relate directly or indirectly to conditions and events associated with Canaan/Palestine, Israel and Judah. All 338 texts have been translated from the original languages (Egyptian, Akkadian, Ancient North Arabic, Aramaic, Hebrew, Hittite, Moabite, Phoenician). Understanding the texts is facilitated by historical introductions, detailed comments on individual texts and references to relevant sections from the Old Testament. For further reading detailed bibliographies are provided. The book can also be used independently as an anthology of texts on the history of Southern Syria and Palestine in the 2nd and 1st millennia BC.

My review will be posted here.

The Death of Jesus: A New Book by Mauro Pesce and Adriana Desto

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10177488_10203820209495896_2027001849512856622_nWill be the subject of a launch and discussion this week!

Dal 23 aprile (forse il 24) è in libreria il nostro nuovo libro:  A.Destro-M.Pesce, La Morte di Gesù. Indagine su un mistero, Saggi Rizzoli.

Gesù viene catturato nel cuore della notte da un gruppo di armati e la mattina seguente è già sulla croce. Vi rimane inchiodato per ore prima di morire davanti ai soldati e a poche donne, forse a qualcun’altro.

Alla sua morte non seguono tumulti, non è il caos. Giorni di silenzio avvolgono chi gli è stato vicino. Colti di sorpresa dal folgorante intervento dei romani, i suoi seguaci fuggono sconvolti. Devono darsi ragione dell’accaduto, ma sono investiti da una tempesta di pensieri, il loro spazio vitale si è ristretto. In una sola notte il loro mondo è crollato: il senso di perdita è enorme. Due domande li tormentano: perché la vicenda del loro leader si è conclusa con una sconfitta? E perché il regno di Dio che aveva annunciato non si è avverato?

Fantastic!  If this volume is like previous works by Pesce and Desto then it will be marvelous.

Divine Substitution: Humanity as the Manifestation of Deity in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East — A Guest Review by Bryan Bibb

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Stephen L. Herring, Ph.D., Divine Substitution: Humanity as the Manifestation of Deity in the Hebrew Bible and the Ancient Near East.

978-3-525-53612-4Divine Substitution is an investigation of ancient conceptualizations of divine presence. Specifically, this thesis investigates the possibility that the ancient Mesopotamian conceptualization of cultic and royal statues, thought to actually manifest the presence of gods and kings, can likewise be found in ancient Israel. Despite the overly pessimistic view of the later biblical authors, material objects were almost certainly believed to extend and manifest the presence of God in pre-exilic Israel (e.g., standing stones). Likewise, the later polemics against such cultic concepts demonstrate Israel’s familiarity with this type of conceptualization. These polemics engaged in the rhetoric of mutilation and destruction of cultic representations, the erasure and re-inscription of divine names, and the rhetorical deconstruction of the specific Mesopotamian rituals thought to transform the dead statue into a living god. Though the biblical reflection of these concepts is more often found in the negative commentary regarding “foreign” cultic practices, S. Herring demonstrates that these opinions were not universally held. At least three biblical texts (Gen 1:26f.; Ex 34:29-34; and Ezek 36-37) portray the conceptualization that material images could manifest the divine presence in positive terms. Yet, these positive attestations were limited to a certain type of material image – humans.

The review, by Bryan Bibb, is here.

Emerging Scholars- Perhaps You Can Publish Your Work with De Gruyter

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All the info is here.

De Gruyter Open offers an opportunity for early-career scholars to publish books based on their dissertation research


The 2014 Emerging Scholar Monograph Competition is a contest for young talent in the fields of science, mathematics, technology and the humanities. The international contest, funded exclusively by De Gruyter Open, is aimed at early-career researchers. De Gruyter Open offers an opportunity for promising researchers to have their work published and promoted by a professional Open Access publisher. The winning books will be distinguished by a stamp on the cover indicating “Grand Prize Winner of the 2014 Emerging Scholar Monograph Competition”.

Winners will additionally receive a Kindle Paperwhite with their book downloaded in a mobile format.


The competition is open to all scholars (irrespective of their residence) who received a Ph.D. after June 1st 2010. Entrants must be able to deliver the completed manuscript in English by November 30th2014.

The manuscript cannot have been published before.

And a good bit more.  De Gruyter is a TOP NOTCH publisher that does quality work producing quality works.

What I’m Reading Now

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It’s exceptionally good.


My review should appear next week, DV.

More Than a Provocation: Sexuality, Media and Theology

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Stefanie Knauss

More than a Provocation

Sexuality, Media and Theology

1. Auflage 2014
230 Seiten gebunden
ISBN 978-3-525-60450-2
Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht


Sex, Media and theology – a provocative mix. Reactions can vary from rejection to openness and curiosity. This volume follows the latter path: on the background of changes in contemporary sexual culture and theological developments in the reflection on sexuality, three media – internet, advertising and film – are analysed with respect of their representation of sexuality and their contribution to theological reflections on sex. This shows: sex in media is more than a provocation; it provides an inspiration for theological thinking about human beings, their relationships with others, and also with God.

It sounds fascinating doesn’t it.  V&R have asked if I might like to review it, so I’ve said of course.  These sorts of things are outside my usual stomping grounds- which is the perfect reason to look into them.  More anon once it’s read and reviewed.

Huldrych Zwingli’s Exegetical Works: Matthew-Mark

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The kind folk at the Theologischer Verlag Zurich sent some time back the new volume of Zwingli’s works in the Corpus Reformatorum critical edition.  This volume contains Zwingli’s notes on Matthew and Mark.  I’ve uploaded my review and it is available here.

Die historisch-kritische Gesamtausgabe der Werke Zwinglis wird vom Zwingliverein zusammen mit dem Institut für schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte herausgegeben. Die Ausgabe gliedert sich in die Abteilungen Werke, Briefe, Randglossen und Exegetische Schriften. In den Exegetischen Schriften, die nun komplett vorliegen, sind Zwinglis Übersetzungen und Erläuterungen biblischer Schriften versammelt – in der durch die Bibel gegebenen Reihenfolge. Die Bände 1 bis 4 enthalten die Erklärungen zum Alten Testament (Band 1 und 2 liegen schon seit längerer Zeit vor). Die Erklärungen zum Neuen Testament finden sich in den Bänden 5 bis 9.

From ISD and V&R

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ISD is offering seven substantial volumes from Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht that belong on the bookshelves of every theologian, biblical and religious scholar, researcher, or student.

Law and Religion: The Legal Teachings of the Protestant and Catholic Reformations

edited by Wim Decock et al


Focuses on the approaches to the relationship

between Church(es) and State(s) in the early

modern period. 


ISBN: 978-3-525-55074-8; Hardback

Series: Refo500 Academic Studies (R5AS), 20

Publication Date: May 2014

Price: $170

Offer Price: $136


(In)Visibility: Reflections upon Visibility and Transcendence in Theology, Philosophy and the Arts

edited by Anna Vind et al


This volume focuses on the following key themes:

-Modes of appearing or hiding of phenomena       

-Fundamental understanding and use of language

-The idea of vicarious representation      


ISBN: 978-3-525-55071-7; Hardback

Series: Refo500 Academic Studies (R5AS), 18

Publication Date: July 2014

Price: $201

Offer Price: $161


Philip Melanchthon and the Cappadocians: A Reception of Greek Patristic Sources in the Sixteenth Century

by H. Ashley Hall


Looks at Melanchton “at work” with his sources.


ISBN: 978-3-525-55067-0; Hardback

Series: Refo500 Academic Studies (R5AS), 16

Publication Date: March 2014

Price: $116

Offer Price: $93


A Heavenly Directory: Trinitarian Piety, Public Worship and a Reassessment of John Owen’s Theology

by Ryan M. McGraw


An examination of John Owen’s Practical Trinitarian Theology.


ISBN: 978-3-525-55075-5; Hardback

Series: Reformed Historical Theology, 29

Publication  Date: May 2014

Price: $116

Offer Price: $108


Britain and the Bestandstwisten: The Causes, Course and Consequences of British Involvement in the Dutch Religious and Political Disputes of the Early Seventeenth Century

by Eric Platt


Looks at Dutch and British disputes about predestination in the early 17th century.


ISBN: 978-3-525-55077-9; Hardback

Series: Reformed Historical Theology, 28

Publication Date: June 2014

Price: $120

Offer Price: $96


Johannes Bugenhagen: Werke Reformatorische Schriften (1515/16-1524)

by Anneliese Bieber-Wallmann


This edition documents for the first time the literary contribution Johannes Bugenhagen made in preparing the birth of the Reformation.


ISBN: 978-3-525-55441-8; Hardback

Publication Date: October 2013

Price: $347

Offer Price: $278


Der Majoristische Streit (1552-1570): (The Majoristic Controversy 1552-1570)

by Irene Dingel


Are good works necessary for salvation, or, on the contrary, even detrimental to salvation? How important is deliberate ethical action for the Christian life? Over such questions the so-called Majoristic Controversy evolved (1552-1570), which caused some unanticipated confrontations on the field of scholarly disputes among the followers of Luther and Melanchton in the second half of the sixteenth century.


ISBN: 978-3-525-56016-7; Hardback

Series: Controversia et Confessio, 3

Publication Date: May 2014

Price: $120

Offer Price: $96


Orders are welcome by phone, fax, and by email, or by clicking through to our website from the links. Offer prices are valid through the end of May (even on pre-orders); simply quote the promotional code 197-14 when prompted at checkout, and offer prices will be applied. 

An Overview of James Barr’s Collected Essays

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The three volumes published by Oxford and edited by John Barton feature all of these:


Foreword, John Barton
James Barr Remembered, Ernest Nicholson & John Barton
Introduction, John Barton

I: Biblical Interpretation and Biblical Theology 
1. Does Biblical Study still belong to Theology?
2. Biblical Scholarship and the Unity of the Church
3. Historical Reading and the Theological Interpretation of Scripture
4. The Bible as a Document of Believing Communities
5. Some Thoughts on Narrative, Myth and Incarnation
6. Reading the Bible as Literature
7. Divine Action and Hebrew Wisdom
8. Biblical Scholarship and the Theory of Truth
9. Literality
10. Exegesis as a Theological Discipline Reconsidered, and the Shadow of the Jesus of History
11. Biblical Criticism as Theological Enlightenment
12. Jowett and the Reading of the Bible ‘like any other book’
13. The Bible as a Political Document
14. Revelation through History in the Old Testament and in Modern Theology
15. Semantics and Biblical Theology
16. Story and History in Biblical Theology
17. Biblical Theology
18. Biblical Theology and Revelation in History
19. Trends and Prospects in Biblical Theology
20. The Theological Case against Biblical Theology
21. Some Problems in the Search for a Pan-Biblical Theology
22. Predictions and Surprises: A Response to Walter Brueggemann’s Review

II: Authority of Scripture 
23. Has the Bible any Authority?
24. Biblical Hermeneutics in Ecumenical Discussion
25. The Authority of Scripture: Dictionary Definition
26. Scriptural Proof
27. The Authority of Scripture: The Book of Genesis and the Origin of Evil in Jewish and Christian Tradition
28. Review of William J. Abraham, Divine Revelation and the Limits of Historical Criticism

III: Judaism 
29. Judaism: Its Continuity with the Bible

IV: Natural Theology 
30. Biblical Faith and Natural Theology
31. Mowinckel, the Old Testament, and the Question of Natural Theology
32. Biblical Law and the Question of Natural Theology
33. Greek Culture and the Question of Natural Theology
34. Ancient Biblical Laws and Modern Human Rights

V: Environing Religions 
35. Philo of Byblos and his ‘Phoenician History’
36. The Question of Religious Influence: The Case of Zoroastrianism, Judaism and Christianity
37. The Language of Religion


Introduction, John Barton

I. Old Testament 
1. The Old Testament
2. The Old Testament and the new crisis of Biblical Authority
3. The Meaning of ‘Mythology’ in Relation to the Old Testament
4. Theophany and Anthropomorphism in the Old Testament
5. The Image of God in Genesis: Some Linguistic and Historical Considerations
6. The Image of God in the Book of Genesis: A Study in Terminology
7. The Symbolism of Names in the Old Testament
8. The Book of Job and its Modern Interpreters
9. Jewish Apocalyptic in Recent Scholarly Study
10. An Aspect of Salvation in the Old Testament
11. Review article of M. Brett, Biblical Criticism in Crisis?
12. Hebraic Psychology
13. Review of James L. Kugel, The Idea of Biblical Poetry
14. The Synchronic, the Diachronic, and the Historical: A Triangular Relationshipa
15. Some Semantic Notes on the Covenant
16. Was Everything that God Created really good?: A Question in the First Verse of the Bible
17. Reflections on the Covenant with Noah
18. A Puzzle in Deuteronomy
19. Mythical Monarch Unmasked? Mysterious Doings of Debir King of Eglon
20. Did Isaiah know about Hebrew ‘Root Meanings’?
21. Thou art the Cherub’: Ezekiel 28.14 and the Post-Ezekiel Understanding of Genesis 2-3

II. New Testament 
22. Which Language did Jesus speak? Some Remarks of a Semitist
23. Words for Love in Biblical Greek
24. Abba isn’t ‘Daddy’
25. The Hebrew/Aramaic Background of ‘Hypocrisy’ in the Gospels

III. Methods and Implications 
26. Allegory and Typology
27. The Literal, the Allegorical, and Modern Biblical Scholarship
28. Allegory and Historicism
29. Childs’ Introduction to the Old Testament as Scripture
30. Man and Nature: The Ecological Controversy and the Old Testament
31. Biblical Language and Exegesis: How far does Structuralism help us?

IV. Biblical Chronology 
32. Why the World was Created in 4004 BC: Archbishop Usser and Biblical Chronology
33. Biblical Chronology: Legend or Science?
34. Luther and Biblical Chronology
35. Review of W. Adler, Time Immemorial: Archaic History and its Sources in Christian Chronography from Julius Africanus to George Syncellus
36. Pre-scientific Chronology: The Bible and the Origin of the World

V. Fundamentalism 
37. Fundamentalism
38. Fundamentalism and Biblical Authority [Religious Fundamentalism]
39. The Fundamentalist Understanding of Scripture
40. The Problem of Fundamentalism Today
41. Fundamentalism’ and Evangelical Scholarship
42. The Dynamics of Fundamentalism
43. Foreword to Fundamentalism edited by Martyn Percy

VI. History of Scholarship 
44. John Duncan
45. H. H. Rowley
46. Godfrey Rolles Driver
47. George Bradford Caird
48. Remembrances of ‘Historical Criticism’: Speiser s Genesis Commentary and its History of Reception
49. Wilhelm Vischer and Allegory
50. Friedrich Delitzsch
51. Morris Jastrow
52. Foreword to In Search of Wisdom: Essays in Memory of John G. Gammie


Introduction, John Barton

1. Ancient Translations 
1. Vocalization and the Analysis of Hebrew among the Ancient Translators
2. Three Interrelated Factors in the Semantic Study of Ancient Hebrew
3. Guessing’ in the Septuagint
4. Doubts about Homeophony in the Septuagint
5. Did the Greek Pentateuch really serve as a Dictionary for the Translation of the Later Booksa
6. Seeing the Wood for the Trees? An Enigmatic Ancient Translation
7. erizw and ereidw in the Septuagint: A Note principally on Gen. xlix.6
8. Aramaic-Greek Notes on the Book of Enoch
9. The Meaning of epakouw and Cognates in the LXX
10. Review article of J. Reider, An Index to Aquila
11. Review of P. Walters (Katz), The Text of the Septuagint
12. Review article of Bruce H. Metzger (ed.), The Early Versions of the New Testament
13. Translators’ Handling of Verb Tense in Semantically Ambiguous Contexts
14. Cr)b – MOLIS; Prov. xi.31, 1 Peter iv.18

2. Modern Translations 
15. Biblical Translation and the Church
16. After Five Years: A Retrospect on Two Major Translations of the Bible
17. Modern English Bible Versions as a Problem for the Church

3. Hebrew and Semitic Languages 
18. Hebrew, Aramaic and Greek in the Hellenistic Age
19. Hebrew Linguistic Literature: From the 16th Century to the Present
20. The Nature of Linguistic Evidence in the Text of the Bible
21. Reading a Script without Vowels
22. Semitic Philology and the Interpretation of the Old Testament
23. The Ancient Semitic Languages: The Conflict between Philology and Linguistics
24. Common Sense and Biblical Language
25. Etymology and the Old Testament
26. Limitations of Etymology as a Lexicographical Instrument in Biblical Hebrew
27. A New Look at Kethibh-Qere
28. Determination and the Definite Article in Biblical Hebrew
29. St Jerome s Appreciation of Hebrew
30. St Jerome and the Sounds of Hebrew
31. Migrash in the Old Testament
32. Ugaritic and Hebrew sbm?
33. One Man or All Humanity? A Question in the Anthropology of Genesis 1
34. Some Notes on ben ‘between’ in classical Hebrew
35. Hebrew d( especially at Job i.18 and Neh. vii.3
36. Why?’ in biblical Hebrew?
37. Is Hebrew ‘nest’ a Metaphor?
38. Hebrew Orthography and the Book of Job
39. Three Interrelated Factors in the Semantic Study of Ancient Hebrew
40. Scope and Problems in the Semantics of Classical Hebrew
41. Hebrew Lexicography
42. Hebrew Lexicography: Informal Thoughts
43. Philology and Exegesis: Some general Remarks, with Illustrations from Job iii
44. Review of J. Yahuda, Hebrew is Greek
45. Review articles on Koehler-Baumgartner, Hebraisches und Aramaisches Lexikon zum Alten Testament, parts 1 and 2
46. Review article on E Ullendorff, Is Biblical Hebrew a Language?
47. Review of J. Blau, Grammar of Biblical Hebrew

Have you ever seen a more comprehensive collection by a scholar more capable of such wide ranging interests and abilities?  The nice thing about all this is that you can start reading in the section which suits your interests.  So, naturally, I’ve started in Volume 2, Chapter VI.

I feel confident that I’ll have more to say about this as the weeks go by.

An Open Letter to Bibliobloggers

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Dear Bibliobloggers,

Bloomsbury Press will soon publish Geza Vermes’ last book- on Herod.  They are looking for bibliobloggers who might like to review it.  If that’s you, if you’ll send me (either privately or in comments) your email address, I’m compiling a list on their behalf and they will themselves be contacting you about it.