Zwinglius Redivivus

A Feast of Deliverance: Zwingli’s Theology of the Lord’s Supper

Posted in Books, Theology, Zwingli by Jim on August 20, 2014

voigtlanderI’ve just become aware of a new study of Zwingli’s eucharistic theology. Naturally, I’ve asked my supplier to send along a copy. It looks fantastic.

Zwinglis reformatorische Theologie ist ganz der Ehre Gottes verpflichtet; auch seine Lehre vom Nachtmahl ist dem unter- und zugeordnet. Das Nachtmahl bildet die Scharnierstelle der Unterscheidung und der Zusammengehörigkeit von Gottes »erstem Wort (Gebot)« und dem antwortenden Handeln der Gemeinde, zu dem Erinnern, Gemeinschaft, Kirchenzucht sowie politische Verantwortung gehören und das sein Vorbild in der Pessach-Feier hat. Jesus Christus, der im Geist Anwesende, vergewissert die Gemeinde im Abendmahl ihrer selbst.

Oh boy!

Continuity and Discontinuity: Chronological and Thematic Development in Isaiah 40-66

Posted in Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht by Jim on August 18, 2014

978-3-525-53614-8This volume of collected essays focuses on the relationship between the different texts within Isaiah 40–66. It reinvestigates and challenges the traditional division between chapters 40–55 and 56–66 and explores new ways of reading the last 27 chapters of the book of Isaiah. Each article examines Isaiah 40–55 and/or Isaiah 56–66 and highlights continuity and discontinuity within this material.

Some contributions belong to the tradition of historical-critical research. They examine existing models of textual development of Isa 40–66 and offer new suggestions. They also explore the interplay between the historical development of the text and its thematic continuity and discontinuity. Is the consistent use of a theme a sign of single authorship? Alternatively, are changes in the way a given issue is treated a sign of multiple authorship? Other contributions explore the final form of Isa 40–66 and suggest reading strategies that do justice to the message of the extant text. Yet other articles make case studies of specific elements of Isa 40–66. What is the significance of these texts for the theological development of the ancient Israelite religion? Further, how do they interact with and transform other texts in the Hebrew Bible?

The volume is comprised of the following:




If the present work demonstrates anything, it is that we have come a very long way from the early days of the historical-critical method as practiced on the book of Isaiah.  Along with the introductory essay, that by Barstad is particularly insightful and full of helpful guidance on the subject.   He discusses the general view of scholars concerning the book, then discusses why a new reading is necessary which is followed and illustrated by a series of test cases including Isaiah 56:1-8, 59, and 56:3-12.   His conclusion is that we can no longer

… keep up artificial scholarly units (p. 61)

like Proto, Deutero, and Trito Isaiah.  He continues, suggesting that, as he sees it,

… the by far most important message in Isaiah 56-66 is promotion and upgrading of the Sabbath in the Jerusalem congregation (p. 61).

Each of the essays in the volume is like that.  That is, they address common presumptions concerning various aspects of Isaiah 40-66 and then either debunk them or turn the focus towards another aspect (or facet) of the 2nd and 3rd Isaiah.

While each contribution has merits of its own, the outstanding pieces, for this reviewer, were those of Barstad, Blenkinsopp, Schaper, Schmid, and Williamson.  Schmid’s is the most technically demanding and Blenkinsopp’s the most engaging in presentation.  The volume itself sprang from a conference of the same title held at the University of Aberdeen October 7-8 in 2011.  If interested persons are looking for further descriptions of the essays herein, they can simply go to the link above and there they will discover the Table of Contents along with the Foreword, where each essay is summarized by the volume’s editors and nearly half of the first essay on the History of Research.

This volume will be of interest to students of the Hebrew Bible and in particular those working specifically on the second and third segments of the Isaianic corpus.  I can recommend it without hesitation.  Readers will learn a good bit, and enjoy themselves while doing so.

[Those wanting to can get it from V&R or in North America from ISD].

Vying for Truth: Theology and the Natural Sciences From the 17th Century to the Present

Posted in Book Review, Books, Theology, Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht by Jim on August 18, 2014

A subject of some contemporary interest is addressed in a new work from our friends at V&R (and obtainable in America from ISD).

978-3-525-54028-2The emancipation of the natural sciences from religion was a gradual affair during the last four centuries. Initially many of the leading scientists were churchmen indicating a symbiosis between faith and reason. Due to the increasing specialization in the sciences this close connection came to an end often leading to antagonism and mutual suspicion. This book traces this historical development with its twists and turns in both Europe and North America. It depicts the major players in this story and outlines their specific contributions. The main focus is on the 19th and 20th centuries with figures such as Darwin and Hodge, but also Beecher and Abbott in the 19thcentury. In the 20th century the narrative starts with Karl Barth and moves all the way to Hawking and Tipler. Special attention is given to representatives from North America, Great Britain, and Germany. In conclusion important issues are presented in the present-day dialogue between theology and the natural sciences. The issue of design and fine-tuning is picked up, and advances in brain research. Finally technological issues are assessed and the status of medicine as a helpmate for life is discussed. An informative and thought-provoking book.

It looks engaging.  Maybe he will convince me that science isn’t just the guesswork of secularist religionists operating under the guise of objectivity.

Short Stories By Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi

Posted in Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books by Jim on August 18, 2014

I appreciate Amy-Jill arranging for a copy from HarperCollins of her new book.

9780061561016The renowned biblical scholar, author of The Misunderstood Jew, and general editor for The Jewish Annotated New Testament interweaves history and spiritual analysis to explore Jesus’ most popular teaching parables, exposing their misinterpretations and making them lively and relevant for modern readers.

Jesus was a skilled storyteller and perceptive teacher who used parables from everyday life to effectively convey his message and meaning. Life in first-century Palestine was very different from our world today, and many traditional interpretations of Jesus’ stories ignore this disparity and have often allowed anti-Semitism and misogyny to color their perspectives.

In this wise, entertaining, and educational book, Amy-Jill Levine offers a fresh, timely reinterpretation of Jesus’ narratives. In Short Stories by Jesus, she analyzes these “problems with parables,” taking readers back in time to understand how their original Jewish audience understood them. Levine reveals the parables’ connections to first-century economic and agricultural life, social customs and morality, Jewish scriptures and Roman culture. With this revitalized understanding, she interprets these moving stories for the contemporary reader, showing how the parables are not just about Jesus, but are also about us—and when read rightly, still challenge and provoke us two thousand years later.

This is going to be a treat.  My review will follow in the not too distant future here.

Healing on the Sabbath

Posted in Biblical Studies Resources, Books by Jim on August 17, 2014

A new book by Nina Collins investigates the topic.

9780567385871The claim that Jesus was criticised by the Pharisees for performing cures on the Sabbath has been continuously repeated for almost 2,000 years. But a meticulous, unprejudiced evaluation of the relevant gospel texts shows that the historical Jesus was never criticised by historical Pharisees for performing Sabbath cures. In fact, Jesus and the Pharisees were in complete agreement for the need for cures on the Sabbath day. It is also clear that the Sabbath healing events in the gospels have preserved a significant part of the history of the early Jewish debate which sought to resolve the apparent conflict between the demands of Jewish law, and the performance of deeds of healing and/or saving life. This debate, from its Maccabean origins through to the end of the second century CE, is the subject of this book. The story of the debate has escaped the attention of historians partly because it relies on the evidence of both the early postbiblical Jewish texts and the Christian gospels, which are not generally studied together. – See more at:

“See, I Will Bring a Scroll Recounting What Befell Me”

Posted in Archaeology, Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books by Jim on August 16, 2014

New from V&R (and available in America from ISD) and sent for review-

978-3-525-55062-5In January 2011, the David and Jemima Jeselsohn Epigraphic Center for Jewish History held its second international conference at Bar-Ilan University, dedicated to the memory of Professor Hanan Eshel, the founding academic director of the center who passed away on April 8th, 2010. This collection of articles, traces, when taken together, daily life in the land of Israel from the First Temple Period through the time of the Talmud, as seen in the various types of inscriptions from those periods that have been discovered and published. 

Schiffman’s summary of Hanan’s work serves as an introduction to the book. Ahtuv discusses the language and religious outlook of the Kuntilet ‘Ajrud inscriptions. Mazar and Ahituv survey the quite large corpus of short inscriptions found in Mazar’s excavation of Tel Rehov, south of Beth-Shean. Maeir and Eshel deal with four very short more-or-less contemporary inscriptions found at Tell es-Safi, identified as the major Philistine city of Gath. Demsky deals with the theoretical aspects of literacy in ancient Israel. Grabbe discusses the functions of the scribe during the Second Temple Period. Zissu, Langford, Ecker and Eshel report on both an Aramaic-language graffito and a Latin one, inscribed on the wall of a first and 2nd century CE oil press from of Khirbet ‘Arâk Hâla in the Judean Shephelah. Rappaport’s survey of Jewish coins from the Persian Period through the Bar-Kokhba Revolt, focusing on the Hasmonean coins. Amit describes a group of bread stamps and oil seals, in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek and Latin, found in different parts of the country. Klein and Mamalya describe two Byzantine Period Nabatean Christian burial sites and their epitaphs.

Thoughts on the Fortress Commentary on the Bible

Posted in Bible, Books by Jim on August 15, 2014

From FP on the facebook thing

fortressSee what select contributors have to say about their work on the Fortress Commentary on the Bible!

Author of Proverbs, Carole Fontaine, Andover Newton Theological School:

Q: Please comment on what you think is the most distinctive aspect of the Fortress Commentary on the Bible.

A: The Fortress Commentary on the Bible is special because it aims to distill the insights of expert scholarship and commentary, new methods, and attention to context of texts, all while producing a volume accessible to believers, students, general audiences, or members of other global faiths. It does not shy away from tracing the reception and impact of the text through time and region, into the issues of the day. In this way, the remarkable fluidity of the biblical tradition is shown to be an enduring piece of its vitality and relevance.

Check out more comments here!


Posted in Books, Theology, TVZ by Jim on August 14, 2014

9783290176433«Freundschaft» bezeichnet eine Grundstruktur menschlichen Zusammenlebens. Das Nachdenken darüber reicht bis in die Anfänge der abendländischen Philosophie zurück. Freundschaft spielt auch in der christlichen Theologie eine grosse Rolle. Allerdings hat das Verständnis von Freundschaft im Laufe der Geschichte erhebliche Wandlungen erfahren. Genauso wie Freundschaftsbande als unverzichtbar für ein gelingendes Leben betrachtet werden, als so prägnant werden auch ihre Zerbrechlichkeit und permanente Gefährdung oft diskutiert. Aktuell begegnet Freundschaft als Korrektiv hinsichtlich der vielbeschriebenen Individualisierungsprozesse in modernen arbeitsteiligen Gesellschaften. Aber geht die Sozialkapitalrechnung mit der Freundschaft auf? Kann Freundschaft leisten, was der Begriff in seiner Geschichte und in der Gegenwart zu versprechen scheint?

Herausgeber/-innen-  Matthias Zeindler, Dr. theol., Jahrgang 1958, ist Titularprofessor für Systematische Theologie/Dogmatik an der Theologischen Fakultät Bern und Leiter Bereich Theologie der Reformierten Kirchen Bern-Jura-Solothurn.

Rewritten Bible after Fifty Years: Texts, Terms, or Techniques? A Last Dialogue with Geza Vermes

Posted in Biblical Studies Resources, Books by Jim on August 13, 2014

64003Edited by József Zsengellér, Károli Gáspár Reformed University, Budapest

A Christian in Toga. Boethius: Interpreter of Antiquity and Christian Theologian

Posted in Book Review, Books, Church History by Jim on August 12, 2014

Claudio Moreschini: »A Christian in Toga. Boethius: Interpreter of Antiquity and Christian Theologian«

The author presents Boethius in the culture of the sixth century in Italy, outlines his great cultural project and discusses the problem of his Christian faith. (More information).

This too has arrived from V&R and it too is available in North America from ISD.

Aimed at students of philosophy this book, if I might put it so briefly, is comprehensible only to such.  Reading through it was both arduous and confusing, not because the writing is difficult in and of itself but because the subject is so outside of my area.  I enjoy stepping outside of my ‘comfort zone’ but, for me, this volume was a journey not just from one comfort zone to one zone of unfamiliarity, it was a journey from one reality to another; from my comfort zone to the twilight zone.

I genuinely wish I could say something more, but when the author moved past the first few pages in which he outlined his study and started discoursing on Boethius’ contributions to philosophy and mathematics I felt as though I were reading some as yet undeciphered ancient language.

I think others will probably find this volume both engaging and challenging.  The same sort of people, I suppose, who enjoy wearing berets and oversized glasses and sipping wine from solo cups whilst discussing Sartre at the local pub.

I will, regrettably, have to leave an analysis to them of this doubtless (maybe, I don’t really know so I can’t really say) worthwhile volume.


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