T&T Clark are sending a copy of each of the following volumes for me to give away to very lucky readers. First, there’s
Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity. The internationally renowned authors of this book examine the nature of this new debate and present the findings in a cohesive way aimed directly at making the coalface of Historical Jesus research accessible to undergraduates and seminary students. The book’s larger ramifications as a thorough end to the Third Quest will provide a pressure valve for thousands of scholars who view historical Jesus studies as outmoded and misguided. This book has the potential to guide Jesus studies beyond the Third Quest and demand to be consulted by any scholar who discards, adopts, or adapts historical criteria.
The Mother of the Lord. Are there Old Testament roots of the veneration of the Blessed Virgin Mary? Margaret Barker traces the roots of the devotion to Mary as Mother of the Lord back to the Old Testament and the first temple in Jerusalem. The evidence is consistent over more than a millennium: there had been a female deity in Israel, the Mother figure in the Royal cult, who had been abandoned about 600BCE. She was almost written out of the Hebrew text, almost excluded from the canon. This first of two volumes traces the history of the Lady in the Temple, and looks forward to the second volume in which Barker will show how the Lady of the Temple is reclaimed in the advent of Christianity, and becomes the Lady in the Church. The result is breathtaking, and like all Barker’s work, is impossible to put down.
And third, and confessedly the one about which I am most excited (pacé Le Donne and Goodacre)
Canaan and Israel in Antiquity. This comprehensive classic textbook represents the most recent approaches to the biblical world by surveying Palestine’s social, political, economic, religious and ecological changes from Palaeolithic to Roman eras. Designed for beginners with little knowledge of the ancient world, and with copious illustrations and charts, it explains how and why academic study of the past is undertaken, as well as the differences between historical and theological scholarship and the differences between ancient and modern genres of history writing. Classroom tested chapters emphasize the authenticity of the Bible as a product of an ancient culture, and the many problems with the biblical narrative as a historical source. Neither “maximalist” nor “minimalist'” it is sufficiently general to avoid confusion and to allow the assignment of supplementary readings such as biblical narratives and ancient Near Eastern texts. This new edition has been fully revised, incorporating new graphics and English translations of Near Eastern inscriptions. New material on the religiously diverse environment of Ancient Israel taking into account the latest archaeological discussions brings this book right up to date.
Details about the contests will appear in due course. Just prepare yourselves to be clever and creative and who knows, you might win a copy.