Category Archives: Biblical Studies Resources

Richard Bauckham – Jesus Christ as the Alpha and Omega

The Langlois Strikes Again

On the origins of Christianity.  Go if you can.

Class Struggle in the New Testament

Robert Myles tweets

The much anticipated volume ‘Class Struggle in the New Testament’ is now available from Fortress Academic. Use the special code LEX30AUTH19 for a 30% discount. Please recommend for purchase to your institutional library!

Here are the volume details:

Class Struggle in the New Testament engages the political and economic realities of the first century to unmask the mediation of class through several New Testament texts and traditions. Essays span a range of subfields, presenting class struggle as the motor force of history by responding to recent debates, historical data, and new evidence on the political-economic world of Jesus, Paul, and the Gospels. Chapters address collective struggles in the Gospels; the Roman military and class; the usefulness of categories like peasant, retainer, and middling groups for understanding the world of Jesus; the class basis behind the origin of archangels; the Gospels as products of elite culture; the implication of capitalist ideology upon biblical interpretation; and the New Testament’s use of slavery metaphors, populist features, and gifting practices. This book will become a definitive reference point for future discussion

Creationism and Science… Together…

Lester L. Grabbe’s new book, ‘Faith and Fossils,’ says evolution doesn’t contradict the Genesis story — but unlike similar arguments, comes from a theologian, not a scientist.

In an ambitious new book, a scholar of the Hebrew Bible uses his knowledge of Scripture and science to contend that people can believe in both religion and evolution.

“Faith & Fossils: The Bible, Creation & Evolution” by Lester L. Grabbe surveys ancient religious texts from Gilgamesh to Genesis, and more contemporary scientific research. He concludes that one can accept that God created the universe, and that life operates according to principles that include the theory of evolution.

Well there you go then. Etc.

Start the New Year Off Right, With A Better Understanding of the Bible

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries in modern history written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk .  Everyone needs a commentary on the Bible that they can understand and that answers their questions about the meaning of the text.  So I wrote one.

If you or someone you know wants to get a copy of the entire 42 volume collection in PDF format, you can do so from yours truly for the New Year holiday sale price of  $50 (that’s a third off)  by clicking my PayPal Link.  Leave your email in your paypal payment note so I can send it to you right away.

This sale ends January 2, so take advantage of it while you can.

Here’s what one reader has to say:

Jim West is a man of very decided opinions. However, and this is much to his credit, in the Commentary I’ve read he does not advocate his opinions about Scripture. What he does is explain and simplify, working from the original language, without being simplistic. And this is to be commended. – Athalya Brenner

Sarah Rollens on the Apocalyptic Jesus

The essay is titled ‘The Contours of Apocalyptic Thought in the Earliest Tradition about Jesus: The Question of Q‘.
Give it a read.

The New Tyndale House (Cambridge) Magazine, Issue One, is Now Online

You can download it here.  In PDF.  It’s about how the Bible got versified, and other cool topics.

#ICYMI – Philip R. Davies’ Last Book

New title from Equinox Publishing – “The Bible for the Curious: A Brief Encounter” by Philip R. Davies

Unlike most textbooks, this book has no footnotes, avoids technical discussion as much as possible, and makes no assumptions about religious belief. Its aim is to introduce the contents in a way that engages readers critically, and to persuade them that in a modern secular society this collection of ancient writings can still contribute to the way we think about history, philosophy and politics.

Hardback copies are now in stock, and paperback will be in stock very soon. Learn more about this title on our website: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=105235

It was a real joy to help Philip read through the manuscript, offer suggestions, and generally be of service to the wonderful man on what so tragically turned out to be his last project.  It’s a book you should read.  And it’s a book others would appreciate as a Christmas gift.

NB- Philip would LOVE that cover.

The Tyndale House (Cambridge, so the real one) Reader’s Edition of the Greek New Testament

This is good news:

The highly anticipated Reader’s Edition of the Greek New Testament text combines the Tyndale House Greek New Testament with a running list of glosses of every word in the Greek New Testament that occurs 25 times or less.

Published by Crossway, the THGNT Reader’s Edition is the next stage in the work undertaken by the Editor, Dr Dirk Jongkind, and Associate Editor, Dr Peter J. Williams, to provide a text of the Greek New Testament that reflects as closely as possible its earliest recoverable wording.

Crossway have graciously sent along a review copy.

The edition I received was the hardback in slip cover, black.  The Preface tells the particulars of the coming into existence of the reader’s edition.  In great detail.  And was written by one Drayton Benner, whom I take to be the chief computer whiz behind the compilation and insertion of the thousands of lexical notes which make the earlier published Tyndale Greek New Testament even more useful and endearing than the first iteration of the edition.

The biggest change between the reader’s edition and the regular (!) edition is that the reader’s has no textual apparatus.  The bottom of the page is instead filled with lexical entries (which only makes sense given the purpose of the edition).

The Introduction is the same as the Introduction to the earlier Tyndale GNT, leading readers into the particulars of the volume’s construction and execution.

The order of the New Testament books is the same as the Tyndale GNT. The beautiful font has also been retained in the new iteration as has the page layout.  Here’s an example:

Notice the way that each line begins, where appropriate, with the same Greek word.  This visual makes it very easy to see the form and format of the passage in question in an immediate and gripping way.  The list of those greeted pops off the page.

The lexical glosses themselves are quite good and I have yet to find any error among them.  Though as always, users of reader’s editions must be cautioned that words have very wide ranges of usage and the gloss chosen by the glossator may not always be the best choice.  It behooves students of Scripture to take advantage of full-blown lexica and not rely solely on a single glossed meaning.  Still, when simply reading is the aim, such a system of single-meaning glosses is quite acceptable.

The present volume is a great addition to any New Testament reader’s toolbox of intellectually stimulating implements.  Crossway is to be congratulated for producing and publishing such an exemplary work.

If You Want a Beautiful Facsimile Edition of the First Bible Printed…

Get this two volume edition from the German Bible Society for 100 Euro

It’s beautiful.  Here are my remarks about it.

Don’t get this one, which costs 6 times as much and is a mere 1 volume (which means it’s reduced in size and thus not a true facsimile)-

Robert Alter’s Translation and Commentary on the Hebrew Bible is About to Be Published

Details here.  It’s three volumes…

A landmark event: the complete Hebrew Bible in the award-winning translation that delivers the stunning literary power of the original.

A masterpiece of deep learning and fine sensibility, Robert Alter’s translation of the Hebrew Bible, now complete, reanimates one of the formative works of our culture. Capturing its brilliantly compact poetry and finely wrought, purposeful prose, Alter renews the Old Testament as a source of literary power and spiritual inspiration. From the family frictions of Genesis and King David’s flawed humanity to the serene wisdom of Psalms and Job’s incendiary questioning of God’s ways, these magnificent works of world literature resonate with a startling immediacy. Featuring Alter’s generous commentary, which quietly alerts readers to the literary and historical dimensions of the text, this is the definitive edition of the Hebrew Bible. 3 maps

I know publishers like to puff their products but exaggerations like ‘the definitive edition’ are troubling nonetheless. Let’s see what it’s really like and give it some time before we make such sweeping claims, shall we?

It’s Out

So happy about this volume’s publication.

Great News from the Institute for New Testament Textual Research

Many of our printed Bibles are now online! These include the Complutensian Polyglot, Erasmus, Bengel, Wettstein, Griesbach, Tregelles, Westcott and Hort, Nestle, and others! These are all FREE to download!

You can check them all out here.  I’ve added a link under ‘Useful Sites’= Bibelmuseum der WWU Münster.

The Bible in the Arts

The second volume of the free online journal “Die Bibel in der Kunst (BiKu) / Bible in the Arts (BiA)” has just been published: http://www.bibelwissenschaft.de/die-bibel-in-der-kunst/.

Enjoy.

Christian Origins and the Establishment of the Early Jesus Movement

Christian Origins and the Establishment of the Early Jesus Movement explores the events, people, and writings surrounding the founding of the early Jesus movement in the mid to late first century. The essays are divided into four parts, focused upon the movement’s formation, the production of its early Gospels, description of the Jesus movement itself, and the Jewish mission and its literature. This collection of essays includes chapters by a global cast of scholars from a variety of methodological and critical viewpoints, and continues the important Early Christianity in its Hellenistic Context series.

Christoph Heilig has an essay in it.

The table of contents is available on the publisher’s website.  In what follows, rather than attempting to persuade you to either read this volume or ignore this volume, I will simply provide a few excerpts from this volume.  And then you can decide for yourself, after seeing the table of contents, whether or not it is something that interests you and fits your research needs.

I will say that if you’re a student of the early church, this is a very valuable and helpful work.  But, again, I think you should inevitably decide for yourself.  Here are some of the things suggested herein:

Hezser

  • This study will focus on literary and tradition historical aspects of the Gospels’ presentation of Jesus’s disciples. Which strategies, models, and motifs are recognizable and from which cultural contexts are they derived?   (p. 71)
  • An important aspect of the Gospels’ representation of the disciples is the emphasis on their inferiority to their master. (p. 79)
  • In comparison to the relatively small circles of students associated with rabbis, twelve disciples would have constituted a crowd. In rabbinic narratives usually only two or three students are mentioned by name, despite the fact that some general statements refer to the “many disciples” of R. Aqiva or other prominent rabbis.  (p. 83)
  • Sociologists have pointed to the significance of the “perceived popularity” of an individual: the more popular a person is considered to be, the more friends and adherents that person can gain in the course of time. (p. 84)

Richards

  • New Testament scholars often accept as a given the assertion well stated by the Jesus Seminar: “The concept of plagiarism was unknown in the ancient world. Authors freely copied from predecessors without acknowledgment.”  When looking at our Gospels, this assertion seems prima facie true, perhaps lending to its common acceptance. If however plagiarism was known (and condemned) in antiquity, then we are justified in asking if the Gospel of Matthew, for example, is guilty of plagiarizing the Gospel of Mark, i.e., Was Matthew a plagiarist?  (p. 108)

Keown

  • An Imminent Parousia and Christian Mission: Did the New Testament Writers Really Expect Jesus’s Imminent Return?  (p. 242)
  • This essay will explore this claim from the perspective of Mark and Paul. (p. 242)

Heilig

  • This essay will discuss the question of how recent trends in Pauline studies—the emergence of the so-called “New Perspective on Paul” (in the following: NPP)—have influenced the perception of the two foundational figures of Paul and Peter in relation to the historical question of how it came to be that Gentiles became an important part of the early Christian movement.  (p. 459)
  • In what follows, we will thus have to pay close attention to both how Wright’s and Dunn’s shared assumptions influence their interpretation of Paul and Peter regarding the “Gentile problem” and how they differ in their assessment due to specifics of their individual interpretive frameworks.  (p. 463)
  • On the one hand, there is no indication that Peter had ever changed his view on a Gentile mission since his encounter with Cornelius. There is in particular no reason to assume that a real change of mind occurred after the meeting in Jerusalem.  (p. 483)

Naturally there are a whole array of other essays which could be excerpted but these four scholars have written the, to me, most interesting of the contributions to the volume.  Hezser’s in particular is really a fascinating work, laced with amazing facts and details.  Richards’ is perhaps the most groundbreaking (and potentially the most relevant for modern academia).  Keown’s may be the most well written.  And Heilig’s is, I think, the most learned and erudite.

The other essays in the work all participate in a mixture of fascinating, groundbreaking, well written and erudite.  The whole is worth reading. The four above are worth reading most of all.

Simon Gathercole at the Ecole Biblique on the ‘Gospel of Peter’

A New, Free Magazine from Tyndale House (The Real One in Cambridge, UK)

At the end of November we’ll be launching our new magazine, ink, with thought-provoking articles about the language, culture and history of the Bible. If you you’d like to receive a free copy by post (UK addresses only) sign up here, or enter your email address to be notified when we publish our electronic version.

So it’s the e-version for me.

Solomon’s Temple

With thanks to James McGrath for mentioning it-

If You Haven’t Checked out Bible and Interpretation in a While…

Give it a look.  It’s got a new host at a new site and it’s a re-developed page.  Enjoy!

And check it daily.

Biblical Theology of the New Testament

It’s one of the most important NT theology’s ever written (perhaps the most important since Bultmann’s) and it has no, after many years, appeared in translation so that a wider audience can benefit from its brilliance.

Since its original publication in German, Peter Stuhlmacher’s two-volume Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments has influenced an entire generation of biblical scholars and theologians. Now Daniel Bailey’s expert translation makes this important work of New Testament theology available in English for the first time.

Following an extended discussion of the task of writing a New Testament theology, Stuhlmacher explores the development of the Christian message across the pages of the Gospels, the writings of Paul, and the other canonical books of the New Testament. The second part of the book examines the biblical canon and its historical significance. A concluding essay by Bailey applies Stuhlmacher’s approach to specific texts in Romans and 4 Maccabees.

Professor Stuhlmacher completed his two volume theology in 1999 and published it that year.  That’s, for all intents and purposes, two decades ago now.  The English rendering now appearing is based on revised editions coming along in the middle of the first decade of the 21st century.

The volume is introduced, and summarized to an extent, by G.K. Beale and also set in its historical context by the same.  The author and the translator also have some things to say about the translation and the process through which it went to arrive in its present incarnation.  Beale’s introduction is really remarkably helpful and the author and translator segments are also very informative.

It may be the habit of some to skip such frontmatter and dive directly in to the text at hand, but readers of this work really should start at the very first page and work through it consecutively.  The argument of the work is progressive and cumulative.

The volume proper begins with a chapter titled ‘Foundations’.  Here Stuhlmacher discusses the task of New Testament theology.  Here he outlines his methodology.

‘Book One’ follows, containing six Parts.  These are

  1. The Proclamation of Jesus
  2. The Proclamation of the Early Church
  3. The Proclamation of Paul
  4. The Proclamation in the Period after Paul
  5. The Proclamation of the Synoptic Gospels
  6. The Proclamation of John and His School

‘Book Two’ is comprised of but one topic: The Problem of the Canon and the Center of Scripture.

The translator affixes a chapter he calls “Biblical and Greco-Roman Uses of Hilasterion in Romans 3:25 and 4 Maccabees 17:22 (Codex S)”.  Then follows an index of subjects, index of modern authors, and an index of Scripture and other ancient sources.

Stuhlmacher’s approach is very engaging.  And a bit unique.  For instead of talking about the problem of the Canon and the ‘center’ of the New Testament at the outset, he leaves that off until he has presented the various theological leanings of the New Testament’s various writers; and then, and only then, does he offer what he perceives to be their unifying or at least common thought.

Put another way, the volume asks what it is that Jesus proclaims, the early church proclaims, Paul proclaims, Paul’s followers proclaim, the Synoptics proclaim, and John proclaims.  What are they after?  What is their central belief?

To answer these questions, Stuhlmacher provides both what we in America would call an ‘Introduction to the Writings of the New Testament’ alongside and combined with a ‘Theology of the New Testament.’  That is, there are two volumes in one.  Additionally, his work is also something of a ‘Reception History’ of New Testament studies, providing, as it does, analysis of Stuhlmacher’s predecessors works.  There is, it’s fair to say, a lot going on between the covers.

A closer look at the various Parts of Stuhlmacher’s investigation will provide an open window to his approach.  So, for instance, Part Two, The Proclamation of the Early Church, is made up of three chapters (chapters 13-15):

  • Jesus’s Resurrection from the Dead
  • The Development of the Confession of Christ
  • The Formation, Structure, and Mission of the First Churches

Part Six, The Proclamation of John and his School, is comprised of five chapters (35-39):

  • The Tradition of the Johannine School
  • Johannine Christology
  • Life in Faith and Love
  • The Johannine View of the Church
  • The Significance of the Tradition of the Johannine School

Stuhlmacher’s writing style is engaging whilst managing also not to be plodding or boring.

The three concepts of the gospel, justification, and faith – ευαγγελιον, δικαιωσις, and πιστις – designate the heart of Paul’s mission theology.  Together these three constitute the salvation that he has to preach (p. 346).

Stuhlmacher also provides more detailed exposition in sections of smaller font print (think the sections of Barth’s Dogmatics where he uses larger print for the main argument and smaller print for exposition and analysis:  Stuhlmacher does the same).

The translator also provides not only Stuhlmacher’s original bibliography but after each chapter’s bibliography he also provides a section titled ‘Further Reading’.

Readers can always tell a lot about a scholar by the sources he or she cites and with whom he or she interacts.  Stuhlmacher’s impressive work is actually part of a larger dialogue within German theological circles about central concerns of the discipline.  He interacts herein, then, with the ideas of Bultmann, Gese, Jeremias, Käsemann, and Wilckens, along with scores of other lesser luminaries.

This is an encylclopedic volume of over 900 pages in total.  It is superbly argued, brilliantly translated, incredibly faithful to its Urtext, and virtually a graduate level year long seminar on New Testament theology.  Indeed, it is well suited as a textbook for a course on New Testament which could easily span two semesters of upper level Seminary work.

I enjoyed the first edition German version; I love the English version based on revisions.  To say that I recommend it highly is the understatement of the century.  I recommend it utterly and unreservedly.  It is the sort of volume that those who read it will know more than those who don’t could ever hope to know.   It is an education in itself and a thorough one at that on the subject of the theology of the New Testament.

Get it.  Get it today.  Read it. Use it for coursework.  Assign it to your students.  Require it.  And if they don’t read it, fail them.