Category Archives: Biblical Studies Resources

Reformation as Pauline Interpretation

REFORMATION AS PAULINE INTERPRETATION
Jörg Frey: “Has Luther misunderstood Paul?”

Join the public lecture: Donnerstag 23.3.2017 18.15 Uhr, Universität Zürich, KO2, Karl Schmid-Strasse 4, 8006 Zürich.  Link to the original video: https://tube.switch.ch/videos/9f47c926

Via facebook.

A Review of the DBG’s Facsimile Edition of Luther’s 1545 ‘Biblia Germanica’

Published in 2017 for the 500th Anniversary of the Lutheran Reformation, this facsimile edition is an exact replica of Luther’s 1545 German Bible.  And the 1545 German Bible is Luther’s best edition, far superior to the two volume 1534 edition and much better than any of the earlier incarnations of Luther’s version.

This edition is distributed in North America by Hendrickson Publishers, as are all of the German Bible Society’s volumes.

Luther’s translation of the Bible alone makes him a figure of importance and it is not at all difficult to muster the argument that of all the works of Luther, it is the most significant.  To be sure, his great books of 1520 stand as monuments to the beginning of the Reformation and will always be valued for that historical reason alone.  But of Luther’s lasting contributions to Christian theology, they pale in importance to Luther’s rendition of Scripture.

The present facsimile edition is unaltered from its original form with only one exception: the ‘afterword’ provided by the German publisher.  Everything else, from font to woodcuts to prefaces and forwards are all exactly as published in 1545, a year before Luther’s death.  Those seeking Luther’s most mature thought on Amos or Hosea need simply read the preface he provides to those books (and all the rest).  Luther’s Preface to the Old Testament is still one of the best ‘introductions’ to the Old Testament to this very day as is his Preface to the New Testament to New Testament studies.  Luther was at his best and brightest when working directly with Scripture.  Would that he had avoided some of his more controversial efforts and simply stuck with exegesis; what a legacy he would have left behind.

The volume presently under discussion also comes beneficially ensconced in a very sturdy box and comes bound in a lovely and sturdy beige cloth cover.  The paper used in this edition is substantial and the volume thereby avoids the easy creasing so common to bibles published with paper which bleeds through.

The price is not exorbitant for the quality or historical significance of the volume though doubtless many will wish it were less expensive than it is.  Nonetheless, you ‘get what you pay for’ and the quality and importance of this facsimile are well worth the cost.  If potential buyers are stymied by the price, I would advise that they sell their collection of NT Wright’s works or their Joel Osteen volumes for whatever they can get for them and buy this instead.  It’s far more deserving of a place on your shelves and you’ll get more out of if in terms of theological education than either of those modern authors could proffer in all of their books combined together.

What follows below are a series of photos I snapped to provide readers with visuals of this fantastic and highly important and wonderfully accessible Bible.

I could recommend this edition with more than glowing words but I think it speaks for itself.  Students of the Reformation; students of the Bible; and people who love fantastic books will want it.  Crave it.  Need it.  Get it.

An Introduction to the Study of Jeremiah

9780567665720C. L. Crouch provides a clear and concise introduction to the complex text of Jeremiah. Readers are introduced to the diverse approaches to the book, with attention paid to the way that these approaches differ from but also relate to one another. After a brief introduction, Crouch addresses the formation of the book, especially in relation to its Hebrew and Greek versions; the theological interests of the book and the challenges posed by attempts to link these to an actual man ‘Jeremiah’; and the relationship of Jeremiah to other biblical prophets. Crouch focuses clearly on method and on approaches to the text, as is the mark of this series. This makes the book especially useful for students in the quest to navigate the diverse body of scholarly literature that surrounds this troublesome biblical book.

This volume is part of a quite extensive series, the several volumes of which you can examine here.

Crouch begins her introduction to Jeremiah in the first two chapters of the present book in the way in which students of biblical studies will be most familiar: i.e., by addressing the historical questions.  First she places Jeremiah in its historical setting and then she addresses the question of the two recensions of Jeremiah which we have in its Masoretic and its Greek form, by summarizing the contents of the book.

At this point Crouch abandons the usual introductory questions and turns instead to a reception-historical discussion of Jeremiah as the book has been studied in the 20th century.  The fourth chapter naturally follows from this and is a very fine discussion of Historical Criticism and the methods which have sprung from it and been somewhat hostile to it.

Chapter five is the heart of the book.  In it, Crouch illustrates, by means of the exposition of selected passages, how it is precisely that recent approaches handle the text of Jeremiah.  She analyzes the call of Jeremiah, the laments of Jeremiah, God’s judgement on Judah, Jeremiah’s purchase of a field, and Jeremiah’s friend Baruch and his scroll.

Crouch brings her intro to an end in the usual post-postmodern fashion by expressing the open-endedness of her own conclusions, titling the chapter In(-)Conclusions; thereby opening the door and even inviting both challenge and further work.

Readers will benefit immensely from the two appendices (on versification in the Hebrew and Greek traditions and a list of ancient kings) and even more from the very detailed bibliographies presented.

This is a fine little volume and it fits perfectly in a series which describes itself as ‘approaches to biblical studies’.  Anyone, whether seasoned veteran scholar or graduate student working on Jeremiah or interested layperson, will profit from a reading of it.  I heartily recommend it.

 

Three Bibliographic Sites Useful for Theological Research

La sélection bibliographique fait partie des étapes indispensables pour toute étude sérieuse. Pourtant, il n’est pas toujours simple de s’y retrouver au sein de la littérature théologique de plus en plus abondante. De plus, rares sont les catalogues de bibliothèque qui répertorient chaque article de revue, ou chaque chapitre d’ouvrage collectif. Heureusement, certaines bases de données bibliographiques peuvent nous faciliter la tâche. Dans cet article, j’en vous présent trois d’entre elles, les deux premières en accès libre, et la troisième uniquement accessible via certaines grandes bibliothèques.

Etc.

Something New…

See the ‘page’ list above and click on ‘Hebrew and Greek Tutoring’ for something new.

The Newest Volume of the ‘Encyclopedia of the Bible and Its Reception’ Is Out

Details, and three free entries, available here.

Digitised Hebrew Manuscripts at the British Library: Video Collection

This is worth checking out.  Especially this video.

Video from the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project Conference held at the British Library on 21 November 2016. Miriam Lewis, HMDP Project Manager, British Library, delivers a presentation on ‘Overview of the Hebrew Manuscripts Digitisation Project and digitisation process’.

A Commentary Sale For the Anniversary of the Beginning of the Zwinglian Reformation

In honor of the outbreak of the Reformation in Zurich, The Commentary is on sale for the very low price of $75 (the regular price is $199).  Yes, you read that correctly, you can obtain a commentary on the entire Bible and several of the Deuterocanonicals for only $75.  You need simply click my PayPal Link and include your email with your order and they’ll be sent to you within a few hours.  It’s that simple.

This sale runs today only.  And the commentary is actually quite good.  Here’s what one reader has to say-

I am a Christian and a Bible Study Teacher at my church. I have been in church all of my life, but I found it difficult to take on the teaching responsibilities of a Senior Adult Ladies Class. Although I have read the Bible, there are many things that I do not understand. I also was worried because the ladies in my class are “Studiers” of the Bible and the thought crossed my mind “What can I teach these ladies that they do not already know?” As you can see from my comments, I was wondering how “I was going to do it” instead of wondering how “God would do it”!

But when you teach it, you have to go deeper than just reading. I believe that God wants us to continue to go deeper each time we open the Bible. One of the references I use for my studies are the books written by Jim West “For The Person in The Pew”. Jim can take a complicated set of scriptures and bring the meaning into clear view. Every time that I start a new Bible study, I order one of his books. We just finished the book of Revelation and his book was helpful in taking the complicated and making it simple.

Jim has a way of wording his explanations of the scripture in such a way that it makes you want to read deeper and then just watch and see what God can do! Jim is a gifted person and I am glad that God has blessed his life so that he could in turn bless mine.

Sherry Liles
Knoxville, TN

You can read other reviews here.

Important News For Residents of North America Concerning an Important Commentary Series

ISD is now distributing the series “Evangelisch-Katholischer Kommentar zum Neuen Testament” (“Protestant-Catholic Commentary on the New Testament,” EKK) from Verlagsgruppe Patmos.

We are happy to offer a standing order discount of 20% for the series. For those who would like to fill in gaps in their libraries with individual volumes, special offer prices are available with promotional code 812-17 through March 31, 2017.

The EKK is the first major series of commentaries on the New Testament in the German language area that is written and edited by authors of both confessions. Founded by Eduard Schweizer and Rudolf Schnackenburg, it has combined scientific rigor with practical application for over thirty years. The series is published in ecumenical cooperation by Neukirchen and Verlagsgruppe Patmos​. At present, it comprises 33 volumes. The commentaries on the Gospel of Mark and the Letter to the Romans are also available as study editions.

Follow this link to learn more about the available volumes in this series.  Orders are welcome by phone, fax, by email to orders@isdistribution.com, or through our website.

The Myth of Rebellious Angels: Studies in Second Temple Judaism and New Testament Texts

9780802873156This looks fun (and I’ll be able to let you know how fun once I’ve read through the review copy Eerdmans have sent).

The mythical story of fallen angels preserved in 1 Enoch and related literature was profoundly influential during the Second Temple period. In this volume renowned scholar Loren Stuckenbruck explores aspects of that influence and demonstrates how the myth was reused and adapted to address new religious and cultural contexts.

Stuckenbruck considers a variety of themes, including demonology, giants, exorcism, petitionary prayer, the birth and activity of Jesus, the Holy Spirit, the conversion of Gentiles, “apocalyptic” and the understanding of time, and more. He also offers a theological framework for the myth of fallen angels through which to reconsider several New Testament texts—the Synoptic Gospels, the Gospel of John, Acts, Paul’s letters, and the book of Revelation.

The Best Commentary Yet

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

Dr Jim West has undertaken the phenomenal task of writing a commentary on every book of the Bible! And what strikes this reader most forcefully is its faithfulness to what it says on the tin: West’s efforts have been expended “for the person in the pew”.

In other words, one should not expect the usual exhaustive analysis of syntax, interpretive options, history of scholarship and such like. These commentaries are written so that the reader needs no theological education, and West presupposes no ability to read Greek or Hebrew. Anyone can read and understand these.

The result is like going through the biblical texts, with a scholarly pastor, who pauses to make a number of bite-sized observations on the way. And whatever one thinks of those annotations, anyone can follow and digest them. West writes with a heart for the church, and his unique character and love for scripture are obvious in these pages.

Dr. Chris Tilling
New Testament Tutor,
St Mellitus College & St Paul’s Theological Centre

The PDF’s of the entire series are available. You can acquire them from yours truly for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.  And be sure to include your email address so they can be sent to you.

The Aleppo Codex Online

Here.

aleppo

Historical and Theological Lexicon of the Septuagint

Keep your eyes open for this:

This large-scale collective and interdisciplinary project will aim to produce a new research tool: a multi-volume dictionary giving an article of between 2 and 10 pages (around 500 articles in all) for each important word or word group of the Septuagint. Filling an important gap in the fields of ancient philology and religious studies, the dictionary will be based on original research of the highest scientific level.

The dictionary will be published in English. The project will cover about a decade. The objective is to publish a first volume of 500 pages in 2017. At least three other volumes of the same size should follow over the years 2017-21.

Nifty!  And I hope I live to see it.

The Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint

Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint

Monday 27th February: 5pm Exam Schools – Is the Septuagint the Old Testament of the New Testament?

Tuesday 28th February: 2.30pm Hebrew Centre (Walton Street) – Seminar in Jewish Studies in the Graeco-Roman Period: Was there a Christianisation of the text of the Septuagint?

Wednesday 1st March: 5pm Ioannou Centre – Seminar in Late Antiquity and Byzantine Studies: The Septuagint in the Biblical Catenae

If you’re around Oxford you should go.  Unless you’re from Cambridge.  I don’t think you’re allowed.

A Dutch Historian Reviews “The Commentary”

Read it here.  Or enjoy the English version below:

The humanities are, essentially, a pedagogical program. The study of history and foreign cultures serves to help us understand our own civilization and age a bit better, helps us recognize our own prejudices, and puts our own ideas in a different perspective. Besides, the humanities can be great fun.

Because it would be unfair if only academics benefit from the humanities, academics are supposed to transfer their insights to society, but – pace authors like Eric Cline – this duty is seriously neglected. Stripped of their pedagogical essence, the humanities have become sterile activities. The government can stop financing them and no one would really notice, because we lost the humanities a long time ago. For various reasons, other disciplines have suffered from a similar loss of significance. In religious studies, however, there are some interesting initiatives, initiatives that may also be useful among the humanities.

One of these initiatives is the commentary on the Bible by Jim West, a theologian who is lecturer in Biblical and Reformation Studies at Ming Hua Theological College in Hong Kong and is also Pastor of a Baptist Church in Petros, Tennessee.

In his commentary, West explains every chapter from Genesis to Revelation to “the person in the pew”: the ordinary member of a church, who, when reading the Bible, encounters a desperately foreign culture and therefore needs some guidance to understand it. This fact applies to every ancient text and therefore, the success of West’s commentary shows me, a historian of the ancient world, a road to take to give the humanities back their lost pedagogical essence.

West’s approach is straightforward: he offers the Bible in a translation (American Standard Version) and interrupts the narrative every now and then to explain a couple of verses. His comments are aimed “at English speaking and reading members of the community of faith”: in other words, he makes the ancient texts accessible for believers. His approach can be applied to other ancient authors as well, such as the Epic of Gilgameš, the Iliad, Herodotus, Caesar, Suetonius, or Augustine.

That would even be quite easy. If I were to write a West-like commentary on Caesar’s Gallic War, I would have to make sure that a modern reader receives some background knowledge so that he may understand what Caesar takes for granted and can understand and enjoy the dictator’s writing. Such a commentary would not be easy to write, but it is a straightforward job. As a pastor, West has an additional task: he needs to present the text in such a way that the faithful can use the Bible as a guideline. As I said, West’s approach is straightforward. The fact that he succeeds is encouraging for everyone who thinks that the study of ancient texts is meaningful.

Back to West’s commentary, which was not written to show ancient historians how to regain purpose, but is intended as a means of pastoral care. I am no theologian and cannot judge the theological merits, but I can say that it is a pleasant read. I am currently reading a text I know quite well, Daniel, and West has pointed out many aspects I had not recognized before. The PDFs of West’s Commentary for the Person in the Pew are on my tablet, allowing me to go through the entire Bible when my train is delayed or has been cancelled. Given the quality of Dutch public transport I expect to have renewed my encounter with the Bible within a few months.

Jona Lendering
Historian

Several of Martin Hengel’s Works are on Sale from JCB Mohr

MARTIN HENGEL / ANNA MARIA SCHWEMER
Jesus und das Judentum

[A History of Early Christianity. Volume I: Jesus and Judaism.]
2007. XXIV, 749 pages.
109.00 €
Now 49.00 €
cloth
ISBN 978-3-16-149359-1

» Published in German. The first volume of this history of early Christianity, which will be published in four volumes, describes the path Jesus took and the work he did against the backdrop of contemporary Judaism in Palestine. Learn more….

MARTIN HENGEL
Judaica et Hellenistica
Kleine Schriften I

Unter Mitarbeit von Roland Deines, Jörg Frey, Christoph Markschies u.a.
[Paulus zwischen Damaskus und Antiochien]
1996. IX, 484 pages.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 90
79.00 €
Now 49.00 €
paper
ISBN 978-3-16-147418-7

»Martin Hengel’s contribution to Judaeo-Greek studies has been, and continues to be, considerable. … I defy anyone not to come away from this collection full of new information about and new insights into the Jewish Hellenistic world. The footnotes are a wonderful resource themselves.« James Carleton Paget in Bulletin of Judaeo-Greek Studies 1997, p. 18 Learn more….

MARTIN HENGEL
Judaica, Hellenistica et Christiana
Kleine Schriften II

Unter Mitarbeit von Jörg Frey und Dorothea Betz, und mit Beiträgen von Hanswulf Bloedhorn und Max Küchler
[Judaica, Hellenistica et Christiana. Selected Writings Volume II. By Martin Hengel. Student Edition.]
1999. Unrevised student edition 2002. X, 466 pages.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 109
79.00 €
Now 49.00 €
paper
ISBN 978-3-16-147751-5

»The volume also includes studies on Jewish/pre-Christian interpretation of scripture, Jerusalem as a Hellenistic city, the Sermon on the Mount’s Jewish backdrop, and the Gospel of John. Learn more….

MARTIN HENGEL
Paulus und Jakobus
Kleine Schriften III

[Paul and James. Selected Writings Volume III. Student Edition.]
2002. Unrevised student edition 2005. XII, 587 pages.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 141
84.00 €
Now 49.00 €
sewn paper
ISBN 978-3-16-148549-7

»Published in German. The third volume of Martin Hengel’s ‘Selected Writings’ contains eleven essays from the past 25 years. The three particularly long essays ‘Paul and Apocalypticism,’ ‘Paul, Israel and the Church’ and ‘Paul and the Question of a Prechristian Gnosis,’ which constitute more than one third of the volume, have been published here for the first time. Appendices have been added to the first two essays, ‘Between Paul and Jesus: The Hellenists the Seven and Steven,’ and ‘The Pre-Christian Paul.’ All the other essays have been expanded or checked. Learn more….

MARTIN HENGEL
Studien zum Urchristentum
Kleine Schriften VI

Herausgegeben von Claus-Jürgen Thornton
[Studies of Early Christianity. Selected Essays Volume VI. Student Edition.]
2008. Unrevised student edition 2011. XII, 652 pages.
Wissenschaftliche Untersuchungen zum Neuen Testament 234
89.00 €
Now 49.00 €
sewn paper
ISBN 978-3-16-150849-3

»Published in German. Volume VI of Martin Hengel’s ‘Selected Essays’ contains 17 texts written over a period of 36 years between 1971 and 2007. They focus on aspects of Lukan historiography as the basis for our knowledge of early Christianity. Learn more….

A Lecture by Martti Nissinen

Donald Trump Has Never Read The Commentary: Do You Want to Be Like Donald Trump?

If not (and what sensible person does?) then order the entire series for a paltry $199 by clicking my PayPal Link.    Or, be like Donald Trump.  Your choice.  It’s good.  In all seriousness.

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

***

I am a Christian and a Bible Study Teacher at my church. I have been in church all of my life, but I found it difficult to take on the teaching responsibilities of a Senior Adult Ladies Class. Although I have read the Bible, there are many things that I do not understand. I also was worried because the ladies in my class are “Studiers” of the Bible and the thought crossed my mind “What can I teach these ladies that they do not already know?” As you can see from my comments, I was wondering how “I was going to do it” instead of wondering how “God would do it”!

But when you teach it, you have to go deeper than just reading. I believe that God wants us to continue to go deeper each time we open the Bible. One of the references I use for my studies are the books written by Jim West “For The Person in The Pew”. Jim can take a complicated set of scriptures and bring the meaning into clear view. Every time that I start a new Bible study, I order one of his books. We just finished the book of Revelation and his book was helpful in taking the complicated and making it simple.

Jim has a way of wording his explanations of the scripture in such a way that it makes you want to read deeper and then just watch and see what God can do! Jim is a gifted person and I am glad that God has blessed his life so that he could in turn bless mine.

Sherry Liles
Knoxville, TN

Giovanni Garbini’s Last Book

Just published posthumously.

garbini

Because The World Needs to Understand the Message of the Bible… The Commentary Sale to Beat All Sales

I think people need to understand the Bible.  The Commentary I’ve written helps lay-folk do just that.  And in times like these, it becomes even more critical that people know what the Bible actually says.

So we’re having a sale.  For the next week (through 5 February) you can get the entire commentary for – hold on to your seat – $75.  It’s normally $199 so that’s over half off.

If you or someone you know needs to know what the Bible is about, this Commentary can help you and them do it. Simply order the PDF’s from yours truly for the aforementioned $75 by clicking my PayPal Link and I’ll email them off to you in a zipped file posthaste.

the-person-the-pew-commentary-series

Read more about it, including various endorsements,.