Category Archives: Biblical Studies Resources

Die Stadt in Jesaja 24–27

This new volume looks intriguing:

In Jesaja 24–27, der sogenannten Jesaja-Apokalypse, ist mehrfach von einer unbenannten Stadt die Rede, die überraschenderweise mit Moab verknüpft ist – eine Konstellation, die bisher noch nicht zufriedenstellend geklärt werden konnte. Die Studie zeigt, dass die Stadt ein Resultat innerbiblischer Textauslegung ist: Sie ist als Weltstadt, in der verschiedene Städte kumuliert sind, und als Gegengrösse zu Jerusalem zu verstehen. Neu berücksichtigt Erich Bosshard-Nepustil zum einen konsequent den literarischen Kontext der Abraham-Erzählungen und der Urgeschichte. Sodom erweist sich dabei als Prototyp für die Weltstadt und als Missing Link zwischen ihr und Moab. Zum anderen führt der Autor die Bedeutung der Vernichtung der Stadt im kosmischen Endgericht auf die Verurteilung der hellenistischen Polis-Kultur durch die Verfasserschaft von Jesaja 24–27 zurück.

Manliness in Early Christianity

If you missed the Emory Colloquium yesterday (and I did because life intervened and ruined my plans), you can view it here.

Enjoy!

The Latest Issue of Tyndale House INK is Out

If you don’t already subscribe, you really should.  It’s a great resource.  It’s free.  And it’s better than any of the other ‘biblically themed’ magazines.

John Through Old Testament Eyes

Through Old Testament Eyes is a new kind of commentary series that illuminates the Old Testament backgrounds, allusions, patterns, and references saturating the New Testament. These links were second nature to the New Testament authors and their audiences, but today’s readers often cannot see them. Bible teachers, preachers, and students committed to understanding Scripture will gain insight through these rich Old Testament connections, which clarify puzzling passages and explain others in fresh ways.

In John Through Old Testament Eyes, Karen Jobes reveals how the Old Testament background of the Gospel of John extends far beyond quotes of Old Testament scripture or mention of Old Testament characters. Jobes discusses the history, rituals, images, metaphors, and symbols from the Old Testament that give meaning to John’s teaching about Jesus–his nature and identity, his message and mission–and about those who believe in him.

Avoiding overly technical discussions and interpretive debates to concentrate on Old Testament influences, volumes in the Though Old Testament Eyes series combine rigorous, focused New Testament scholarship with deep respect for the entire biblical text.

A review copy arrived today.  More anon.

The Routledge Handbook of the Senses in the Ancient Near East

Should such things be of interest to you

This Handbook is a state-of-the-field volume containing diverse approaches to sensory experience, bringing to life in an innovative, remarkably vivid, and visceral way the lives of past humans through contributions that cover the chronological and geographical expanse of the ancient Near East.

It comprises thirty-two chapters written by leading international contributors that look at the ways in which humans, through their senses, experienced their lives and the world around them in the ancient Near East, with coverage of Anatolia, Egypt, the Levant, Mesopotamia, Syria, and Persia, from the Neolithic through the Roman period. It is organised into six parts related to sensory contexts: Practice, production, and taskscape; Dress and the body; Ritualised practice and ceremonial spaces; Death and burial; Science, medicine, and aesthetics; and Languages and semantic fields. In addition to exploring what makes each sensory context unique, this organisation facilitates cross-cultural and cross-chronological, as well as cross-sensory and multisensory comparisons and discussions of sensory experiences in the ancient world. In so doing, the volume also enables considerations of senses beyond the five-sense model of Western philosophy (sight, hearing, touch, taste, and smell), including proprioception and interoception, and the phenomena of synaesthesia and kinaesthesia.

Opus arduum valde: A Wycliffite Commentary on the Book of Revelation

The Opus arduum valde is a Latin commentary on the Book of Revelation, written in England by an unknown scholarly author in the years 1389–1390. The book originated from the early Wycliffite movement and reflects its experience of persecution in apocalyptic terms. In England it soon fell into oblivion, but was adopted by radical exponents of the fifteenth-century Bohemian Hussites.

In the sixteenth century Luther obtained a copy of theOpus arduum valde which he had printed in Wittenberg with his own preface in 1528. This remarkable document of religious dissent in late medieval Europe, highly regarded in Lollard and Hussite studies, is now for the first time made available in a critical edition.

This carefully assembled work brings to scholars and researchers a remarkably influential commentary on the Book of Revelation that predates the Reformation by centuries, and which nonetheless sounds very ‘Reformed’.

The editors introduce the work in a careful and meticulous way, discussing the title, the author, the situation in which it was written, the sources used, the central themes included in the volume, the theological profile of the work, and of course the many attempts to identify the works author.   Though it may not have come from Wycliffe’s pen, it is certainly Wycliffite.

Next a description of the various manuscripts of the book along with its transmission history.  And, interestingly, the edition associated with the name of Martin Luther is treated.

That’s an overview of the first 86 pages of the volume.  The bulk of the work, naturally, is the commentary itself.  It is in Latin, and no translation of the text is provided.  Your Latin will need to be adequate in order for you to enjoy the contents of the work (though the introduction and other materials are in English).

The commentary stretches from page 87 through page 643, so it is self evidently a massive work.  The text of Revelation (in Latin) is offered in bold print.  Text references are provided in parentheses.  And the text is commented on line by line and phrase by phrase.  Half the page is comprised of the text of the commentary and the other half of the page is occupied by textual notes and explanatory notes where necessary (in English), along with bibliographic entries.

The commentary itself is pre-critical, and yet it is driven by critical interests; i.e., the who and what of those things and events described.  The pope features regularly as the figure behind the beast and the Church of Rome as the harlotrous woman.  This, no doubt, being one of the reasons Luther liked the commentary as much as he did.

Luther’s preface attributed the Opus arduum valde to Nicholas Hereford (or at least that was what Luther suggested).  He may have been right, but of course there’s no way of knowing.  At any rate, Luther’s brief preface is worth including, as it opens to readers his own understanding of the text of this impressive work:

GRACE and peace to you in Christ.   First of all, I beg you, the reader of this commentary, whoever you are, not to believe that we have published something fabricated by ourselves. I testify (if my word is worth anything) that this volume was sent to me by way of most estimable men, from the farthest borders of Germany, namely, from the regions of Sarmatia and Livonia, in poor condition, with the letters and syllables in particular testifying to its age, so that I could not deny that it had been copied about seventy years before our time. And it can be readily discerned from the volume itself that the author of this commentary lived at that time when that unequalled monstrosity of the most recent “schism” (as they call it) still persisted, which was appeased and ended at last at the false Council of Constance through the blood of John Hus and Jerome of Prague, as if by a kind of sacrifice. For the histories testify that during that schism, for forty successive years, three papacies existed in one and the same body of the church (that is to say, of the “derivative church”). By this, as by a most certain portent of discord, God doubtless wanted to give a sign that the end of the Antichrist would come very soon. Since no one at that time understood this, it pleased God, along with such an extraordinary and remarkable sign, to add a clear and evident word as well: that is to say, the author of this book and many other men like him, of outstanding holiness and learning. For He is not in the habit of forsaking or rejecting the church and His people without sending several Elijahs and Elishas, or other prophets, to them, though even then the godless do not understand or pay attention to what God threatens or promises (which is the very blindness of Pharaoh [cf. Exod. 7:4, etc.])—as both what happened at the Council of Constance and its outcome made sufficiently manifest.

Therefore, you should understand, worthy reader, that we have composed this preface to make known to the world that we were not the first to interpret the papacy as the kingdom of the Antichrist, since so many years before us, so many and such great men (whose number is great and their memory eternal as well) tried so clearly and openly to do the same, and did so with such great spirit and courage that they were driven out to the farthest ends of the earth by the fury of the papistic tyranny and endured the cruelest forms of torture. Nonetheless, they persevered bravely and faithfully in the confession of the truth, so that, although in this age we are far more learned and free than they, we should nevertheless be ashamed, because they were bolder and braver than we, with such great spirit and courage, even though they were held back in such great ignorance and captivity. For though this author (in my judgment) would have been eminent in his own age among those who ardently sought after erudition and holiness of life, nevertheless, held back by the vices of the time and by the kingdom of darkness, he could neither say these things so purely nor perceive them so fully as we say and perceive them in our own age. In spite of this, he correctly and truly declares that the pope is the Antichrist (as he is), and he does this with an unwavering faith and conscience and with the most trustworthy arguments. That is to say, he is a witness foreordained by God so many years before us for the confirmation of our doctrine, which now those miserable dregs (the last exhalation of the Antichrist, as it were) want to destroy in their counsel, which is lofty and long-winded, but useless and vain. For those bodies of the saints are rising again for us along with the resurrected Gospel of Christ and give us great confidence that those so-called bishops, the latest enemies of Christ (even if in utter desperation they rely on their Herods and Pilates), will accomplish nothing with their pompous and frightful threats. With these they have begun, in desperation, to salve their unbelief and evil conscience as with a final and futile medicine. Christ, who through His Word struck that body of abomination and then through the sword of Caesar wounded the head, will neither cease nor desist until He utterly crushes and destroys the dead and vainly swollen members as well. Only let us pray that He who has begun His work may bring it to completion for His glory and our salvation [cf. Phil 1:6]. Amen. Let whoever loves Christ say, “Amen.” Amen.*

*Rady Roldán-Figueroa, “Preface to [Nicholas Hereford?], Commentary on the Apocalypse, Published One Hundred Years Ago [ca. 1400](1528),” in Luther’s Works, ed. Christopher Boyd Brown, trans. Duane Ernest Peters, vol. 59 (Saint Louis, MO: Concordia Publishing House, 2012), 205–207.

This work is impressive.  It should be widely consulted.  The editors and publisher are to be thanked for bringing this incredibly valuable work to a wider public.

In Case You Missed it Yesterday

Kipp Davis Introduces His New Film on Josh McDowell

Untitled

Be sure to watch it when you can.  Very much worth a viewing.

Die Bibel: ENTSTEHUNG, GESCHICHTE, AUSLEGUNG

Kein anderes Buch hat die Welt religiös, kulturell und politisch so stark geprägt wie die Bibel. Konrad Schmid erklärt im Kontext der altorientalischen und antiken Geschichte, wie Lieder und Erzählungen, Rechtssammlungen und Weisheitslehren, prophetische Verkündigungen, Evangelien und Apostelbriefe entstanden und schließlich von Juden und Christen zu festen Einheiten zusammengefügt wurden. Eine meisterhafte Einführung in die Bibel auf dem neuesten Forschungsstand.

Paulus: Ein Grundriss seiner Theologie

This trusty volume has now appeared in a third edition.

Dieses Buch bietet eine Gesamtdarstellung der Theologie des Apostels Paulus. Es beschreibt die Architektur, den Zusammenhang und die innere Einheit des paulinischen Denkens, das in den einzelnen Briefen in wechselnden historischen Situationen und in wechselnder Gestalt seinen Ausdruck findet.

Die Darstellung versteht die paulinische Theologie als eine Theologie der Mission und Bekehrung, die der theologischen Interpretation des von Paulus verkündigten Evangeliums in wechselnden historischen Situationen dient. Als Zentrum der paulinischen Theologie gilt der Glaube bzw. die Gewissheit, dass in Jesus Christus und seinem Geschick das Heil Gottes für alle Menschen zugänglich ist.

Nach einer Darstellung des Wegs, der Paulus zum Verkündiger des Evangeliums von Jesus Christus geführt hat, werden in elf Kapiteln – beginnend mit der paulinischen Theologie des Evangeliums und endend mit der Frage nach dem Geschick Israels – nicht nur alle wesentlichen Elemente der paulinischen Theologie, sondern auch alle zentralen Paulustexte vorgestellt und ausführlich diskutiert.

The great thing about new editions of books is that reviewing them is pretty simple.  You have the opportunity to remind those who have already read previous editions that a corrected and enlarged edition has appeared; and you have the chance to introduce the work to readers who may not have heard of it before, but who certainly would benefit from reading it now.

Wolter’s book is well known to scholars of Paul (given that it was first published a decade ago); and not well known at all among American Pauline scholars (since most spend more time reading Wright or Gupta than substantive European works).  So it’s worth taking a few moments to mention the highlights of this worthwhile volume.

In terms of changes from the first editions, Wolter notes

Die umfangreichsten Eingriffe gibt es in Kap. XIII zur Rechtfertigungsthematik sowie in Kap. XIV zur Israelfrage. Kleinere Änderungen und Ergänzungen finden sich aber auch in den anderen Kapiteln.

Since the major changes occur in chapters 13 and 14, and only minor adjustments were made elsewhere throughout, readers of previous editions will want to begin with these two chapters so that they can see where Wolter’s thought has changed.

Those unfamiliar, though, with the previous editions will wish to begin at the beginning.  There they will discover the purpose and intent of the book clearly delineated:

Das Projekt, einen Grundriss der paulinischen Theologie zu schreiben, muss nicht vom Gegenstand her begründet werden, sondern nur im Blick auf seine Durchführung. Für das Dass ist Legitimation genug, dass es um die Theologie des Apostels Paulus geht. Seine Briefe sind nicht nur die ältesten erhaltenen christlichen Texte überhaupt, sondern in ihnen findet auch gleich eine theologische Reflexion des christlichen Glaubensstatt. Hinzu kommt noch, dass die paulinischen Briefe seit vielen Jahrhunderten von allen christlichen Kirchen als Teil des Kanons der heiligen Schrift überliefert und gelesen werden.

It is the sort of clarity that one sees throughout the volume. Wolter is a clear, precise, germanic thinker and that comes across in his writing (as one would expect). There are ample examples of the theological notions Wolter’s is trying to clarify and there are numerous excurses (in smaller font) wherein he dives a bit deeper than in the main text. Sort of like Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics as it’s laid out.

Wolter’s has some interesting things to say about Paul’s theology of the Holy Spirit. And that may be the best chapter of the book. Here, for example, Wolter notes

Hinzu kommt noch, dass Paulus seinen Lesern niemals erst noch erklären muss, was der heilige Geist ist oder was sie sich unter ihm vorzu stellen haben. Auch muss er sie nicht erst noch davon überzeugen, dass der Geist in jedem einzelnen von ihnen sowie in der gottesdienstlichen Gemeinde präsent und wirksam ist.

That may seem a self-evident notion, but the way Wolter’s fleshes it out is spectacular.

Finally, for those interested in the latest updates regarding Paul’s view of Israel

Thema der Israel-Frage ist also nicht die Spannung zwischen Israels Erwählung und seinem Unglauben. Israels Unglaube spielt hier noch keine Rolle; er kommt vielmehr erst in 9,30 – 10,21; 11,20.23 als Grund für seine Heilsferne in den Blick. Ausgangspunkt der Israel-Frage ist vielmehr eine Status-Diskrepanz: Wie lässt sich Israels gegenwärtige Unheilssituation mit seiner Erwählung theologisch zusammenbringen? Im Kern geht es dabei um Israels Gottesverhältnis.  In die Nähe dieser Fragestellung war Paulus bereits in Röm 3,3–4 gekommen.

This is a wonderful resource, rich, full, and intelligent.  It isn’t the shallow sort of thing that has flooded the market in the surge of Paul related books.  It is worth your time.  It is actually worthy of a reading.  

Jews and Christians – Parting Ways in the First Two Centuries CE?

The present volume is based on a conference held in October 2019 at the Faculty of Theology of Humboldt University Berlin as part of a common project of the Australian Catholic University, the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven and the Humboldt University Berlin. The aim is to discuss the relationships of “Jews” and “Christians” in the first two centuries CE against the background of recent debates which have called into question the image of “parting ways” for a description of the relationships of Judaism and Christianity in antiquity. One objection raised against this metaphor is that it accentuates differences at the expense of commonalities. Another critique is that this image looks from a later perspective at historical developments which can hardly be grasped with such a metaphor. It is more likely that distinctions between Jews, Christians, Jewish Christians, Christian Jews etc. are more blurred than the image of “parting ways” allows. In light of these considerations the contributions in this volume discuss the cogency of the “parting of the ways”-model with a look at prominent early Christian writers and places and suggest more appropriate metaphors to describe the relationships of Jews and Christians in the early period.

Deuteronomy in the Making: Studies in the Production of Debarim

A number of long-standing theories concerning the production of Deuteronomy are currently being revisited. This volume takes a fresh look at the theory that there was an independent legal collection comprising chs 12-26 that subsequently was set within one or two narrative frames to yield the book, with ongoing redactional changes. Each contributor has been asked to focus on how the “core” might have functioned as a stand-alone document or, if exploring a theme or motif, to take note of commonalities and differences within the “core” and “frames” that might shed light on the theory under review. Some of the articles also revisit the theory of a northern origin of the “core” of the book, while others challenge de Wette’s equation of Deuteronomy with the scroll found during temple repairs under Josiah. With Deuteronomic studies in a state of flux, this is a timely collection by a group of international scholars who use a range of methods and who, in varying degrees, work with or challenge older theories about the book’s origin and growth to approach the central focus from many angles. Readers will find multivalent evidence they can reflect over to decide where they stand on the issue of Deuteronomy as a framed legal “core.”

Resisting Jesus: A Narrative and Intertextual Analysis of Mark’s Portrayal of the Disciples of Jesus

This looks fun!

Very likely the first of the four Gospels to be written, Mark presents an intriguing and puzzling portrayal of the disciples with predominantly negative overtones. In Resisting Jesus, Mateus de Campos proposes that the evangelist’s characterization should be understood under the rubric of resistance—a willful disposition against Jesus’ self-revelatory program and his discipleship prescriptions.

Utilizing a combination of narrative and intertextual analyses, de Campos demonstrates that Mark’s portrayal of resistance to Jesus follows a specific plot dynamic that finds its fundamental framework in the Scriptural depiction of YHWH’s relationship with Israel. The study provides fresh insights into how the evangelist’s negative characterization of the disciples fosters a Scripturally-informed reflection and admonition concerning the nature of discipleship.

The 19th Quest For the Historical Jesus

19th?  I don’t know, maybe it’s the 10th.  Who can keep up.

Anyway, Crossley kicks off the ____________th quest for the Jesus of History.

What would the Quest for the Historical Jesus look like if it could be rebuilt as a field of study within the humanities? An answer to a question raised in a discussion among some disgruntled colleagues in the field.

Etc.

#BookLoversDay Commentary Sale

In honor of #BookLoversDay, get yourself a copy of The Commentary for half price- $40 !!!!

The ‘Person in the Pew’ commentary series is the only series of Commentaries written by a single person on the entire Bible and aimed at layfolk in modern history.  The entire series in PDF format is available from yours truly for, again, today only, a paltry $40.  Order yours by clicking my PayPal Link and be sure to include your email address.

Back to Reason

You’ll definitely want to get this when it comes out.

“Did Jesus Anticipate Suffering a Violent Death?: The Implications of Memory Research and Dale C. Allison’s Methodology”

By Michael Barber.

This article enters into the debate over the place of memory studies in Jesus research by examining the question of whether or not Jesus anticipated his demise, analyzing the method and arguments of Dale Allison’s, Constructing Jesus (2010) as a test case. It responds to criticisms of Allison’s work, demonstrating that his approach relies on more than a mere appeal to the general trustworthiness of early memories about Jesus. Although critical of the standard ‘criteria of authenticity,’ Allison makes his case for the eschatological character of Jesus’ perspective by highlighting other indicators of historical plausibility. In sum, this paper demonstrates that memory research has much to offer Jesus studies, though its application must be carefully supplemented with other considerations.

Jeremiah and Lamentations

FYI- John Goldingay has a commentary coming out on Jeremiah.  And he also has one coming out on Lamentations.  Both just in time for your Christmas (and a little after) list.

No, I’m not linking to the big distributor with the space dude guy.  You can find them.

Martin Noth Wrote a Lot

Here’s a listing of just some of the things in his bibliography.  Remember, just because something wasn’t published last week doesn’t mean it isn’t worth your time.  In fact in 99% of cases, the best stuff was written before you were born (unless you’re over 50).

Walther Eichrodt’s Birthday

Walther Eichrodt (1890 – 1978) was an eminent German Old Testament scholar and Protestant theologian. He received his doctorate from the University of Heidelberg in 1915 and taught as a professor of Old Testament and History of Religion at the Basel University from 1922 to 1960. His masterwork, the three volumeTheologie des Alten Testaments (Theology of the Old Testament) appeared in 1933-1939. In retirement he continued writing academic works until shortly before his death in 1978 in Basel.

He was second only to von Rad as the 20th century’s most important Old Testament theologian.  Read him some today.