Zwinglius Redivivus

Nihil salvum esse potest, donec rabies. – John Calvin

Archive for the ‘Biblical Studies Resources’ Category

Sunday Book Notes: The Commentary

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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 for lay people on the whole Bible.

The set runs $75.  This very low cost has been decided upon because I’m very keen to make it accessible to a lay audience.  At $75 it’s less than any other commentary on the entire Bible, so a bargain indeed.   Listen to Prof Dr Ralph Keen- ‘$75 is a mere fraction of its true value!’

So if you or someone you know has wanted to get a copy of the collection in PDF format, you can do so from yours truly for $75 by clicking my PayPal Link.

Written by Jim

23 Sep 2018 at 9:15 am

Long Awaited and Joyfully Anticipated: Stuhlmacher’s ‘Biblical Theology of the New Testament’ Has Been Published

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In English.

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.

I’m keen to work through it, to see how faithful it is to the German original.  Eerdman’s have sent along a review copy, so, more anon.

Written by Jim

19 Sep 2018 at 8:56 am

Free Articles From Novum Testamentum

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And some of them are gems you need to get before they go away.  Especially the essays by C.K. Barrett and Jimmy Dunn.

Written by Jim

17 Sep 2018 at 5:08 am

The Beauty of Holiness: Re-Reading Isaiah in the Light of the Psalms

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I love Joe Blenkinsopp.  I’m getting a copy of this book.

Joseph Blenkinsopp presents an intertextual reading of Isaiah and the Psalms furthering his previous well-known work on the text of Isaiah. Blenkinsopp argues that, read together, these two biblical books can be shown to form a single religious vision, a way of experiencing and articulating a commitment to the fundamentals of the faith of Israel, with its own distinctive character. 

Blenkinsopp shows how the emphasis in Isaiah and the Psalms is on affect and emotion, the expression of joy and sorrow articulated in music, singing, and dancing; in praise, thanksgiving and lament. This represents a key difference from other parts of the Hebrew Bible where the focus is more on the Law and on the covenant at Sinai – in Isaiah and the Psalms these terms rarely occur, the focus is instead on Zion and on the Temple. Blenkinsopp shows how the temple singers, with their close connections with the circles which transmitted and eventually committed to writing the Book of Isaiah, demonstrate that the divine word is not incompatible with other forms of religious experience and expression, affective and even mystical, articulated and embodied in the performance of music, song, ritual prayer, and dance. The beauty of the Psalms is echoed strongly in Isaiah, and the Isaian vision of a Creator God, Lord of nature and history beyond the bounds of Israel, is joyfully proclaimed by the psalmists.

I’ve never read anything Joe has written that I didn’t enjoy thoroughly and learn a lot from.  I expect this will be the same.

Written by Jim

6 Sep 2018 at 12:14 pm

The Book of Jeremiah: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation

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New from Brill, and sent for review:

Written by leading experts in the field, The Book of Jeremiah: Composition, Reception, and Interpretation offers a wide-ranging treatment of the main aspects of Jeremiah. Its twenty-four essays fall under four main sections. The first section contains studies of a more general nature, and helps situate Jeremiah in the scribal culture of the ancient world, as well as in relation to the Torah and the Hebrew Prophets. The second section contains commentary on and interpretation of specific passages (or sections) of Jeremiah, as well as essays on its genres and themes. The third section contains essays on the textual history and reception of Jeremiah in Judaism and Christianity. The final section explores various theological aspects of the book of Jeremiah.

More in due course. It’s a big book, so it may take over a month.

Written by Jim

6 Sep 2018 at 11:31 am

T&T Clark Critical Readings in Biblical Studies

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T&T Clark Critical Readings is a series of reader-style companions. The volumes present key studies in a sub-discipline of Biblical Studies in one convenient volume aimed at postgraduates, scholars, and researchers. Each volume is broken down into carefully selected segments, which are each introduced by the volume editor(s). As such these reference resources seek to map sub-fields for postgraduate study and enquiry. Each section finishes with an annotated bibliography, furthering the aims of the volume in generating research and further study.

Three volumes are presently available.

Written by Jim

3 Sep 2018 at 11:50 am

Israel Finkelstein In Zurich

You must go if you are anywhere in Switzerland.  It’s a lovely train ride and Finkelstein is worth traveling for to hear.

Written by Jim

23 Aug 2018 at 1:14 pm

Was A Section of P66 Forged?

That’s the question this paper examines.

Written by Jim

21 Aug 2018 at 11:56 am

A New Volume for Students of Ancient Israel

This volume is part of the Changing Perspectives sub-series, which is constituted by anthologies of articles by world-renowned biblical scholars and historians that have made an impact on the field and changed its course during the last decades. This volume offers a collection of seminal essays by Keith Whitelam on the early history of ancient Palestine and the origins and emergence of Israel. Collected together in one volume for the first time, and featuring one unpublished article, this volume will be of interest to biblical and ancient Near Eastern scholars interested in the politics of historical representation but also on critical ways of constructing the history of ancient Palestine.

More here. Congratulations to Keith and Emanuel for this super volume (full disclosure, I serve on the editorial board of the series).

Written by Jim

21 Aug 2018 at 9:05 am

Commentary of the Day

Available today for $5 in PDF.  Just paypal me.

Written by Jim

20 Aug 2018 at 2:27 pm

The Ubiquitous Language of Violence in the Hebrew Bible

By David Clines.  As is always the case with David’s work, this is worth your time.

Written by Jim

19 Aug 2018 at 4:22 pm

The Bible, Qumran, and the Samaritans

Read the TOC and frontmatter here.

Written by Jim

17 Aug 2018 at 1:42 pm

Das erste Buch Mose: Genesis

This is definitely worth checking out.

Die biblische Urgeschichte bedenkt die Entstehung der Welt und ihrer Ordnung, das Woher des Menschen und die Ursprünge der Kultur. Sie ist Ausdruck für die in antiken Kulturen weitverbreitete und nach dem damaligen naturkundlichen Kenntnisstand durchdeklinierte Grundüberzeugung, dass alles Gegenwärtige und alles Zukünftige sein Wesen im Anfang erhalten hat. In diesem Sinne bietet die biblische Urgeschichte weniger eine Erklärung der Entstehung der Welt, sondern ist in erster Linie ein Versuch, die Erfahrung des Menschen mit sich und seiner Umwelt deutend zu verstehen. Im Zentrum dieses Nachdenkens in beispielhaften Erzählungen, zu denen sich naturkundliche, genealogische und geographische Ausführungen gesellen, steht der Mensch in seinen vielfältigen Beziehungen zum Mitmenschen, zur nichtmenschlichen Schöpfung und zu Gott.

Jan Christian Gertz legt mit seinem Werk eine neue Kommentierung der Urgeschichte vor, deren Erzählungen von Adam und Eva, Kain und Abel, der Arche Noach und dem Turmbau zu Babel wie wenige andere Literaturwerke unser Selbst- und Weltbild geprägt haben. Der Kommentar bietet Lesern und Leserinnen innerhalb wie außerhalb des Faches eine klar verständliche Synthese der bisherigen Forschung und stellt die Urgeschichte in den Kontext der Literaturen des alten Vorderen Orients. Die Neubearbeitung der Kommentierung der biblischen Urgeschichte für das Alte Testament Deutsch folgt derjenigen durch Gerhard von Rad aus dem Jahre 1949, deren letzte Überarbeitung 1972 erschienen ist.

With the writing of commentaries there is no end. And there is no end to the various interpretative moves commentators make in order to help their work stand out from the crowd.

The present commentary is no exception. Naturally, then, potential readers, the intended audience of this review, will want to know if this work is yet another in a long line of commentaries that repeat in a different way the same information. The answer is no. It is more than that.

To begin with, the introductory sections provide up to date information concerning sources and text editions, grammars and lexica, commentaries, and monographs and collections of essays; all related to Genesis 1-11.

The introductory chapter focuses on the contents of Genesis 1-11 and the importance of the ‘Urgeschichte’ in the context of the entirety of Genesis. Also of concern to the author of the commentary are the priestly and non priestly materials found in Gen 1-11.

Following these introductory matters, the commentary proper begins. Each pericope is treated individually and in canonical order. Each is also examined within its larger context, ‘Aufbau’, and ‘Enstehung’. These sections are noted in the margins of the page, so finding one’s place or interest is quite simple to achieve. Then follows the exegesis, by sense unit (i.e., sometimes a verse, sometimes several verses) proper.

Each user of every commentary has a section of a biblical text of particular interest and when examining new commentaries invariably turn to that passage to measure the new work against others. For the present reviewer, Genesis 9:18ff. Ever since encountering Gerhard von Rad’s treatment of the passage it has been a source of enduring fascination. What happened? Why the curse? It’s all so, on the surface, quite strange (like Exodus 4 and Yahweh’s attempted murder of Moses).

So how does Gertz ‘handle’ the problem text? Examining that question allows me to offer examples both of Gertz’s exegesis and his style of presentation. Accordingly, G. opines

Der Höhepunkt der Handlung ist vom unterschiedlichen Verhalten der 9, 22-24
Söhne gegenüber ihrem betrunkenen Vater und dessen harscher Reaktion geprägt. Ham sieht die Scham seines Vaters und lässt sich darüber vor seinen Brüdern aus, diese reagieren jedoch mit Respekt und bedecken den Vater, ohne ihn anzusehen. Dieser wiederum verflucht Hams Sohn Kanaan und segnet Sem und Jafet. Fluch und Segen zeigen deutlich, dass die Söhne Noachs und sein Enkel Kanaan weniger als Familienmitglieder denn als Repräsentanten von Volksgruppen zu verstehen sind. Ham, der Vater Kanaans, steht Sem, dem Vorfahren Israels (vgl. Gen 11,10-26), und Jafet gegenüber. Auch zwischen den beiden gesegneten Brüdern wird ein feiner Unterschied aufgemacht, insofern der singularische Auftakt von V. 23 „da nahm Sem und Jafet“ vor der pluralischen Fortsetzung „und sie legten“ andeutet, dass die Initiative bei dem an erster Stelle genannten Sem gelegen hat.

And then a bit further down:

Besonders prominent ist in diesem Zusammenhang die Erzählung von Lots Töchtern, die ihren Vater betrunken machen, um von ihm schwanger zu werden (Gen 19, 30-38). So hat man in dem Vergehen einen Inzest mit der (nicht erwähnten!) Frau des Vaters vermutet, was in Lev 20,11 als „Aufdecken der Scham des Vaters“ bezeichnet wird. Andere denken an einen inzestuös-homosexuellen Missbrauch des Vaters durch Ham. Schon die Rabbinen haben diskutiert, ob Ham seinen Vater kastriert oder vergewaltigt hat.

With incredible skill, Gertz connects the dots between various passages and shows how the earlier lay the foundation for the understanding and intention of the later. And he also shows how the text has been received and interpreted. Exegesis and Reception History are intertwined in this present work, and that brilliantly.

Gertz furthermore observes

Ham ließe sich nicht einmal der Vorwurf machen, er habe den Vater betrunken gemacht, um „seine Scham zu sehen“ (vgl. Hab 2, 15). Gleichwohl führt der Hinweis auf die Inzestverbote und die sexuelle Konnotation des verwendeten Vokabulars in die richtige Richtung.

And drawing it all together,

Damit wird wie mit den folgenden Fluch- und Segenssprüchen ein neuer Ton in der biblischen Urgeschichte angeschlagen: Die Episode mag auf den ersten Blick wie eine narrative Umsetzung der im Epilog der Sintflut formulierten Einsicht in den bleibenden Hang des Menschen zum Bösen wirken. Bei genauerer Betrachtung hebt sie sich aber recht deutlich von ihrem Vorkontext ab, indem sie die anthropologischen Aussagen der Sintfluterzählung in Urteile über abgrenzbare soziale Größen überführt und auf eine nach Fluch und Segen differenzierte Menschheit aufteilt. Die Konsequenz daraus ist, dass aus dem Hang des Menschen zum Bösen diejenige Einzeltat wird, deren Folge die Fluchexistenz Kanaans ist, womit die stereotype Beschreibung der Kanaanäer in der Mehrzahl alttestamentlicher Texte ihre urgeschichtliche Begründung erhält.

Gertz works in this manner throughout. He draws together materials from numerous sources and uses those materials to shed light on the pericopae of Gen 1-11. Though technical, this commentary is exceedingly clear and precise. Students of Genesis will find in it a veritable goldmine of exegetical insight. It doesn’t merely repeat what’s been said before elsewhere, it says something wise.

Tolle, lege.

Written by Jim

14 Aug 2018 at 6:59 am

Invention of the First-Century Synagogue

Invention of the First-Century Synagogue by Lidia D. Matassa is now available for download. ANEM is an open-access series offered by SBL Press and the Centro de Estudios de Historia del Antiguo Oriente.

H/T Richard *I Won’t Ever Do That Again* Goode.

Written by Jim

9 Aug 2018 at 7:24 am

A Series of Old Testament Study Guides You May Not Have Heard Of, But Should

Bloomsbury is publishing a series of what they describe as ‘study guides’ for the Old Testament, but don’t make the mistake of thinking these are mere ‘Cliff Notes’.  Quite the contrary.  I reviewed a couple of these volumes in the most recent number of the Book List and they are exceptionally helpful.

Bloomsbury-T&T Clark’s Study Guides to the Old Testament present the latest in biblical scholarship in an engaging format for students and those approaching biblical texts for the first time. Each book covers the historical issues surrounding the text before moving on to consider interpretative issues and the range of approaches available to readers of the text. The books include further reading lists and pointers for students looking to further their knowledge. Each book is written by a member of the Society for Old Testament Study (SOTS), a prestigious academic society which celebrates its centenary in 2017.

The link above is to the list by date of publication.  Take a look.

Written by Jim

4 Aug 2018 at 8:32 am

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).

Written by Jim

3 Aug 2018 at 9:52 am

The 27th annual Runciman lecture by Professor Emerita Charlotte Roueché

Written by Jim

3 Aug 2018 at 7:32 am

Volumes of Interest

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Schnabel, Eckhard J. Jesus, Paul, and the Early ChurchMissionary Realities in Historical Contexts. Collected Essays

This volume contains seventeen essays written by Eckhard J. Schnabel over the past 25 years. They focus on the realities of the work of Jesus, Paul, John, and the early church, exploring aspects of the history, missionary expansion, and theology of the early church including lexical, ethical, and ecclesiological questions.

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Gerstenberger, Erhard S. Theologie des Lobens in sumerischen HymnenZur Ideengeschichte der Eulogie

[The Theology of Praise in Sumerian Hymns. Eulogy’s History of Ideas. Published in German.]

Erhard S. Gerstenberger analyzes various laudatory expressions containing the keyword zà-mí and shows that Sumerian praise is not simply a dutiful expression of awe in the face of supreme authorities but rather signifies an effective transfer of power towards the recipients of eulogy.

Written by Jim

2 Aug 2018 at 10:19 am

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.

Written by Jim

1 Aug 2018 at 8:03 am

How is the Revised ‘Dictionary of Classical Hebrew’ Different?

David J.A. Clines has answered that question with a powerpoint.

Written by Jim

30 Jul 2018 at 7:09 am