Die Zürcher Reformation in Europa: Beiträge der Tagung des Instituts für Schweizerische Reformationsgeschichte 6.–8. Februar 2019 in Zürich

Here’s  a wonderful conference volume for a wonderful conference!

Im Januar 2019 jährte sich zum 500. Mal der Beginn der Zürcher Reformation und damit der Beginn des weltweiten reformierten Protestantismus als Konfessionskultur und als kulturprägende Kraft. Am Jubiläumskongress im Februar trafen sich die führenden Reformationsgeschichtlerinnen und Reformationsgeschichtler aus aller Welt in Zürich. Die Beiträge präsentieren und bündeln den aktuellen Forschungsstand zur Zürcher Reformation und eröffnen neue Perspektiven in historischer, wirkungsgeschichtlicher und theologischer Hinsicht. Das Hauptaugenmerk der Forschenden liegt dabei auf der Rolle der Zürcher Reformation in der europäischen Reformationsbewegung.

A review copy has arrived.  More anon.

Nehemiah: A Commentary

By my long time fried Liz Fried

Lisbeth Fried’s commentary on Nehemiah is the second instalment of her two-volume commentary on Ezra–Nehemiah. The first instalment, Ezra, was published by Sheffield Phoenix in 2015. Like her commentary on Ezra, Nehemiah too takes full advantage of recent results in archaeology and numismatics, as well as in the mechanisms of Persian and Hellenistic rule, and in the influence of the Hellenistic and Maccabean Wars on Jewish writings.

Like her Ezra, the present volume includes a new translation of the book of Nehemiah, plus text-critical notes on each verse which compare and contrast the Greek, Latin and Syriac versions. The Introduction and extensive chapter commentaries provide a discussion of the larger historical and literary issues.

Although not finalized until the Maccabean period, the book of Nehemiah contains a temple foundation document from the time of Darius I, a story of rebuilding and dedicating a city wall around Jerusalem in the mid-fifth century, and a memoir from a fifth-century governor of Judah. Numerous additions and lists that date from the Hellenistic and Maccabean periods complete the book.

Fried concludes that the book of Nehemiah contains two separate first-person reports—one by the wall-builder, wine steward of Artaxerxes I, whose name we do not know, and one by Yeho’ezer, a fifth-century governor of Judah. We know his name from seals found at the governor’s mansion at Ramat Raḥel. Nehemiah, whose full name was actually Nehemiah Attiršata ben Ḥacaliah, neither built the wall around Jerusalem nor served as a fifth-century governor of Judah, Fried argues. Rather, he was a Persian Jew who had charge of the temple priesthood under Zerubbabel in the days of Darius I.

Fried’s commentary promises to revolutionize how we read the book of Nehemiah.

A review copy has arrived.  More anon.

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.

A review copy has arrived courtesy of the publisher.

Theological Anthropology, 500 Years after Martin Luther

Now out, from the inestimable Christophe Chalamet et al,

Theological Anthropology, 500 years after Martin Luther gathers contributions on the theme of the human being and human existence from the perspectives of Orthodox and Protestant theology. These two traditions still have much to learn from each another, five hundred years after Martin Luther’s Reformation. Taking Martin Luther’s thought as a point of reference and presenting Orthodox perspectives in connection with and in contradistinction to it, this volume seeks to foster a dialogue on some of the key issues of theological anthropology, such as human freedom, sin, faith, the human as created in God’s image and likeness, and the ultimate horizon of human existence. The present volume is one of the first attempts of this kind in contemporary ecumenical dialogue.

It sounds tremendous.  A review copy is on the way.

The Pharisees

For centuries, Pharisees have been well known but little understood—due at least in part to their outsized role in the Christian imagination arising from select negative stereotypes based in part on the Gospels. Yet historians see Pharisees as respected teachers and forward-thinking innovators who helped make the Jewish tradition more adaptable to changing circumstances and more egalitarian in practice. Seeking to bridge this gap, the contributors to this volume provide a multidisciplinary appraisal of who the Pharisees actually were, what they believed and taught, and how they have been depicted throughout history.

The table of contents is amazing.  A review copy arrived today.  More anon.

John Davenant’s Hypothetical Universalism: A Defense of Catholic and Reformed Orthodoxy

Recently there has been a revival of interest in the views held by Reformed theologians within the parameters of confessional orthodoxy. For example, the doctrine known as ‘hypothetical universalism’–the idea that although Christ died in some sense for every person, his death was intended to bring about the salvation only for those who were predestined for salvation. Michael Lynch focuses on the hypothetical universalism of the English theologian and bishop John Davenant (1572-1641), arguing that it has consistently been misinterpreted and misrepresented as a via media between Arminian and Reformed theology.

A close examination of Davenent’s De Morte Christi, is the central core of the study. Lynch offers a detailed exposition of Davenant’s doctrine of universal redemption in dialogue with his understanding of closely related doctrines such as God’s will, predestination, providence, and covenant theology. He defends the thesis that Davenant’s version of hypothetical universalism represents a significant strand of the Augustinian tradition, including the early modern Reformed tradition. The book examines the patristic and medieval periods as they provided the background for the Lutheran, Remonstrant, and Reformed reactions to the so-called Lombardian formula (‘Christ died sufficiently for all, effectually for the elect’). It traces how Davenant and his fellow British delegates at the Synod of Dordt shaped the Canons of Dordt in such a way as to allow for their English hypothetical universalism.

I’ll be reviewing it for The English Historical Review, but posting a synopsis of the review here too.  Stay tuned.