Category Archives: Books

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

This is a wonderful volume!

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 link above will let you download the front and back matter and view the table of contents for this genuinely extraordinary work.  The work follows a clear and precise pattern of theory and assemblage of evidence concerning said theory.  After introducing his subject and overviewing past scholarship, de Campos leads readers through Mark’s scriptural framework and its impact on the entire narrative and on to the heart of the matter: the ‘episodes of resistance’ themselves.  Lastly he summarizes his findings.  There then is provided a bibliography and the usual indices of sources and authors and subjects.

The volume at hand is a revised edition of de Campos’s doctoral dissertation, submitted to the University of Cambridge under the supervision of James Paget and with input from the likes of Nathan MacDonald, Jeffrey Gibson, Elizabeth Struthers Malbon and others.

Why are the disciples so dense?  Or at least, so apparently dense?  It’s a question readers of the Gospel of Mark have struggled with for a very long time.  Mark doesn’t seem to have any interest in complimenting them.  Indeed, he appears to wish to paint them in the most negative light possible.

But as de Campos shows, that is hardly what is going on here.  Mark is instead showing that the willful failings of the inner circle of Jesus’ followers is actually an indication of the challenge of discipleship itself.  Mark, in other words, shows the disciples to resist Jesus precisely because he wishes to instruct Jesus’ followers on the difficulties of discipleship itself.  That’s the goal of the portrayal of the disciples.

Furthermore, de Campos’ investigation leads him to suggest that the portrayal of the disciples in Mark ‘encapsulates the whole trajectory of Israel’s relationship with YHWH’ (p. 220).  Scholarship will need to think about what is being suggested here for many years to come.  Indeed, this may be the most important observation which de Campos offers, for it opens the door to a whole range of future inquiries regarding the shadows cast by the writers of the Old Testament onto the authors of the New.  There may well be far more influence of the OT on the NT than has previously been appreciated.

The present study sheds interesting light on on old problem in a way that few revised dissertations have.  The clarity of de Campos’ prose;  His mastery of the primary and secondary material;  His flashes of brilliant insight.  All these factors make this an eminently readable and incredibly enjoyable experience.

I have a new appreciation both for Mark’s theological artistry and for his intention concerning his portrayal of the original followers of Jesus.  Perhaps they are just small mirrors of discipleship itself, both in terms of the Christian’s relationship to Jesus and in terms of Israel’s relationship to God.

I recommend this book most heartily to you.  I assure you, you will enjoy it very much indeed.

Johann Jakob Schweizer und die Helvetik: Der streitbare Pfarrer zu Embrach

This book is dedicated to the pastor and political activist Johann Jakob Schweizer (1771–1843) and traces through his eventful life the turbulent events of the Helvetic Republic.

Schweizer criticized the authorities of the Napoleonic Swiss republic in pamphlets and as editor of Neues Helvetisches Volksblatt. After publicly calling for parliament to resign in 1800, he was sentenced in sensational trials to two years’ confinement to his parish and banned from publishing. Following the Act of Mediation that dissolved the Republic and restored the Swiss Confederation under French influence, he was removed from his parish in 1804 for “disorderly conduct.”

He continued to work as a parish assistant and Latin teacher. In addition to religious lectures, sermons, and poetry, he published numerous essays and a travel guide.

Israel’s Past: Studies on History and Religion in Ancient Israel and Judah

This collection of essays gives an insight into the problems that we encounter when we try to (re)construct events from Israel’s past. On the one hand, the Hebrew Bible is a biased source, on the other hand, the data provided by archaeology and extra-biblical texts are constrained and sometimes contradictory. Discussing a set of examples, the author applies fundamental insight from the philosophy of history to clarify Israel’s past.

Bob Becking is the author.

Day One of the Lyell Lectures 2021

Commemorating Zwingli’s Death Commentary Sale

In honor of Zwingli’s last day, get yourself a copy of The Commentary for 2/3rds price- $50 !!!!

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 $50.  Order yours by clicking my PayPal Link and be sure to include your email address.

Did You Grow Up in A Home With Books?

Eisenbrauns posted a thing on the facebook about books in homes… and it provoked me to respond.  And that provoked me to wonder about other folks and their childhoods and the books in their homes back then.

In my home my parents spent all their money, which wasn’t much anyway, on cigarettes, bowling, and pet food.  So we didn’t have more than half a dozen books in the house and a very old set of Britannica’s that my mother was given by her brother (my uncle).

Half a dozen books was the family library of my childhood.  I guess that’s why I have more.

So, how many books did you have in your childhood home?

Support the Kessler Collection

At the Pitts Theology Library, Emory University:

We are only one week into our “Kessler in 4K” campaign, and generous contributions have already put us over 70% of the way to our goal.  I’ve allowed myself to start opening auction catalogs and talking to book dealers about what book or manuscript might be our 4,000th item, since our community’s generosity places our goal in sight! We ask that you consider joining the individuals who have already supported this campaign by making a donation online.

And

Please also help us spread the word about why the Kessler Collection is important to you (via Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn, or by sharing our link by email: http://pitts.emory.edu/kessler4k). I’m overwhelmed by our community’s generosity!

If you’re able to donate, please do.  If not, can you at least help spread the word?  Thanks ever so much.

Bruce Gordon Will Be Discussing His New Book on Zwingli on Nov 4

Reformations Conversation Webinar: Bruce Gordon on Huldrych Zwingli

We are delighted to host another Reformation Conversations Webinar this fall, this time focusing on Dr. Bruce Gordon’s upcoming biography of the Swiss Reformer Huldrych Zwingli. The session will take place on Thursday, Nov. 4, from 1 PM to 2:30 PM. Bruce Gordon is the Titus Street Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Yale Divinity School, where he has served since 2008. His research focuses on the Reformation and its reception, especially in the Swiss lands. In 2009, he published his biography of John Calvin (Yale University Press), one of the best English-language biographies of the Genevan Reformer. Now he has turned his attention to the leading early Reformer of the city of Zurich in his monograph, Huldrych Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet, due to be released by Yale University Press on November 30, 2021. Please sign up for this special presentation and discussion at the following link. We will send you the Zoom link in early November. Please review the available slots below and click on the button to sign up. Thank you!

Date: 11/04/2021 (Thu.)

Time: 1:00pm – 2:30pm EDT

Sign up today.  Slots are limited to 95.

And, as a reminder, I’ll be interviewing Bruce about his new book soon.  Stay tuned.

A Very, Very Brief Opinion on the New ‘Hebrew Old Testament, Reader’s Edition’

By Crossway.

The publisher claims

The Hebrew Old Testament, Reader’s Edition combines the text of the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) with a running list of glosses of every word that occurs fewer than 75 times in the Hebrew Old Testament, for an easier reading experience in the original language.

Those with limited knowledge of Hebrew can smoothly read the Hebrew text without needing to constantly refer to other reference resources—accelerating their facility with the Hebrew text and making their time more rewarding and more enjoyable as they read the Word of God. Likewise, readers with a more extensive grasp of Hebrew will find the accessible glossing a helpful tool for recalling vocabulary words.

All that’s true.  Further, proper names are in a slightly faded color, setting them off from other words and making it easier for new students of Hebrew to spare themselves the trouble of not knowing which words are names and which aren’t.

As is the case of ‘Reader’s Editions’ of all manifestations and incarnations, the definitions are un-nuanced.  That is to say, they may not be the proper definition which the context and its nuance demand.  They are, by and large, good.  But the glosses should not be assumed to be the only possible rendering and they certainly should not be the only source of information students of the Hebrew Bible make use of.  Lexical work still matters.  Otherwise, readers end up with little more than an interlinear and all the hazards which those monstrosities foment.

Reader’s editions are a good place to start, but they are not a good place to end.

That said, I do like this edition.  The binding is excellent.  The font is lovely.  The paper is much better than competitors (especially Zondervan).  The one column layout is super.  The glosses are ok.  The words chosen for glossing are extensive.  The whole volume is a delight.

It’s a bit expensive.  It was $119 including shipping and postage.  But one should expect to pay when one deals with academic resources designed for a lifetime of use.  It arrived quickly and, as is usually the case with Crossway, questions about it were answered in short order.

I recommend this edition for those looking for a reader’s edition.  It’s as good as the genre gets.

Corpus Christologicum: Texts and Translations for the Study of Jewish Messianism and Early Christology

In recent decades, the study of Jewish messianic ideas and how they influenced early Christology has become an incredibly active field within biblical studies. Numerous books and articles have engaged with the ancient sources to trace various themes, including “Messiah” language itself, exalted patriarchs, angel mediators, “wisdom” and “word,” eschatology, and much more. But anyone who attempts to study the Jewish roots of early Christianity faces a challenge: the primary sources are wide-ranging, involve ancient languages, and are often very difficult to track down. Books are littered with citations and a host of other sometimes obscure writings, and it can be difficult to sort them all out.

This book makes a much-needed contribution by bringing together the most important primary texts for the study of Jewish messianism and early Christology—nearly three hundred in total—and presenting the reader with essential information to study them: the critical text itself (with apparatus), a fresh translation, a current bibliography, and thematic tags that allow the reader to trace themes across the corpus. This volume aims to be the starting point for all future work on the primary sources that are relevant to messianology and Christology.

Publications By the Late Eilat Mazar: A Guest Post by Amihai Mazar

eilat-mazar-holds-jar-frragment-from-10th-c_credit-ouria-tadmorDr. Eilat Mazar who passed away on May 25 2021, published the results of her vast work in Jerusalem in the private publishing house Shoham Publications. All publication are printed in color and are lavishly illustrated. The following is a list of available publications.

Orders should be sent to Avital Mazar at avitaltm@gmail.com. Prices don’t include shipping.

Final reports 

The Summit of the City of David Excavations 2005-2008, Final Reports Volume 1 (2015, 543 pp., English, ISBN 978-965-7726-00-6, 70$)

(Final report on the excavation below the Northern Tower in the city of David, includes new details on the Stepped Stone Structure and large collection of finds from the Iron Age and Persian periods, including an important collection of inscribed seal impressions on bullae. With the participation of seventeen scholars)

The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount 2009-2013. Final Reports Volume 1 (2015, English, 640 pp, ISBN 978-965-7726-01-3, 70$)

(First volume of final report on the excavations in the Ophel. Includes chapters on the Iron Age and Byzantine periods, including the Byzantine gold treasure; with the participation of nineteen scholars)

The Ophel Excavations to the South of the Temple Mount 2009-2013. Final Reports Volume  2 (2018, 393 English, pp, ISBN 978-965-7726-02-0, 70$)

(second  final report on the excavations in the Ophel. Includes chapters Iron Age and Herodian periods, with the participation of twelve scholars)

The Walls of the Temple Mount (2011, two volumes, ISBN 978-965-90299-7-6, 167$).

(detailed survey and history of research of the Temple Mount walls, carried out in collaboration with Y.Shalev, P. Reuven, J. Steinberg  and B. Balogh, two volumes with original photographs and panoramic drawings of the temple mount walls)

Popular publications and preliminary reports

The Monastery of the Virgins (1998, English,  19$)

(popular account of the discovery of houses with depictions of the Menorah south of Robinson’s Arch)

Preliminary Report on The City of David Excavations (2005, 87 pp. 19$)

(first preliminary report on the excavations on the summit of the City of David)

The Palace of King David, Excavations at the Summit of the City of David. Preliminary Report of Seasons  2005-2007 (2011, Hebrew 978-965-90299-4-5, English ISBN 978-965-90229-, 100 pp, 19$)

(second preliminary report on the excavation on the summit of the City of David)

Discovering the Solomonic Wall in Jerusalem (2011, English, 167 pp, ISBN 978-965-90299-69, 36$)

(semi-popular account of the excavation of monumental Iron Age structures in the “Ophel” site)

The Discovery of the Menorah Treasure at the Foot of the Temple Mount (2013, Hebrew or English editions, 94 pp)

(popular account of the outstanding discovery of the  gold treasure with Jewish symbols in the Ophel Hill)

The Seal Impressions of King Hezekiah and Isaiah. Amazing Archaeological Discoveries (2019, English, ISBN  978-965-7726-03-7, 22$)

Popular account of the discovery of Hebrew bullae including the seal impression of King Hezekiah  in the Ophel hill)

Over The Crossroads of Time: Jerusalem’s Temple Mount Monumental Staircases (2020, 220 pp. English, ISBN 978-965-7726-04-4,  36$)

(Study of the architectural history of Robinson Arch, with a new interpretation  based on Benjamin Mazar’s excavations)

Additional monographs by Eilat Mazar

Achziv Phoenician cemeteries: three volumes published in the series Cuadernos de Arqueología Mediterránea, Barcelona in the years 2001, 2004, 2009-2010

Four final reports volumes on the Temple Mount excavations directed by Benjamin Mazar published in Qedem, Monographs of the Institute of Archaeology, The Hebrew University  of Jerusalem Nos. 29, 43, 46, 52 (available through the  Israel exploration Society   http://israelexplorationsociety.huji.ac.il/  (also available also in JSTOR).

Amihai Mazar

Death in History, Culture, and Society

Death in History, Culture, and Society is a peer-reviewed interdisciplinary series of monographs and edited volumes. It is dedicated to social and cultural engagements with death across the globe. This includes synchronous studies of death during a specific period within a culture and studies with a cross-cultural approach; diachronous studies of death-related issues within a region, genre or culture; explorations of new death-related concepts and methodologies; or specific death-related inquiries. The focus may lie on concepts and definitions of death and dying; death rituals, both sacred and secular; social or cultural responses to death; issues of memory and identity related to death and loss; as well as individual, social or political strategies of integrating death and the dead into life.

Die Urgeschichte (Genesis 1–11) heute lesen

«Es gehört zur tiefen Weisheit der Urgeschichte, dass sie das Gute, Schöne und Lebensfreundliche darstellt, aber das Dunkle, Chaotische, Bedrohliche und Lebensfeindliche nicht ausblendet und verschweigt. Sie ist ein Manifest der Hoffnung in perspektiv- und hoffnungslosen Zeiten, um den Menschen Mut zu machen, sich selber und die Zukunft nicht aufzugeben.»

Schöpfung, Adam und Eva im Paradies, Kain und Abel, die Sintflut und der Turmbau zu Babel – diese bekannten Erzählungen machen die ersten elf Kapitel der Bibel aus. Klaus Bäumlin führt verständlich und kompetent in die biblische Urgeschichte ein. Ein besonderes Augenmerk gilt dabei der literarischen Entstehung und Zusammenstellung der biblischen Texte. Bäumlin zeigt auf, dass die Urgeschichte nicht einfach von uralten Dingen erzählt, sondern im Gegenteil die condition humaine in Erzählungen fasst und damit nicht an eine spezifische Zeit gebunden ist. Es geht um das, was die Menschen von Beginn an bis heute im Guten und im Bösen kennzeichnet: die Ambivalenzen von Aufklärung, Freiheit und Fortschritt, die Bewahrung und Bedrohung der Schöpfung. So gelesen wird die biblische Urgeschichte zu einer Chiffre für die Gegenwart. Und sie bezeugt einen Gott, der sich nicht abwendet, sondern verbunden bleibt mit dem, was er geschaffen hat.

Zwingli: God’s Armed Prophet

Forthcoming by Bruce Gordon.

Huldrych Zwingli (1484–1531) was the most significant early reformer after Martin Luther. As the architect of the Reformation in Switzerland, he created the Reformed tradition later inherited by John Calvin. His movement ultimately became a global religion. A visionary of a new society, Zwingli was also a divisive and fiercely radical figure.

Bruce Gordon presents a fresh interpretation of the early Reformation and the key role played by Zwingli. A charismatic preacher and politician, Zwingli transformed church and society in Zurich and inspired supporters throughout Europe. Yet, Gordon shows, he was seen as an agitator and heretic by many and his bellicose, unyielding efforts to realize his vision would prove his undoing. Unable to control the movement he had launched, Zwingli died on the battlefield fighting his Catholic opponents.

Around the time the book appears I’ll be conducting an interview with the author. Stay tuned!

James Barr Assessed

This arrived today for review.

James Barr is a widely recognized name in biblical studies, even if he is still best known for his The Semantics of Biblical Language. Barr’s Semantics, although first published in 1961, still generates animated discussion of its claims. However, over his lengthy career Barr published significant scholarship on a wide variety of topics within Old Testament studies and beyond.

This volume provides an assessment of Barr’s contribution to biblical studies sixty years after the publication of his first and still memorable volume on biblical semantics. As a result, this volume includes essays on major topics such as the Hebrew language, lexical semantics, lexicography, the Septuagint, and biblical theology.

Still True

Something of Potential Interest

The Use and Dissemination of Religious Knowledge in Antiquity

edited by Diana V. Edelman and Catherine Hezser

Ancient Mesopotamian, biblical, rabbinic, and Christian literature was created and transmitted by the intellectual elite and therefore presents their world views and perspectives. This volume investigates for the first time whether and to what extent religious knowledge – e.g., “sacred” narratives, customary practices, legal rules, family traditions, festival observances — was accessible to and known by ordinary people beyond religious functionaries.

Which contexts (e.g., family, synagogue and church, private and public study, communal rituals) enabled the dissemination and acquisition of religious knowledge beyond scholarly circles? In which forms other than written texts was such knowledge available and who (e.g., parents, teachers, scribes, rabbis, priests, monks) mediated it to a public that was largely illiterate? Can we assume that the majority of those who identified themselves as Jewish or Christian would have possessed a “working knowledge” of the respective religious traditions and customary practices? Would that knowledge have differed from one person to another, depending on gender, socio-economic status, religious commitment, and the general circumstances in which one lived?

This book is the first collaborative interdisciplinary study of this important subject area with chapters written by international experts on ancient Mesopotamia, the Hebrew Bible, Qumran literature, rabbinic literature, and early Christianity including apocrypha and monastic traditions.

Hardback

360 pages

Publisher: Equinox Publishing

9781781798768

Publication Date: August 2021

Regular Price: $100.00

Special Offer Price: $80.00

CLICK TO ORDER

Eryl’s Latest

A New Series of Potential Interest

History of Biblical Exegesis

Edited by Mark Elliott, Jennie Grillo, David Lincicum and Benjamin Schließer

History of Biblical Exegesis (HBE) is an international series dealing with the entire scope of the history of biblical exegesis, from antiquity to the present. It resumes the Beiträge zur Geschichte der biblischen Exegese, founded by Gerhard Ebeling and published by Mohr Siebeck from the 1950s to the 1990s. The series includes in its purview works of enduring scholarly value and excellence, ranging from excellent dissertations or first monographs to important conference volumes and collections of essays, to specialist monographs by established experts. History of Biblical Exegesis is understood capaciously to include a broad variety of forms of sustained attention to the biblical text. An international team of editors oversees the series to ensure its academic quality.

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.

Konrad Schmid’s little book introducing readers to the book (or better, library) that we call the Bible is a masterful achievement of clarity and scholarship.  This little work off 119 pages plus indices lays before interested readers the chief topics related to reading the Bible.  The front inside cover contains a map of Palestine in Old Testament times and the back inside cover one of the New Testament era.  It has several images useful to illustrate the important subject matter they are connected with, and its 5 concise chapters give a spectacular overview of the biblical text.

Chapter one discusses the what-ness of the Bible.  What is it, exactly?  And where did it come from?  Chapter two is an examination of the writings of the Hebrew Bible.  It discusses such topics as the culture of writing, the exodus,  the beginning of Judaism, Job, the Torah, and many others.  The bulk of the book is found in this exceptionally readable chapter.

The third chapter is devoted to the texts of early Christianity and it draws a line connecting Jesus with antique Judaism as well as a super discussion of Paul and his letters, and the Gospels and Acts.  Naturally, the other NT texts are also described.

Chapter four helps readers better understand the processes by which the texts of the Old and New Testaments became ‘the Bible’.  In the final chapter, five, the history of the translation of the bible is given a helpful treatment in summary.

This work is a very helpful summary.  Scholars will doubtless find much to quibble with in terms of things that should have been included.  After all, whole forests have been slaughtered to provide enough paper for the books printed on each and every subject herein treated and many others besides, so that some will say ‘why did Schmid include X but not include Y’.

That typical scholarly Monday morning quarterbacking is well known in the guild and need not disturb us.  This book is meritorious and it should find interested readers in schools, colleges, and universities as well as in Churches and bible study groups.

It’s a fantastic resource.  I highly, genuinely, and happily recommend it.  You can read it in a few hours.  And you should.  It’s the perfect size for your bag or purse and you can go through it on your train ride in a morning and an afternoon.

Tolle, lege!

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