Category Archives: Books

A Companion to Joachim of Fiore

Joachim of Fiore (c.1135-1202) remains one of the most fascinating and enigmatic figures of medieval Christianity. In his own time, he was an influential advisor to the mighty and powerful, widely respected for his prophetic exegesis and decoding of the apocalypse. In modern times, many thinkers, from Thomas Müntzer to Friedrich Engels, have hailed him as a prophet of progress and revolution. Even present-day theologians, philosophers and novelists were inspired by Joachim’s vision of a Third Age of the Holy Spirit.

However, at no time was Joachim an uncontroversial figure. Soon after his death, the church authorities became suspicious about the explosive potential of his theology, while more recently historians held him accountable for the fateful progressivism of Western Civilization.

Contributors are: Frances Andrews, Valeria De Fraja, Alfredo Gatto, Peter Gemeinhardt, Sven Grosse, Massimo Iiritano, Bernard McGinn, Matthias Riedl, and Brett Edward Whalen

I’ve worked through it and will post my review of it Monday.

Tigurinerchronik (3 Volumes)

Die dreibändige Ausgabe macht erstmals das historiografische Hauptwerk Heinrich Bullingers (1504–1575), die sogenannte «Tigurinerchronik», zugänglich. Das Werk vermittelt die Sicht des engagierten und belesenen Zwinglinachfolgers, der darin die Geschichte Zürichs mit jener der Eidgenossenschaft und Europas verquickt und aufarbeitet. Die Darstellung, die sich von vorchristlicher Zeit bis zur Reformation erstreckt, ist heilsgeschichtlich angelegt und versteht die Entwicklung des Christentums und der Kirche als Ausbreitung der Wahrheit (Antike), deren Verschüttung (Mittelalter) und der Wiederentdeckung (Reformation). Dabei erhält die Stadt Zürich hohe Bedeutung und ihre Reform die endgültige Legitimation.

Mit der vorliegenden umfangreichen kritischen Edition – Bullingers eigenhändiges Manuskript umfasst rund 1800 Folioseiten – steht der Forschung nun diese wichtige Quelle des 16. Jahrhunderts zur Verfügung.

Heinrich Bullinger Werke, Band WA4 = HI1
2018, 1854 (in drei Bänden) Seiten, 16.8 x 24.4 cm, Leinen mit SU
ISBN 978-3-290-17851-2
450,00 €

A review copy has been sent.  More anon (after I read through it-  which will take a couple of months).

Wussten Sie, dass die Reformierten lange Zeit für Theater sorgten?

A little collection of essays by our own Peter Opitz has been published by the great folk at TVZ.

Die gesammelten Kolumnen aus dem bref Magazin

  • Überraschendes aus der Reformation
  • Fundiert und humorvoll
  • Die beliebten Kolumnen aus dem bref Magazin

They’ve sent a review copy, so watch for it.

Interpreting the Bible Through Images

Refo500 announces

Neuerscheinung bei Schnell und Steiner: Johann Anselm Steiger, Bibelauslegung durch Bilder. Zur sakralen Intermedialität im 16. bis 18. Jahrhundert. Das Buch erscheint in der Reihe “Kunst und Konfession in der Frühen Neuzeit“. 

Etc.

#TBT- The First Book I Had Published

Was this one, in 2011.  I’d written reviews and articles and such before that, but this was the first book.  And it’s always been my favorite, even though I would totally rewrite it now.   I’ll always appreciate Quartz Hill Publishing for taking it on (along with the Commentary).

Your firstborn is always your favorite.

New Things from Avraham Faust

The Southern Levant Under Assyrian Domination, edited by Shawn Zelig Aster and Avraham Faust, and published by Eisenbrauns (an imprint of the Pennsylvania State University Press).

This Looks Like a Fantastic Book!

If you click on the Leseprobe link it takes you to the first 75 pages of the book (and it’s over 500 pages) and if you check out the table of contents your jaw will drop.

With many thanks to Chris Tilling for mentioning it on his resuscitated blog.

Dogmatik als gedankliche Rechenschaft des christlichen Glaubens ist eine soteriologische Interpretation der Wirklichkeit. Sie analysiert ihre Erlösungsbedürftigkeit unter der Voraussetzung der biblisch bezeugten Erlösungswirklichkeit. Das ist der Grundgedanke des renommierten Wiener Systematikers Ulrich H. J. Körtner in seinem umfassenden Lehrbuch, das fünf Hauptteile ­umfasst.

Anhand der Leitbegriffe Gott, Welt und Mensch bietet es eine kompakte Darstellung aller Hauptthemen christlicher Dogmatik, ihrer problemgeschichtlichen Zusammenhänge und der gegenwärtigen Diskussion. Leitsätze bündeln den Gedankengang. Das dem lutherischen und dem reformierten Erbe reformatorischer Theologie verpflichtete Lehrbuch berücksichtigt in besonderer Weise die Leuenberger Konkordie (1973) und die Lehrgespräche der Gemeinschaft Evangelischer Kirchen in Europa (GEKE).

The Bible & Archaeology

Ancient artifacts and the Bible illuminate each other in various ways, but it can be difficult to understand how this process works and how archaeological discoveries should be interpreted. In this book, Matthieu Richelle provides a concise, up-to-date introduction to the relationship between archaeology and the Old and New Testament Scriptures. He shows how historic physical artifacts and the biblical texts illuminate one another—creating a fascinating “dialogue” that sheds light on the meaning of both.  What emerges is a rich and balanced picture that enlivens our understanding of the Bible’s message, increases our appreciation for the historical and cultural contexts in which it was written, and helps us be realistic about the limits of our knowledge. This work is revised and updated from the original French translation.

It’s available here.  The publisher has sent a review copy, so look for a review later.

Over 1000 Old Books from St Gallen are Online

Das St. Galler Staatsarchiv stellt Kirchenbücher online zur Verfügung. Wer sich für seine Vorfahren interessiert, kann sich so über Taufen, Ehen und Todesfällen seit dem 16. Jahrhundert informieren.

Die Inhalte von 1146 reformierten und katholischen Kirchenbüchern sind neu via Internet zugänglich, wie die St. Galler Staatskanzlei am 15. Juni mitteilt. Historische Kirchenbücher seien als eine Art Vorläufer der heutigen Zivilstandsregister unverzichtbare Geschichtsquellen – besonders für die Genealogie (Familienforschung).

Bisher konnten die Kirchenbücher lediglich auf Mikrofilm im Lesesaal des Staatsarchivs eingesehen werden. In aufwendiger Arbeit habe das Staatsarchiv in Absprache mit den Kirchen und in Zusammenarbeit mit der Organisation «FamilySearch» die digitalisierten Mikrofilme aufbereitet, schreibt die Staatskanzlei. Zugang erhält man unter staatsarchiv.sg.ch.

Via.

Two Reviews from the Zurichers

Via Christoph Heilig on the Zurich NT Blog facebook page-

Prof. Andreas Lindemann in the „Theologische Rundschau“ (82/3) on Jordash Kiffiak’s „Responses in the Miracle Stories of the Gospels: Between Artistry and Inherited Tradition“:

„Das letzte hier vorzustellende Buch, 2017 erschienen, ist die an der Hebräischen Universität in Jerusalem geschriebene Dissertation von Jordash Kiffiak. … Thema sind die in den Wundererzählungen überlieferten, sehr unterschiedlichen Reaktionen der Menschen auf das geschehene Wunder, traditionell als ‚Chorschluss‘ bezeichnet. K. betont, dass es zu diesem Aspekt der Wundererzählungen in den Evangelien bislang noch keine monographische Studie gegeben hat. … Der sehr umfangreiche Band ist sorgfältig und nachvollziehbar gegliedert. … Man wird bei einem derart umfangreichen, m. E. im besten Sinne als ‚innovativ‘ zu bezeichnenden Werk Fragen und Einwände vorbringen können. Gleichwohl scheint mir die Studie von Jordash Kiffiak im Ansatz und in der sorgfältigen Durchführung der Frage nach der Bedeutung der ‚responses‘ in den Wundererzählungen in ganz besonderer Weise erwähnenswert zu sein.“ (Learn more about the book here: https://www.uzh.ch/…/characters-responses-to-miracles-in-t…/)

Prof. Dietrich-Alex Koch in the „Theologische Literaturzeitung“ (143/68) on Christoph Heilig’s „Paul’s Triumph: Reassessing 2 Corinthians 2:14 in Its Literary and Historical Context“:

„Christoph Heilig legt eine umfassende sprachliche und exegetische Untersuchung zu der [in 2. Kor 2,14] verwendeten Metapher vom Triumphzug vor. Nach einleitenden Ausführungen zu Aufgabenstellung und Vorgehensweise (Chapter 1, 3–24) folgt das grundlegende 2. Kapitel (25–116), in dem der Vf. erstmalig mit Hilfe des TLG eine vollständige Auflistung aller verfügbaren Vorkommen des Verbs θριαμβεύειν bietet (37–51), die er anschließend hinsichtlich der lexikalischen Verwendung analysiert. Damit liefert er für alle künftigen Diskussionen eine stabile Grundlage. … Im 7. Kapitel (241–259) führt der Vf. die bisher gewonnenen Er¬gebnisse zusammen. Er hebt zwei zentrale Elemente der Metapher vom Triumphzug hervor: Das Herumgeführtwerden und das Mo¬ment der Beschämung der Herumgeführten in den Augen der Zuschauer. … Der Vf. hat die Diskussion um die Bedeutung von θριαμβεύειν in 2Kor 2,14 auf eine neue Grundlage gestellt und diese Analyse wagemutig mit einer zugespitzten These verknüpft. Auch wenn man dieser These nicht zu folgen vermag, wird diese Arbeit die künftige Diskussion maßgeblich bestimmen.”
(Learn more about the book here: https://www.uzh.ch/bl…/theologie-nt/2017/…/02/pauls-triumph/)

For Those who Love Tuebingen

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750 Jahre Augustinerkloster und Evangelisches Stift in Tübingen     Hrsg. v. Volker Henning Drecoll, unter Mitarb. v. Vanessa Bayha

[750 Years of the Augustinian Monastery and Evangelisches Stift in Tübingen. Published in German.]  A specialist conference examined the history of the Augustinian Monastery in Tübingen and produced new research contributions, which are now collected in this volume.

Studien zu Jesus und dem frühen Christentum

Ulrich B. Müller’s work is distinguished above all by his profound knowledge of early Jewish and ancient Christian prophecy and apocalypticism. This compilation of essays written between 2004 and 2014 by the New Testament scholar is published in honor of his 80th birthday. The first part includes studies on the historical Jesus and his self-understanding, followed by essays on the theological lines of development of early Christianity.

The T&T Clark Companion to the Dead Sea Scrolls

Word today that the volume is due out next month

The Dead Sea Scrolls are one of the most important archaeological discoveries of the last century. They have great historical, religious, and linguistic significance, not least in relation to the transmission of many of the books which came to be included in the Hebrew Bible. This companion comprises over 70 articles, exploring the entire body of the key texts and documents labelled as Dead Sea Scrolls.

Beginning with a section on the complex methods used in discovering, archiving and analysing the Scrolls, the focus moves to consideration of the Scrolls in their various contexts: political, religious, cultural, economic and historical. The genres ascribed to groups of texts within the Scrolls- including exegesis and interpretation, poetry and hymns, and liturgical texts – are then examined, with due attention given to both past and present scholarship. The main body of the Companion concludes with crucial issues and topics discussed by leading scholars. Complemented by extensive appendices and indexes, this Companion provides the ideal resource for those seriously engaging with the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Table of contents

Abbreviations
List of Images and Figures
List of Contributors
Introduction – George J. Brooke and Charlotte Hempel

I. Background
Discoveries – Hans Debel
Archaeology of Qumran – Dennis Mizzi
Manuscript Collections: An Overview – Mladen Popovic
Publication Process – Weston Fields and son
Scholarly and Popular Reception – Matthew Collins

II. Context
Ethnicity: A Fresh Religious Context of the Scrolls – Robert Kugler
The Yahad in the Context of Hellenistic Group Formation – Benedikt Eckhardt
Regional Context of the Dead Sea – Joan E. Taylor
Qumran and the Ancient Near East – Henryk Drawnel
Scrolls and Early Judaism – George J. Brooke
Scrolls and Early Christianity – Albert Hogeterp
Scrolls and Hellenistic Jewish Literature
a. Philo – Joan E. Taylor
b. Josephus – James McLaren
c. Other Literature – Matthias Henze
Scrolls and non-Jewish Hellenistic Literature – Jutta Leonhardt Balzer

III. Methods 
Physicality of Manuscripts and Material Culture – Ingo Kottsieper
Scientific Technologies – Ingo Kottsieper
Reading and Reconstructing Manuscripts – Annette Steudel
Languages: Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek – Holger Gzella
Biblical Scholarship and Qumran Studies – Reinhard G. Kratz
Scrolls and the Study of the Ancient World – Benjamin Wright
Historiography – Philip R. Davies
Social Scientific Approaches
a. Sectarianism – David Chalcraft
b. Sociolinguistics – Trine Hasselbach
c. Identity Theory – Lloyd Pietersen
Postmodern and Poststructuralist Questions – Maxine Grossman

IV. Key Texts 
Aramaic Job – David Shepherd
Aramaic Levi – Vered Hillel
Authoritative Scriptures: Torah and Related Texts – Katell Berthelot
Authoritative Scriptures: Prophets and Related Texts – Roman Vielhauer
Authoritative Scriptures: Writings and Related Texts – Ulrich Dahmen
Authoritative Scriptures: Other – Kelley Coblentz Bautch and Jack Weinbender
Barkhi Nafshi – Daniel Falk
Bar Kokhba Letters – Lutz Doering
Beatitudes – Dorothy Peters
Berakhot – Daniel Falk
Commentaries on Genesis – George J. Brooke
Copper Scroll – Jesper Høgenhaven
Damascus Document (D) – Liora Goldman
Genesis Apocryphon – Daniel Machiela
Hodayot (H) – Angela Kim Harkins
Instruction – Benjamin Wold
Messianic Apocalypse – Eric Mason
Mil?amah (M) – Brian Schultz
Miq?at Ma?ase ha-Torah (MMT) – Hanne von Weissenberg
Mysteries – Samuel Thomas
New Jerusalem – Michael Langlois
Pesharim – Shani Tzoref
Rule of Blessings (Sb) – Judith Newman
Rule of Congregation (Sa) – Corrado Martone
Serekh ha-Yahad (S) – Stephen Hultgren
Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice – Judith Newman
Son of God Text – Eric Mason
Tan?umim – Jesper Hogenhaven
Temple Scroll – Joseph Angel
Testimonia – Eva Mroczek
Wiles of Wicked Woman – Michael Lesley
Words of the Luminaries – Judith Newman

V. Types of Literature
Bible – Mika Pajunen
Parabiblical Texts /Rewritten Scripture – Molly Zahn
Exegesis and Interpretation – Michael Segal
Halakhah – Vered Noam
Rules – Charlotte Hempel
Poetry and Hymns – Daniel Stökl Ben Ezra
Liturgical Texts – Daniel Falk
Calendars – Helen Jacobus
Wisdom – Matthew Goff
Mystical Texts, Magic, and Divination – Gideon Bohak

VI. Issues and Topics 
Patriarchs and Aramaic Traditions – Ariel Feldman
Revelation – Hindy Najman and Nick Hilton
God(s), Angels and Demons – Hanne von Weissenberg
Eschatologies and Messianisms – Kenneth E. Pomykala
Jerusalem and the Temple – Mila Ginsburskaya
Purity and Holiness – Cecilia Wassen
The Scribes of the Scrolls – Eibert J. C. Tigchelaar
Forms of Community – Alison Schofield
Daily Life – Cecilia Wassen
Ethics and Dualism – Marcus Tso
War and Violence -Alex Jassen

APPENDICES A-G – Drew Longacre, Michael DeVries

Index – Michael DeVries

Erfahrung im Alten Testament: Untersuchung zur Exegese des Alten Testaments bei Franz Delitzsch

Der Tatsache, dass die exegetische Arbeit des Leipziger und Erlanger Theologen Franz Delitzsch schon zu seiner eigenen Zeit als altmodisch galt, entspricht nicht die Rezeption und Aufmerksamkeit, die seine Schriften im deutschsprachigen wie im englischsprachigen Raum genossen haben und teilweise noch genießen. Diese Dissertation untersucht mit Blick auf dieses Phänomen den von Delitzsch angewandten Ansatz und dessen Wurzeln in der lutherischen Erlanger Schule, zu der er – so zeigt es sich – eindeutig gehörte. Gegenwärtige Debatten über die Stellung des Alten Testaments in christlicher Theologie bestätigen die dauerhafte Relevanz solcher Untersuchungen, gerade wenn man Delitzschs bemerkenswerte Beziehung zum Judentum bedenkt.

EVA has also sent a copy of this for review.

The volume at hand is a revised doctoral dissertation, submitted to the Humboldt University in Berlin in 2016.

Chapter One serves to introduce the reader to the biographical waystations of Prof. Delitzsch, from his youth through his time at Leipzig, Rostock, Erlangen, and back to Leipzig.  It also includes an excursus on the exegetical environment and Delitzsch’s place in the history of research at the time.

Chapter two moves into the chief contributions of Delitszch overturning the allegorical approach by means of  the ‘Salvation Historical’ approach.  This chapter is incredibly interesting and opens an important window on a very significant period of the development of academic theology.

Chapter three presents a more problematic aspect of D’s work- his belief that Christianity (and Christ) are resident within the Old Testament.  To be sure, his approach was remarkable for its time- but we have learned better.

The fourth chapter is what I would term a highwater tirade against Marcionitism as found in the modern Church and its refusal to appreciate fully the Old Testament.  This wide ranging section includes such aspects as the work of the prophets and their inspiration as well as a discussion of the Psalms and wisdom literature.

Chapter five is also quite illuminating from a historical perspective because it discusses various of the academic battles fought between the school of Wellhausen and the conservatives (including Delitzsch).

Finally, in the sixth chapter, Corzine provides a summary of the argument of the entire volume.  This is followed by a bibliography of Delitzsch, a subject index, an index of persons, and an index of places.

This is a lovely volume and very informative.  Did you know, for instance, that Delitzsch was born on 23 February in 1813 and that he began the study of Hebrew at the Nikolaigymnasium in 1827?  He was, then, studying Hebrew at the age of 14.  He was also tremendously interested in the mission to the Jews.  So interested, in fact, that he translated the New Testament into Hebrew and that translation still stands as the most widely used and cited.  Here is a sampling:

עַל־כֵּן גַּם־הָאֱלֹהִים נְתָנָם לַטּוּמְאָה בְּתַאֲוֹת לִבָּם לְנַבֵּל גְּוִיּוֹתֵיהֶם אִישׁ בְּרֵעֵהוּ׃
אֲשֶׁר הֵמִירוּ אֲמִתּוֹ שֶׁל הָאֱלֹהִים בַּשָּׁקֶר וַיְכַבְּדוּ אֶת־הַבְּרִיָּה לְעָבְדָהּ תַּחַת בֹּרְאָהּ הַמְבֹרָךְ לְעוֹלָמִים אָמֵן׃
בַּעֲבוּר זֹאת נְתָנָם הָאֱלֹהִים לְתַאֲוֹת בּוּשָׁה כִּי־נְשֵׁיהֶם הֶחֱלִיפוּ אֶת־דֶּרֶךְ אֶרֶץ בְּשֶׁלֹּא כְּדֶרֶךְ אָרֶץ׃
וְכֵן גַּם־הַזְּכָרִים עָזְבוּ דֶרֶךְ גֶּבֶר בְּאִשָּׁה וַיֵּחַמּוּ זֶה בָזֶה בְּתַאֲוָתָם וַיַּעֲשׂוּ תוֹעֵבָה זָכָר עִם־זָכָר וַיִּקְחוּ שְׂכַר מְשׁוּבָתָם הָרָאוּי לָהֶם בְּעֶצֶם גּוּפָם׃
וְכַאֲשֶׁר מָאֲסוּ דַּעַת אֱלֹהִים נְתָנָם הָאֱלֹהִים בִּידֵי דֵעָה נִמְאָסָה לַעֲשׂוֹת אֵת אֲשֶׁר־לֹא יֵעָשֶׂה׃

Few scholars have impacted Conservative (in the best sense of that much maligned word) scholarship than Delitzsch.  His commentary on the Old Testament, his translation of the New Testament, and his many monographs have shaped the minds of many.  This present book is a glorious introduction to the man in his time and place and to his contributions in their historical contexts.  I highly recommend it.

Will Ross Talks About the ‘Septuagint Reader’s Edition’

Over at our blog Septuaginta, I put together some information about what vocabulary we provided in the apparatus of our reader’s edition. Plus if you stick with it you’ll find a sample text from Exodus at the bottom of the post.

Via.

Metaphor Competition in the Book of Job

Within the book of Job, the interlocutors (Job, the friends, and Yahweh) seem to largely ignore one another’s arguments.

This observation leads some to propose that the dialogue lacks conceptual coherence. Lance Hawley argues that the interlocutors tangentially and sometimes overtly attend to previously stated points of view and attempt to persuade their counterparts through the employment of metaphor.

Hawley uses the theoretical approach of Conceptual Metaphor Theory to trace the concepts of speech and animals throughout the dialogue. Beyond explaining the individual metaphors in particular texts, he shows how speech metaphors compete with one another, most perceptibly in the expressions of job’s words are wind. With regard to animal metaphors, coherence is especially perceptible in the job is a predatory animal metaphor. In these expressions, the dialogue demonstrates intentional picking-up on previously stated arguments.

Hawley argues that the animal images in the divine speeches are not metaphorical, in spite of recent scholarly interpretation that reads them as such. Rather, Yahweh appears as a sage to question the negative status of wild animals that Job and his friends assume in their significations of people are animals. This is especially apparent in Yahweh’s strophes on the lion and the wild donkey, both of which appear multiple times in the metaphorical expressions of Job and his friends.

The first question potential readers of this book will want answered is ‘what is it about?’  The answer:

The discourse between Job and his companions is one in which each side grows increasingly frustrated with the other. Although the dialogue seems to devolve into entrenched speeches for and against their respective points of view, the speakers demonstrate a level of common knowledge about the way that the world functions. In the course of their speeches, they express numerous metaphors to support their arguments. Acts of metaphor production and interpretation depend upon interlocutors sharing knowledge and basic assumptions about the world, which are grounded in embodied experiences (Gibbs, Lima, and Francozo 2004, 1189–1210). In order to make meaning out of metaphorical construals, speakers and hearers must have a common source world, from which they project and interpret the imagery construed in metaphor.

The volume works through Job with a fine toothed comb and mines it for every minute narratival metaphor within.  Furthermore

The book of Job is a single written corpus that proceeds on at least three discourse levels. The first level is an author’s discourse communicated to potential readers. On the second level, the narrator seeks to communicate with an audience, synonomous with the readers themselves in the book of Job. The third level is represented by the dialogue between the characters within the Joban discourse.

Unlike the faddish few who discount Wisdom as genre, Hawley maintains

Interpreting the book of Job as wisdom literature is essential for recognizing its literary conventions and its function as a text.

And so it is.  The book proceeds in six chapters to show the interconnections between all of its characters.  Beginning in Chapter One, ‘The Book of Job as a Conceptual Narrative’, Hawley lays the groundwork methodologically.  The methodological development continues in Chapter Two, ‘Conceptual Metaphor Theory and the Joban Discourse’.  Chapters three and four delve into speech metaphors and animal metaphors in Job and here Hawley begins to apply the previously discussed methodological tools and shows, with great skill, how carefully the author of Job has chosen his words with incredible care.

Chapter Five, ‘Yahweh’s Animal Images as a Response to Job’, is the apex of the monograph, showing in a profoundly interesting way the metaphorical power of Yahweh’s response to Job.  Chapter Six is the conclusion (where Hawley summarizes it all).

In the book of Job, metaphorical construal discloses the speakers’ assumptions and variant perspectives on Job’s suffering, highlighting key areas of agreement and disagreement throughout the discourse. The dialogue takes place within the discourse world of the literary characters, which is presented by a real author to real readers. The book is so difficult, in part, because readers are only able to access the major themes and rhetorical aims of the text through the direct speech of the characters. And which voice wins out? Job is more right than the friends (42:7), but he is also wrong (38:2). The typically trusted voice of Yahweh is opaque, and the relatively silent narrator does not provide us with an interpretive key. In spite of the book’s philosophical and literary difficulties, the readerly effort to seek out the meaning of the book of Job is not to be discounted. Indeed, part of the meaning must reside in the experience of reading itself, struggling with the complexities and ambiguities throughout the dialogue. Any effort at conceptualizing the meaning of the book of Job must keep in mind the overall arc of the book, but also grapple with the minutia of the poetic dialogue, that is, particular turns of phrase, subtle innuendoes, and elusive allusions, all of which come to light in the study of metaphor.

The usual indices follow.

This is a fine study.  It is careful, it is leaned, it is filled with insight.  It is highly recommended.

 

The Early Karl Barth: Historical Contexts and Intellectual Formation 1905–1935

Paul Silas Peterson presents Karl Barth (1886–1968) in his sociopolitical, cultural, ecclesial and theological contexts from 1905 to 1935. The time period begins in 1905, as Barth began to prepare for a speech on the “social question” (which he held in 1906). It ends in 1935, the year he returned to Switzerland from Germany. In the foreground of Peterson’s inquiry is Barth’s relation to the features of his time, especially radical socialist ideology, WWI, an intellectual trend that would later be called the Conservative Revolution, the German Christians, the Young Reformation Movement, and National Socialism. Barth’s view of and interaction with the Jews is also analyzed along with other issues, such as radical thinking, anti-liberalism, alterity, anti- or trans-historicism, Expressionism, and New Objectivity. The author also addresses specific questions disputed in the secondary literature, such as Barth’s theological development, the place of WWI in his intellectual development, his role in the Dehn Case, his reaction to the rise of fascism in Europe, his relationship to 19 thcentury modern liberal Protestantism, his relationship to the Leonhard Ragaz-wing of the Religious Socialists, and his relationship to the Weimar Republic.

Mohr have provided a copy for review.  More anon.

Pentateuchstudien

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Albertz, Rainer Pentateuchstudien   Hrsg. v. Jakob Wöhrle, unter Mitarb. v. Friederike Neumann

[Pentateuch Studies. Published in German.]  Twenty-one studies dedicated to the composition and redaction of the Pentateuch and the Hexateuch, written over ten years as part of the Münster Old Testament scholar Rainer Albertz’s work on his Exodus Commentary, are gathered in this volume.  » Published as volume 117 in the series Forschungen zum Alten Testament.

For those who are interested in such things.

Sprüche (Proverbia) 1-15

Bernd U. Schipper reads the book of Proverbs within the context of ancient Near Eastern wisdom literature and at the same time as an integral part of the Old Testament. As a work of literature from the Second Temple period, the book of Proverbs takes part in the theological debates of its time over issues such as the significance of the Torah (and particularly the Deuteronomic law) or whether humans are capable of living in accordance with the divine will.

The analysis of ancient Near Eastern parallels gives special attention to textual material that has previously not been applied to the exegesis of the book of Proverbs: the sapiential texts from the Egyptian Late Period (6th–2nd c. B.C.E.).

On the whole, the final form of the book of Proverbs emerges as a text from the late Persian and early Hellenistic periods that can be ascribed to a circle of “scribes” who were well-versed in the scriptures of ancient Israel.

The publisher, V&R, have sent a review copy. My thoughts are below, and to save space you are encouraged to visit here for the TOC and front matter.

Two words spring immediately to mind concerning this volume:  Lengthy and thorough.  The volume is 870 pages long plus indices, and it only covers just less than half of the Book of Proverbs!  By contrast, the entire Book of Proverbs itself runs from page 947 to 972 in Dothan’s edition of Codex Leningradensis, a paltry 25 pages.

Schipper fills the space with 116 pages of introduction leading up to his discussion of Pr 1:1-7.  Each pericope is prefaced by a bibliography and includes a new translation of the text, copious text critical notes, an ‘orientation’ to the passage, the ‘Form’ of the passage, and a word by word and phrase by phrase commentary proper.  Each pericope is then discussed as to its ‘Aim’ (or goal).

This pattern is repeated throughout the volume with occasional insertions of ‘Forschungsgeschitliche Skizze’ when needed.

English readers need no despair; the present volume will also appear in English in the Hermeneia Commentary series (though at the moment it does not yet appear on the Fortress Press website).

This is a historical critical commentary in the best sense of that phrase.  It is classic in style and presentation and offers scholars (though not casual readers) a state of the art critical commentary on one of the Bible’s most intriguing books.  Schipper writes clearly and in spite of the size of the work, precisely.  He wastes not a word.

Readers of the volume are encouraged to take special note of the ‘Aim’ of each pericope.  Here Schipper makes some of the most interesting and relevant observations found in the volume.  In short he shows with stunning clarity the utter relevance of the Book of Proverbs.  Yet he does so whilst avoiding completely any eisegetical tendencies.  Proverbs is shown to be relevant- but without the gymnastics usually performed by eisegetes.

Weisheitliche Bildung hat zwar ihren Wert, kann jedoch den Menschen nicht allein zum Leben führen.  Dazu ist JHWH nötig, denn neben der weisheitlichen Kompetenz gibt es den Weg der Torheit, der genauso machtvoll ist wie die personifizierte Weisheit (p. 578).

Readers of German will want to obtain a copy for themselves or encourage their library to do so and English readers will want to watch for the publication of the Hermeneia edition.  This is a commentary well worth consulting.

The Violence of the Lamb: Martyrs as Agents of Divine Judgement in the Book of Revelation

The act of martyrdom in the worldview of the Apocalypse has been considered to be an exemplification of non-violent resistance. Paul Middleton argues here, however, that it is in fact a representation of direct participation by Christians, through their martyrdom, in divine violence against those the author of Revelation portrays as God’s enemies. Middleton shows that acceptance of martyrdom is to grasp the invitation to participate in the Revelation’s divine violence. Martyrs follow the model laid down by the Lamb, who was not only slain, but resurrected, glorified, and who executes judgement.

The world created by the Apocalypse encourages readers to conquer the Beast through martyrdom, but also through the experience of resurrection and being appointed judges. In this role, martyrs participate in the judgement of the wicked by sharing the Lamb’s power to judge. Different from eschewing violence, the conceptual world of the Apocalypse portrays God, the Lamb, and the martyrs as possessing more power, might, and violent potential than the Emperor and his armies. Middleton believes that martyrdom and violence are necessary components of the worldview of Revelation.

Bloomsbury sent a review copy.  Following are my thoughts on the work.

In his introduction, Middleton discusses the notion of violence and martyrdom in the book of Revelation in terms of the way he reads ‘violence’ in the Apocalypse and in terms of how he reads ‘martyrdom’ in the book.  He then outlines for readers the road ahead (presumably so that readers can decide right off if that path is one they wish to travel).

Following on that is the first chapter wherein our guide to things apocalyptic describes the notion of Christian ‘persecution’ (his scare quotes) and the dating of the Apocalypse.  Chapter two is a discussion of the Christology of the Apocalypse.  Then, naturally, chapter three, which seems to me to be the heart of the matter, is a thorough discussion of the Lamb of the Apocalypse and his role as proto-martyr.  Here Middleton puts on the hat of the exegete and he wears it well.  It fits, it’s fair to say, and he doesn’t do a terrible job of it.  And that, it must be said, is something that cannot be said of so much of the work which passes as exegesis of Revelation.

Chapter four continues the exegetical task and this time the focus is on the Lamb as the divine judge.  Chapter five is titled ‘A Theology of Martyrdom in the Book of Revelation’ and serves as a theological exposition on the basis of the exegetical work performed in the previous two chapters.  Here, in this reviewers estimation, Prof. Middleton is at his best.  He’s a good historian, a better exegete, and a really very fine systematician (though for some reason I think he would see things in exactly the opposite way).  Yet I must suggest that Middleton has truly shown a gift for theological exposition in this final chapter: a gift that very few New Testament scholars in our time possess (with the very notable exception of Peter Stuhlmacher, who is the finest New Testament theologian presently working).

Read the conclusion first, though, because it summarizes the work so helpfully that reading it first will help readers immensely.  Middleton (or his editorial team) then provide a bibliography which is quite up to date and indices of references and authors.

This, to be sure, is not a commentary on the Book of Revelation.  It is a classic monograph.  It looks at one aspect of the text and then musters all the evidence necessary in order to show modern readers what the ancient text is attempting.  Yet unlike many (too many) academic monographs, Middleton does it in an interesting and at times entertaining way.  So, for instance, a sample can be seen in his discussion of the four horsemen:

This is a wonderfully enjoyable book.  It is the ideal supplemental text for a course on Revelation (along with a couple of good commentaries as the primary text of course).  And it is the ideal book for anyone interested in violence in the Bible and / or martyrdom in the early Church.

I cannot resist recommending it.