Weekend Pleasure

Today’s the day for a little football and a lot of reading.  No writing on the agenda.  Here’s the volume in hand:


And of course, Chelsea play Manchester United (also known as ManU(re)).


Go Chelsea!!!!!!

A Few Things Worth Mentioning

James Durham (1622-1658) And the Gospel Offer in its Seventeenth Century Context by Donald MacLean, The free offer of the gospel has been a matter of significant debate within Reformed theology. However, despite this controversy, Reformed theologians such as James Durham preached a gospel offer which was a sincere and free invitation from God to all, to embrace Jesus Christ as Saviour. This gospel offer expressed God’s grace and goodness to all. Donald MacLean argues that Durham’s doctrinal position is representative of the Westminster Standards and embraced by his contemporaries and evidenced by the later disputes concerning the meaning of the teaching of the Westminster Confession of Faith. For more information, please visit: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=56483

Reformation 1517-2017: Ökumenische Perspektiven, Regular Price: $25.00 / Special Offer Price: $20.00. Dorothea Sattler and Volker Leppin present an anthology stemming from the Ecumenical Work Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologists (ÖAK). The authors discuss the theological importance of the history of the Reformation with reference to modern ecumenical challenges. On occasion of the 500th anniversary of Luther’s Reformation, Dorothea Sattler and Volker Leppin present an anthology stemming from the Ecumenical Work Group of Protestant and Catholic Theologists (ÖAK). In the contributions included, the authors reconstruct the historical events of the 16th century and discuss their meaning from the vantage point of systematic theology. The Reformation is taken as an occasion for an interconfessional cooperation to determine the nature of the Protestant Church and to constructively and critically rethink the modern ecumenical challenges facing the Church. (German text). For more information, please visit: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=55553

Some Things Which May Be Of Interest

Kommunikation in der Kirche des 3. Jahrhunderts: Bischöfe und Gemeinden zwischen Konflikt und Konsens im Imperium Romanum, by Eva Baumkamp, Regular Price: $135.00 / Special Offer Price: $108.00. Publisher: Mohr Siebeck. Series: Studien und Texte zu Antike und Christentum / Studies and Texts in Antiquity and Christianity, 92. For more information, please visit: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=56392

Worte der Weissagung: Studien zu Septuaginta und Johannesoffenbarung, edited by Julian Elschenbroich and Johannes de Vries. Publication Date: September 2014. Regular Price: $66.00 / Special Offer Price: $53.00. Publisher: Evangelische Verlagsanstalt. Description: The Book of Revelation describes itself as “words of prophecy” (1,3) and is deeply rooted in the language and traditions of Israel’s Scriptures. Focusing on textual critical and theological questions, this volume contains studies on the Septuagint and the Apocalypse, offering a variety of different approaches in exegetical, archaeological and systematic theological perspectives. (German text). For more information, please visit: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=56316

The Reformed David(s) and the Question of Resistance to Tyranny

9780567655493I’ve reviewed this one for RBL so you’ll have to read it there when it’s published- but I wanted to mention it here as well just as a heads up for people interested in Reception History.  It really is quite a good study.  Quite good.

This study centers on the question: how do particular readers read a biblical passage? What factors govern each reading? DeLapp here attempts to set up a test case for observing how both socio-historical and textual factors play a part in how a person reads a biblical text. Using a reception-historical methodology, he surveys five Reformed authors and their readings of the David and Saul story (primarily 1 Sam 24 and 26). From this survey two interrelated phenomena emerge. First, all the authors find in David an ideal model for civic praxis-a “Davidic social imaginary” (Charles Taylor). Second, despite this primary agreement, the authors display two different reading trajectories when discussing David’s relationship with Saul. Some read the story as showing a persecuted exile, who refuses to offer active resistance against a tyrannical monarch. Others read the story as exemplifying active defensive resistance against a tyrant.

To account for this convergence and divergence in the readings, DeLapp argues for a two-fold conclusion. The authors are influenced both by their socio-historical contexts and by the shape of the biblical text itself. Given a Deuteronomic frame conducive to the social imaginary, the paradigmatic narratives of 1 Sam 24 and 26 offer a narrative gap never resolved. The story never makes explicit to the reader what David is doing in the wilderness in relation to King Saul. As a result, the authors fill in the “gap” in ways that accord with their own socio-historical experiences.

Answering My Mail

Dear Jim,

What commentary do you recommend for people who are just beginning the read the Bible or who have been reading the Bible their whole lives and still want to know more but haven’t had the chance to go to grad school or anything like that?


Thanks for your note Jim.  Here’s my answer-  My Commentary.


Individual books can still be obtained here but the entire series in pdf can only be acquired directly from me. And the procedure is simple:

1- Drop me an email at jwest@highland.net telling me you’d like it.
2- Paypal the cost of the volumes.
3- I will then send them to you without delay.
4- When Samuel and Kings are done, the pdfs will be sent to all who have obtained the series.

But do please note, the purchase entitles you to make use of the volumes for your personal use but they may not be shared or given or sold to second parties under any circumstances.  Of course there’s no way to monitor your honesty in this matter, but you’ll know.  And so will God.

Mind you, I’m not a marketer and I know nothing about business or the business of selling things. I’ve never been in biblical studies for the money and I’m not aiming to make a fortune with the complete series in pdf.

But, that said, all the hours put into these volumes are worth something, so I’m selling the lot for $199.

That’s my answer.  Tell your friends.  I’m old and will be retiring soon.  And sooner if you buy them.  Sooner.  Much sooner.

Barth et al and the Confessing Church

Again, TVZ keeps producing such interesting things.  Like this:



From ISD in North America.

Jesus and the Evangelists


From the great folk at TVZ or ISD.

A New Book from the British Library on Codex Sinaiticus

This will be of interest to many, I imagine.  Ordering information is on the first page of the catalog available at this link for those outside the States and it can be obtained from Hendrickson in the States.


The Text of the Hebrew Bible: From the Rabbis to the Masoretes

978-3-525-55064-9This new volume from V&R

… aims to open up the discussion and research of the up to now unstudied period of the History of the Hebrew Bible text: the period from the apparent stabilization of the Hebrew biblical text until the standardization that is reflected in the manuscripts of biblical text, those including the Masorah (c. 2nd – 9th centuries A.D.). What took place from the time of the standardization of the consonantic text of the Hebrew Bible until the appearance of the first Masoretic codices? How was the biblical text preserved in the meantime? How was the body of notes that makes up the Masorah formed? How can the diversity of the textual traditions contained in the Masorah be explained and be consistent with the idea of a text established and standardized centuries before?

V&R sent a review copy and here’s my take-

First of all, those interested in the full contents of the volume can follow the link above for a flipbook of the front matter of the volume. V&R provides this for most of the volumes which I’ve seen on their website and though a few other publishers also provide this service I think it would be brilliant if all did. At least on new materials. Like many, I like to know exactly what’s in a book before I commit to purchasing it.

The essays here are by excellent scholars and the conference from which they originated must have been quite an interesting gathering. Most of the scholars who contributed papers are exceedingly well known (for instance, E. Tov needs no introduction) and those whose names are not yet widely discussed will most likely be so in the near future.

Some excerpts from the volume may, I hope, provide potential readers with enough of a sense of the collection that they can decide whether it would be of interest to them and useful for their own research.

P. 45 – From a textual point of view, it was a mere coincidence that MT was the only text remaining after the destruction of the Temple. This situation created an illusion of stability across the board, as if involving all the biblical evidence. However, after the year 70 only MTwas left in Jewish hands. The LXX no longer exerted any influence in Jewish circles since it was now in Christian hands, Sam. Pent. was with the Samaritan community, and the Qumran scrolls were hidden in caves. – Tov

p. 73- There is a growing consensus for dating TgJon, as well as Targum Onqelos (TgOnq) to the Pentateuch, before 200 CE. Moreover, as far as the language (Aramaic) is concerned, scholars tend to date both targumim – at least the body of them – in the first half of the second century (before 135 CE), with Palestine as place of origin.40 This dating of TgJon is supported by an important feature of this translation, namely, by historical allusions resulting from an application of ancient prophecies to events in the time of the translator. For instance, Tg Isa 8:2; 29:1– 2, and 32:14 are passages which refer to the destruction of the city (Jerusalem) and the temple in the year 70. – Van der Kooij

P. 148- This paper wishes to determine the nature of one particular kind of Masoretic information, often expressed in Mp notes, which I will call ‘exclusively metatextual.’ Israel Yeivin sums up the nature of the biblical Masorah in contrast to the Masorah of the Targum as follows: The Masorah to the Targum Onqelos is not mainly concerned with the spelling of words and the number of times they occur, as is the Biblical Masorah, although there are some notes of this sort… – Samely

P. 191 – To read the Holy Scriptures correctly, two matters must be carefully attended to. The first is the precise pronunciation of the biblical words themselves. The second is correct punctuation, that is to say, reading the text in accordance with the biblical accents. Although the correct punctuation of the biblical text poses a more serious problem for the reader than the pronunciation, only a few studies have been devoted to this question. This study does not attempt to examine the various ways in which the Scriptures were actually pronounced throughout history. Instead, it will address the written instructions conveyed by the accentuation system designed to provide the reader with clear guidelines on how the verses should be divided. – Himmelfarb

P. 215 – It is the intention of this paper to show that the Masorah can be used as a supplementary tool for elucidating a unified Hebrew text. I will demonstrate my argument by taking as my example the well-known story of Samuel’s birth that occurs in the first chapter of the Book of Samuel. I will endeavor to show that the Masorah can assist the elucidation of this text by ‘determining its parameters,’ by pointing out its ‘connectiveness’ to other texts, and by occasionally contributing to its ‘exegesis’. In addition, the Masoretic notes offer ‘opportunities for discussion’ of significant Hebrew words or phrases to be found in the story.- Marcus

The volume also includes a spacious bibliography at its conclusion as well as an index of ancient sources (both biblical and rabbinic).

This book is not intended for beginners, who will be lost among the various charts and graphs included in the essays and if readers don’t control Hebrew sufficiently much will be lost on them. It is a specialist book for specialists. But specialists in particular can learn very much from its pages and further research will doubtless be stimulated by a dialogue with it. I commend it to your attention.  The book is available in North America from ISD: https://www.isdistribution.com/BookDetail.aspx?aId=35448

Die Badener Disputation von 1526

9783290177577This too arrived today from the lovely folk at TVZ:

Die im Rahmen einer Eidgenössischen Tagsatzung vom 19. Mai bis 8. Juni 1526 im aargauischen Baden in deutscher Sprache abgehaltene Disputation war ein Grossereignis der Reformationszeit, vergleichbar der Leipziger Disputation 1519 und dem Reichstag zu Worms 1521, und von entscheidender Bedeutung für den weiteren Verlauf der Schweizer Geschichte. Sie war der mit der österreichischen Regierung und dem Bischof von Konstanz abgestimmte Versuch der damals noch mehrheitlich altgläubigen schweizerischen Orte, Zwingli zum Schweigen zu bringen und Zürich zurückzugewinnen. Über Realpräsenz, Messopfer, Heiligenverehrung, Bilder und Fegfeuer stritten Johannes Eck auf katholischer und (anstelle Zwinglis) Johannes Oekolampad und andere auf reformierter Seite.
Jetzt liegt erstmals ein kritisch edierter Text vor – samt Sprach- und Sachkommentar, einer historischen sowie einer philologischen Einleitung und einem bio-bibliografischen Verzeichnis von ca. 60 der namentlich bekannten rund 200 Teilnehmer: eine erstrangige Quelle für Historiker, Theologen und Germanisten.

It’s available from TVZ or, in North America, ISD.  The review, when completed, will be posted here.



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