Category Archives: Hendrickson

BasisBibel: The New Testament and the Psalms

Since the publication of the New Testament edition, the BasisBibel has been hailed in the English-speaking world by students and professors of German alike. Each sentence contains no more than sixteen words and no more than one subordinating clause. With its concise sentences, contemporary German, and straightforward explanations of key biblical words and concepts in the margins, it is the perfect German Bible translation for the student of German. It can also be read in a variety of formats, including tablets, computers, and smartphones, and additional background information on the content is available online.

Now that the Hebrew Psalms have been newly translated for the BasisBibel, we are pleased to offer a new edition with the New Testament and the Psalms together. This new translation is notable in that the character of the Hebrew poetry remains recognizable in the German version. The text lines reflect the typical parallel structure of Hebrew poetry and are therefore ideal for both personal and class reading. The consistently rhythmic language and the extensive retention of the unique metaphorical expression of the original text make the reading of this fascinating book of the Bible in German a delight.

When a new edition of the Bible appears the only sensible procedure is to evaluate it in terms of its predecessors.  If there’s nothing in it which moves readers forward in their understanding of the meaning of Scripture, either through its clarity or its depth of insight into the source languages, then it can simply be disregarded.  This is certainly the case, for example, with the NIV.  That version neither deepens readers’ understanding of the meaning of the text nor does it bring them closer to the meaning of the Grundtext.  It has no advantage over any of its predecessors.  It is a useless translation for those reasons alone.

Accordingly, any evaluation of the new edition in German published by the German Bible Society has to be evaluated in terms of whether or not it brings readers closer to the ‘original’ texts, i.e., the meaning of the Hebrew and Greek documents that make up the Bible.  To come to a decision in that regard we simply need to compare the BasisBibel to the premier German translation, the 2008 Zurich Bible.  With that in mind, below, I’ll offer a segment of text from the Zurich Bible and compare it to the BasisBibel.

Our first snippet is from Psalm 23-

The Zurich Bible-

Ein Psalm Davids. Der HERR ist mein Hirt, mir mangelt nichts, er weidet mich auf grünen Auen. Zur Ruhe am Wasser führt er mich, neues Leben gibt er mir. Er leitet mich auf Pfaden der Gerechtigkeit um seines Namens willen.  Wandere ich auch im finstern Tal, fürchte ich kein Unheil, denn du bist bei mir, dein Stecken und dein Stab, sie trösten mich. Du deckst mir den Tisch im Angesicht meiner Feinde. Du salbst mein Haupt mit Öl, übervoll ist mein Becher.  Güte und Gnade werden mir folgen alle meine Tage, und ich werde zurückkehren ins Haus des HERRN mein Leben lang.   (Ps. 23:1-6)

That rendition is both beautiful, articulate, and accurate.  What then of the BasisBibel?

EIN PSALM, MIT DAVID VERBUNDEN. Der HERR ist mein Hirte. Mir fehlt es an nichts. Die Weiden sind saftig grün. Hier lässt er mich ruhig lagern. Er leitet mich zu kühlen Wasserstellen. Dort erfrischt er meine Seele. Er führt mich gerecht durchs Leben. Dafür steht er mit seinem Namen ein. Und muss ich durch ein finsteres Tal, fürchte ich keine Gefahr. Denn du bist an meiner Seite! Dein Stock und dein Stab schützen und trösten mich. Du deckst für mich einen Tisch vor den Augen meiner Feinde. Du salbst mein Haar mit duftendem Öl und füllst mir den Becher bis zum Rand. Nichts als Liebe und Güte begleiten mich alle Tage meines Lebens. Mein Platz ist im Haus des HERRN. Dorthin werde ich zurückkehren – mein ganzes Leben lang!

The first thing that strikes the reader is the much shorter sentences which the BasisBibel utilizes. The style is thus more staccato and consequently less smooth. Yet that isn’t necessarily a drawback, as the reader is forced to think each line through before moving to the next. This structure was an intentional decision of the editorial board, as shorter sentences are easier to ‘digest’.

The translators of the BasisBibel have taken a few more liberties with the underlying Hebrew text here than the Zurich Bible does. Note, for instance, this phrase from the Zurich Bible-

Du salbst mein Haupt mit Öl

This is a literal rendering of the Hebrew text. The BasisBibel, however, opts for

Du salbst mein Haar mit duftendem Öl

Though not literally accurate, it is technically correct given that unless the anointed is bald, it is indeed the hair that’s soaked with oil.

John 3:16 is always a ‘test case’ for any translation I examine. Here, the Zurich Bible has

Denn so hat Gott die Welt geliebt, dass er den einzigen Sohn gab, damit jeder, der an ihn glaubt, nicht verloren gehe, sondern ewiges Leben habe.

Meanwhile, the BasisBibel has

Denn so sehr hat Gott diese Welt geliebt: Er hat seinen einzigen Sohn hergegeben, damit keiner verloren geht, der an ihn glaubt. Sondern damit er das ewige Leben erhält.

Again the BasisBible opts for a ‘fuller’ more ‘interpretive’ reading than the technically more accurate Zurich Bible.

Our final test case is the crux interpretum, 1 John 2;2. Here the Zurich Bible goes with

Er ist die Sühne für unsere Sünden, aber nicht nur für unsere, sondern auch für die der ganzen Welt.

And the BasisBibel-

Er hat für unsere Schuld sein Leben gegeben und hat uns so mit Gott versöhnt. Und das gilt nicht nur für unsere Schuld, sondern auch für die der ganzen Welt.

ZB’s Sühne becomes so mit Gott versöhnt.

It’s really a fascinating rhetorical move. And a path that is more interpretive, again, than the Zurich Bible will take.

In sum, qua translation, the BasisBibel is more interpretive than the Zurich Bible, but its interpretive moves are not inaccurate or misleading.  On that count, then, it does take readers forward in their comprehension of the biblical text.

Other aspects of the edition are the fact that it adopts a one column layout, making it more like a ‘normal’ book.  Each page has sidebar notes where various terms are explained.   More precisely put- words in reddish color in the main text are explained in these little notes and they are much fuller than footnotes and contain much more detail than the usual bible footnotes do.  It has a nice ribbon bookmark as well.

There are a few maps at the back of the volume and an editorial ‘Afterword’ wherein the editors explain the project’s aims.

I like this version very much.  It is readable, the font is easy on the eyes (like Rachel, not like Leah), and the binding is sturdy and colorful.  If you are relatively new to German it is probably the ideal version to practice reading in since the sentences are short and the vocabulary isn’t ‘heavy’.

The entire Bible will be published in January of 2021, Old and New Testaments together, and I am very, very keen to see it.  Until then, I’ll enjoy this edition.  If you read it, you will too.

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Posted by on 16 Jul 2020 in Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books, Hendrickson


Studying the New Testament through Inscriptions: An Introduction

Studying the New Testament through Inscriptions is an intuitive introduction to inscriptions from the Greco-Roman world. Inscriptions can help contextualize certain events associated with the New Testament in a way that many widely circulated literary texts do not. This book both introduces inscriptions and demonstrates sound methodological use of them in the study of the New Testament. Through five case studies, it highlights the largely unrecognized ability of inscriptions to shed light on early Christian history, practice, and the leadership structure of early Christian churches, as well as to solve certain New Testament exegetical impasses.

The book is comprised of six chapters and a series of bibliographic appendices-

  1. Engraved for All Time: An Introduction to Inscriptions
  2. Jesus, the Royal Lord: Inscriptions and Local Customs
  3. “Devour” or “Go Ahead with” the Lord’s Banquet? Inscriptions and Philology
  4. Imperial Loyalty Oaths, Caesar’s Decrees, and Early Christianity in Thessalonica: Contextualizing Inscriptions
  5. Benefactresses, Deaconesses, and Overseers in the Philippian Church: Inscriptions and Their Insights into the Religious Lives of Women in the Roman World
  6. Calculating Numbers with Wisdom: Inscriptions and Exegetical Impasses

By way of opening-

This book is an attempt to introduce mainly Greek but also Latin and Semitic inscriptions from the Hellenistic and Roman periods to graduate students, seminarians, and pastors for the purpose of using these sources to interpret the documents of the NT and to reconstruct the history of early Christianity.

Readers of the present volume will probably be driven to compare its contents and structure to the earlier work of Deissmann’s ‘Light from the Ancient East’.  The present author recognizes that fact and engages in a bit of project justification, writing

Deissmann provides little background information about inscriptions, directing the reader to a German introduction to inscriptions published in 1906. And, entries on inscriptions in Bible and NT dictionaries and encyclopedias, by their nature, are cursory and undetailed.  Therefore, this book’s first goal is to introduce inscriptions by making them accessible to the seminarian, graduate student, and pastor. In the process, I tackle what inscriptions are, why they were set up, how they were made, how they are classified, who could read them, how they are dated, and how to use collections of inscriptions (or corpora), which can seem complicated for the novice.

And then he concludes that he has striven to-

… treat inscriptions as archaeological artifacts so that they can illuminate the text of the NT and the history of early Christianity.

Further on, while discussing the usefulness of inscriptional material for interpreting difficult New Testament passages-

When we compare the data above with our earliest evidence from the NT, Paul’s letters, there are striking similarities between the use of lord in inscriptions from the southern Levant and in Paul’s letters.

To begin chapter three, the most interesting of the chapters in my estimation, our author observes-

One of the most important contributions that inscriptions (and papyri) made to the study of the NT in the late nineteenth and early twentieth century was helping to establish the relationship between NT Greek and the common or Koine Greek of the Hellenistic and Roman periods.

He then launches into a very well done treatment of προλαμβανω in 1 Cor 11:21: Scholarly Proposals.  In this portion of the work the author justifies both its existence and its importance as a furtherance of Deissmann’s earlier, larger, more influential work.  As he himself remarks at the end of the chapter, and he is correct in so doing,

… this chapter has demonstrated the ability of inscriptions to adjudicate philological discussions.

The book as a whole shows how very valuable the ancient inscriptions are for the interpretation of the New Testament.  Along with extensive primary source inclusion, there are lovely photographs of important inscriptions which the author has himself taken.  The appendices provide further resources, both print and online.  And there are indices of modern authors, subjects, and ancient sources so that readers can locate particular materials with ease.

The book may just have 246 pages in total, whilst Deissmann’s work weighs in at over 450 pages; this book’s size does not diminish its value and usefulness.  Students of the Greek New Testament will learn much from its erudition and information.

That’s why I heartily recommend it.  But don’t forget Deissmann.  There is much to learn from his work as well.  Indeed, sometimes the old and the new work best when they work together.  Excluding the old because it’s old or esteeming the new just because of its novelty is neither wise nor scholarly.

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Posted by on 11 Jun 2020 in Archaeology, Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Books, Hendrickson


Well Worth $70

Well worth it indeed.

[The] Set includes The Brown-Driver-Briggs Hebrew and English Lexicon, The Englishman’s Hebrew Concordance, The Englishman’s Greek Concordance, and Thayer’s Greek-English Lexicon.

Just overlook the ‘if you don’t know Hebrew and Greek’ and the ‘Strong’s Concordance’ bits.  The Devil must have crept into the marketing department.

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Posted by on 28 Jan 2020 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books, Hendrickson


Hendrickson’s ‘Book By Book’ Guides

Hendrickson has recently published A Book by Book Guide to Septuagint Vocabulary and A Book by Book Guide to New Testament Greek Vocabulary.

These two works are described by the publisher thusly:

A Book-by-Book Guide to New Testament Greek Vocabulary is intended to help students, pastors, and professors who wish to read a particular book of the Bible in its original language to master the vocabulary that occurs most frequently in the book in question. In contrast to typical Hebrew and Greek vocabulary guides, which present vocabulary words based on their frequency in the Hebrew Bible or New Testament as a whole, this book presents vocabulary words based on their frequency in individual New Testament books, thus allowing readers to understand and engage with the text of a particular book easily and quickly.

The book also includes an appendix listing difficult principal parts for selected verbs that occur in the vocabulary lists and providing other advanced notes for additional words in the lists.


This book-by-book vocabulary guide provides an unparalleled resource for anyone interested in more effective reading and study of the Old Testament in Greek, commonly called the Septuagint. Aside from two full-scale specialist lexicons for the Septuagint, no other printed resource exists that provides concise and strategic guidance to the language of this important ancient corpus. With word lists organized by frequency of appearance in a given book or section of the Septuagint, this guide allows users to focus their study efforts and thus more efficiently improve their breadth of knowledge of Koine vocabulary. Furthermore, the vocabulary incorporated into the lists in this guide integrates lower-frequency New Testament vocabulary in a manner that enables the user to easily include or exclude such words from their study. Other key features of this vocabulary guide include carefully crafted lists that allow users to refresh higher-frequency New Testament vocabulary, to strategically study higher-frequency vocabulary that appears across the Septuagint corpus, and to familiarize themselves with the most common proper nouns in the Septuagint. Moreover, each chapter in this guide has been statistically tailored to provide the word lists necessary to familiarize the user with 90 percent of the full range of vocabulary in each book or section of the Septuagint.

The publisher has sent review copies of both, with no expectations of or requirements for the outcome of my review.

The volumes are what we used to describe as ‘word frequency lists’ but unlike the word frequency lists of olden times, when I was a lowly grad student, which were organized by frequency regardless of the books of the Bible in which they occurred, these lists follow the canonical order of the LXX and New Testament respectively.

In the LXX volume we begin with words that occur 88,461- 4,907 times in the entire LXX.  Then we whittle the lists down until we finish up with list 20, which lists words occurring 12 or fewer times.  Then our authors (Lanier and Ross) give us a collection of lists containing what they describe as ‘high frequency Septuagint vocabulary.  Next, lists of common Septuagint proper nouns.  And then, and only then, do we come to the lists of words which are found in the various books collected in the LXX.

This kind of resource is ideal for those wishing to expand their vocabulary (of Greek words that are found in the LXX).  The drawback, of course, is that one or two word ‘definitions’ are only helpful in a general way.  Further, there’s lots of repetition.  That is, if σακκος occurs in sufficient numbers in Ruth it is also listed in the vocabulary lists of other books as well.  Repetition isn’t a bad thing.  Indeed, it’s quite helpful to see a word presented in several lists over the course of the volume.  But it does add to the overall length of the work.  And that space, in my view, could have been occupied, for instance, by the words that occur in Job but one or two times.  Those are the words that generally cause problems for readers, rather than the words that occur 88,000 times.  Indeed, if a reader of the LXX isn’t familiar with words in Greek that are found tens of thousands of times, it’s highly unlikely that they are very familiar with the Greek language at all and probably aren’t trying to read the LXX in Greek anyway.

The New Testament guide is laid out in the same fashion, beginning with high frequency vocabulary – 19,865 times to 40 times.  Then our author leads us through each book of the New Testament in canonical order.  This time, however, we are introduced to words that occur 17 times and going all the way down to 3 times (for Matthew).  Other books begin at other frequencies and end at others as well.  Acts, for example, begins with words at 23 occurrences and finishes up with words found 3 times. 2 Timothy, on the other hand, begins at 4 occurrences and finishes up with words making only 1 appearance.  The New Testament volume also ends with a glossary.

Words are provided one or two word glosses here as well.  Which, again, though helpful, is also partially misleading (since words – as we all are aware- can have quite a range of meanings according to the context and the use to which they are put in that context).   To be sure, this is not a criticism, it is merely an observation and users of these two very helpful works need to remember (or perhaps be taught) that one word or two word definitions must always be investigated with a particular context in mind.

Greek, in short, is resistant to oversimplification.  As is, by the way, Hebrew.  And readers of the biblical text are beholden to keep that very simple yet very important fact in mind.

The great advantage of these two works is that they build basic vocabulary.  Basic.  Vocabulary.  And that is critical for readers of the biblical languages and students of the biblical text.  Their authors are to be thanked for them.

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Posted by on 11 Dec 2019 in Bible, Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Hendrickson


Of Potential Interest For Students of the LXX and the Greek New Testament

Both coming soon (in December) from Hendrickson.

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Posted by on 13 Nov 2019 in Biblical Studies Resources, Books, Hendrickson


The Trial and Crucifixion of Jesus: Texts and Commentary

This may be of interest to folk:

The significance of Jesus’ death is apparent from the space that Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John devote to the Passion narrative, from the emphasis of many speeches in the book of Acts, and from the missionary preaching and the theology of the apostle Paul. Exegetical discussions of Jesus’ trial and death have employed biblical (Old Testament) and extrabiblical texts in order to understand the events during the Passover of AD 30 that led to Jesus’ execution by crucifixion. The purpose of this book is to publish the primary texts that have been cited in the scholarly literature as relevant for understanding Jesus’ trial and crucifixion. The texts in the first part deal with Jesus’ trial and interrogation before the Sanhedrin, and the texts in the second part concern Jesus’ trial before Pilate. The texts in part three represent crucifixion as a method of execution in antiquity. For each document, the authors provide the original text (Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, or Latin), a translation, and commentary. The commentary describes the literary context and the purpose of each document in context before details are clarified, along with observations on the contribution of these texts to understanding Jesus’ trial and crucifixion.

The materials here assembled provide interested persons the opportunity to examine primary sources regarding the trial and execution of Jesus.  Though indirectly.

What I mean by that is that what we have here isn’t material about Jesus’s own trial or execution.  Instead we have material about trials and crucifixion in general written during and slightly later than the first century CE.

So, for instance, in part 1, J. Schnabel discusses Jewish trials before the Sanhedrin.  He offers extra-biblical texts relating to such things as Annas and Caiaphas, the jurisdiction of the Sanhedrin, capital cases in Jewish law, the interrogation of witnesses, charges of blasphemy, seduction, and sorcery, the abuse of prisoners, and transfer of court cases.

Part 2, again by Schnabel, turns to Roman trials before Pilate, and discusses, by means, again, of extra-biblical texts, Pilate himself, the jurisdiction of Roman prelates, and various Roman legal niceties.

Part 3 is written by D. Chapman and focuses on the act of Crucifixion (in all its gory details).  It also addresses what Chapman styles as ‘Bodily Suspension in the Ancient Near East’.  Greco-Roman sources on the topic are then laid out as are Hellenistic sources and Jewish sources.  Chapman then provides something of a who’s who of crucifixion victims in Roman literature.  This is followed by the various ways in which various societies reacted to the act of crucifixion and he closes out his very long third part with a listing of taunts and curses and jests which were hurled at the victims of crucifixion.  It’s worth reading.  Some of the taunts may be useful to readers of the volume at some point.  Especially if they are seeking a fresh rejoinder to hurl at some hapless ill prepared conference presenter.

There are, as one should expect, a fair number of illustrations and the work also includes a bibliography, an index of ancient sources, modern authors, and subjects.

The volume is a sourcebook of materials about trials and crucifixions in the ancient Mediterranean world.  It is not, strictly speaking, a volume about the trial and crucifixion of Jesus.  The title is, accordingly, a bit inaccurate.  It should have been titled ‘Trials and Crucifixions in the World of Jesus’, because that’s what it is about.

Inaccurate title notwithstanding, this is a fascinating sourcebook with mountains of important primary source materials.  In their original languages as well as in translation and with helpful commentary.  The authors have done a lifetime of work and they are to be congratulated for it.

This resource belongs on every New Testament scholar’s shelf.

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Posted by on 10 Sep 2019 in Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books, Hendrickson


A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew

This book is a companion volume (of sorts) to the great series of books Hendrickson has published aimed at helping people keep up with their Greek and Hebrew and Aramaic.

Many of the sayings in the biblical book of Proverbs are difficult to read in Hebrew, even for those who know this language well. A Proverb a Day in Biblical Hebrew is designed to help readers of all levels of Hebrew competence meditate on and understand the concise and sometimes enigmatic sayings found in the book of Proverbs.

Each verse is presented on one page, which is marked with a day number (from 1 to 365) and a date (January 1 to December 31) so the book can be used as a daily reader or devotional. On each day’s page, the verse for the day is divided into two halves, based on the fact that each of the proverbs in the book constitutes a poetic couplet consisting of two parts. After each poetic line, all the words it contains are laid out and glosses are provided. All verbs (including participles) are fully parsed. Finally, at the bottom of the page, an English translation of the verse from two pages earlier is provided. This allows readers who are struggling with the meaning of a given day’s proverb, or those who wish to see one possible way it can be rendered, to flip the page and see a translation for it at the bottom of the next two-page spread. In this way, readers can choose to avail themselves of an “answer key” for any of the proverbs when they wish to, but they can also ignore this information (since it is located on the next two-page spread, there is no risk of accidentally seeing it while trying to puzzle through a proverb’s meaning).

A copy of the present book arrived on June 19th and I have made use of it each day since.  This wonderful volume presents readers with a simple two phrased Proverb each day along with glosses and Hebrew conjugations of various verbal forms.  It also includes an English translation of each Proverb, with a catch.  The translation can only be found on the bottom of the page two days later.  So, for instance, the translation of Proverbs 19:8 (Day 1) isn’t offered until Day 3, where it is found at the very bottom of the page.  And so on throughout the book.

The handy little volume also includes an alphabetical index of all the Hebrew words found in the book, along with the pages on which they are found.  Also found at the end of the book is an index of word frequency.  That is, words that occur on 52 days are listed.  Words that occur on 49 days, 48 days, 40 days, 38 days, etc. are all listed, all the way down to words found on just one day.  And finally, there is an index of passages from the Book of Proverbs.

The print on each individual day is large, and thus enjoyable.  And the opening pages of the volume are devoted to an explanation of the contents of the volume including a discussion of the selection of verses, the glosses, a brief overview of grammatical constructions, the parsings (or what we old timers call the conjugations), the Hebrew text used, text critical issues, and the English translations. Kline also spends a few pages explaining gendered and gender neutral language in the translations.

In a period of time when fewer and fewer Pastors and academics know Hebrew (or if they do know it they spend very little time retaining it or making use of it), this volume and the exceptionally well done volumes Hendrickson has published titled ‘The 2 Minutes a Day Biblical Language‘ series by the same author are a true boon.

The biblical languages are so utterly important that they genuinely need to be fully promoted and their learning fully supported.  This book helps do that.  If a person lacks the minute or so needed to read a proverb in Hebrew each day and to refresh their Hebrew thereby, they are far, far too occupied with trivialities and they need to examine their time management priorities.

All of us owe Hendrickson a great debt of gratitude for seemingly single handedly (in the biblical studies publishing field) striving to keep learning of the biblical languages alive.

To be sure, one can be familiar with the biblical text in many of the very fine translations available to English speaking people.  The REB for instance is superb.  But reading it is not the same as reading Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek.  Reading the Bible in translation is like kissing your spouse through a sheet.  It may be somewhat satisfying, but it is clearly not everything that it could be.

Kiss your spouse on the skin of her (or his) lips.  Once you do that, you’ll scarcely have any interest in kissing them through a sheet ever again.

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Posted by on 11 Jul 2019 in Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Hendrickson


A Handbook on the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith

Hendrickson sent a review copy of this new work some weeks back.  The publisher suggests that

This handbook serves as an introduction to the Jewish roots of the Christian Faith. It includes Old Testament background, Second Temple Judaism, the life of Jesus, the New Testament, the early Jewish followers of Jesus, the historical interaction between Judaism and Christianity, and the contemporary period.

It is no longer a novelty to say that Jesus was a Jew. In fact, the term “Jewish roots” has become something of a buzzword in books, articles, and especially on the internet. But what does the Jewishness of Jesus actually mean, and why is it important?

This collection of articles aims to address those questions and serve as a comprehensive yet concise primer on the Jewish roots of the Christian faith. A Handbook on the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith consists of thirteen chapters, most of which are divided into four or five articles. It is in the “handbook” format, meaning that each article is brief but informative. The thirteen chapters are grouped into four major sections: (1) The Soil, (2) The Roots, (3) The Trunk, and (4) The Branches.

Unfortunately I am unable to be very enthusiastic about this work.  It is uneven in presentation and in places reeks of special pleading and eisegesis.  A variety of contributors at various levels of academic skill essentially guarantees such an outcome.  For example, seasoned scholars like Craig Evans and Scot McKnight intermingle with beginners like Eitan Bar and Andreas Stutz and the results are less than laudatory.  The intermingling of the divine beings and the daughters of men in Genesis 6, in fact, turned out better.

Allow me to illustrate: Craig Evans’ segment on the Old Testament in the New is brief yet well written and accurate.  It could have been a bit fuller, but given the aim of the volume and the purpose of the section, it does its job well and fairly.  Readers unfamiliar with the Use of the Old Testament in the New will be informed of the basics and will hopefully be spurred on to further research by the bibliography which concludes this (and every) section.

On the other end of the spectrum, Eitan Bar’s examination of the Sabbath is dry and uninspiring and for reasons not clear the me includes an equal amount of discussion of the sabbath in Israel today as it does for the sabbath in the Tanakh and Jesus and the Sabbath.  Why?  What possible relevance is the observance of the Sabbath in the modern secular state of Israel to the observance of the Sabbath as one of the ‘roots’ of the Christian faith?  Furthermore, whilst Evans’ bibliography is scholarly and appropriate, Eitan’s includes a work published by ‘Ariel Ministries’ in San Antonio, Texas.  If you aren’t familiar with this organization,

Ariel Ministries, created to evangelize and disciple our Jewish brethren, has been born from necessity to meet an urgent need. Ariel means “Lion of God,” representing the Messiah Yeshua as the Lion of Judah. It is also an alternate name for Jerusalem (Isaiah 29:1) — the city of peace now waiting for the Prince of Peace to return. It was in Jerusalem, in 1966, that a burning seed of desire was planted in the heart of Arnold Fruchtenbaum. On December 1, 1977, in San Antonio, Texas, Ariel Ministries was born and the seed began to bloom.  (

And that brings me to my chief complaint about the present work.  It is, in sum and substance, little more than a Messianic Christian primer.  It is not so much a handbook of the Jewish roots of the Christian faith as it is an apologia for Messianic Christians.

Mind you, I have no issues with that particular group or with their goals.  Those things are their business.  But a book purporting to be one thing which turns out to be another is something else.

If you are genuinely interested in the Jewish Roots of the Christian Faith, might I suggest that you pick up a copy of Strack-Billerbeck’s 6 volume Kommentar zum Neuen Testament aus Talmud und Midrasch.  That has everything you need to know plus multiple addenda explaining everything you need to know that you didn’t know you needed to know.  Or, get a copy of Emil Schürer’s A History of the Jewish People in the Time of Jesus Christ (5 volumes).  Both are dated.  And even in that condition, miles better than the present work.

I wish I could offer a more positive assessment.  As I said, there are high points.  Alas, they are dragged down by the albatross of ideology hanging around their benighted necks.

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Posted by on 2 Jul 2019 in Biblical Studies Resources, Book Review, Books, Hendrickson


This May Interest Some: The Hendrickson Review Program

hendrickson-review-program-4Do you like reading and reviewing new books hot off the press? Do you have an engaging blog with faithful followers? If so, we’d love to connect. The Hendrickson Review Program is a great way to receive advanced notice of new books and Bibles that are available for review. We publish books for pastors, students, and scholars in the fields of Biblical studies and Bible reference, as well as Bibles and thoughtful Christian trade.

Go here for all the info and to sign up.

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Posted by on 16 Feb 2017 in Hendrickson


You Reap What You Sow, Chris Tilling…

Many of you will know how Chris Tilling cruelly abandoned our lifelong friendship to hitch his wagon to Doug Campbell (roomie thief) for SBL 2016 in San Antonio.

Well, to prove the old adage ‘you reap what you sow’, it turns out that Tilling was massively dissed by Campbell (roomie thief) during a Wipf and Stock interview- saying, as you’ll see, that Tilling ‘is a joke’!

Cruel!  And Unusual!  PUNISHMENT!  #Glory. #TakeThatYouWretch.

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Posted by on 28 Jun 2016 in Hendrickson, Heresy and Heretics, Modern Culture, Pentebabbleists, Politics


Jesus and the Remains of His Day: Studies in Jesus and the Evidence of Material Culture

9781619707054oBobby K. of Hendrickson asked me to give this volume* the once over whilst we were in Atlanta for SBL (along with several other volumes I’ve already mentioned).  I’ve gotten around to this one and will first give some indication of what it contains followed by some general remarks concerning those I think could benefit from taking a look at it themselves.  So, the contents:

This book is a collection of thirteen articles on various aspects of how archaeological evidence enlightens our understanding of the life and death of Jesus and the culture in which he lived. Nine of the book’s thirteen essays were published previously, though several of these have been revised or augmented for inclusion in the present book; four of the book’s essays are new. Several of the essays deal with the death of Jesus and the burial practices of his day. Articles in the book include:

1. A Tale of Two Cities: What We Learned from Bethsaida and Magdala
2. A Boat, a House, and an Ossuary: What Can We Learn from the Artifacts?
3. Excavating Caiaphas, Pilate, and Simon of Cyrene: Assessing the Literary and Archaeological Evidence
4. “Have You Never Read?” Jesus and Literacy
5. Shout at the Devil: Jesus and Psalm 91 in the Light of Early Jewish Interpretation
6. “Hang Him on a Tree until Dead”: Hanging and Crucifixion in Second Temple Israel
7. The Family Buried Together Stays Together: On the Burial of the Executed in Family Tombs
8. Death Becomes Him: On the Execution and Burial of Jesus
9. Keeping Up with Appearances: The Talpiot Tomb Façade in Context
10. The Talking Dead: Post-Mortem Beliefs in Pagan, Jewish, and Christian Epitaphs

All of these are the sorts of topics covered in introduction to New Testament courses and/ or introductory courses on the archaeology of the Levant.  But there’s a bit more here than merely introductory materials.  There’s also a good bit of interaction (I am tempted to write ‘polemic’) with current academic trends and ideas.  Chapters 7 and 9 in particular take to task various notions currently floating around in the margins of academic discourse.

The book is excellently produced and features a quite sturdy binding (library quality really) and lovely illustrations (in color) along with a quite thorough bibliography (suitable for any persons interested in digging deeper into the topics covered in the book).

The audience in mind for this volume must surely have been students in graduate courses and that’s precisely the audience which will gain the most from its use.  It would function, ideally in my estimation, as a supplemental text.

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Posted by on 16 Feb 2016 in Books, Hendrickson


Was Tischendorf a Thief or a Hero?

Constantine Tischendorf. Photo: Tischendorfarchive Alexander Schick © / Courtesy of Helmut Constantin Behrend.

Constantine Tischendorf. Photo: Tischendorfarchive Alexander Schick © / Courtesy of Helmut Constantin Behrend.

A new essay by Stan Porter will be worth your reading.

Legendary Leipzig scholar Constantine Tischendorf would be 200 this year, but he died surrounded by controversy at the relatively young age of 59. Known for his skills at discovering and deciphering rare ancient manuscripts, Tischendorf’s chance finding of Codex Sinaiticus, the oldest New Testament manuscript, at St. Catherine’s Monastery in the Sinai—and his later removal of the manuscript—made him both famous and infamous. In “Hero or Thief? Constantine Tischendorf Turns Two Hundred” in the September/October 2015 issue of Biblical Archaeology Review, eminent New Testament scholar Stanley Porter reexamines the allegations against Tischendorf in light of new evidence from the Russian archives.

Tischendorf, who spent his career at the University of Leipzig, travelled extensively in search of lost and forgotten manuscripts of the Bible. His deep religious commitments drove him to search for the oldest surviving manuscripts of the Bible. It was on such an expedition that Tischendorf succeeded in finding the oldest complete copy of the New Testament: Codex Sinaiticus, which dates to the mid-fourth century C.E.

Read the rest.  And check out the various new resources on both von T. and Sinaiticus that our friends at Hendrickson have published:

Codex Sinaiticus   Codex Sinaiticus
The Story of the World’s Oldest Bible
Author: D. C. Parker
Retail Price: $34.95
Publication Date: 2010
ISBN: 9781598565768     ISBN-13: 9781598565768     HP Item Number: 565768
Codex Sinaiticus   Codex Sinaiticus
Facsimile Edition
Retail Price: $799.00
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781598565775     ISBN-13: 9781598565775     HP Item Number: 565775
Codex Sinaiticus Art Prints   Codex Sinaiticus Art Prints
Facsimile Prints
Retail Price: $49.95
Publication Date: 2011
ISBN: 9781598566352     ISBN-13: 9781598566352     HP Item Number: 001269
Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript   Codex Sinaiticus: New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript
New Perspectives on the Ancient Biblical Manuscript
Editor: Scot McKendrick
Retail Price: $84.95
Publication Date: September 2015
ISBN: 9781619706477     ISBN-13: 9781619706477     HP Item Number: 706477

tischDom Mattos was kind enough to remind me, in comments, about this book on v T.  He didn’t mention that he also interviewed Porter about this book.  Be sure to give it a listen. Great stuff.


Posted by on 24 Sep 2015 in Biblical Studies Resources, Hendrickson


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