Reviews of

An Apostle in Battle

In 2 Corinthians, Christopher de Stigter, Early Christianity, Himmelreise, Lisa M. BOWENS, New Testament, Paul on October 11, 2021 at 4:14 pm

2021.10.16 | Lisa M. Bowens. An Apostle in Battle: Paul and Spiritual Warfare in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10. WUNT II 433; Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

Review by Christopher de Stigter, Durham University.

Lisa Bowens’s published dissertation, An Apostle in Battle, is an ambitious work in conceptual integration. She argues for a mutual dependency of Paul’s cosmology, epistemology, and anthropology in his ascent to the third heaven in 2 Corinthians 12:1–10 (see especially pp. 46 & 129). It is in Paul’s Himmelsreise, she argues, that we see the Apostle within a greater cosmic battle: the human pursuit of divine knowledge is under threat from satanic attacks. For Bowens, therefore, a unifying center of all three conceptual spheres—cosmology, epistemology, and anthropology—is their bellicose construal. Her reading emphasizes Paul’s pastoral intentions, for his response to this cosmic battle, boasting in weakness, indicates his hopes for the “problems in Corinth” (p. 1). Against the tide of recent scholarship, Bowens convincingly locates a theological and practical significance in Paul’s disclosure of his ascent to the Corinthians even if this reviewer found certain points less persuasive.

Dating Acts in Its Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts

In Bloomsbury, Book of Acts, Daniel B. Glover, Dating NT, Karl L. Armstrong, Luke-Acts, Paul on September 17, 2021 at 3:00 pm

2021.9.15 | Karl L. Armstrong. Dating Acts in Its Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts. LNTS 637. London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2021.

Review by Daniel B. Glover, Lee University.

Karl L. Armstrong’s new monograph, Dating Acts in Its Jewish and Greco-Roman Contexts, presents what he calls a new, historiographic approach to identifying the date of Acts. Bucking both current and longstanding trends in Acts scholarship, Armstrong argues for a precise date of 64 CE, a date during the reign of Nero and preceding the death of Paul, the famed fire of Rome, and the Jewish War (66–70 CE). Armstrong is revivifying an older position in Acts scholarship but also leveling new arguments in its favor. What follows is perhaps the strongest, most comprehensive case yet offered for an early date for the Acts, and, for that reason, deserves a detailed, substantive engagement as is offered later in this review.

Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism

In Benjamin E. Reynolds, Brill, Gabriele Boccaccini, Gospel of John, Jewish Backgrounds, John, Messianism, R. B. Jamieson on August 27, 2021 at 3:00 pm

2021.8.14 | Benjamin E. Reynolds and Gabriele Boccaccini (eds). Reading the Gospel of John’s Christology as Jewish Messianism: Royal, Prophetic, and Divine Messiahs. Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity 106; Leiden: Brill, 2018. ISBN: 978-9004349759.

Review by R. B. Jamieson, Capitol Hill Baptist Church.

Among the four canonical Gospels, the Christology of John is often taken to be the least Jewish because it is the most divine. The essays collected in this volume aim to show not only that John’s “messianology,” so to speak, is recognizably Jewish, but that even its divine claims for Jesus have at least some clear antecedents in Jewish messianic expectation. In this twofold aim the volume amply and admirably succeeds.