Reviews of

Archive for 2017|Yearly archive page

Perceiving the Other

In Early Christianity, Early Judaism, Matthew Thiessen, Max Botner, Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Mohr Siebeck, review, Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation, Wolfgang Grünstäudl on December 29, 2017 at 4:00 pm

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2017.12.29 | Michal Bar-Asher Siegal, Wolfgang Grünstäudl, and Matthew Thiessen, eds. Perceiving the Other in Ancient Judaism and Early Christianity. WUNT 394. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2017.

Reviewed by Max Botner, Goethe-Universität Frankfurt am Main.

Scholars of religion are becoming increasingly attuned to the ways in which groups represent and conceive of the “other.”

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Paul and Ancient Rhetoric

In Bryan Dyer, Cambridge University Press, Emanuel Conțac, Graeco-Roman Backgrounds, Paul, review, Rhetorical Strategies, Socio-Rhetorical Interpretation, Stanley E. Porter on December 22, 2017 at 4:00 pm

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2017.12.28 | Stanley Porter and Bryan R. Dyer (editors), Paul and Ancient Rhetoric: Theory and Practice in the Hellenistic Context, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. xviii + 330 pp. 

Reviewed by Emanuel Conțac, Pentecostal Theological Institute of Bucharest

Almost forty years have passed since Hans Dieter Betz published his landmark commentary on Galatians (1979) which marked the blossoming of a new approach to the text of Paul’s letters.

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La Théologie Byzantine et sa tradition (VIe-VIIe siècles)

In Brepols, Byzantine theology, Carmelo Giuseppe Conticello, Mark W. ELLIOTT, Patristics, review on December 17, 2017 at 4:04 pm

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2017.12.27 | Carmelo Giuseppe Conticello (ed.), La Théologie Byzantine et sa tradition I/1 (VIe-VIIe siècles) (Corpus Christianorum; Turnhout: Brepols, 2015). IV+805pp.

Reviewed by Mark W. Elliott, University of St Andrews.

We are told at the outset of this large and handsome volume that theology will be understood more widely than just doctrinal issues to include political theology. (It might even include law.)

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Apocalypses in Context

In Ancient Near East, Apocalyptic, Daniel Hawkins, Early Judaism, Fortress Press, HB/OT, Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler, Kelly J. Murphy, New Testament, Qumran, review on December 11, 2017 at 11:15 am

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2017.12.26 | Kelly J. Murphy and Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler (ed.) Apocalypses in Context: Apocalyptic Currents through History. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2016. Hardcover. Pp. ix + 510. ISBN: 9781451496239.

Review by Daniel Hawkins, Trinity Western University.

The scholarly discussion surrounding apocalyptic writings has seen nearly as much variety as the genre of apocalypse itself. Apocalypses in Context, a series of essays edited by Kelly J. Murphy and Justin Jeffcoat Schedtler, explores not only the question of the genre and definition of the apocalypse, but also traces apocalyptic literature and thought through history into the present to illustrate its prevalence and impact in modern society. Read the rest of this entry »

1 & 2 Kings, An Introduction and Study Guide

In 1 & 2 Kings, Ancient Israel, Bloomsbury, HB/OT, Lester L. Grabbe, Mark Glanville, review on December 1, 2017 at 5:41 pm

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2017.12.25 | Lester L. Grabbe. 1 & 2 Kings, An Introduction and Study Guide: History and Story in Ancient Israel. London: Bloomsbury T & T Clark, 2017. 

Review by Mark R. Glanville

Lester L. Grabbe has written 1 & 2 Kings, An Introduction and Study Guide: History and Story in Ancient Israel as a part of the T&T Clark series, ‘Study Guides to the Old Testament’. This series aims to introduce students to a particular book within the Hebrew Bible, focusing, in particular, upon recent biblical scholarship.i Grabbe’s study is necessarily brief, and the main text totals 95 pages. Chapters one and two orientate the reader to questions of historiography and sources in order to lay the groundwork for the analysis of the texts to follow in chapters three through five. Grabbe’s goal throughout is to explore the historical reliability of the text. Read the rest of this entry »

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student’s Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament

In Biblical Hebrew Language, HB/OT, Hebrew Language, J. David PLEINS, Jonathan HOMRIGHAUSEN, Kerry Lee, review, Zondervan on November 17, 2017 at 6:10 pm

2017.12.24 | J. David Pleins with Jonathan Homrighausen, Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student’s Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament. Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2017. ISBN: 9780310530749

Review by Kerry Lee

Biblical Hebrew Vocabulary by Conceptual Categories: A Student’s Guide to Nouns in the Old Testament, by J. David Pleins and Jonathan Homrighausen, is a lexical aid for students and teachers of Biblical Hebrew that arranges over 2,000 Hebrew nouns into over 175 conceptual categories, or semantic fields. This book is highly versatile with many uses not only for beginning students but also for intermediate and advanced students as well as for teachers.

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The Jewish Literary Imagination in Antiquity

In Book of Psalms, Eva MROCZEK, Hebrew Bible, Jeremiah Coogan, Oxford University Press, review, Scribal culture, Second Temple, Uncategorized on November 9, 2017 at 8:04 am

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2017.11.23 | Eva Mroczek, The Jewish Literary Imagination in Antiquity. New York, NY/Oxford, UK: Oxford University Press, 2016. ISBN: 9780190279837

Reviewed by Jeremiah Coogan, University of Notre Dame.

Before the categories of “book” and “Bible” dominated the literary imagination, Mroczek asks, “What did this literary world seem like to Second Temple writers?” (4). How did the creators and users of literary artifacts organize and conceptualize writing? We note that this literary world of Second Temple Judaism is explicitly textual; Mroczek avoids the temptation to see orality as the only alternative to our familiar models of textuality: she explores literary modes that are “deeply, self-consciously textual, but shaped differently from our own” (5). Read the rest of this entry »

Jesus the Eternal Son

In Christology, Eerdmans, Gospels, Michael F. BIRD, Michael Kok, New Testament, review, Synoptic Gospels on November 3, 2017 at 4:00 pm

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2017.11.22 | Michael F. Bird, Jesus the Eternal Son: Answering Adoptionist Christologies. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2017. ISBN: 978-0-8028-7506-8

Reviewed by Michael Kok, The King’s University in Alberta, Canada.

The Christian doctrine of the hypostatic union aimed to articulate how Jesus’s human and divine natures were united in one person. Over-emphasizing Jesus’s humanity at the expense of his divinity, or vice versa, was ruled out of bounds. One of the christological conceptions that was censured for falling short of the orthodox consensus on the incarnation has been labelled by modern scholars as “adoptionism,” which Michael F. Bird defines as “reducing Jesus to a human figure who had acquired divine status by merit” (7).

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Eating in Isaiah

In Andrew T. Abernethy, Brill, Food, Hebrew Bible, Isaiah, Rebekah Devine, review on October 15, 2017 at 5:21 pm

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2017.10.21 | Andrew T. Abernethy, Eating in Isaiah: Approaching the Role of Food and Drink in Isaiah’s Structure and Message. Leiden: Brill, 2014. ISBN: 9789004270374

Review by Rebekah M. Devine

The past decade has yielded a small, yet robust crop of studies on food and drink in the Hebrew Bible. Andrew Abernethy’s contribution to this increasing yield looks at the role of food and drink in the literary structure of Isaiah, focusing on the sections that have been identified as major cruxes in the book and asking how food and drink contribute to Isaiah’s message.

Abernethy devotes the first chapter to surveying some of the recent scholarly approaches to the topic of food in biblical literature, and outlines his own method as a sequential-synchronic approach. The second chapter focuses on Isaiah 1 as an introduction to the whole book, looking at how food and drink function in its rhetoric. This study of Isaiah 1 sets the stage for later discussions on how these first food themes are fleshed out in Isaiah 2-35 (ch. 3) and 36-37 (ch. 4). 

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Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology

In A. R. George, Ancient Israel, Ancient Near East, Kurtis Peters, Mohr Siebeck, Mythology, review, T. M. Oshima, W. G. Lambert on September 13, 2017 at 6:59 pm

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2017.09.20 | W. G. Lambert, Ancient Mesopotamian Religion and Mythology: Selected Essays, ed. A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, Orientalische Religionen in der Antike 15 (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2016). ISBN: 9783161536748.

Review by Kurtis Peters

W. G. Lambert’s contributions to Assyriology are unquestionably many. His work in Babylonian wisdom literature and the publishing of the Atra-Ḫasīs epic are alone testament to the enduring value of his work. In the present volume one finds a range of Lambert’s essays on the pantheon, myth, and religion found in ancient Mesopotamia. The editors, A. R. George and T. M. Oshima, divided the volume into five sections. First is “Introductory Considerations”, within which one finds two essays, “Morals in Mesopotamia” and “Ancient Mesopotamian Gods: Superstition, Philosophy, Theology”. Though the material here overlaps with much of what comes in later essays, these set some necessary groundwork and do so in a more generalist way. That the latter was published in Revue de l’histoire des religions confirms its broad scope. 

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