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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 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 »

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1 & 2 Kings, An Introduction and Study Guide

In 1 & 2 Kings, Ancient Israel, Bloomsbury, HB/OT, Lester L. Grabbe, Mark Glanville 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, 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, 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, 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 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, 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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Hebrews in Contexts

In Brill, Bryan Dyer, Gabriella GELARDINI, Graeco-Roman Backgrounds, Harold W. ATTRIDGE, Hebrews, Jewish Backgrounds, New Testament, Spatial Theory on September 9, 2017 at 6:45 pm

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2017.09.19 | Gabriella Gelardini and Harold W. Attridge, eds. Hebrews in Contexts. Leiden: Brill, 2016. ISBN: 9789004311688.

Reviewed by Bryan Dyer, Baker Academic.

This collection of essays, edited by Gabriella Gelardini and Harold Attridge, brings together many of the fine papers that have been presented in the Hebrews section at the SBL annual meetings from 2005 to 2013. In their introduction, the editors place the volume within the increased attention that the epistle has received during those years. More specifically, this volume (and the Hebrews section over the years) attempts to place Hebrews within a variety of “contexts”—a term referring to historical context (Jewish, Greco-Roman) as well as hermeneutical approaches (spatial theory, canonical reading, history of interpretation). One key feature is that the editors (also the SBL co-chairs) sought out non-Hebrews scholars who are experts in fields with baring on Hebrews to bring their specialty to the text. As a result, the volume presents some fresh readings and approaches to the text that will be new to even seasoned Hebrews scholars. Read the rest of this entry »

The Text of Marcion’s Gospel

In Brill, Dieter T. ROTH, Early Christianity, Jordan Almanzar, Marcion, New Testament, Textual Criticism on September 3, 2017 at 10:40 am

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2017.09.18 | Dieter T. Roth. The Text of Marcion’s Gospel. New Testament Tools, Studies and Documents 49. Leiden/Boston: Brill, 2015. ISBN: 9789004245204.

Reviewed by Jordan Almanzar, Georg-August-Universität, Göttingen.

Dieter T. Roth has taken up the ambitious task of reconstructing the Gospel portion of Marcion’s “bible”. His objective is not a new one, as the first attempts to reassemble Marcion’s text are generally traced to the 18th century (Roth, 8). [Roth credits J.S. Semler as the first scholar to attempt a resemblance of Marcion’s text, however, he also mentions Richard Simon’s work from nearly a century earlier.] Even so, scholars have long awaited a book such as the one Dieter T. Roth has produced.Its value lies chiefly in the intentionally convenient layout, which is the result of Roth’s patient classification and arrangement of material. Therefore, the book can be immediately used and appreciated by anyone interested in Marcion’s Gospel. Most of the work is an explanation of the difficulties of the task along with details on the methods employed to do so; however, readers can begin using it as a reference tool at the outset.

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From Stoicism to Platonism

In Cambridge University Press, Early Christianity, Early Judaism, Eric Covington, Platonism, Troels ENGBERG-PEDERSEN on July 31, 2017 at 11:25 am

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2017.07.17 | Troels Engberg-Pedersen (ed.). From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100BCE100 CE. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2017. ISBN: 9781107166196.

Reviewed by Eric Covington, Howard Payne University. 

From Stoicism to Platonism: The Development of Philosophy, 100BCE100CE, edited by Troels Engberg-Pedersen, contains papers that emerged from a conference held in August 2014 at the Danish Royal Academy of Sciences in Copenhagen.  The tome brings together a veritable “Who’s Who” of researchers in the area of ancient philosophy in the first-century BCE and CE world in order to examine, as the title suggests, the interaction between Stoicism and Platonism during the period of 100BCE–100 CE.  The combined effect of the collected essays is to challenge the oft-repeated characterization of this philosophical period as a time of “eclecticism.”  This work nuances this designation and provides further clarity concerning the different types of philosophical interaction during the period and the broad philosophical development during the time that eventually led to the dominance of imperial Platonism by the second century (p. 10).  Read the rest of this entry »