Reviews of

Archive for 2020|Yearly archive page

Christ’s Associations

In Community, Jason Borges, John S. KLOPPENBORG, NT social setting, Yale University Press on September 11, 2020 at 3:00 pm

2020.09.16 | John S. Kloppenborg. Christ’s Associations: Connecting and Belonging in the Ancient City. New Haven/London: Yale University Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780300217049.

Review by Jason Borges, Durham University.

New Testament scholarship since the 1970s has explored the social history of early Christian origins. Wayne Meeks, Abraham Malherbe, Gerd Theissen, Howard Kee, and others charted the social aspects of early Christ communities, with a focus on the leadership structure, economic status, and ritual activities of these groups. John Kloppenborg’s Christ’s Associations stands in this current of social-science history and extends the conversation.

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Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus

In Ashe Materou, Fortress Press, Gender Studies, Gospels, Lexington Books, Q, Sara Parks, Synoptic Gospels, Women on August 21, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.08.15 | Sara Parks. Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus: Women in Q. Lanham/Boulder/New York/London: Lexington/Fortress, 2019. ISBN 978-1-9787-0198-4.

Review by Ashe Materou, KU Leuven.

In Gender in the Rhetoric of Jesus Sara Parks investigates the parallel parable pairs of Q. The book illustrates how Q gendered pairs pays equal attention to both male and female characters as agents for the basileia movement. Parks situates her work as a contribution to the reconstruction of the position of women in early Jewish and early Christian Antiquity. She argues that there has not been much research done so far on the earliest evidence of the historical Jesus’ attitude towards women. Accordingly, Parks aims to fill this gap with the analysis of “parallel gender pairs” (p. 2), where men and women characters are addressed explicitly or implicitly through a rhetorical literary device reflected in Jesus’ sayings material. Parks holds that this literary device has not yet caught the attention of many feminist scholars and advocates for a deeper study of Q gendered pairs. Read the rest of this entry »

The Construction of Gender and Identity in Genesis

In Bloomsbury, Gender Studies, Genesis, HB/OT, Hebrew Bible, Karalina Matskevich, Lindsay Fraughton, T & T Clark on August 6, 2020 at 7:09 am

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2020.08.14 | Karalina Matskevich. The Construction of Gender and Identity in Genesis: The Subject and the Other. T&T Clark, 2019. ISBN: 9780567695512.

Review by Lindsay Fraughton, University of British Columbia.

From the Documentary Hypothesis to the construction of The Woman’s Bible, scholarly approaches to the Book of Genesis have shifted alongside academic and social movements. Structuralism, fathered in biblical studies by Claude Lévi-Strauss and furthered by scholars like Mieke Bal and Ellen van Wolde, lost traction in the 21st century (Matskevich 2019, 208). However, in her 2019 publication Construction of Gender and Identity in Genesis: The Subject and the Other, Karalina Matskevich revitalises interdisciplinary structuralist approaches to the book of Genesis, setting the groundwork for future studies of the same nature. Read the rest of this entry »

The New Testament in Comparison

In B. G. White, Bloomsbury, Comparison, Graeco-Roman Backgrounds, John BARCLAY, Joshua W. Jipp, New Testament, Stoicism on July 17, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.07.13 | John M. G. Barclay and B. G. White (editors). The New Testament in Comparison: Validity, Method, and Purpose in Comparing Traditions. Library of New Testament Studies 600. London: T&T Clark, 2020.

Review by Joshua W. Jipp, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. 

The publication of Karl Barth’s Römerbrief in 1919 elicited the statement from a Catholic theologian that the commentary fell like a bomb on the playground of the theologians. Respected New Testament scholars referred to Barth as a gnostic and an enemy of historical critical interpretation (Adolf Jülicher), a Biblicist (Paul Wernle), and as using the commentary as a pretense for theological autobiography (Adolf Schlatter). For reasons that need not concern us here, Barth’s commentary on Romans simultaneously set forth a biting critique of historical criticism, at least insofar as it could penetrate the subject matter of the NT texts, and offered a radically different way of approaching exegesis. As such, Barth’s book appeared as something that was virtually incomprehensible to his fellow colleagues. Read the rest of this entry »

Aseneth’s Transformation

In Aseneth, De Gruyter, Deuterocanonical, Kristen Marie Hartvigsen, R. Gillian Glass on July 3, 2020 at 6:00 pm

2020.07.12 | Kirsten Marie Hartvigsen. Aseneth’s Transformation. DCLS 24. Berlin/Boston: De Gruyter, 2018. XII + 246. ISBN: 978-3-11-036337-1.

Review by R. Gillian Glass, University of British Columbia.

In her second book, Kirsten Marie Hartvigsen (hereafter H.) presents readers with a multi-disciplinary analysis of Joseph and Aseneth, an ancient Judeo-Greek romance, in which she examines the multiple symbolic and ritual elements of the heroine’s transformation. H. applies three modern theories to this ancient narrative in order to explicate and contextualize the interpretations of these elements that have been advanced by scholars (34).

Her book has a clear structure. After an introduction (chapter 1) with the requisite review of scholarship of Joseph and Aseneth, and presentation of her methodology, H. dedicates a chapter to each of her three chosen methodological frameworks: Intersectionality (chapter 2), Conceptual Blending Theory and Intertextual Blending (chapter 3), and Cognitive Theory of Ritual and Ritual Efficacy (chapter 4).

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Archaeology of the Letters of Paul

In Archaeology, Jason Borges, Laura Salah Nasrallah, Oxford University Press, Paul on July 3, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.07.11 | Laura Salah Nasrallah. Archaeology of the Letters of Paul. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018. ISBN: 9780199699674.

Review by Jason Borges, Durham University.

In Archaeology of the Letters of Paul, Laura Salah Nasrallah of Yale Divinity School examines archaeological materials from the Roman world to reexamine the social, historical, and political contexts of early Christ-followers in Pauline assemblies. This book focuses not upon the heroic apostles but on the everyday lives of the many, especially the unmentioned and marginalized brothers and sisters.

Nasrallah advocates for, and models, a particular methodology for using material evidence in New Testament studies. The opening chapter “On Method,” illustrates how this methodology, informed by feminist and post-colonial critiques, breaks from prior apologetic approaches to archaeology that sought monumental or “proof-text” evidence. Read the rest of this entry »

Texts and Artefacts

In Bloomsbury, Dustin Rigsby, Larry HURTADO, Manuscript Studies, Manuscripts, Textual Criticism on June 19, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.06.10 | Larry W. Hurtado. Texts and Artefacts: Selected Essays on Textual Criticism and Early Christian Manuscripts. LNTS 584. London: T&T Clark, 2019. XX + 231 pp. ISBN 978-0-567-68882-8.

Review by Dustin Rigsby, New Orleans Baptist Theological Seminary.

Larry Hurtado was an exceptional biblical scholar and a well-known advocate of studying early Christian manuscripts as artefacts that are relevant for historical studies of early Christianity. In other words, Hurtado believed that the physical features of manuscripts contained often neglected evidence necessary for understanding early Christianity better. This book advances Hurtado’s significant research in this area, consisting particularly of a collection of essays originally published over a period of about twenty years and categorized under two general parts. Read the rest of this entry »

John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel

In Gospel of John, John, John Behr, Jonathan Rowlands, Oxford University Press on May 29, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.05.09 | John Behr. John the Theologian and his Paschal Gospel: A Prologue to Theology. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2019. ISBN: 978-0-19-883753-4.

Review by Jonathan Rowlands, St. Mellitus College.

In this monograph, John Behr examines the conception of incarnation in John’s Gospel, and its connection to the Easter event. Behr’s central thesis is that “the Gospel, together with its Prologue, in fact pivots upon the Passion—it is a ‘paschal gospel’” (p. 5), such that the incarnation is not conceived of as “an episode in the biography of the Word” (p. 4, a phrase borrowed from Rowan Williams) but “the ongoing embodiment of God in those who follow Christ” (p. 5). He approaches this topic by engaging three different groups of readers: (1) the Church Fathers, (2) modern biblical scholars, and (3) little-known French phenomenologist Michel Henry. Read the rest of this entry »

Women and Knowledge in Early Christianity

In Brill, Early Christianity, Gnosticism, Ivan Miroshnikov, Outi Lehtipuu, Patristics, Sarah Whitear, Ulla Tervahauta, Women on April 27, 2020 at 2:46 pm

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2020.04.08 | Ulla Tervahauta, Ivan Miroshnikov, Outi Lehtipuu and Ismo Dunderberg (eds.), Women and Knowledge in Early Christianity. Supplements to Vigiliae Christianae 144; Boston and Leiden: Brill 2017. Available in open Access.

Review by Sarah Whitear, KU Leuven.

Women and Knowledge in Early Christianity is an edited collection in honour of the retirement of Antti Marjanen, Professor of Gnosticism and Early Christian Literature at the University of Helsinki. The book is made up of fourteen essays split into four different sections. As explicated in the introduction, ‘women and knowledge’ can be understood in a variety of ways, and thus the book features studies on various areas from the role of the feminine in gnostic literature to the knowledge of real flesh and blood women. Read the rest of this entry »

Jesus Becoming Jesus

In Catholic University of America Press, Gospels, Nathan Charles Ridlehoover, NT Theology, Synoptic Gospels, theological Interpretation of Scripture, Thomas G. Weinandy on April 16, 2020 at 1:00 pm

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2020.04.07 | Thomas G. Weinandy, Jesus Becoming Jesus: Theological Interpretation of the Synoptic Gospels. Washington: CUA, 2018. 

Review by Charles Nathan Ridlehoover, Columbia International Seminary.

Thomas G. Weinandy is an author of more than fifteen books and recently completed his appointment with the Vatican International Theological Commission. The following volume initially started as Weinandy’s attempt at a one-volume systematics text suggested through the gentle nudges of John Webster. Weinandy worried that starting in the Synoptics would obscure his plan to stress God’s saving activity but felt it was extremely important to begin with the first recordings of the incarnation/infancy narratives. As Weinandy admits, what initially was perceived as a problem became an opportunity to write a thorough theological and doctrinal interpretation of the New Testament. Read the rest of this entry »