Sunday, September 14, 2014

Seeing into the Future: David deSilva on Koester's Revelation

Many years ago, ten years ago to be more precise, I was sitting in David deSilva's office, marvelling at his bookshelves and in particular, his section on Revelation. I asked him: "What is the best commentary written on Revelation." His answer surprised me. "It hasn't come out yet." He expounded further: "Craig Koester's in the Anchor Bible series will be the best when it does come out. But, that is a long way off."

Fast forward ten years, and Koester's highly anticipated commentary is about to see the light of day, as it is slated for release on Sept. 30th.
Craig R. Koester
Since that conversation with deSilva, this has been the one commentary for which I have been eagerly awaiting. After all, with deSilva's blessing and his own contributions to scholarship on the Apocalypse, what better recommendation could there be?

Moreover, Koester's scholarship has always been outstanding, whether working on the Fourth Gospel, Hebrews, etc., one can always count on him for a high calibre contribution.

Unfortunately, many will want to wait to purchase Koester's contribution when it comes out in paperback, as Yale University Press has retailed the commentary at a whopping $125.00.

The good news is however, one can access many of the pages through Google Books in the meantime to get a flavor of this masterful work. I have already perused a good portion of the introductory matters and if these pages are any indication of what is to follow, deSilva's prediction will ring true.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Gordon Fee on Galatians 3:28: Quote of the Day

Gordon Fee
Perusing through Gordon Fee's Galatians commentary, I found some illuminating comments on the "ultimate Christian 'Magna Carta'", Galatians 3:28,  as Fee refers to it (142).

First the passage:

26 So in Christ Jesus you are all children of God through faith, 27 for all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. 28 There is neither Jew nor Gentile, Slave nor free, neither male nor female, for you are all one in Christ Jesus. (Fee's translation; 135)


Here are some select quotes from the always insightful Fee:

It is therefore especially difficult for most of us to imagine the effect of Paul's words in a culture where position and status preserved order through basically uncrossable boundaries. Paul asserts that when people come into the fellowship of Christ Jesus, significance is no longer to be found in being Jew or Greek, slave or free, male or female. The all-embracing nature of this affirmation, its counter-cultural significance, the fact that it equally disadvantages all by equally advantaging all--these stab at the very heart of a culture sustained by people's maintaining the right position and status. But in Christ Jesus, the One whose death and resurrection inaugurated the new creation, all things have become new; the new era has dawned.
...Second, "all of you are one." ...In Christ Jesus we no longer find our basic values in what differentiates people from one another, but in the unity that Christ alone can bring into our continuing diversity. It is one of the sad realities in the history of the church that so few of God's people have ever really caught on to what Paul is here asserting to be true: We are one people together, united in our common life in Christ (143-144; italics original)

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Gordon Fee Lectures on the Kingdom of God ca.1983

One of my heroes of NT scholarship, Gordon Fee, has two three videos now available of him on the YWAM channel of YouTube from 1983, where he lectures on the Kingdom of God. Each video is roughly an hour, and took place in Lausanne, Switzerland according to the opening tag preceding the video.

These videos are a treasure as they show Fee at the age of 48/49 speaking with his characteristic passion.

Here is Part I: "The Nature of the Kingdom"



Here is Part II: "The Mystery of the Kingdom"




  Updated:

Here is Part IV: "The Ethics of the Kingdom"


N.T. Wright's Essay: "Messiahship in Galatians?"

This September, Baker Academic will release Galatians and Christian Theology, a book that contains a stellar list of contributors such as John Barclay, Beverly R. Gaventa, Richard Hays, Todd Still, and bright newcomers, Timothy Gombis, Matthew Novenson, and Mariam Kamell.

Leading off the new volume though, is the contribution of N.T. Wright, whose essay, "Messiahship in Galatians?" can be accessed here.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

Raymond Brown Site's First Anniversary

A year ago, August 8th to be exact , I launched a website in honor of the fifteenth anniversary of Fr. Raymond E. Brown's untimely passing. It was Fr. Brown's Death of the Messiah that catapulted me into NT scholarship and I decided that I wanted to do something that would honor his impact on my life and no doubt, countless others. This site has been a joy to put together and will continue to expand its content as time and contributions allow.  Many thanks to everyone who has visited the site and even more so, those who have taken time out of their challengingly busy schedules to contribute to the site. Here's to many more years of honoring the enduring legacy of Fr. Raymond E. Brown.
Fr. Raymond  E. Brown, ca. 1980, from the private collection of Beverly R. Gaventa



Saturday, August 9, 2014

David deSilva and Galatians

David A. deSilva
For some time now, I have been eagerly anticipating my friend and mentor, David deSilva's work on Galatians.

First, he has already published a commentary from a Sri Lankan perspective with Wipf & Stock, entitled Global Readings: A Sri Lankan Commentary on Paul's Letter to the Galatians.
In some sense, this commentary is a precursor to deSilva's highly anticipated replacement of Ronald Y.K. Fung's The Epistle to the Galatians in the NICNT series. While this volume is a ways off, deSilva continues to build towards this large scale commentary with the Baylor Handbook Galatians, due out in November (just in time for SBL).

deSilva's work, whether dealing with the Apocrypha, Hebrews, Revelation, and now Galatians is always top-notch and worthy of attention and praise. On a personal note, I must also mention that he was the single biggest reason I began my seminary education, and consider it an honor and a tremendous blessing to call him a teacher, mentor, and friend.

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Quote of the Day: Paul Anderson on the Legacy of Bultmann's John Commentary

Paul Anderson, Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies at George Fox University, and editor of the new Johannine Monograph Series (Cascade), has written a superb foreword to the first release of the aforementioned series to Rudolf Bultmann's famous commentary, The Gospel of John. Anderson is masterful in elucidating the legacy Bultmann's John has had on Johannine studies past and present.
Paul Anderson
 Anderson's conclusion is worth quoting in full and thus makes my quote of the day.

If Johannine studies overall have largely emerged from the proverbial shade of the Bultmannian oak tree, the question remains as to the enduring value of Bultmann’s commentary. Is it simply a relic of the golden era of historical-critical methodologies, or does it still command exegetical purchase among interpreters of later generations? A telling note as to its abiding contribution is the claim by Ramsey Michaels, in his recent thoughtful-yet-traditional New International Commentary on John, that the most helpful single resource in writing his commentary was that of Rudolf Bultmann. While future interpreters might not follow particular aspects of Bultmann’s overall composition scheme, his theological insights, combined with exegetical sensitivity to detail and comparative-religions awareness, make this commentary an indispensable resource for synchronic and diachronic interpreters alike. As one might take different approaches to addressing the Johannine riddles, Bultmann’s commentary remains unsurpassed in its throwing them into sharp relief and propounding reasoned attempts to interpret them, with critical ingenuity and verve. Therefore, the enduring value of Bultmann’s approach to John lies not merely in the answers it poses but the questions it asks. For this contribution all readers of the Fourth Gospel are in his debt, and dialectically so (Foreword, xxiii-xxiv).

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Big Fall for the Corinthian Correspondence

A cluster of worthwhile commentaries on the Corinthian correspondence are due out this fall, headlined by Gordon Fee's revision of his classic 1 Corinthians commentary (NICNT).


Fee's preface to this updated edition can be read in its entirety here.

Also slated is the work of George Guthrie, known for his work in Hebrews primarily, as he tackles 2 Corinthians for the BECNT series. Guthrie's analysis will make a contribution on this most difficult of Paul's letters as he utilizes discourse analysis as a model from which to read the letter. Guthrie's commentary will not be due until the Spring of 2015.











Another volume to keep an eye out for is Mark Seifrid's contribution of Second Corinthians in the Pillar series.

Seifrid reads 2 Corinthians as a unified whole and believes that the main issue that Paul addresses in the letter is the
"'practical atheism' of the Corinthian church — the hidden heresy that assumes God's saving work in the world may be measured by outward standards of success and achievement."

Seifrid's volume is due out at the end of September. For all of those attending SBL Annual, it will be worth making room on your bookshelves for these volumes.

I would be remiss not to mention the excellent commentary by Raymond Collins (Paideia) that debuted early last summer. I am planning on an interview with him about this volume soon.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Francis Moloney's Latest Book

Late last summer when I had the honor of a visit from my friend and mentor, Frank Moloney, he had told me that he was in the stages of producing a book for Baker Academic that would be a guide on how he believes the NT should be read in the church.

Well, I am happy to say, that this volume now has a release date and will be available in April of next year.

Here are the particulars:


Internationally respected scholar Francis Moloney offers a Catholic introduction to the New Testament that shows how to read it both faithfully and critically. The opening chapter and an epilogue directly address the theological requirements of, and historical challenges for, ecclesial reading. The remaining chapters give exemplary readings of the figure of Jesus and of the various divisions of the New Testament canon. Conceived as a resource for religious educators, deacons, and other ministers in the Catholic Church, this book will serve Catholics and others as an ideal supplement to a conventional New Testament introduction or as a companion to reading the New Testament itself. 

 Contents 
 1. Catholic and Critical: The Challenge of Scripture in the Catholic Tradition
 2. Historical Context: The New Testament World and Our World
 3. The Origins of the New Testament: Its Creation and Reception
 4. Jesus of Nazareth: A Biographical Sketch
 5. Paul: The First Christian Author
 6. The Four Gospels: Stories of Jesus
 7. The Acts of the Apostles: Telling God's Story to the End of the Earth
 8. Later Writings of the New Testament: Letters from Apostles and a Homily
 9. The Revelation to John: Apocalypse Now
 Epilogue
 Indexes
 ISBN: 9780801049804
 Price: $22.99
 Pages: 240

Monday, July 21, 2014

Exciting New Resource on Mark's Gospel

My good friend, Michael Halcomb and Professor of New Testament at Asbury Seminary, Fred Long, have co-produced an exciting, illustrated volume of Mark's Gospel in both Greek and English. This work is produced by the co-founded publishing company by the aforementioned duo under GlossaHouse Publishing.

I am very enthused about this project. Simply put, there is nothing else quite like it out there. Halcomb and Long even produced their very own English translation for this volume. I can see this becoming a great pedagogical tool, which will aid both in learning the Greek text, but will also facilitate memorization as well. The illustrations are outstanding, as they enable the reader to understand the narrative flow of the story.

I am looking forward to getting a copy of this and utilizing it in my own studies. Best of all, Halcomb and Long intend to produce more just like this volume. You can order it here on Amazon.

Below you can view some of the sample pages in order to get a feel for what this volume offers.

Kudos to both Michael and Fred for producing such an exciting work!
I

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Francis Moloney on Bill Lane's Mark

During the recent online tributes in which I partnered with EerdWord to recognize the fortieth anniversary of the great Bill Lane's publication of his commentary on Mark (NICNT), my friend and mentor, Frank Moloney, author of the first narrative-critical focused commentary on Mark, shared these words of tribute on my FaceBook wall:

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

IVP Academic Week Part I: Donald Macleod's Christ Crucified

I can characterize the past week or so as my "IVP Academic Week." The reason for this characterization is simple: Three books were sent my way along with a catalog and the IVP Academic Alert. Many thanks to Adrianna Wright, Online Publicist and good friend for sending these publications along, especially during my birthday week.

Donald Macleod
I will mention these publications in separate posts, but today I begin with Christ Crucified: Understanding the Atonement, by theologian, Donald Macleod. Macleod, former principal as well as professor and chair of systematic theology at the Free Church of Scotland College in Edinburgh, offers up a full-scale treatment on the doctrine of the atonement.

Taking my preliminary and tentative observations into account as I have yet to read more than some bits of this volume, I can state confidently that if one were to surmise that this is just another systematic, synthetic analysis of the atonement doctrine, one would be pleasantly surprised at Macleod's approach. It is thoroughly Biblical and Theological in the best sense of both descriptors. First, Macleod examines the entirety of the New Testament in order to explicate what the Gospels, Letters, and the Apocalypse have to say regarding the atonement. One item I appreciate here is Macleod's insistence on the centrality of the cross. He writes:

...the cross is not in the first instance a doctrine, but a fact, and no interpretation of the fact can make the suffering of Christ more or less awful than it actually was. Whether we speak of the cross as penal, piacular, expiatory, propitiatory, vicarious, substitutionary, exemplary, liberating or conquering makes no difference to what Jesus had to endure. The cross remains a fact. With this fact the church, and indeed the whole world, has to reckon; and with this fact all our thinking about the atonement must begin (15).
I am also delighted in the observations Macleod makes when he discusses the "slow motion" the Gospels undertake when they encounter Good Friday (22-23). The remainder of the Gospel's narratives skip much of Jesus' earthly life and ministry, but "when it comes to the crucifixion we have the sequence frame by frame..." (22) Macleod goes on to compare this to the creation accounts in Genesis 1, where the "account covers the events of billions of years in twenty-five verses, ...but when it comes to the creation of the human species, the pace instantly changes" (23).
Then Macleod draws a thought-provoking comparison the Gospels concern for the events of Good Friday with the concern of the creation of human beings in Genesis. He writes:

The reason is simple enough. Humankind is the centre of the story, and the account of the preceding six 'days' serves merely to set the scene for the history of the redemption of our species. It is for the same reason that the crucifixion narrative goes into slow motion. It is the pivot on which the world's redemption turns, and it involves such a sequence of separate events that we assume, instinctively, that they must have occupied several days. Instead we find to our astonishment that they all occurred on one day; and the events of that one single day are reported in meticulous detail (23).

In closing, I am anxious to read more of Macleod's insightful analyses. I am especially looking forward to see how Macleod tackles a recent interpretive trend that states that the punishment of the Son, Jesus, is akin to divine child abuse on the part of God the Father. More anon.



Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Raymond Brown site Update

Beverly R. Gaventa, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Baylor University, was kind enough to share a photo of Fr. Raymond E. Brown from her personal collection. The picture depicts Fr. Brown lecturing at Colgate Rochester Divinity School ca. 1980. The picture can now be seen on the Raymond Brown site here.

Many thanks to Beverly for sharing such a wonderful picture of Fr. Brown. It was well worth the wait!

Monday, June 23, 2014

More C.F.D. Moule audio

C.F.D. Moule (1908-2007)
Visitors to this blog know that I have posted some audio lectures of one of the leading British New Testament scholars of the 20th century, C.F.D. ("Charlie") Moule. You can access those here.

Recently, I came across some oral history interviews where Charlie discusses his deanship of Clare College, Cambridge (1944-1951), before he became the Lady Margaret's Professor of Divinity until his retirement in 1976.

Presented here are three extracts from this oral history interview:

Extract 1 - Moule discusses topics such as his time as Dean at Clare, World War 2 and Cambridge, alterations to the interior of the chapel and chapel furniture in the 1950s-60s, structure of chapel administration and staff (14.00) 

 Extract 2 - Admission of female students in the 1970s, increase in the number of Fellows at Clare, organisation of College governance in the 1950s-60s, how the role of the Master changed over time, the foundation of Clare Hall (10.33) 

 Extract 3 - Cambridge College chapels as peculiars, worshipping in chapel, organising interviews for potential incumbents of the College livings (7.45)

Personal highlights for me in listening to these recordings is one gets a keen sense of Charlie's humility. For instance, he praises his successor, another famous NT scholar, John A.T. Robinson, for having a superior deanship vis-a-vis his own. Another item that stood out was Charlie gave this interview at the age of 92. It is remarkable how sharp and witty he is in this rapid-fire exchange. Also, one gets to hear Charlie speak of his first book, An Idiom Book of New Testament Greek, and how pleasantly surprised he was that it was still in print.



Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Ramsey Michaels' "Remembering Bill Lane"

As promised, Ramsey Michaels' tribute to Bill Lane is now up on the EerdWord blog. Many thanks to Ramsey for his tribute and the picture he provided of himself with Lane and Glenn Barker when they received their Harvard Divinty Th.D.'s in 1962, which I include in this post below.
From Left to Right: Bill Lane, Glenn Barker, Ramsey Michaels

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Ramsey Michaels on William Lane

J. Ramsey Michaels
J. Ramsey Michaels, Th.D. Harvard, and author of many fine commentaries, including the outstanding replacement of Leon Morris' The Gospel of John in the NICNT series, recently agreed to write up some reflections on his longtime friend and colleague, the late William L. Lane. These reflections will appear on the EerdWord Blog tomorrow (6/18) in conjunction the fortieth anniversary of Lane's The Gospel of Mark (NICNT).

In a recent email correspondence (6/14/14), Ramsey shared some additional thoughts on Lane and his Mark commentary that he did not include in his tribute. I quote him with his permission:

One very intriguing feature of Bill’s Mark commentary (that I didn’t have the space to include) is his view that the uses of Son of Man in Mark 2:10 and 28 are comments of the evangelist, not intended as words of Jesus. This has two implications: first, that Son of Man does not occur only on the lips of Jesus, but is used as well by Gospel writers; second, that according to Mark, Jesus did not use this term until the first passion prediction, Mark 8:31. I’m not at all sure that I agree, but I find it quite provocative, especially coming from an evangelical in the 1970s.
 Once again, I'd like to thank the good folks at Eerdmans, particularly Rachel Bomberger, Eerdword editor for partnering with me on this tribute. I will post a link to Ramsey's tribute tomorrow.