Friday, October 31, 2014

A Brief Book Notice on J.B. Lightfoot's The Acts of the Apostles

One of the more unique books that I have had the pleasure of receiving arrived on my doorstep this week. The Acts of the Apostles: A Newly Discovered Commentary (IVP Academic) by the legendary J.B. Lightfoot, has been compiled and edited by the capable hands of Ben Witherington and Todd Still.

The story of how Lightfoot's manuscripts were discovered by Witherington is worth the price of the book itself. I do not want to divulge many of the details, so please, go and pick up this book. If you are like me, and appreciate the giants on whose shoulders we have all had the privilege of standing, this book is a must.

Lightfoot's comments on the art of commentating are also a wonderful resource and timeless in his approach to hermeneutics.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Markus Barth's Lectures on Ephesians and Colossians

Markus Barth 1915-1994

After some laborious work, I have made available digitized versions of Markus Barth's lectures on Ephesians and Colossians, which were originally published in 1969 by Alba House Communications. As far as I can ascertain, these lectures are no longer available for sale, but if there is a copyright issue, I will gladly take the links down. Moreover, these lectures have appeared only on cassette and never in any digital format until now.

There is roughly over two hours of content here, and I have recorded them in WAVE format to ensure a higher quality sound.

M. Barth was probably most widely known for his work on these two so-called Captivity Epistles, culminating in commentaries in the Anchor (Yale) Bible Series.


Markus Barth Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 1

Markus Barth-Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 2

Markus Barth-Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 3

Markus Barth- Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 4

Markus Barth- Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 5

Markus Barth Ephesians, Colossians Lecture 6

Saturday, October 18, 2014

David deSilva's YouTube Channel

Many of you might already be aware of this, but David deSilva, Trustees Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary, has his own Youtube channel. Thus far, sixteen videos have appeared, including one, "Hearing the Whole of Paul's Good News," which will give those anticipating his Transformation: The Heart of Paul's Gospel, a foretaste of what that volume will be about.

Click here for David's channel.

Monday, October 13, 2014

C.F.D. Moule- Another Example of Humility

Humility is a great virtue in scholarship, or, for that matter, in any professional field. I am not talking about a false humility that paradoxically calls attention to itself in order to garner attention, i.e. a 'humble-brag.'

Recently, I posted some sterling words from G.B. Caird on this very subject. A contemporary of the great scholar, C.F.D. Moule, yet another giant of British N.T. scholarship in the 20th century, has some relevant words regarding a position of humility with his famous publication, An Idiom-Book of New Testament Greek.
C.F.D. Moule (1908-2007)

Moule comments in the original Preface (October, 1952) that he was invited by J.M. Creed to write a full grammar or syntax, but delays, distractions and the preference for studying idiom, produced this work, "an obviously incomplete idiom-book--an amateur's collection of specimens"(v.). Moule goes on to state: "My only hope  is that even with such limitations it may yet prove useful as a companion and supplement to the already existing commentaries" (v.).

Further Moule strikingly states: "If the present compilation makes any claim upon the attention of students, it will simply be as the work of a fellow-student who has seen something of what needs to be done but has not gone far towards the achievement" (v.).

And last, Moule expresses his gratitude to those who have plowed in this field before him:

"My indebtedness to those who have already written upon these matters is great, although not so great as it would have been if I had been faster and more diligent reader. In particular I am conscious of having done all too little reading of secular writings of the period, both literary and non-literary. But I here record my gratitude for so much of the works of the work of others as I have the capacity to receive" (vi).

Michael Gorman's Forthcoming Volume on Paul

My friend, Michael Gorman, the Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology at St. Mary's Seminary and University in Baltimore, Maryland, has produced another book on Paul.

Becoming the Gospel: Paul, Participation, and Mission is slated for a late spring release (May, 2015). This will be Gorman's fourth book on Paul with Eerdmans publishing. Simply put, Gorman is one of my favorite authors and one of the best scholars on Paul in biblical scholarship today. I never fail to learn when I read Mike's work, and that is the highest compliment I can pay any scholar.

The book is 336 pages and will retail for $28.00.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Happy Birthday Markus Barth!

Markus Barth, perhaps one of the most underrated of the great New Testament scholars of the 20th century, no doubt due in no small part by the shadow cast by his father, Karl Barth, would have turned 99 today.

Markus Barth with wife, Rose Marie, ca. 1947
Markus Barth was born on October 6, 1915 in Safenwil, Switzerland. In 1947, he received his PhD in NT from the University of Göttingen and in 1953, accepted his first post in the United States, as he was invited to become visiting professor of New Testament at the Presbyterian Theological Seminary in Dubuque, Iowa. From there, Barth moved to the Federated Theological Faculty at the University of Chicago in 1955. In 1963, Barth moved once again, this time to become the professor of New Testament at Pittsburgh Theological Seminary. Eleven years later, 1973, Barth was called back to his native Switzerland, where he served as professor of NT at the University of Basel until his passing in 1994.

M.Barth is probably best known for his magisterial two-volume commentary on Ephesians in the Anchor series. However, Barth also produced two other major commentaries that were published posthumously, both rounded off by Helmut Blanke, those of Colossians (Anchor) and Philemon (ECC). In addition, Barth, perhaps more than any other NT scholar of his generation, took great pains to foster conversation between Christians and Jews. His seminal articles, "What can a Jew Believe about Jesus--and Still Remain a Jew?"(1965) and "Was Paul an Anti-Semite?" (1968), both appearing in the Journal of Eumenical Studies, were born out of lectures Barth delivered in Jewish synagogues. 

For more biographical information on M. Barth, click here and here

I will leave with this quote from M. Barth's Ephesians 1-3 on his role of interpreter:

To interpret part of the Bible is to have a conversation with its author--whether or not his name his known--and to participate in the dialogues which informed him and stirred up by him. An exegete listens and responds above all to the Bible itself. He realizes that this voice also reflects whispers and thunders heard in the culture of the ancient world and that it has produced many echoes during the almost two thousand-year history of the synagogue and church. In turn, the expositor is surrounded and influenced by noises and sounds produced in his own time. While he tries carefully to listen to the past, he also has to respond daringly in terms of the present world (Preface; ix).

P.S. Here is a post I wrote 4 years ago that feature M. Barth audio resources from 1970.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

George Caird and Humility

Hubris is is no short supply these days whether we are discussing politicians, athletes, celebrities, and yes, scholars of all stripes.

George B. Caird (1917-1984)
Might we all take a page from George B. Caird (1917-1984), formerly Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford? Caird was one of the greatest British New Testament scholars of the Twentieth Century along with such luminaries as Barrett, Dodd, Moule, Cranfield, etc. Caird also mentored and supervised such present day luminaries in NT scholarship such as N.T. Wright, the late L.D. Hurst, Marcus Borg, John Muddiman, Jeffrey Gibson and others. So if anyone could have an immense ego, it might well be George Bradford Caird.

That is why I was struck by what Caird writes in the Preface to perhaps the greatest work he produced during his lifetime, The Language and Imagery of the Bible. Consider what Caird says about his efforts in producing this book:

This is a book by an amateur, written for amateurs. Only an amatuer could undertake to write on such a subject, since one lifetime is too short for anyone to become an expert on more than one of the qualifying disciplines. For language is not the concern of the linguist alone, but of the literary critic, the psychologist, the anthropologist, the lawyer, the philosopher and the theologian as well. A prudent expert cultivates his own garden, not wasting time in looking over the fence at what his neighbours are doing. The amateur accepts cuttings from everyone, hoping they will take in his own soil. I have tried to find out what writers in all these fields have been saying, and I have made use of their ideas when they have caught my fancy. But is not my intention to trespass on the grounds of any of them. I am content to leave the Semitic philologist to grapple with the origins and affinities of Hebrew, the psychologist to discourse on the relation of words and mind, and the philosopher to investigate the truth of propositions and the mystical bond between words and the objects they denote. I am, if I may be allowed to adjust my metaphor, a walker on the common out of which they have carved their allotments. I offer to other wayfarers on the same path this guide to the things that they may catch their eye or their ear (Italics mine; vii). 

We would all do well to measure our contributions in such terms. If the great G.B. Caird can be this transparent, what is our excuse?

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"


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. 

 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
 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!