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.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

“William Lane’s The Gospel of Mark, a Benchmark Commentary: A Tribute” by Ardel B. Caneday

As promised, my good friend, Ardel Caneday, shares his thoughts on the personal impact Bill Lane's The Gospel of Mark (NICNT) made upon him over at the EerdWord blog. Many thanks to Rachel Bomberger of EerdWord editor at Eerdmans for partnering with me to make this tribute possible. Click here to read the post.

William Lane’s Mark: Celebrating Forty Years

“Lane is to be commended for his splendid work. It is the best English commentary on Mark today, and will be a standard for years to come.” –Harold W. Hoehner, The Gospel According to Mark: A Review ; Bibliotheca Sacra, 133 no 531 Jl-S 1976, p 266-267; here 267.


William L. Lane
 It was Mark Twain who famously stated that a “classic” is “…a book which people praise and don't read.” What Twain states above is probably true for most of us who own even the very best of commentaries in both the Old and New Testaments. Commentaries are consulted and cherry-picked, but are rarely read cover to cover by most. I am guilty of this charge as well. This is not to say that one needs to read a commentary cover to cover in order to pronounce a judgment over it, but in order to give a commentary the honorific adjective, “classic,” that commentary must have proved itself to be of the highest quality and also make a significant contribution to the state of scholarship during its time and beyond. The timeless quality of a piece of writing can only be determined, ironically, with the passage of time. William L. Lane’s commentary on the Gospel of Mark (NICNT), has persevered over a significant passage of time, forty years to be exact, and remains the last in this series to be replaced (eventually by Rikk Watts). For some perspective, eight Presidential administrations have been conducted since Lane’s The Gospel According to Mark, has been published. Lane’s commentary is to be celebrated not only for its longevity, but also for his insistence that Mark’s narrative be read as a literary whole, and the distinctive theological contribution of the evangelist was to take pride of place in his approach. This allowed Lane to place a strong emphasis on the literary structure of Mark's Gospel, eventually opening the doors to the approach of literary and narrative-critical studies that are prominent today in Markan scholarship.

My own interest in showing appreciation to Lane’s contribution stirred me to contact a couple of friends and colleagues, one Ardel Caneday, Professor of New Testament Studies and Biblical Theology at the University of Northwestern, St. Paul and J. Ramsey Michaels, professor emeritus of religious studies at Missouri State University, Springfield, Missouri, and adjunct professor of New Testament at Bangor Theological Seminary, Portland, Maine, to offer some reflections on Lane’s commentary on Mark. Both men are in a good position to do so, as Caneday has taught Mark’s Gospel for over twenty five years and considers Lane’s contribution to be the most formative in his understanding of the second Gospel, and Michaels, was a lifelong friend and colleague of Lane’s, sharing much of their education and teaching experience together, as well as being connected in publishing venues. Over the next couple of weeks, their reflections will be posted on the EerdWord blog, and this blog will provide links to those reflections.

Saturday, May 24, 2014

Entering the Fray: An Interview with Michael Halcomb


My good friend, Dr. Michael Halcomb, has written a truly unique book that fills an immense lacuna in NT scholarship vis-à-vis  the church. If one thinks that this a biased overstatement from one friend on behalf of another, I simply ask you to pick up a copy of Entering the Fray: A Primer on New Testament Issues and the Academy (W&S) and judge for yourself. There is simply no other book remotely like this one. Still need convinced? Check out some of the endorsements for this volume:

"New Testament studies are often a beehive of contentious debates. Halcomb surveys several of these debates and guides his readers away from the killer bees of confusion and takes them to the honeycomb of understanding. If you want to get a grip on some hot-potato topics in biblical studies without frying your figurative fingers, then Halcomb does a sterling job of introducing readers to several big debates and showing what the various interpretative options are. Great for students!" —Michael Bird, Highland Theological College 

 "Navigating New Testament scholarship can be daunting. In Entering the Fray, Halcomb proves to be a reliable guide. This thorough-yet-succinct presentation introduces the major issues and players of the last four hundred years. With a personal touch, Halcomb demonstrates what scholars do and why the church needs scholarship. This book is for anyone who ever wondered about New Testament scholarship and what impact it has on their faith and life." —John Byron, Ashland Theological Seminary

 "Entering the Fray offers non-specialists an easily accessible path into scholars' conversations on key concerns, such as the nature of the New Testament canon, the relationship between the Gospels, and the historical accuracy of Acts. In all twelve chapters, Halcomb explains why the scholars' discussions should matter to the church." —Lynn H. Cohick, Wheaton College


"Halcomb does the church and academy a great service by answering the big question of why the church needs academic studies . . . This is a good book for all who want to seek the truth behind the text. Whomever 'enters the fray' will come out on the other side a better and more learned student of the Bible." —Sam Tsang, Hong Kong Baptist Theological Seminary 

"The work of New Testament scholars can be both fascinating and important, but also quite technical. Halcomb has written an accessible and engaging account of several of the key issues discussed among New Testament scholars today. I recommend this book for the clear and succinct ways in which it explains some interesting debates among biblical scholars, debates that have real significance within the life of the church." —David F. Watson, United Theological Seminary

 "The church and the academy, no less than the prodigal son and his older brother, have had a rocky history. Like the proverbial father, Halcomb is devoted to both and hopes to bring them together into a peaceable and even amicable relationship. Entering the Fray provides a sympathetic introduction to hot topics and prominent figures of New Testament scholarship for Christians who find themselves unsure what all the fuss is about." —Rafael Rodríguez, Johnson University

Backed by these endorsements and now mine, I would highly recommend this volume for NT Intro courses, adult Sunday school classes, and anyone interested in the relationship between the church and the academy, an often bifurcated alliance at best. Recently, I had the good fortune of interviewing Mike who recently was awarded his PhD in NT from Asbury Seminary. On to the interview.

1. Talk a bit about your motivation for writing this book. 

 Sure, Matt, but first let me say “Thank You!” for not only reading this book but really coming away from it with a desire to encourage others to dig into it; I am very grateful for that. And let me just say, your blog has become a great online stop for resources related to biblical studies, especially those in the field of New Testament studies, and I’m honored to interview with you here on NTP about Entering the Fray. To get back to your question, the motivation for writing this book stemmed from two places really: 1) My deep and abiding love for the church; and 2) My desire to make the most of the months of preparation leading up to my doctoral comprehensive exams. I’ll briefly say a word about both of those. With regard to point number 1, I should note that I have either been teaching or preaching within a church context for the last decade. I have pastored and taught in inner-city churches, suburban mega-churches, church plants, and old-time rural churches. In the midst of such opportunities, I have consistently encountered a suspicion of Bible scholars. In one congregation I had a woman who felt like it was her job to remind me, almost on a weekly basis, to not let seminary destroy my faith. I grew so weary of hearing this and a desire was kindling within me to address it in some positive and helpful way. I wanted to show Christians, especially evangelical Christians, that there was no need to be afraid of Bible scholars and since that is the case, there is no need to be afraid of the things those scholars talk about. In fact, every Christian stands to benefit from knowing what issues are being talked about and who some of the persons involved in the conversations. Why is this? Because it is the scholars who teach in the seminaries that train the pastors and it is the scholars who write the books and commentaries that pastors use. Thus, scholars influence pastors. In turn, pastors influence congregants. Congregants shape the church. The church should help shape communities and societies. So as you can see, a lot of this comes back to scholars and the issues they address. When I started preparing for my comprehensive exams during my Ph.D. studies, I decided that I would take that time and parse out these major issues in a real down-to-earth, user-friendly type of way. That’s what I aimed to do (and hope I accomplished) in Entering the Fray. Basically, I was able to kill two birds with one stone—prepare for my exams and use that preparation to create a helpful resource. And again, I hope this resource will be beneficial for both laity and college/university/seminary students. I think it would make a great Sunday School study but it could also be a great resource for classes related to the New Testament.

 2. I imagine that narrowing down the most essential topics in New Testament studies was challenging. How did you decide what topics should be discussed?

 Yes, it absolutely was! The way that I really started to narrow the topics down was to ask: 1) What major issues have shaped the field of New Testament over the last 400-500 years? And 2) Across the New Testament canon, what issues have been game-changers. Now, those two answers are pretty closely related but they are different in that one deals with the “field” of NT studies while the other is focused on issues pertaining to the whole of the NT canon. Another aspect of this was, to bring it up once again, my comp exams. I found myself thinking: “What could my committee possibly ask me on those exams?” Anticipating and thinking through that also helped me come up with some of the topics and related questions.

 3. In addition to the volume itself, you have designed an interactive website for the book. Discuss some of the ways readers of your work can benefit from the website.

Right! The major part of the interactive website is a user-friendly timeline that includes a picture and brief biographical sketch of every New Testament scholar mentioned by name in the book. But there are also some short videos and a link to by an audiobook version of Entering the Fray. So, readers can benefit from the site by finding out some things about NT scholars, getting chapter video previews, and if they so desire, picking up an audiobook copy of the work. Within the book, at the front of each chapter there are QR codes that folks can point their mobile devices at and automatically be taken to the site if they’ve got an internet connection. I should probably also mention that there is also a helpful timeline in the back of the book.

 4. One of the features of this work that I find so valuable are the call-out boxes that provide the reader with essential biographical information of scholars past and present. In what ways does the feature help the reader understand the history of scholarship?

 That’s great! I’m definitely glad to hear you say that. I worked really hard on those “Scholarly Sketches” (the “call-out boxes” you’re referring to). One of the biggest aims of these “Sketches” was to humanize Bible scholars. This is why I mention specific names, dates, spouse names, children names, accomplishments, struggles, and the like. I wanted readers to know and be reminded that, like everyone, those who identify as Bible scholars are humans just like everyone else. It is really easy to demonize someone like Bultmann and just forget his context and forget that he was a human. Now, this is not to say that these scholars are always right and never wrong, that’s just not the case. But when you begin to really get to know someone, it often means that it becomes a lot less easy to demonize them and much easier to understand where they’re coming from. When things like this are accomplished, especially for the lay person or the seminary student, I feel like something quite significant has happened. Knowing who we are and where we have come from is important for where we are going. Yet, it is also important in helping formulate our own ideas and identities. The fact is, the church-goer just has not tapped into the rich history of New Testament studies. Part of the reason for this is that pastors have not helped them do so. But part of this comes from professors not equipping them. So, if Bible scholars want church-goers to get out of the downward spiral into biblical illiteracy, then they must do something about it. This means not only working through this issues with them and introducing them to various voices discussing these issues, but also equipping them to address these matters with laity.

 5. One of the challenges of a book such as this is to make palatable complicated discussions such as the so-called Synoptic problem (57-68). As a scholar and writer, how did you narrow down the ‘so what?’ for the person in the pew? 

You’ve hit the nail on the head there, Matt. The way that I really tried narrowing down the “So What?” aspect for the person in the pew was just to tap into some of my own reservations I experienced when confronted with these types of topics for the first time. I think it’s quite easy for those who’ve gone through various degree programs, especially Ph.D. programs, to forget that these scholar issues do directly affect the average layperson or seminary student…sometimes in very deep and profound ways. Put differently, it is easy for scholars to talk to other scholars and in doing so to talk past those who are not yet at that place/level. In addition, I worked really hard to trace out the pastoral implications of every single topic addressed in this book, from the formation of the canon, to the Synoptic Problem, to archaeological finds, and beyond. These matters are not relegated to the scholarly realm only and never will be, despite the fact that some scholars may wish that were the case. And believe me, I’m not at all anti-scholarship. I value the fact that some scholars write for other scholars and have, as their main focus, engaging other scholars. That’s needed in certain circumstances. But for me personally, that’s not the case. While I obviously engage other scholars, as I said before, I have a deep and abiding passion for God’s church. I want to help bridge that gap between these two realms and chart a path for generating fruitful discussion on important issues.

 6. One of the impressive attributes of this volume is the amount of information packed into a volume of this size. How much research did this require? 

What were some things that you learned along the journey? Thanks you for those kind words. I really worked hard to make this volume at one and the same time academically robust and easy to access. It certainly required a lot of research but it’s quite hard to quantify it. As you know, the book goes through the NT canon addressing major issues and to be fair to all sides (I’m not functioning as an author with an agenda of apologetics in this book), it really took a lot of work. Hmmm…what were some of the biggest takeaways I had along the journey? Well, one was that, in creating the biographical snippets (Scholarly Sketches), the resultant effect on me was just a greater appreciation of significant NT scholars over the course of the last several hundred years. An added bonus was just a great appreciation for an ecumenical spirit in this field. I really enjoyed writing the chapter on the historicity of Acts and learned quite a bit. I would really encourage folks to dig into that research, it is really rich. The chapter on major archaeological finds was also good for me. In the course of writing that chapter I came to some good conclusions about how to engage archaeology responsibly, especially with regard to exegetical and theological claims. Gaining such a wide overview of NT issues really positioned me well for my comprehensive exams. That was one of the places I scored with High Pass. That might not have ever happened had I not been focused on this book throughout the course of those months of study. I would like to think that this volume would be a very nice overview/review for other students who will be faced with questions about the NT and NT studies on their tests too. It truly was a joy writing this book and I’m glad I get to share my findings with others.

 7. What impact would like to see your Entering the Fray make in both the church and the academy?

 You know, Matt, I’d love to see this book used widely in both churches and classrooms. It would make, as I said, a great Sunday school study or even a small group study. It would fit very well into NT Intro courses too. I’m thankful that folks like yourself are helping get the word out about it. I’m also grateful that it’s been mentioned on a few blogs/websites and in several academic journals, including JSNT (Journal for the Study of the New Testament). I know it’s slated to be reviewed in several other journals too, and I look forward to those. Most of all, my desire, my ministry, is to really help folks love God with all their mind and a few folks who've read this have contacted me explaining that this has happened for them. As the author of this book, there could be no greater accomplishment. It is such a privilege to have a writing ministry that reaches folks in this way. I’m so grateful to be able to do this. I hope that this book can continued to be used for God’s glory and that his people will be blessed and strengthened by it. Having said that, let me also wrap things up here by saying “Thank you!” again, Matt, for taking the time to read this book and share about it on your site. I hope that any who read this interview and in turn, read the book, are both blessed and challenged by it. Keep doing good work, Matt; your blog has become a unique and trusted resource for those interested in NT studies.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

William L. Lane on Writing Commentaries

I am always fascinated by those who have written commentaries and how they view the task. I found this little gem from the late William L. Lane on his writing of the award-winning Hebrews commentary (WBC) in which he spent some twelve years writing and researching.
William L. Lane (1931-1999)

"It takes a particular call of God to write a biblical commentary," says Lane, also the author of a volume on the Gospel of Mark. "Most people don't understand what a very lonely task it is to go into a room and shut the door and wrestle with the text."
- William L. Lane on his two-volume Hebrews commentary, http://www.spu.edu/depts/uc/response/april97/c_news/, accessed on 5/4/14.

Saturday, May 3, 2014

William L. Lane Audio Lectures on Mark's Gospel

William L. Lane (1931-1999)
William L. Lane, author of well-known and classic commentaries on both Mark's Gospel (NICNT) and Hebrews (WBC), passed away 15 years ago this past March 7th. Lane was a big influence on Michael Card, Christian recording artist and writer, as well as NT scholar, George Guthrie and countless others.

It is one thing to get a sense of the man through his writings, and Lane's scholarship was first rate--but I find that audio recordings really provide a fuller sense of the man and his ministry.

Fortunately, a year before Dr. Lane's untimely passing, he recorded a series of teachings on Mark's Gospel, at Christ Community Church of Franklin, TN, where this adult education series was delivered in the summer of 1998.

These teachings can be found here. On this audio series, one  will find a man full of warmth and also a scholar who lives out what he teaches while challenging others to do the same.

Forthcoming Mark Commentary


This fall, (October, 2014) Zondervan Academic will be releasing the latest in the ZECNT series, Mark, authored by outstanding Gospels and Historical Jesus scholar, Mark L. Strauss, Bethel Seminary, San Diego, CA.

Strauss' outstanding, Four Portraits, One Jesus, really excites me about this latest work.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Peder J. Borgen Reflects on Raymond Brown

Peder J. Borgen
Last year, I was very fortunate to attend the John, Jesus, and History Conference in Baltimore.  Held at St. Mary's Seminary, the conference took time to honor two giants in Johannine interpretation, C.H. Dodd and Raymond E. Brown.

While there, I met the eminent NT scholar, Peder Borgen, known for both his work in Philonic as well as Johannine studies, especially, his famous, Bread from Heaven. An Exegetical Study of the Concept of Manna in the Gospel of John and the Writings of Philo.


Dr. Borgen delivered some memories on the final night of the conference about Raymond Brown in which he has made available to the website which can be read here.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Raymond Brown's Interpretation Articles Now Free for Download!

One of the perils of creating a website for a figure of Raymond E. Brown's immense stature is learning the ropes of copyright law. Some time back, (last fall, actually) I contacted Debra Reagan, Managing Editor of Interpretation Journal, to inquire if I may make available Ray's articles that he wrote for said journal. After months of inquiries with both Debra and Sage Journals, the aforementioned parties have made Ray's articles free in perpetuity for users of my site! Many thanks goes to both Debra and Sage for their consideration and generosity. You can find the articles here.

With that being said, I have pulled some other articles available for download I had posted on that page. Even though I found them in Google searches, I have decided that in good conscience I could no longer make those available without expressed permissions. I hope one day to make most of Ray's articles, reviews, and the like available on the site, but it is a long, laborious process to do so.

In the meantime, enjoy!



Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Rudolf Schnackenburg and the Quote of the Day

No one who approaches the figure of Jesus with the cool distance of the historian can answer the question about the mystery of the person of Jesus, the radiant energy that emanates from him, the living power of his words and deeds, the magnetic force of his suffering and dying.
(Rudolf Schnackenburg, Jesus in the Gospels: A Biblical Christology [Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 1995]), 4.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Must Have IVP Forthcoming Releases

I noticed the other day that IVP Academic has a couple of forthcoming releases that I will indeed be adding to my library. These volumes cover my two greatest scholarly interests, the Gospels of Mark and John.
Robert H. Stein
The first volume, Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13, is authored by Robert H. Stein, senior professor of New Testament Interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. 
Stein also happens to be the author of the excellent Mark commentary in the BECNT series. I am so looking forward to this offering as Mark 13 is one of the most challenging chapters of any Gospel. Stein's book is due out in October, is 160 pages in length and retails for a modest $18.00.

Here are the particulars:

The Gospels contain many hard sayings of Jesus, but perhaps none have puzzled and intrigued readers as much as Jesus’ discourse on the coming of the Son of Man in Mark 13. Is Jesus speaking entirely of an event in the near future, a coming destruction of the temple? Or is he referring to a distant, end-of-the-world event? Or might he even be speaking of both near and distant events? But in that case, which words apply to which event, and how can we be sure? Seasoned Gospels scholar Robert Stein follows up his major commentary on Mark with this even closer reading of Mark 13. In this macro-lens commentary he walks us step by step through the text and its questions, leading us to a compelling interpretive solution.

Contents:

Preface 1 Determining Our Goal 2 Key Issues Involved in Interpreting Mark 13 3 Jesus’ Prediction of the Destruction of the Temple (and Jerusalem): Mark 13:1-4 4 The Coming Destruction of the Temple and the Sign Preceding It: Mark 13:5-23 5 The Coming of the Son of Man: Mark 13:24-27 6 The Parable of the Fig Tree and the Coming Destruction of the Temple (and Jerusalem): Mark 13:28-31 7 The Parable of the Watchman and the Exhortation to Be Alert for the Coming of the Son of Man: Mark 13:32-37 8 An Interpretative Translation of Mark 13 Bibliography Index of Subjects Index of Scripture and Other Ancient Literature

Endorsements:
"The interpretation of Mark 13 is controversial and sometimes a bit baffling. Robert Stein—with his characteristic clarity, common sense and exegetical skill—unpacks the meaning of the passage for readers. Even those who disagree will profit from Stein's lucid exegesis and will have to wrestle seriously with the arguments he presents for his reading. All readers will recognize the hand of a veteran and wise interpreter at work. We stand in debt to Stein for an outstanding exposition." —Thomas R. Schreiner, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary



The other must-have volume is Paul Rainbow's Johannine Theology: The Gospel, The Epistles and the Apocalypse.  


Here is a description:


Paul A. Rainbow
In this magisterial synthesis, Paul A. Rainbow presents the most complete account of the theology of the Johannine corpus available today. Both critical and comprehensive, this volume includes all the books of the New Testament ascribed to John: the Gospel, the three epistles and the book of Revelation. While not proclaiming a definitive position on the question of authorship, this work seeks to shed light on the theology common to all the New Testament authors. John’s root beliefs concerning God, humanity, sin, the world, and the significance of the Christ-event on eschatology unite the examined books with the rest of the New Testament canon. The Johannine corpus also highlights the important areas of christology, soteriology and ecclesiology in a manner that is worth exploration. Organizing John's ideas by the main characters around whom they revolve, the Johannine universe consists of persons divine and human, and their relationships with each other. Father, Son, Holy Spirit, faithful believers and the rest of the world are the main cast of characters that make up the rich set of writings considered in this exhaustive analysis.

Contents:

Preface Acknowledgements Abbreviations 1. Introduction 2. The Revelation of God (The Father) 3. The World 4. God’s Self-Revelation in Christ’s Person 5. God’s Self-Revelation in Christ’s Work 6. The Revelation of the Father in the Son by the Spirit-Paraclete 7. The Believer and the True God: Coming to Christ 8. The Believer and the True God: Abiding in Christ 9. Disciples of Christ in Community 10. The Community of Christ’s Disciples in the World Bibliography Index of Authors Index of Subjects Index of Principal Scripture Passages


Rainbow's work is a hefty 464 pages, is due in October, and retails for $40.00

I cannot wait to the add these two to my library!