Saturday, March 5, 2011

Looking Forward: Baker Academic Fall Releases

Every fall, with the combination of the annual academic conferences and Christmas, book publishers put their best foot forward in offering some genuinely exciting resources. At the top of the heap, in my estimation, is Baker Academic. Below, I have highlighted some of the selections I believe people will be talking about for some time.

Fall Releases:

James W. Thompson; Moral Formation According to Paul: The Context and Cherence of Pauline Ethics; Nov. 2011; 272 pp.; $24.99

This fresh treatment of Paul's ethics addresses this question: how, according to Paul, can Christian communities know how God wants them to live? Leading biblical scholar James Thompson explains that Paul offers a coherent moral vision based not only on the story of Christ but also on the norms of the law. Paul did not live with a sharp dichotomy of law and gospel and recognized the continuing importance of the law. Thompson makes a distinctive contribution by locating the roots of Paul's concrete ethical thought in Hellenistic Judaism rather than Hellenistic moral philosophy. Students of New Testament ethics and Pauline theology will value this work.

Eds. Joel B. Green and Jacqueline E. Lapsley and Rebekah Miles and Allen Verhey, Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics; Nov. 2011; 896 pp.; $59.99.

This one-stop reference book on the vital relationship between Scripture and ethics offers needed orientation and perspective for students, pastors, and scholars. Written to respond to the movement among biblical scholars and ethicists to recover the Bible for moral formation, it is the best reference work available on the intersection of these two fields. The volume shows how Christian Scripture and Christian ethics are necessarily intertwined and offers up-to-date treatment of five hundred biblical, traditional, and contemporary topics, ranging from adultery, bioethics, and Colossians to vegetarianism, work, and Zephaniah. The stellar ecumenical list of contributors consists of more than two hundred leading scholars from the fields of biblical studies and ethics, including Darrell Bock, David Gushee, Amy Laura Hall, Daniel Harrington, Dennis Olson, Christine Pohl, Glen Stassen, and Max Stackhouse.

Victor P. Hamilton;  Exodus: An Exegetical Commentary; Nov. 2011; 832 pp.; $54.99.
Victor Hamilton, a highly regarded Old Testament scholar with over thirty years' experience in the classroom, offers a comprehensive exegesis of the book of Exodus. Written in a clear and accessible style, this major, up-to-date, evangelical, exegetical commentary opens up the riches of the book of Exodus. Hamilton relates Exodus to the rest of Scripture and includes his own translation of the text. This commentary will be valued by professors and students of the Old Testament as well as pastors.

Eds. Chris Keith and Larry W. Hurtado; Jesus among Friends and Enemies: A Historical and Literary Introduction to Jesus in the Gospels; Nov. 2011; 352 pp.; $26.99.

This engaging text offers a fresh alternative to standard introductions to Jesus. Combining literary and sociohistorical approaches and offering a tightly integrated treatment, a team of highly respected scholars examines how Jesus's friends and enemies respond to him in the Gospel narratives. It is the first book to introduce readers to the rich portraits of Jesus in the Gospels by surveying the characters who surround him in those texts--from John the Baptist, the disciples, and the family of Jesus to Satan, Pontius Pilate, and Judas Iscariot (among others). Contributors include Richard J. Bauckham, Warren Carter, and Edith M. Humphrey.

Craig S. Keener; Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts; Nov. 2011; 928 pp.; $54.99.

Are the New Testament reports of miracles credible? Modern readers often stumble over miracle accounts in the Gospels and Acts, assuming that miracles cannot occur and that reliable eyewitnesses do not claim they happen. In this wide-ranging and meticulously researched study, highly respected New Testament scholar Craig Keener presents the most thorough current defense of the plausibility of biblical miracles. Drawing on reports from a range of global cultures and taking a multidisciplinary approach to the topic, Keener argues that many miracle accounts throughout church history, in the Bible, and today are best explained as genuine divine acts.

G. K. Beale; New Testament Biblical Theology, A: The Transformation of the Old Testament in the New; Dec. 2011; 992 pp.; $54.99.

This comprehensive exposition is the first major New Testament biblical theology to appear in English in fifty years. G. K. Beale, coeditor of the award-winning Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament, examines how the New Testament storyline relates to and develops the Old Testament storyline. Beale argues that every major concept of the New Testament is a development of a concept from the Old and is to be understood as a facet of the inauguration of the latter-day new creation and kingdom. Offering extensive interaction between the two testaments, this volume helps readers see the unifying conceptual threads of the Old Testament and how those threads are woven together in Christ. This major work by a leading New Testament scholar will be valued by students of the New Testament and pastors alike.

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