Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Ancient Context Ancient Faith Series

One of my great passions in life is to unite biblical scholarship with the church. It seems to me that the 'so what?' of our scholarly callings is the single, most meaningful question, aligning ourselves with what we do not merely for the academy but more importantly, for the church.

Therefore, I would like to commend those in teaching roles in their church to make use of an exciting, new series Ancient Context: Ancient Faith (Zondervan), spearheaded by series editor and contributor, Gary Burge (Wheaton). The series consists of six volumes, each 100-140 pages in length.
Gary Burge
All six volumes of the Ancient Context: Ancient Faith series

Photos from Timothy Laniak's Finding the Lost Images of God
What makes this series a must-have you ask? Well, like all Zondervan's projects, the aesthetics are remarkable. Full-color glossy photos appear on nearly every page. Say what you want about style, but it does matter, and Zondervan never fails to disappoint on that score. 

Secondly, and more importantly, is a matter of substance, and Burge, et. al, have done an outstanding job of educating the reader on biblical backgrounds that inform a well-grounded reading of Scripture. For instance, the last volume in the series, Jesus and the Jewish Festivals, provided me with an excellent resource for teaching John 7-8. Burge, a Johannine specialist, is at his best here, providing insights stretching from the Old Testament to the Mishnah in helping to elucidate various Johannine passages. My class found some of the information that I shared from Burge's volume with great enthusiasm.

Pages from Gary Burge's Jesus and the Jewish Festivals

Therefore, I cannot recommend these volumes highly enough, especially for Bible and small group studies. Burge and Zondervan are due many kudos for the excellent, accessible work they have provided teachers, pastors and scholars alike.

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