Sunday, May 31, 2015

Supplemental Resources for 'Four Portraits One Jesus'

Over eight years ago (man, time flies!), I recommended Mark Strauss' Four Portraits, One Jesus, as a premier textbook that covers both the gospels and  Historical Jesus research as well as any introductory text that money could buy. I have not altered my view in the ensuing years, as I believe Strauss does a wonderful job of addressing a myriad of issues lucidly for the beginning student.

Sample Page of laminated sheet
I am delighted to say that the best is now even better, as supplementary resources have been added to the textbook, including a laminated sheet, encapsulating and distilling the most important information of  each chapter of Four Portraits, as well as a workbook, which expands on the questions and exercises found in the main text at the end of each chapter.

Sample worksheet exercise
Moreover, slated for a July release, Four Portraits will also include video lectures by Strauss. Those who wish to simulate a seminary classroom experience can take advantage of this unique opportunity and learn from one of the prominent Evangelical Gospels and Historical Jesus scholars in the world (I will have a follow-up to this post when the videos release).

Zondervan Academic continues to set the bar for high quality in both content as well as aesthetic beauty, in that readers who purchase Strauss' Four Portraits  and related material, will not only receive materials that are sensibly organized, full of valuable content, but will also receive content that is beautiful, a pleasure to actually take up and read! Zondervan Academic understands perhaps better than any publisher that content and beauty are two sides of the same coin and Four Portraits is no exception.

Sunday, May 17, 2015

A Story Worth Telling: A Brief Review and Recommendation

Followers of this blog will note that I rarely digress from anything other New Testament-related posts. In this particular case, I am making an exception. This is not to say that this book does not have plenty of New Testament-related material, but the focus is more on the praxis of belief than a theological/exegetical book proper. The author also happens to be my brother-in-law and I have had more than one discussion with him regarding the contents of this book.

Bill Blankschaen's new volume, A Story Worth Telling: A Field Guide to Living an Authentic Life (Abingdon Press, 2015), is a needed corrective to misguided notions of what it means to live a life of faith. According to Blankschaen, "Faith is doing what you believe to be true, often in spite of what you see, sense, or feel" (9). Further, Blankschaen helpfully stresses that believing/seeing are not antithetical aspects of having faith. If what we believe is true, than what we experience will line up with what we believe most of the time. Living a life of faith means having a story that is worth telling.

We all have stories, but most of us cling securely to the mundane of everyday life. Very few of us welcome change, most of us resist it. If you want to cling to your current situation, Bill's book should be one you ignore on the bookshelf. If, however, you are restless and feel like you are "simply existing" and your God-given gifts are lying dormant (13), A Story Worth Telling is a book that will provide a sure-footed guide in changing the course of your life story.

I have made my way through one-third of Bill's book and I already feel conviction in how I view almost every aspect of my life. To realize I need to take a personal inventory is in no small part due to this book. I recommend it highly to those of us who have been spinning our wheels and neglecting the gifts God has bestowed upon us.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

William R. Telford's Tribute to Raymond E. Brown

William R. Telford, Visiting Fellow, St. John's College, Durham University, has been kind enough to share his recollections on Father Raymond E. Brown, which can be found on the "Recollections of Ray" page here. Also, Dr. Telford was kind enough to share a picture of Fr. Ray from his own private collection which can be viewed here.

Many thanks to Dr. Telford for taking the time to contribute to the site.