BA Books & Authors on the Web – November 14, 2014

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, praised Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth.

“It may be that the just released A New Heaven and a New Earth…is the most important book in its field, a magnificent, innovative, lasting contribution to the field of Biblical studies. I can hardly overstate just how significant this new book is.”

Graham Twelftree’s Paul and the Miraculous was reviewed by Brian LePort, who also reflected on Twelftree’s discussion of the Pseudepigraphal Paul.

At Lonely Vocations, Matthew Forrest Lowe reviewed Galatians and Christian Theology, edited by Mark Elliott, Scott Hafemann, N. T. Wright, and John Frederick.

At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight ‘s post Teaching Discipleship to Youth continued his series on Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker.

CHOICE recommended Beginning with the Word by Roger Lundin, and Who’s Afraid of Relativism? by James K.A. Smith. You can read the respective reviews here and here.

At Shared Justice, Becca Mcbride reflected on Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice.

And finally, James K.A. Smith responded to a common critique of Who’s Afraid of Relativism?

“When one is committed to a representationalist picture of the world—indeed, when one has basically drunk in such a picture with mother’s milk—it is virtually impossible to see things otherwise: This is how things are! Questioning representation and correspondence would be akin to questioning reality itself. Indeed, not only are alternatives not entertained; they cannot even be understood.”

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 17, 2014

Cover ArtLawrence Osborn, at Theosblog, reviewed Basil of Caesarea by Stephen Hildebrand.

“Basil of Caesarea was one of the key theologians of the early Church. As such, he is well known to contemporary students of theology, but often only in a fragmentary way and often only as a theologian. In this detailed and lucid introduction to Basil’s life and thought, Stephen Hildebrand has integrated those fragments to give us a rounded picture of the man and his thought.”

Stanley Porter’s How We Got the New Testament was reviewed by George P. Wood.

Chris Ho, at the Young Restless and Reformed Blog, reviewed For the Glory of God by Daniel Block.

Peter Enns, author of Inspiration and Incarnation, shared a quote from God’s Word in Human Words by Kenton Sparks.

Robert Sylvester, at the Spirlaw blog, reflected on Roger Lundin’s Beginning with the Word.

Spiritual Formation in Emerging Adulthood, by David Setran and Chris Kiesling, was discussed at The Humanitas Forum.

Brian Sandifer reflected on Dale Kuehne’s Sex in the iWorld.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, is looking forward to the release of Peter Oakes’ Paideia commentary on Galatians.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 19, 2014

Cover ArtAt The Englewood Review of Books, Jeanne Lehninger reviewed Roger Lundin’s Beginning with the Word.

“Lundin is a wonderful teacher who explicates clearly why contemporary thought regarding language and literature is what it is and what the implications are for the church. Not merely an academic treatise, Beginning with the Word both begins and ends in delight and wisdom. Best of all, Lundin answers the question of why it matters that words are more than symbols. That they are reflections of the Word made flesh makes them bearers of truth and grace.”

Also, Roger Lundin was interviewed about Beginning with the Word on the Christian Humanist Podcast.

At the Strong Towns Podcast, Charles Marohn interviewed Eric Jacobson, author of The Space Between.

Wyatt Graham, at Writings and Reviews, reviewed Stephen Hildebrand’s Basil of Caesarea.

Michael Allen, author of Justification and the Gospel, wrote “The Desire and Joy of the Gospel” for Good News.

At Philonica et Neotestamentica, Torrey Seland quoted from Jesus against the Scribal Elite, by Chris Keith.

Finally, Graham Twelftree, author of Paul and the Miraculous, gave a lecture entitled “The Historian and the Miraculous“.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – August 1, 2014

Cover ArtFrederick J. Murphy’s Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World was reviewed by J. Todd Hibbard for RBL.

“[A] book that can be recommended enthusiastically. It contains a wealth of information that will enrich one’s reading of the apocalyptic literature of the biblical period, whether beginner or seasoned scholar.”

Also at RBL, Keith Bodner reviewed From Paradise to the Promised Land, by T. Desmond Alexander.

Marilyn Matevia reviewed Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice, for The Englewood Review of Books.

Beginning with the Word, by Roger Lundin, was reviewed by Condrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

At Grace for Sinners, Mathew Sims reviewed Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith.

Both Bob on Books and David Koyzis at Notes from a Byzantine-Rite Calvinist reviewed James Skillen’s The Good of Politics.

That Happy Certainty featured a series on Douglas Moo and his work in Galatians.

Atonement, Law, and Justice, by Adonis Vidu, was recommended by T. L. Arsenal.

EQUIP Book Club reflected on The Family by Jack and Judy Balswick.

At New Testament Perspectives, Matthew Montonini mentioned Francis Moloney’s forthcoming Reading the New Testament in the Church.

Gary Burge, author of Interpreting the Gospel of John and Jesus and the Land, wrote about the collapse of ethics in the conflict in Israel and Gaza.


The Power of Words – an Excerpt from Beginning with the Word

The following is an excerpt from Beginning with the Word, by Roger Lundin.


Cover ArtWe begin with words. Without them, there would be no literature. We would have no poems or plays, no lyrics or stories, no memories or dreams, not even any names.

With words, we pledge our love to one another, we rail against wrongs in our homes and injustices across the seas, we chart the course of the past, we map the contours of the future, and we remember what—and whom—we have lost.

But what are these things we know as words? What strength do they possess? What is the source of their power to “breed Infection” and make us “inhale Despair” centuries after they have been written or printed? What weaknesses might words reveal? What do they have to do with the gritty realities of our lives or the glittering visions we imagine for the future?

That words have power of some sort, virtually everyone would agree, including St. John, William Shakespeare, and Emily Dickinson. But beyond that point, out in the vast universe of language usage, the disputes begin and the battles are fought over the nature and meaning of words.

According to the Gospel of John, the Triune God provides the secret to the source and power of words. “In the beginning was the Word,” John announces, “and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was in the beginning with God. All things came into being through him, and without him not one thing came into being.” For John, the Word is personal and powerful beyond imagining. From the nucleus of the smallest cell to the edge of the farthest galaxy, at the heights of joy and in the depths of sorrow, the Word abides.

©2014 by Roger Lundin. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Beginning with the Word, click here.


The Disenchantment of the World – an Excerpt from Beginning with the Word

The following is an excerpt from Beginning with the Word, by Roger Lundin.


Before nature could be brought under predictable control, the magical forces that had haunted it for centuries needed to be vanquished. Known as the disenchantment of the world, this scouring of the animistic world proved to be a long, complicated process that required more than two centuries for its completion.

Cover ArtAlthough the process of disenchantment was driven by mechanistic science, it was propelled by other forces as well, including Calvinist theology, capitalist economics, and nascent forms of political individualism.

From the start, disenchantment paid rich dividends, as “the decline of magic coincided with a marked improvement in the extent to which [the physical and social] environment became amenable to control.” Without disenchantment, it is difficult to imagine how long it would have taken for modern medicine, transportation, and communication networks, among other things, to develop as rapidly and completely as they have.

As nature was in the process of being disenchanted, the language used to describe it had to be demystified as well. Gadamer explains that the search for a “system of artificial, unambiguously defined symbols” was born out of this need for demystification. “Only through mathematical symbolism, would it be possible to rise entirely above the contingency of the historical languages and the vagueness of their concepts.”

Viewed as signs, words become “instruments of communication,” and all contingent developments—all the twists and turns, all the startling surprises and gradual changes that accrue to any given language over time—are seen as a nuisance, a “mere flaw in their utility.” According to Gadamer, the “exclusion of what a language ‘is’ beyond its efficient functioning as sign material” became the “ideal of the eighteenth and twentieth-century Enlightenments,” which pressed to discover or create a “language . . . to [which] would correspond the totality of the knowable: Being as absolutely available objectivity.”

For such a language, there can be no mystery hidden within the world, nor any divinity dwelling beyond it, for no power can be tolerated that might disrupt the predictable course of matter in motion.

©2014 by Roger Lundin. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Beginning with the Word, click here.

New Release: Beginning with the Word

Cover ArtIn this addition to the critically acclaimed Cultural Exegesis series, Roger Lundin – a nationally recognized scholar and award-winning author – offers a sophisticated theological engagement with the nature of language and literature.

Beginning with the Word is marked by a commitment to bring the history of Christian thought, modern theology in particular, into dialogue with literature and modern culture. It is theologically rigorous, widely interdisciplinary in scope, lucidly written, and ecumenical in tone and approach.


“Lundin explores modern literature’s endless wrestling with Christian witness and biblical narrative with his customary thoughtfulness, passion, and personal commitment. He opens for us the ways that writers of the past two centuries reckon with an inheritance they cannot quite manage to receive or refuse.” – Alan Jacobs, Baylor University

“I have loved all of Roger Lundin’s books and am grateful that there is now another. There are very few critics one thinks of as enlarging one’s life, much less making one more fit to live it. Roger Lundin, for this reader, is just such a writer.” – Christian Wiman, Yale University

“Lundin writes with extraordinary fluency, grace, and delight. He moves seamlessly between literature and theology, poetry and prose, philosophy and cultural commentary in ways that will renew your confidence in the power of God’s wisdom in God’s world. Like his other books, Beginning with the Word is a remarkable achievement from a remarkable thinker.” – Jeremy Begbie, Duke University

“[A]n absorbing and lively Christian engagement with the naturalism of modern intellectual culture. It is a work of wide scope, written con brio, animated equally by seasoned literary intelligence and by a trust that Christian teaching provides a truthful reading of the world.” – John Webster, University of St. Andrews


Roger LundinRoger Lundin (PhD, University of Connecticut) is Arthur F. Holmes Professor of Faith and Learning at Wheaton College in Wheaton, Illinois. He is the award-winning author of several books, including Believing Again: Doubt and Faith in a Secular Age, Emily Dickinson and the Art of Belief, and From Nature to Experience: The American Search for Cultural Authority, and editor of Invisible Conversations: Religion in the Literature of America.

For more information on Beginning with the Word, click here.