BA Books & Authors on the Web – May 29, 2015

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, featured Leisure and Spirituality by Paul Heintzman.

Thank goodness for the great “engaging culture” series from Baker Academic, and for this long-awaited, just released new volume….I think this book is nothing short of magisterial, and stands, at this point, as the definitive Christian book in the field. There is simply nothing like it on the market, and it should appeal to any number of readers.

James K.A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism was reviewed by Renea McKenzie at Thinking Through Christianly.

Thomas Schreiner reviewed Simon Gathercole’s Defending Substitution for The Gospel Coalition.

We see the virtues of Gathercole’s scholarship in this stimulating work. Defending Substitution makes precise distinctions and carefully attends to Scripture. Gathercole’s use of primary sources is always illuminating, and his parallels to noble deaths in classical literature are particularly helpful.

CHOICEconnect reviewed The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church, edited by Khaled Anatolios.

Allen Mickle, at Books at a Glance, reviewed Jeffrey Weima’s 1-2 Thessalonians BECNT volume.

The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is probably, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of the best series based upon the Greek text available. Baker released their newest, 1-2 Thessalonians by Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary) and it is a welcome addition.

The Gospel of John, by Francis Martin and William Wright, was reviewed by Will Duquette at Cry Wolf.

Jim Fowler reviewed Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell.

Chris Tilling is organizing a Syndicate symposium to discuss Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – December 12, 2014

Cover ArtMark Noll’s From Every Tribe and Nation was recommended by Robert Tracy McKenzie at Faith and History.

“It’s essentially the story of his personal spiritual and intellectual journey, with an emphasis on the way that Noll’s engagement with Christianity in other parts of the world has deepened his faith. But as every historian knows, you can visit foreign countries by traveling through time as well as space. Noll illustrates that truth wonderfully in the book’s second chapter, ‘Rescued by the Reformation.’”

At Crux Sola, Christopher Skinner recommended Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.

Rodney Clapp, at Running Heads, reflected on holistic eschatology and J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth.

Handbook of Religion, edited by Terry Muck, Harold Netland, and Gerald McDermott, was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Galatians and Christian Theology, edited by Mark Elliott, Scott Hafemann, N.T. Wright, and John Frederick, was reviewed at ἐνθύμησις.

Ed Smither reviewed Scott Sunquist’s Understanding Christian Mission.

Steven Bouma-Prediger, author of For the Beauty of the Earth, wrote the article “Trees, Healing, and Hope” for Sojourners.

David Gowler, who is writing a book on the reception history of the parables, celebrated the one year anniversary of his blog A Chorus of Voices.

At Reformedish, Derek Rishmawy recommended Adonis Vidu’s Atonement, Law, and Justice as one of his 5 Best Books of 2014.

At First Things, Wesley Hill recommended Walter Moberly’s Old Testament Theology.

J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth, and Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, were named as Jesus Creed Books of the Year by Scot McKnight.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – June 13, 2014

Cover ArtAt The Two Cities, Adam Harger reviewed Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.

“[T]his book is unique in helping the reader to think through the implications for faith and theology if one engages with historical-critical approaches to the Bible….One of the primary goals of the authors is to convince evangelicals of the need to engage in scholarly discussion, while assuring that it can be done without jeopardizing evangelical faith.”

Don Wacome, at Perspectives, reviewed James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom.

Reading a Different Story by Susan VanZanten, as well as the overall Turning South series, were reviewed on the Books & Culture podcast.

At Pastor’s Library, Joey Cochran reviewed the fifth edition of Tremper Longman’s Old Testament Commentary Survey.

Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Sermons, was interviewed at Preaching Today. You can read part one here, and part two here.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – April 25, 2014

Cover ArtNicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice was reviewed in The Christian Century.

“This book is an extraordinary gift to the church, an invitation into an understanding of the Christian drama that is focused on advocacy for those who are being denied their fundamental value as human beings. Accessible yet demanding, it is a powerful contribution to the literature.”

The latest issue of Themelios includes reviews of a number of Baker Academic titles, including:

Wyatt Graham reviewed Psalms as Torah by Gordon Wenham.

At My Digital Seminary, Lindsay Kennedy reviewed Tremper Longman’s volume on Job in the Baker Commentary on the Old Testament Wisdom and Psalms.

Bob Hayton, at Fundamentally Reformed, shared a quote from G.K. Beal’s A New Testament Biblical Theology.

Joel Watts, at Unsettled Christianity, reviewed Liturgy as a Way of Life by Bruce Benson.


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

Cover ArtAt Books & Culture, Jesse Covington, Maurice Lee, Sarah Skripsky, and Lesa Stern engaged with Imagining the Kingdom by James K.A. Smith.

“Together, these volumes [Desiring the Kingdom and Imagining the Kingdom] pursue the ambitious goal of renewing “Christian practice,” by which Smith means mainly what happens in Christian churches and colleges. The core claim is that effective worship and education must be based on correct anthropology, on a clear understanding of how human beings really act, know, and learn.”

Also, Books & Culture editor John Wilson recently described Smith’s Cultural Liturgies series as “the most influential example of public theology in the last decade.”

Joel Willitts at Euangelion pointed readers to David Gowler’s new blog,  a Chorus of Voices: The Reception History of the Parables.

Michael Bird has been re-reading Dale Allison’s Constructing Jesus, and named Hays and Ansberry’s Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism as one of his favorite reads of 2013.

Tim Challies recommended Robert Yarbrough’s BECNT volume on 1-3 John.

Vincent of Lérins and the Development of Christian Doctrine by Thomas Guarino was reviewed by Joseph Bottum for The Weekly Standard.

Kyle McDanell, at Blogizomia, quoted from Magnifying God in Christ by Thomas Schreiner.

At Reformedish, Derek Rishmawy reflected on J. Todd Billings’s treatment of Adoption in Union with Christ.

Authorship and Pseudepigraphy – an Excerpt from Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism

The following is an excerpt from Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.


Cover ArtWhen the Pentateuch is understood within the conceptual environment of the ancient world, questions concerning its authorship appear anachronistic on several counts. Similar to most documents produced in the pre-Hellenistic world, the Pentateuch is an anonymous work. This anonymity is not surprising, for it represents a common ancient Near Eastern literary convention, according to which ‘authors’ of works rarely signed their names.

The common absence of any mention of an ‘author’ in ancient oriental literary works, coupled with the fluid relationship between the literary activities of scribes/editors and putative ‘authors’, suggests that anonymity was the rule in the ancient orient. The same is true of the Pentateuch. In face, the striking lack of interest in authorship throughout the Hebrew Bible, as well as the absence of a term for ‘author’ in the Classical Hebrew language, indicates that the search for the ‘author’ of the Pentateuch is misguided.

This conclusion is reinforced by ancient conceptions of authorship. In contrast to modern conceptions of authorship, the ancient oriental world valued the group as well as collective tradition over autonomous, individual expression. That is, the ‘author’ or scribe functioned as a representative of a larger social-religious matrix, rather than an independent literary artisan within a context concerned with intellectual property.

This notion of ‘authorship’ not only provides a rationale for the anonymity that characterizes the biblical and ancient Near Eastern literature but also serves as a window into ancient perceptions of authority. If Israelite literature is the expression of collective tradition, it appears the content of the material – rather than the ‘author’ – constitutes the locus of authority. Put theologically, the work of the Holy Spirit in the composition and canonization of the text serves as the locus of authority, not the putative author(s).

In this respect, ‘authorship’ does not necessarily (or perhaps even primarily) represent a claim of literary origins; it represents a claim of authoritative, revelatory tradition.

©2013 by Christopher M. Hays and Christopher B. Ansberry. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, click here.

New Release: Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism

Cover ArtMany introductions to biblical studies describe critical approaches, but they do not discuss the theological implications. Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry, discusses the relationship between historical criticism and Christian theology to encourage evangelical engagement with historical-critical scholarship.

Charting a middle course between wholesale rejection and unreflective embrace, the book introduces evangelicals to a way of understanding and using historical-critical scholarship that doesn’t compromise Christian orthodoxy.


“This carefully argued book urges evangelical Christians to reexamine the potential of historical-critical biblical criticism…. The authors seek not universal acceptance of what they propose so much as fresh evangelical engagement with questions involving the methods of biblical criticism–and therefore with Scripture itself. In this aim they succeed admirably.” – Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame

“Hays and Ansberry provide evangelical students with something they rarely see: a discussion of the major critical issues in biblical studies combined with a respectful, discerning appreciation for the biblical text as scripture. Too often students must choose between academic rigor and personal belief. A well-written volume treating these issues is a rare gift to a new generation of students now looking at many of these issues for the very first time.” – Gary M. Burge, Wheaton College

“This volume is a welcome addition to the growing number of evangelical voices calling for a reassessment of an evangelical doctrine of Scripture, not as an attack but for the end goal of supporting and enriching the evangelical movement.” – Peter Enns, Eastern University

“Chris Hays and Chris Ansberry engage in the courageous task of showing how evangelical scholars can soberly address the hot-potato issues in biblical scholarship, even appropriate many critical insights, without selling out on what evangelicals traditionally believe….This is the type of discussion on faith and criticism that evangelical scholarship has needed for years. Thankfully, an intellectually rigorous and theologically sensitive approach to these matters is finally upon us!” – Michael Bird, Ridley Melbourne College of Mission and Ministry

“A project like this is long overdue. Our students need to read essays and books that will not only orient them to the goals and methods of critical biblical scholarship but also provide them with a sieve with which to sift what they are reading….The contributors handle controversial notions with integrity, seriousness, respect, and a commitment to fairness. They offer very needful guidance for young evangelical scholars encountering the world of critical scholarship for the first time. I commend the project and the contributors with enthusiasm.” – Daniel I. Block, Wheaton College


Christopher M. Hays (DPhil, University of Oxford) is professor of New Testament at the Biblical Seminary of Colombia.

Christopher B. Ansberry (PhD, Wheaton College Graduate School) is lecturer in Old Testament at Oak Hill College in London.

For more information on Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, click here.