BA Books & Authors on the Web – July 15, 2016

Cover ArtJ. Gordon McConville’s forthcoming Being Human in God’s World recently received a starred review in Publishers Weekly. They called it “scholarly, accessible, and beautifully written,” and “a work of literature to be savored.”

The Patient Ferment of the Early Church, by Alan Kreider, was featured at the Mennonite World Review.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, reviewed Francis Watson’s The Fourfold Gospel.

Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain, was discussed at Exploring Church History.

Western Seminary’s Transformed blog reviewed Gospel of Glory by Richard Bauckham.

Benjamin Gladd and Matthew Harmon, authors of Making All Things New, were interviewed at Books at a Glance.

Patrick Gray’s Paul as a Problem in History and Culture was reviewed at Exploring Church History.

Craig Keener was interviewed by The Aqueduct Project about his book Miracles and the credibility of the New Testament accounts.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 8, 2016

Cover ArtAncient Christian Worship by Andrew McGowen, and Reformed Catholicity by Michael Allen and Scott Swain, were recommended in Reformation 21’s 2015 End of Year Review of Books.

In my humble judgment, Reformed Catholicity: The Promise of Retrieval for Theology and Biblical Interpretation, written by Michael Allen and Ref21’s own Scott Swain, deserves book of the year status. Allen and Swain present a vision for Protestant engagement with the Church’s past and the saints that populate that past that every evangelical Christian really should read.

A Vision for Preaching, by Abraham Kuruvilla, won an Editor’s Choice award in Preaching Today’s 2016 Book Awards.

Exploring Catholic Theology, by Bishop Robert Barron, was reviewed at Stuart’s Study.

At the Ligonier blog, Keith Mathison included Craig Keener’s Acts: An Exegetical Commentary in his post My 5 Favorite Theology Reads of 2015.

Cover ArtIngolf Dalferth’s Crucified and Resurrected was reviewed at Tabletalk Theology.

Crucified and Resurrected is a lovely, meticulously-argued, challenging work that resists simplistic pronouncements. One can only slowly work through it and leave notes in the margins. Readers will be fully rewarded for their efforts.

Alvin Rapien at The Poor in Spirit also reviewed Crucified and Resurrected.

The Accordance blog recommended Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek.

Spiritual Companioning by Angela Reed, Richard Osmer, and Marcus Smucker, was reviewed by Joshua Valdez.

Zack Ford, at Longing for Truth, reviewed An Essential Guide to Interpersonal Communication by Quentin Schultze and Diane Badzinski.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – December 18, 2015

Cover ArtOur congratulations to Craig Keener, whose four volume Acts: An Exegetical Commentary won a Christianity Today 2016 Book Award in the Biblical Studies category. Craig spent many years bringing this set to completion, and it is gratifying to see that effort acknowledged.

Keener is a scholar with gifts that come along once every century, and here we see them employed in full force. Words like encyclopedic, magisterial, and epic come to mind when you examine 4,000 carefully argued pages on every aspect of the Book of Acts. Nothing like this has ever been done—and it’s doubtful that anything like it will be done for a long time. Keener has a grasp of the ancient world like few scholars anywhere, but he also has a heart for the church and its mission

Also, congrats to Alistair Stewart and R. W. L. Moberly, whose The Original Bishops and Old Testament Theology appeared on the Jesus Creed Books of the Year list.

At Euangelion, Michael Bird recommended Gospel of Glory by Richard Bauckham.

The Pastor as Public TheologianCover Art, by Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan, won in the Ministry category of the TGC Editors’ Picks: Top Books of 2015.

“This book was a key factor this past year in renewing an important (and ongoing) conversation about the nature of the pastoral office. Vanhoozer and Strachan seek to restore the vision of the Reformers and their Puritan ancestors of the pastorate as an office primarily defined by theology. The pastor must not see himself fundamentally as a counselor or motivator, but as a man called to mediate the transcendent truth of God to the people of God so they might live all of life to the glory of God.”

Scott Sunquist’s The Unexpected Christian Century was reviewed by Robert Cornwall.

Aaron at AJ Cerda reviewed David Wilhite’s The Gospel According to Heretics.

 

Was Paul Abandoned by His Friends? – an Excerpt from Acts, Volume 4

The following is an excerpt from Acts, Volume 4, by Craig Keener, commenting on Paul’s trial in Acts 24:1–26:32.

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Where are members of the Jerusalem church? According to ancient friendship ideals, friends (which could include recipients of benefactions) should not desert one another in hardship, when friendship was most needed. Second-century Christians might visit their imprisoned leader, bring food, bribe guards to let them stay with him at night, read Scripture, and so forth. Why do we not read of such activity here?

Cover ArtAlthough the narrative does not inform us that James or other Jerusalemite believers traveled to Caesarea to defend Paul, the idea that they “abandoned” Paul “concludes far too much from Luke’s silence”; they “had no influence with either the chief priests or the Romans.” Whatever they did for Paul, they would have probably done privately.

Although the majority of the Jerusalem church had heard negative rumors about Paul (Acts 21:21), the apparent lack of support in this narrative does not render implausible their leaders’ earlier hospitable reception of Paul (21:17). Paul may have had some support in Jerusalem, but those who welcomed him in Jerusalem had no reason to make the journey to Caesarea.

Friends in Caesarea surely did visit (21:8–9; 24:23), but Luke does not have reason to elaborate on this point; we should use his silence to condemn neither the Caesarean believers nor the Jerusalem church. For that matter, Luke is not explicit about his own presence, despite surely remaining on hand (21:18; 27:1).

Still, the chief priests likely believed that some of Paul’s supporters could have come; presumably unaware of available witnesses in Caesarea, they may have expected that Paul could call some from Jerusalem. This could explain why, in the narrative world, Paul’s opponents offer no false witnesses here, in contrast to Stephen’s opponents in 6:13. (That the Romans would cross-examine witnesses less sympathetically than hearers did in 6:13–14 might have also provided a significant deterrent for potential witnesses.)

©2015 by Craig Keener. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Acts, Volume 4, click here.

New Release: Acts, Volume 4

Cover ArtThis commentary on Acts, Craig Keener’s magnum opus, may be the largest and most thoroughly documented Acts commentary ever written. Useful not only for the study of Acts but also early Christianity, this work sets Acts in its first-century context.

In this volume, the last of four, Keener finishes his detailed exegesis of Acts, utilizing an unparalleled range of ancient sources and offering a wealth of fresh insights. This magisterial commentary will be an invaluable resource for New Testament professors and students, pastors, Acts scholars, and libraries.

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“With this enormous commentary, Craig Keener deploys his breathtaking knowledge of the classical world to shine a bright light on both the big picture of Acts and ten thousand small details. Students of Acts will be in his debt for generations to come.” – N. T. Wright, University of St. Andrews

“No wise and patient scholar will tackle a passage in Acts without engaging Keener….The richness of detail and depth of immersion in primary sources guarantee a long and honored life for these volumes.” – Richard I. Pervo, author of Acts: A Commentary (Hermeneia)

“Keener’s work is essential for its survey of and detailed interaction with Acts scholarship. The New Testament researcher must have it! This is a remarkable scholarly achievement that will be eagerly used by a wide range of readers.” – I. Howard Marshall, University of Aberdeen

“This final volume on Acts is full of the meticulous scholarship and original insight we’ve come to expect of Keener. Despite the abundance of ancient sources and unparalleled discussion of secondary literature, the prose is beautifully clear and the commentary is a delight to use….The premier commentator on Acts for academics and ministers alike.” – Helen K. Bond, University of Edinburgh

“This work constitutes a definitive and yet surprisingly accessible go-to reference for this biblical book. Professor Keener here supplies an entire library on Acts in commentary form, a landmark compendium characterized throughout by a lively critical sympathy for its text.” – Markus Bockmuehl, Keble College, University of Oxford

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Craig S. KeenerCraig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of many books, including Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, the bestseller The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

For more information on Acts, Volume 4, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – August 14, 2015

Cover ArtIn the latest issue of Themelios, Christopher A. Beetham reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth.

“I strongly recommend this book. I agree with Donald Hagner, who, endorsing the book, wrote that ‘it could serve admirably as a basic textbook on biblical theology.’ Yes, and so much more. If every evangelical student from Anchorage to Addis Ababa would pick up and read, it could revolutionize global Christianity.”

Also in Themelios:

Gospel of Glory, by Richard Bauckham, was reviewed at Books at a Glance.

“Bauckham’s new monograph is probably the most important guide to selected Johannine themes and passages since Leon Morris’s Jesus is the Christ. A rich, up-to-date resource that no serious student will want to miss.”

Zen Hess, at Theology Forum, reviewed Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

 

Barnabas and the split with Paul – an Excerpt from Acts, Volume 3

The following is an excerpt from Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3, by Craig Keener.

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Cover ArtGiven our evidence for Paul’s later reconciliation with Mark (Phlm 24; Col 4:10) and appreciation of Barnabas (1 Cor 9:6), either this separation did not lead to enmity or relations were later reconciled (whether in person or by letter).

….Luke does not provide us this information, however, because his interests lie elsewhere. Luke thus is certainly not “covering up” for Paul; he may well have known of the reconciliation (especially since he ends up in Rome himself, Acts 28:16; and this was where Mark joined Paul, Phlm 24). Because it is not his focus, he does not revisit their reconciliation, though one topic that interested some ancient writers was notable reconciliation between famous men (Aul. Gel. 12.8).

Although Luke tells us no more about Barnabas (his focus being Paul), later legends filled in Barnabas’s story, many or all of them fancifully. The fullest source, Acts of Barnabas, is from the fifth or sixth century C.E. In it, Barnabas ordained as Cyprus’s bishop one Heracleides, who had spent time with Paul at Kition (Latin, Citium); given that such bishops probably do not predate Ignatius by many decades, this tradition is likely false, though Heracleides may have been an early bishop. The legend claims that Barnabas carried an early gospel from Matthew (on the basis of Papias’s tradition that Matthew wrote first).He confronted Bar-Jesus again, through whose instigation Cyprian Jews burned Barnabas alive in the hippodrome; Mark then went on to Alexandria (the last claim according with earlier tradition).

Tradition also claims that in 478 C.E. Barnabas’s tomb was revealed through a dream to Cyprus’s bishop, Anthemius; Barnabas was supposedly still holding Matthew’s Gospel. Some earlier traditions claim that Barnabas authored Hebrews. What is relevant for the text of Acts is that revisiting the churches was originally Barnabas’s plan (15:36); Barnabas chose to revisit those in Cyprus with Mark (who had remained with them during their Cyprus mission), leaving Paul to deal with southern Asia Minor.

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

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For more information on Acts: An Exegetical Commentary,Volume 3, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 26, 2014

Cover ArtAt First Things, Peter Leithart reviewed Andrew McGowan’s Ancient Christian Worship.

“Andrew McGowan’s Ancient Christian Worship is a very fine introduction to the subject. Though it is up-to-date academically, and, as McGowan says, includes the results of some of his own research, it is accessibly written, clearly organized, and highly informative.”

Dan Miller, at the Calvin history department’s Historical Horizons blog, reviewed The Good of Politics, by James Skillen.

At Crux Sola, Nijay Gupta shared part one of his review of James Thompson’s The Church according to Paul.

G. Wright Doyle, at the Global China Center, reviewed Understanding Christian Mission, by Scott Sunquist.

Abram K-J, at Words on the Word, recommended Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker.

Michael Hansen reflected on James K.A. Smith’s Desiring the Kingdom.

Larry Hurtado discussed major commentaries on Acts, including the third volume of Craig Keener’s Acts: An Exegetical Commentary.

At Euangelion, Joel Willitts recommended Galatians and Christian Theology, edited by Mark Elliott, Scott Hafemann, N. T. Wright, and John Frederick.

New Release: Acts: An Exegetical Commentary, Volume 3

Cover ArtHighly respected New Testament scholar Craig Keener is known for his meticulous and comprehensive research. This commentary on Acts, his magnum opus, may be the largest and most thoroughly documented Acts commentary available. Useful not only for the study of Acts but also early Christianity, this work sets Acts in its first-century context.

In this volume, the third of four, Keener continues his detailed exegesis of Acts, utilizing an unparalleled range of ancient sources and offering a wealth of fresh insights. This magisterial commentary will be an invaluable resource for New Testament professors and students, pastors, Acts scholars, and libraries.

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“A scholarly achievement that is unlikely to be surpassed in the foreseeable future….Every serious student of Acts owes it to herself or himself to carefully work through this significant contribution to scholarship.” – David E. Aune, University of Notre Dame

“This detailed commentary will deservedly be a major resource on Acts in many libraries–personal and public–for years to come.” – John J. Pilch, Johns Hopkins University

“Scholars of the New Testament, theologians, and classicists, but also laypersons, will want to consult and will benefit from Keener’s erudite, impressive work.” – Andreas Bendlin, University of Toronto

“A gold mine of valuable information….The vast amount of references to ancient sources and literature will be helpful for anyone interested in doing serious research on Acts.” – Samuel Byrskog, Lund University

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Craig S. Keener (PhD, Duke University) is the F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies at Asbury Theological Seminary in Wilmore, Kentucky. He is the author of many books, including Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts, the bestseller The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1-2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

For more information on Acts, Volume 3, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – May 30, 2014

Cover ArtJonathan R. Wilson, author of God’s Good World, was interviewed by Ken Wytsma.

“[W]e care for creation as an act of love for Christ. But the doctrine of creation doesn’t teach us just to keep thing as healthy as we can while we await the return of Christ; the doctrine teaches us to locate all of God’s work and our lives in the story of the redemption of creation. So we must learn also to locate beauty, work, bodily life, and all other things within the story of creation being redeemed.”

Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Ryan Brymer, at Faith Villiage, reviewed Who’s Afraid of Relativism? by James K.A. Smith.

Rachel Held Evans recommended Inspiration and Incarnation by Peter Enns, in her Summer Reading Spectaular.

Jamie Greening recommended Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology.

At A Word in Edgewise, David Capes reflected on Miracles by Craig Keener.