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 – 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.


An Interview with Richard Bauckham


Alvin Rapien, at The Poor in Spirit, recently interviewed Richard Bauckham about his book Gospel of Glory.

An excerpt of the interview can be found below, and you can read the rest here.

“I have argued that to contemporary readers it would have looked more like good historiography than the Synoptics, because it is remarkably precise about chronology and geography, as good history was supposed to be. We always know where Jesus is, sometimes very precisely indeed (e.g. Solomon’s Portico in the Temple) and, within a few months, at what time events occur (because of the sequence of Jewish feasts that is carefully marked).

Cover ArtI find these aspects of John convincing as historically accurate, and where there is conflict (not often) I would prefer John to Mark, whose chronological and geographical scheme is quite simplified and artificial. (Mark has only one visit to Jerusalem and so he has to put into that visit all the traditions he knew as localized in Jerusalem. John’s several visits, with the Temple incident at the beginning, are more plausible.)

 ….Until the early 19th century, [John] was accepted as an eyewitness account, more valuable as history therefore than Mark and Luke. Schleiermacher still thought it the best historical source for Jesus. Then the idea that Mark was the first Gospel (which no one thought until the 19th century) became popular (and, I think, correct). The denigration of John as history in the 19th century had a lot to do with the desire by the major German scholars to find a historical Jesus who was not supernatural and not the Christ of the church’s dogma. So they imagined Mark to be portraying a purely human Jesus. Of course, they were wrong. Mark has a very high Christology, as is now widely recognized. They also thought John used all three Synoptic Gospels and just made up what he added to them. Few people think this now.”

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 16, 2015

Cover ArtDaniel Block, author of For the Glory of God, was interviewed at Books at a Glance. You can read part 1 here, and part 2 here.

“The pragmatism of the ‘worship industry’ concerns me. Since our understanding of worship is restricted largely to what we do in church as a community, we devote our energies to making our worship that is attractive especially to the unbelievers and the marginal Christians.

We forget that an audience with God calls for a counter-cultural liturgical vocabulary. In Deuteronomy 12 Moses declares that the forms of true worship may not derive either from our own imaginations (v. 8) or the environment in which we live (vv. 29–31). The object of worship alone (i.e., God) determines the nature and forms of true worship.”

An upcoming Syndicate Symposium will interact with Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite, and Chris Skinner will be one of the participants.

Youth Ministry in the 21st Century, edited by Chap Clark, was reviewed at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Publishers Weekly reviewed The Gospel according to Heretics, by David Wilhite.

“This book is ideal for a scholar seeking to study church history, or an educated layperson wanting to know more about church councils, Gnostics, and modern day Muslims.”

At Reformation 21, Robert Yarbrough reviewed Richard Bauckham’s Gospel of Glory.

James K. A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Relativism? was reviewed at Just and Sinner.


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.


Jesus according to John and the Synoptics – an Excerpt from Gospel of Glory

The following is an excerpt from Richard Bauckham’s Gospel of Glory.


Luke Timothy Johnson characterizes the difference between the Jesus of John and the Jesus of the Synoptics thus: Jesus “in John appears as more a symbolic than a literal figure. He bears the narrative burden of revealing God in the world.” He means that John’s Jesus in his humanity signifies God in the world, and that John’s Jesus, unlike the Jesus of the Synoptics, explicitly claims this.

However, Jesus’s “symbolic” function, as revelation of God, would be meaningless unless Jesus were also a “literal” figure. To the extent that the symbolic replaces the literal, it is self-defeating. For those who suppose that this happens in John’s Gospel, Jesus reveals only that he is the revealer of God. But then there is no revelation, only an empty tautology.

Cover ArtOnly if Jesus retains his human particularity and story—only in his miracles, his human emotions and relationships, his suffering and humiliation in his death, his resurrection: the story that John shares with the Synoptics—can Jesus be the revelation of God. The glory is revealed in the flesh, which could not occur were the glory to overwhelm the flesh or be merely disguised in the flesh.

Thus, the integrity of John’s portrayal of the human character and story of Jesus is essential to his christological project, and a sensitive reading will show that he does not dissolve the literal in the symbolic. The “metahistorical” aspect of John’s story—Jesus comes from God and returns to God—does not deprive the historical of its reality, but interprets its meaning.

John is, however, as I have repeatedly stressed, very selective. Only by reducing the “literal” story to key moments and indispensable sequences—albeit told in relatively lavish detail—has John allowed himself space to expound the “symbolic” meaning of it all. Yet, if we take John’s Christology seriously as exposition precisely of the “symbolic” meaning of it all, then there is no reason why we should not include the more plentiful stories that the Synoptics tell in this “all.”

In this way, which has been the predominant way the church has read the Gospels in the past, we may develop the complementarity of the Synoptics and John that I proposed above into a more comprehensive interrelatedness. The Synoptic abundance of “literal” human particularity will prevent us from taking the Johannine “symbolism” in a docetic direction (a danger not unknown in the tradition), while the incarnational-revelatory Christology of John provides the most all-encompassing theological framework for reading Jesus’s story, in all the Gospels, as the story of God with us.

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


For more information on Gospel of Glory, click here.

New Release: Gospel of Glory

Cover ArtThroughout Christian history, the Gospel of John’s distinctive way of presenting the life, works, teachings, death, and resurrection of Jesus have earned it labels such as “the spiritual Gospel” and “the maverick Gospel.” It has been seen as the most theological of the four canonical Gospels. In this volume, leading biblical scholar Richard Bauckham illuminates main theological themes of the Gospel of John, providing insightful analysis of key texts.

Gospel of Glory will serve New Testament scholars and theologians as a reexamination of the Fourth Gospel by a master of their guild.


“Written in an accessible way, these essays will introduce Bauckham to those who do not know his work as they continue his stimulating contribution to the conversation about the elusive but engaging Gospel of John.” – Harold W. Attridge, Yale Divinity School

“These studies on the Gospel of John combine close attention to the details of the text with an open sympathy for its themes and emphases. They are models of theological exegesis.” – Larry W. Hurtado, University of Edinburgh

“No one interested in Johannine theology can afford to ignore this important collection of essays.” – Andreas J. Kӧstenberger, Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary

“Bauckham awakens readers to nuances in Johannine language and concepts of which habit has left us unmindful and makes visible the allusions to prophetic texts veiled by Johannine narrative art.” – Jo-Ann A. Brant, Goshen College

“From this point forward, no complete discussion of John and the Synoptics or Johannine sacramentalism (as well as the other subjects) can neglect this thorough, critical work.” – Gary M. Burge, Wheaton College and Graduate School

“I read Gospel of Glory with great pleasure….The first chapter alone (‘individualism’ in John’s Gospel) is worth the price of the book.” – J. Ramsey Michaels, Missouri State University

“From individual to community, from glory to the cross, from sacraments to dualism, from the call of the disciples to their later witness, Gospel of Glory breaks new ground….Readers of John’s Gospel–and of the others–will want to read this book!” – Paul N. Anderson, George Fox University


Richard BauckhamRichard Bauckham (PhD, University of Cambridge) is senior scholar at Ridley Hall, Cambridge, where he teaches for the Cambridge Federation of Theological Colleges. He is also a visiting professor at St. Mellitus College, London, and emeritus professor of New Testament at the University of St. Andrews. He is a Fellow of the British Academy and the author of numerous books, including The Testimony of the Beloved Disciple, The Jewish World around the New Testament, The Theology of the Book of Revelation, God Crucified, God and the Crisis of Freedom, and Jesus and the Eyewitnesses.

For more information on Gospel of Glory, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 9, 2015

Cover ArtDerek Rishmawy, at The Gospel Coalition, explains “Why You Should Read Bavinck.”

“Bavinck’s accomplishment in the Dogmatics is nothing short of jaw-dropping. The expansive, nuanced, and deeply trinitarian theological vision is both intellectually challenging and spiritually nourishing. I anticipate turning to these volumes regularly in the years to come.”


Walter Moberly’s Old Testament Theology was reviewed at Euangelion.

Craig Blomberg reviewed A Peaceable Hope by David Neville, as well as The King in His Beauty by Thomas Schreiner, for the Denver Journal here and here.

Nate Claiborne reviewed Exploring Psychology and Christian Faith, by Paul Moes and Donald Tellinghuisen.

Chris Keith’s Jesus against the Scribal Elite was reviewed at CHOICE connect.

At Discovering the Mission of God, Ed reviewed Understanding Christian Mission by Scott Sunquist.

Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker was reviewed at Diglotting.

Michael Philliber, at Deus Misereatur, reviewed The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church, edited by Khaled Anatolios.

Best Of

As 2014 came to a close, quite a number of Baker Academic titles were featured in “Best of” posts.

Galatians and Christian Theology, edited by Mark Elliott, John Frederick, Scott Hafemann and N.T. Wright, was named as one of “The Top (Mockingbird) Theology Books of 2014.”

At Crux Sola, Nijay Gupta listed Chris Keith’s Jesus Against the Scribal Elite, Galatians and Christian Theology, Jeffrey Weima’s 1-2 Thessalonians, and Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth among the “Best New Testament Academic Books of 2014.”

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians by Lynn Cohick, Wealth and Poverty in Early Church and Society edited by Susan Holman, Scripture and Tradition by Edith Humphrey, The Economy of Desire by Daniel Bell, and Loving the Poor, Saving the Rich by Helen Rhee were all in Alvin Rapien’s “Top 10 Books of 2014.”

The Missio Alliance Essential Reading List of 2014” featured Introducing Evangelical Ecotheology, by Daniel Brunner, Jennifer Butler, and A. J. Swoboda.

At Reformation 21, Michael Allen and Scott Swain’s Reformed Catholicity, Simon Gathercole’s Defending Substitution, Kevin Vanhoozer and Owen Strachan’s The Pastor as Public Theologian, and Richard Bauckham’s Gospel of Glory were noted as “New & Noteworthy Books in 2015.”


Scot McKnight reflected on Alistair Stewart’s The Original Bishops in the post “Paul and the Economic Justice Vision of Jesus“, and Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth led to his discussion “Revolution in Eschatology Today?

Andrew McGowan, author of Ancient Christian Worship, wrote “Incarnation and Epiphany: How Christmas became a Christian Feast” for ABC Religion and Ethics.