BA Books & Authors on the Web – May 20, 2016

Cover ArtBrandon Vogt, from Strange Notions and Word on Fire, interviewed Matthew Levering about his new book, Proofs of God.

“I wrote this book because I know personally the pain of not merely not knowing whether God exists, but not knowing what the word ‘God’ is supposed to mean. For many people whom I knew during my childhood, ‘God’ has just as much meaning as ‘the Great Pumpkin’.”

Benjamin Gladd and Matthew Harmon’s Making All Things New was reviewed by Oren Martin at The Gospel Coalition.

At Desiring God, Tony Reinke interviewed Paul Heintzman about his book Leisure and Spirituality. Also, Leisure and Spirituality was reviewed at Wesley Nexus.

Joel Green, author of Conversion in Luke-Acts, discussed his book with the hosts of On Script.

From Darkness to Light – an Excerpt from Conversion in Luke-Acts

The following is an excerpt from Conversion in Luke-Acts, by Joel Green.

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Luke presents conversion as the movement from darkness to light above all in Acts 26:17–18. In his testimony to King Agrippa, Paul represents his commission by recalling the words Jesus spoke to him on the way to Damascus: “I [that is, the Lord Jesus] will rescue you from your people and from the gentiles—to whom I am sending you, to open their eyes so that they might turn from darkness to light and from the power of Satan to God, so that they might receive forgiveness of sins and a place among those who are sanctified through faith in me.”

Cover Art“Darkness” and “light” appear to be universal metaphors in which language and conceptual structure from the source domain of vision, a bodily function, are used to depict the more abstract concepts of the presence or absence of knowledge, understanding, or even wisdom. Accordingly, someone might complain, “Why was I kept in the dark about that decision?”

The biblical tradition presses this metaphor further by associating it with knowledge of God, or with living in God’s light. In Exod. 10:21–23, for example, one of the disasters the Lord brings on Egypt involves three days of darkness, during which time the Israelites enjoy the light. For Isaiah, God forms light/prosperity as well as darkness/doom (45:7), and, at Israel’s restoration, God’s people are told, “Arise, shine; for your light has come, and the glory of the Lord has risen upon you. For darkness shall cover the earth, and thick darkness the peoples; but the Lord will arise upon you, and his glory will appear over you. Nations shall come to your light, and kings to the brightness of your dawn” (60:1–3, emphasis added).

….Light and darkness can refer to the presence or absence of sunlight, but even when they do their metaphorical senses are not far from view; (2) light and darkness can be understood as realms to which people belong and according to whose rule people behave; (3) light is typically associated with divine revelation more generally, as well as with the coming or message of salvation more particularly, and thus with illumination, health, the age of salvation, and the Lord’s coming or presence; and (4) darkness is typically correlated with divine judgment, and more particularly with death, disease, the devil, cataclysm, and blindness.

Conversion, understood in terms of movement from darkness to light, is thus easily understood as movement from a less desirable to a more desirable life situation.

 

©2015 by Joel B. Green. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Conversion in Luke-Acts, click here.

New Release: Conversion in Luke-Acts

Cover ArtRepentance and conversion are key topics in New Testament interpretation and in Christian life. However, the study of conversion in early Christianity has been plagued by psychological assumptions alien to the world of the New Testament. Leading New Testament scholar Joel Green believes that careful attention to the narrative of Luke-Acts calls for significant rethinking about the nature of Christian conversion.

Drawing on the cognitive sciences and examining key evidence in Luke-Acts, this book emphasizes the embodied nature of human life as it explores the life transformation signaled by the message of conversion, offering a new reading of a key aspect of New Testament theology.

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“Joel Green takes our understanding of repentance and conversion in Luke-Acts, and indeed the whole New Testament, to a new level of methodological sophistication. He delves into important aspects of modern cognitive studies and theory as a tool for understanding human experience and concludes that repentance/conversion (rightly regarded as synonymous) must be viewed as a holistic, embodied phenomenon….Green also correctly emphasizes that conversion is not just a once-for-all experience but rather constitutes the beginning of a lifelong journey within the context of the faith community.” – David Aune, University of Notre Dame

“Joel Green offers a provocative and uncommonly helpful analysis of a subject that has become increasingly important….He opens up for readers fresh ways of thinking about Luke’s two volumes as well as the meaning of religious conversion and its embodied enactment in a lifelong journey shared with a community of others and marked by a set of sustained practices. I enthusiastically recommend this work!” – John T. Carroll, Union Presbyterian Seminary

“Joel Green offers a fresh account of conversion in Luke-Acts that is exegetically fruitful and eminently readable. Green’s cognitive approach expertly explores the communal, embodied nature of Lukan conversion and examines passages both expected and unexpected along the way. Students and scholars alike will find Green’s navigation of Luke’s narrative theology of conversion a welcome read.” – Brittany E. Wilson, Duke University Divinity School

“Joel Green shows that Luke’s understanding of what we call ‘conversion’ involves not merely a change in thinking or of opinion but an entire reorientation of life, connected both with God’s summons to his people in earlier biblical history and with a need for perseverance. This is a decisively fresh work on a vital topic.” – Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary

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Joel B. Green (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is dean of the School of Theology, professor of New Testament interpretation, and associate dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, The World of the New Testament, Introducing the New Testament, and commentaries on Luke and 1 Peter. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Theological Interpretation.

For more information on Conversion in Luke-Acts, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – July 17, 2015

Cover ArtBeginning Biblical Hebrew, by John Cook and Robert Holmstedt, was reviewed by Jesse Scheumann at Books at a Glance.

“I praise Cook and Holmstedt for producing a methodologically rigorous grammar that does many unique things to make Hebrew come alive for students. Surely, BBH will help the whole field take a step forward in more effectively teaching Hebrew to the next generation.”

Also at Books at a Glance, a helpful summary of G. K. Beale’s Handbook on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament.

Jennifer Guo reviewed Simon Gathercole’s Defending Substitution.

“An excellent introduction to some of the scholarly debate surrounding the atonement and provides a brief and accessible exegetical defense of substitutionary atonement through two Pauline texts. It’s a great book for laity with academic interest in soteriology as well as beginning Bible college or seminary students.”

This Strange and Sacred Scripture by Matthew Schlimm, and The Old Testament and Ethics, edited by Joel Green and Jacqueline Lapsely, were reviewed at Interpreting Scripture.

Lindsay Kennedy, at My Digital Seminary, reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth.

“The label ‘game changer’ should not be thrown around hastily, however I believe A New Heaven and a New Earth has the potential to be this very thing for many Christians today.”

Linguistic Analysis of the Greek New Testament, by Stanley Porter, was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – June 12, 2015

Cover ArtBrian Walsh, at Empire Remixed, reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth, and used James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom to work out how Middleton’s reimagining of eschatology might reshape Christian practice.

For Smith, the most foundational concrete practice is worship. The true story will only shape our perception of the world and transform our character if we learn it “by heart,” at “a gut level.”…And here we see the most powerful contribution of A New Heaven and a New Earth. In this exercise in biblical theology, Richard has powerfully, comprehensively and convincingly opened up the normative shape of the Christian story.

Mike Kibbe, at For Christ and His Kingdom, reviewed The World of the New Testament, edited by Joel Green and Lee McDonald.

Also, The World of the New Testament was reviewed John J. Pilch by and Kathleen E. Mills at RBL.

The World of the New Testament is a comprehensive resource for understanding the various contexts of the New Testament writings, especially for those who may be less familiar with the context of the New Testament. Particularly noteworthy is the breadth of subject matter covered and the annotated bibliography at the end of each essay.

The forthcoming Using and Enjoying Biblical Greek, by Rodney Whitacre, was highlighted by Matthew Montonini at New Testament Perspectives.

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

Cover ArtDavid Koyzis, at Christian Courier, reviewed James Skillen’s The Good of Politics.

“Readers have come to appreciate the wisdom and insight that Skillen has displayed in his work over the years. This new book certainly lives up to our expectations. The Good of Politics is a biblically and historically rich primer on the political life for everyone persuaded that the claims of Christ extend to our calling as citizens.”

Also reviewing The Good of Politics, Tim Hoiland for The Englewood Review of Books.

Richard G. Smith reviewed Tremper Longman’s commentary on Job, for RBL.

Mark Votava, at Culture of Imagination, reviewed Where Mortals Dwell by Craig Bartholomew.

At Evangelicals for Social Action, Bryan Stafford reviewed Bonhoeffer the Assassin? by Mark Thiessen Nation, Anthony Siegrist, and Daniel Umbel. Look to the comments for a response by Nation.

Joshua Torrey, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed The New Testament and Ethics, edited by Joel Green.

James K.A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Relativism? was reviewed by Conrade Yap at Panorama of a Book Saint.

Phil Newton reviewed Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching for 9 Marks.

Tim Ghali, at Black Coffee Reflections, reviewed the Church and Postmodern Culture series.

Douglas Moo was interviewed by the Logos Academic Blog about his Galatians volume in the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – June 20, 2014

Cover ArtAt RBL, John J. Pilch reviewed The World of the New Testament, edited by Joel Green and Lee McDonald.

“This is an excellent resource that in general succeeds in its aim to provide information about the cultural, social, and political contexts of the New Testament. Though the perspective is intentionally and explicitly evangelical, the contributors present the complexity of their particular issues frankly and honestly.”

In World Magazine, Makoto Fujimura recommended Daniel Siedell’s God in the Gallery, and David Greusel recommended The Space Between by Eric Jacobsen.

Kirk Miller shared a quote about the right and wrong ways to use a commentary, from Tremper Longman’s Old Testament Commentary Survey.

Darrell Bock, author of Jesus According to Scripture, was interviewed by Books at a Glance.

Markus Bockmuehl, author of Simon Peter in Scripture and Memory, has been appointed as the Dean Ireland’s Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture at Keble College, Oxford.

A number of Baker Publishing titles were proclaimed winners of the 2014 Word Awards, including:

 

The Imprecatory Psalms – an Excerpt from The Old Testament and Ethics

The following is an excerpt from The Old Testament and Ethics, “Psalms” essay by Joel M. LeMon, edited by Joel Green and Jacqueline Lapsley.

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Cover ArtThere have been many suggestions for how Christians should understand the psalms that curse the enemies and invoke God’s violent actions against them—the so-called imprecatory psalms.

Erich Zenger has helpfully outlined a number of the proposals (13–22). Some interpreters have considered these psalms to reflect a pre-Christian or anti-Christian Judaism that is utterly contrary to Jesus’ teaching of love for one’s enemies (Matt. 5:4; Luke 6:27, 35).

This supersessionist viewpoint has led to the dismissal of certain psalms altogether or at least to the practice of reading only selected verses of problematic psalms so as not to acknowledge the psalmists’ desire for God to act violently against the enemies. The sad irony is that such supersessionism has actually motivated and ostensibly justified brutal acts of violence by Christians against Jews.

In response to this, an increasingly common trend is to find ways to reclaim the psalms of imprecation as appropriate and even vital elements of Christian piety. According to one line of thinking, violent thoughts that go unacknowledged can degrade and pollute the relationship between God and the faithful.

Praying honestly requires voicing these feelings, so these psalms function as a form of theological catharsis for those who suffer greatly (McCann 115). Such catharsis is a necessary step in healing. Similarly, Patrick Miller has suggested that psalms of imprecation are valuable for Christian faith and practice in that they represent a simultaneous “letting go” and “holding back.”

The prayers validate the experience of suffering and acknowledge the need for retribution, even as the psalmists restrain their emotions by praying the violence rather than executing violence themselves (Miller 200). Thus, these psalms in fact present a radical ethic of nonviolence. By placing violence in the context of prayer, the psalmists reject the right of human retribution and trust in God alone to bring about justice (Firth 141).

©2013 edited by Joel B Green and Jacqueline E. Lapsley. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on The Old Testament and Ethics, click here.

New Resources on Scripture and Ethics

Cover ArtThe acclaimed Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics (DSE), written to respond to the movement among biblical scholars and ethicists to recover the Bible for moral formation, offered needed orientation and perspective on the vital relationship between Scripture and ethics.

Cover ArtThese new book-by-book surveys of the Old and New Testaments feature key articles from the DSE, bringing together a stellar list of contributors to introduce students to the use of the Scriptures for moral formation.

The Old Testament and Ethics: A Book-by-Book Survey, edited by: Joel B. Green and Jacqueline E. Lapsley

The New Testament and Ethics: A Book-by-Book Survey, edited by: Joel B. Green

BA Books & Authors on the Web – November 8, 2013

Cover ArtThis month’s Christianity Today cover article “How Lewis Lit the Way to Better Apologetics” is taken from Michael Ward’s essay in Imaginative Apologetics.

“Lewis’s conversion was sparked (humanly speaking) by a long nighttime conversation with J. R. R. Tolkien and Hugo Dyson. They were discussing Christianity, metaphor, and myth. In a letter to Arthur Greeves (dated October 18, 1931), Lewis recounted the conversation. It is clear that questions of meaning—that is to say, of imagination—were at the heart of it.

At that point, Lewis’s problem with Christianity was fundamentally imaginative. ‘What has been holding me back . . . has not been so much a difficulty in believing as a difficulty in knowing what the doctrine meant,’ he told Greeves. Tolkien and Dyson showed him that Christian doctrines are not the main thing about Christianity. Instead, doctrines are translations of what God has expressed in ‘a language more adequate: namely the actual incarnation, crucifixion and resurrection’ of Christ.”

Jonathan Watson at the Logos Academic Blog interviewed Michael Allen, author of Justification and the Gospel.

Larry Hurtado briefly reviewed Craig Keener’s first two volumes on Acts.

Don Garlington reviewed Warren Carter’s Seven Events That Shaped the New Testament World, for RBL.

At Near Emmaus, Brain LePort reviewed The World of the New Testament, edited by Joel Green and Lee McDonald.

Byron Borger reviewed Journey toward Justice by Nicholas Wolterstorff, for the Hearts & Minds blog.

At For Christ and His Kingdom, Jordan Barrett reviewed Millard Erickson’s Christian Theology, 3rd edition.

Amanda MacInnis recommended The Suffering and Victorious Christ, by Richard Mouw and Douglas Sweeney.

Trent Nicholson reviewed Why Study History?, by John Fea.

Also, John Fea wrote an article titled “Here’s why we’re losing our democratic soul” for PennLive.

Brian at Right Lane Reflections reviewed Desiring the Kingdom, by James K.A. Smith.

At NT Exegesis, Brian Renshaw reviewed the Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters, edited by Marion Ann Taylor and Agnes Choi.