BA Books & Authors on the Web – July 18, 2014

Cover ArtThe Institute for Sacred Architecture reviewed The Space Between, by Eric Jacobsen.

“Jacobsen artfully weaves together the linear progression of the story of redemption, which starts in the Garden and ends in the Heavenly City, with our understanding of the urban environment. He states that in our place and time we are not yet in the Heavenly City; however, we can and should work toward it.”

G.K Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology, John Cook and Robert Holmstedt’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew, and Rolf Jacobson and Karl Jacobson’s Invitation to the Psalms were reviewed in the Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament.

Daniel Waldschmidt, at the Wisconsin Lutheran Seminary Blog, reviewed Galatians by Douglas Moo.

At Scriptorium Daily, Matt Jenson recommended the Turning South series; comprised of Nicholas Wolterstorff’s Journey toward Justice, Susan VanZanten’s Reading a Different Story, and Mark Noll’s From Every Tribe and Nation.

Jordon Stone recommended Old Testament Commentary Survey by Tremper Longman, and New Testament Commentary Survey by D.A. Carson, at the Ordinary Ministry blog.

At Daily Theology, Krista Stevens reflected on The Gospel of Mark by Francis Moloney.

David Naugle listed Bonhoeffer the Assassin? by Mark Nation, Anthony Siegrist, and Daniel Umbel, in the Cardus summer reading list.

The Logos Academic Blog interviewed Bryan Chapell, author of Christ-Centered Preaching.

Peter Enns, author of Inspiration and Incarnation, interviewed Christopher Hays, co-editor of Evangelicals and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, as part of his ongoing “Aha” Moments series.


BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 3, 2014

Cover ArtAt Euangelion, Joel Willitts reviewed Bonhoeffer the Assassin?, and Scot McKnight named it one of the Jesus Creed Books of the Year.

“[A] book that will surely create conversations for a decade about whether or not Bonhoeffer was involved in the conspiracy to assassinate Hitler.”

Brett McCracken, Marc Cortez, and Tim Hoiland all named James K.A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom as one of their favorite books of 2013.

David Firth reviewed Invitation to the Psalms, by Rolf Jacobson and Karl Jacobson, for RBL.

Byron Borger at Hearts and Minds reviewed and recommended Christian Philosophy, by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen.

Justification and the Gospel, by Michael Allen; Reading the Gospels Wisely, by Jonathan Pennington; and Paul and the Early Jewish Encounter with Deuteronomy, by David Lincicum were all named in Mockingbird’s list of The Top Theology Books of 2013.

Graham Ware’s Top Reads of 2013 included J. R. Daniel Kirk’s Jesus Have I Loved, But Paul? and Craig Keener’s Paul, Women & Wives.

David Moore listed Why Study History? by John Fea  in his Favorite Books of 2013.

Matt Mitchell reviewed Understanding Spiritual Warfare: Four Views, edited by James Beilby and Paul Eddy.


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Through Thursday, January 9, the eBook of Preaching and Teaching the Last Things by Walter C. Kaiser Jr. is available for $3.99 (80% off) at participating retailers, including:

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BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 13, 2013

Cover ArtSteve Bishop, at an accidental blog, reviewed James K.A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom.

“In the first volume, Desiring the Kingdom, Smith posed an exciting and outrageous question: “What if education wasn’t first and foremost what we know, but about what we love?” In this second volume he follows this up by suggesting that “our actions emerge from how we imagine the world: “What if we are actors before we are thinkers?” (p 32). Smith’s thesis is that we are defined more by what we worship than by what we think or believe. Thus we need to see more clearly how the affective affects the cognitive: to displace functional intellectualism, where what we do is the outcome of what we think”

Jamie Smith was also featured in the Calgary Herald article Faith Takes Practice, and Byron Borger recommended The Fall of Interpretation, Imagining the Kingdom and Desiring the Kingdom in a post about a new collection of Smith’s essays.

At Unsettled Christianity, Joel Watts reviewed Duane Watson and Terrance Callan’s Paideia commentary on First and Second Peter.

Cornelis Bennema reviewed Jonathan Pennington’s Reading the Gospels Wisely, for RBL.

Jeff Borden, at iCrucified, reviewed Classical Christian Doctrine by Ronald Heine.

Larry Hurtado recommended The World of the New Testament, edited by Joel Green and Lee McDonald.

Francis Moloney, author of The Gospel of Mark and the soon-to-be-released Love in the Gospel of John, was featured in two videos about Mark on Matthew Montonini’s blog,  New Testament Perspectives. reviewed Invitation to the Psalms, by Rolf and Karl Jacobson.

J.W. Wartick reviewed For the Beauty of the Earth, by Stephen Bouma-Prediger.

Charles Clark reviewed Daniel Bell’s The Economy of Desire, for Fare Forward.

Excerpt from Invitation to the Psalms

The following is an excerpt from the first chapter of Invitation to the Psalms: A Reader’s Guide for Discovery and Engagement by Rolf and Karl Jacobson.

Introducing Hebrew Poetry

The biblical book of Psalms is, first and foremost, a collection of Hebrew poetry. If a reader sets out to understand the psalms—or even to understand a single one of the psalms—that reader must take into account the central reality that the psalms are Hebrew poetry. Why? Because reading is a “logical” exercise—in the sense that words, phrases, and sentences are put together according to principles that are governed by a logic. You cannot understand what the words, phrases, and sentences are trying to communicate if you do not understand that governing logic. Poetry as a whole is a type of language that has a different governing logic from other types of writing. And Hebrew poetry, in particular, has an even more specifically different set of governing logic.

An example may help. Mathematical equations are basically sentences that use numerical and mathematical symbols rather than words to communicate. Imagine that you are given the task of understanding what the following mathematical equation (sentence) is trying to communicate:

2 + 2 = 4

The meaning is transparently clear, right? Before you answer yes, imagine that you do not understand what numbers are or how they work. Imagine that you do not understand that the symbol “2” represents the numerical concept of two. Or that the symbol “4” represents the numerical concept of four. Furthermore, imagine that you do not understand that the symbols “+” and “=” stand for the concepts of adding and totaling, respectively. A reader who does not understand these things could, of course, not understand even the simplest equation. The reason for this is that the basic building block of mathematical equations is a signification system in which 2 = two, + = addition, and so on. A reader who does not understand that system cannot understand the longer “sentences” that are created when various elements such as 2, 4, +, and = are put together. But a reader who does understand these basic building blocks, and how they work, can understand even complex mathematical sentences, like the quadratic formula: ax² + bx + c = 0 (where a ≠ 0). Now that we’ve exceeded what we know about math, let us return to Hebrew poetry.

Just as numerical and mathematical symbols are the building blocks of mathematical sentences, Hebrew poetry is the basic building block of the biblical psalms. In order to understand the overall message that a psalm is trying to communicate, it is helpful (perhaps even “necessary”) to know some basic elements about the governing logic of Hebrew poetry. When a reader does not understand the basic features of Hebrew poetry and how they work, that reader will find it almost impossible to read and understand even the most simple lines from the psalms, such as: “The Lord is in his holy temple; the Lord’s throne is in heaven” (Ps. 11:4). But a reader who does understand these basic building blocks can read and understand even complex psalms.

©2013 by Rolf A. Jacobson and Karl Jacobson. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on Invitation to the Psalms, click here.

New Release: Invitation to the Psalms

The Book of Psalms is perhaps the most cherished book in the Old Testament. In this lively volume, two experienced teachers invite students to read and explore the Psalter and roam widely among its poems. The book introduces the dynamics of the biblical text, helping students become careful and attentive readers. It covers how to read Hebrew poetry, the Psalter’s basic genres, the idea of “the psalmist,” the metaphorical world of the Psalms, and the theology of the Psalms. Sidebars, discussion questions, and plenty of examples enhance the reading experience. This clear and concise guide is accessible to all serious students of the Bible.

“The Jacobsons have written a winsome, accessible introduction to the psalms that invites readers to fresh understanding and engagement. The authors have taken the most characteristic elements of the psalms–parallelism, genre, life setting, and metaphor–and made them understandable in ways that will enhance devotional and liturgical use. Invitation to the Psalms combines discerning theology with a lightheartedness that brings the reader along in doing interpretation in imaginative, real-life ways.”
Walter Brueggemann, professor emeritus of Old Testament, Columbia Theological Seminary

“The authors have written one of the most accessible introductions to the Psalter available. From the character of the psalms as poetry to their function as a testimony to the God whose ways are at the center of all the psalms, the authors have taken up basic aspects of the psalms in simple, fresh, and genuinely inviting ways. Readers at all levels will enjoy and learn from this presentation of the richness of the psalms.”
Patrick D. Miller, professor of Old Testament theology emeritus, Princeton Theological Seminary

“This is the best kind of introduction to a book of the Bible–informative, engaging, scholarly with a light touch, well-calculated to help people read the Bible but not to be a substitute for reading it, and capable of encouraging people to water-ski across the psalms (as the authors themselves put it).”
John Goldingay, David Allan Hubbard Professor of Old Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary

Rolf A. Jacobson is associate professor of Old Testament at Luther Seminary in St. Paul, Minnesota, and is an ordained pastor.
Karl N. Jacobson is assistant professor of religion at Augsburg College in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and is an ordained pastor. Rolf and Karl previously collaborated on Crazy Talk: A Not-So-Stuffy Dictionary of Theological Terms.

For more information on Invitation to the Psalms, click here.