BA Books & Authors on the Web – March 27, 2015

Cover ArtAt RBL, Catrin H. Williams reviewed Francis Moloney’s Love in the Gospel of John.

Moloney not only argues convincingly for the pervasiveness of the love theme within John’s narrative, but he demonstrates the crucial importance of this theme for understanding the Gospel’s message about the relationship between God, Jesus and believers. Those interested in John’s theology will, as a result, gain much from reading this valuable study.

Also at RBL, Stephen J. Andrews reviewed The Character of Christian Scripture by Christopher Seitz.

Daniel Block’s For the Glory of God and Doug Moo’s BECNT volume on Galatians were both named as finalists in Bible Reference category of the 2015 Christian Book Awards.

Todd Scacewater, at Exegetical.Tools, reviewed Reading Koine Greek by Rodney Decker.

At Panorama of a Book Saint, Conrade Yap reviewed Created for Community, by Stanley Grenz and Jay Smith.

Michael Philliber reviewed First, Second, and Third John by George Parsenios.

Response magazine featured an article by Jeffrey Overstreet about A Compact Guide to the Whole Bible, by Robert Wall and David Nienhuis.

Two articles, In Defense of Proof-Texting by Brandon Smith and Catholic and Always Reforming at Glimpses Elsewhere, engaged with Reformed Catholicity by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

Access Evangelical Covenant Church is hosting a book launch party for Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu’s Our Global Families.

 

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 10, 2014

Cover ArtEdith Humphrey, author of Scripture and Tradition and Grand Entrance, was interviewed by Alvin Rapien at The Poor In Spirit.

“Many people believe that tradition is stultifying and repressive, where it is the living experience of the Church. Also, many think that it a separate authority to judge Christian matters, whereas Scripture and Holy Tradition are always intertwined.”

Publishers Weekly reviewed J. Richard Middleton’s A New Heaven and a New Earth.

At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight began a series on Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker by Andrew Root.

Also, Tony Jones reviewed Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker.

Nathaniel Peters, at First Things, reflected on Andrew Root’s The Children of Divorce.

At The Christian Century, Bradley Hill recommended The Worship Architect by Constance Cherry.

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

Also at RBL, David Lincicum’s Paul and the Early Jewish Encounter with Deuteronomy was reviewed by Archie Wright and Robert Foster.

Englewood Review of Books and Yale News recommend Andrew McGowan’s Ancient Christian Worship.

For the Glory of God , by Daniel Block, was reviewed by Colton Guffey at the Southern Resources blog.

Ivan Mesa, at Lucid Theology, reviewed The Drama of Scripture by Craig Bartholomew and Michael Goheen.

In this video series Francis Moloney, author of Love in the Gospel of John, gives a survey of John’s Gospel.

On the Mortification of Spin podcast, Carl Trueman, Todd Pruitt and Aimee Byrd recommended For the Glory of God by Daniel Block.

The Resurrection Narrative in John’s Gospel – an Excerpt from Love in the Gospel of John

The following is an excerpt from Love in the Gospel of John, by Francis Moloney.

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It has been claimed that so much happens in the Johannine passion account that there is little need for a story of the resurrection. Jesus has been exalted as universal king by means of his being “lifted up” (esp. 18:28–19:16a); the community has been founded (18:1–11; 18:12–27; 19:25–27); the Scriptures have been fulfilled; Jesus has perfected his task and poured down the Spirit (19:28–30); the ongoing presence of the crucified Jesus in baptism and Eucharist have been granted so that later generations might also believe, even in his absence (19:31–37); the nascent community exits bravely from its former obscurity (19:38–42); and all who accept the revelation of a God of love in this man who laid down his life because of his love for his friends will gaze upon the pierced one (19:37; see 15:13).

Cover ArtAs Jesus stated in his final prayer: “This is eternal life, that they know you, the one true God, and Jesus Christ whom you have sent” (17:3). The crucified Jesus Christ has made God known. What more is needed?

Charles H. Dodd, Rudolf Bultmann, and others are correct in seeing the Johannine Passion Narrative as the culmination of the Gospel’s Christology. Jesus has made known a God who loves the world by loving his own to the end (13:1; 17:4; 19:30). He has now made possible eternal life for all who believe in him by making known a God who loves by means of his own singular gesture of incredible love (13:18–20; 17:2–3). But this is not the end of the story. Early readers of the Gospel of John would have been well aware of the message that Jesus had been raised from the dead, and they wanted to hear that ending.

However, as with the Passion Narrative, John tells that part of the Jesus story in his own way. As we will see below, the major concern of John 20:1–31 is the disciples and all those who will believe in Jesus even though they have never seen him. This Gospel has been written for them (v. 29; vv. 30–31). They are the recipients of Jesus’ love command: “Love one another as I have loved you.” The story of Jesus’ revealing presence among them has ended, but the story of the disciples’ response to the love command is just beginning.

©2013 by Francis J. Moloney SDB. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Love in the Gospel of John, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 25, 2013

Cover ArtGeorge Wood reviewed Why Study History? by John Fea.

“Fea pitches his book primarily to college students interested in the study of history as a major, but also to history teachers and history buffs. I fall into the last category. And as a history buff, I thoroughly enjoyed and highly recommend this book, for several reasons.”

Mark Thiessen Nation responded to Roger Olson’s review of Bonhoeffer the Assassin?

Christopher Skinner at Peje Iesous shared some first thoughts about Francis Moloney’s Love in the Gospel of John.

Preaching.com reviewed Hermeneutics, by Henry Virkler and Karelynne Gerber Ayayo.

At Christianity Today, Brandon O’Brien reviewed The Suffering and Victorious Christ, by Richard Mouw and Douglas Sweeney.

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eBook Specials

Today only, Friday October 25, the Commentary on James eBook by Robert Gundry is available free at participating retailers. Learn more here.

God’s embodied Word – an Excerpt from Love in the Gospel of John

The following is an excerpt from Love in the Gospel of John, by Francis Moloney.

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The Gospel of John opens by claiming that in “the beginning” the Word was already turned in loving union toward God, a union so intense that what God was, the Word also was (1:1–2). But this Word is, like all words, directed to others. Salvation is impossible without the Word, the light and life of humankind (vv. 3–4). This is a biblical way of saying that only in the Word can humankind find the answer to its hopes and deepest desires.

Cover ArtHowever, powers of darkness oppose the revelation of the Word of God. They attempt to overcome the light he comes to bring, but they fail (v. 5). Although only a hint at this stage, a Johannine theology of the cross already begins to appear.

The argument next shifts into history, through the intervention of John the Baptist. The Baptist points away from himself toward the true light (vv. 6–8). The light the Word brings is neither recognized nor accepted, but to those who do receive it, a unique salvation is possible: they will become the children of God (vv. 9–13).

The Word to be heard and accepted as the light and the truth is not an abstract notion. The Word that is one with God has entered our history; he has dwelt among us, the fullness of the gifts of God. The revelation of God himself, “the glory of God,” in the Word who has become flesh, has been gazed upon (v. 14).

But who is he? The Baptist reenters, calling out in his own words that the one who may come after him chronologically is greater than he is because this coming one has existed before all time (v. 15, recalling vv. 1–2). Israel regarded the gift of the law as the greatest of all God’s gifts. From the fullness of God we have all received a new gift that takes the place of a former gift (v. 16). The gift of the law to the Jewish people came through Moses, and it was a great gift. But now the perfect gift has been given: the gift of the revelation of the truth given to us through a man whose name was Jesus Christ (v. 17).

No one has ever seen God, but Jesus’ story that now follows is about God. Jesus makes God known (v. 18). “The prologue prepares readers to see the whole story of Jesus as God’s act of communication through his embodied word.”

©2013 by Francis J. Moloney SDB. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Love in the Gospel of John, click here.

Francis Moloney: “Why I Wrote Love in the Gospel of John

“Why I Wrote Love in the Gospel of John”

Francis J. Moloney, SDB

Cover Art“From my earliest encounters with the Gospel of John, it was clear to me that while this story might be about the life, teaching, death and resurrection of Jesus, its message was really about what God has done in and through Jesus. Reading the prologue (John 1:1–18) left me no doubt, as it begins with God (vv. 1–2), and ends informing the reader that no one has ever seen God, but the Son, who always gazes on the Father, has told the story of God (v. 18). The remaining twenty (or twenty-one) chapters are that story. If the Evangelist wrote this gospel so that readers and hearers of the story might have life through belief in Jesus as the Christ, the Son of God (20:30–31), then the words found in the prayer of Jesus involve God again : “This is eternal life, that they know you, the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom you have sent” (17:3 NIV).

As time went by I became further fascinated by the question, what sort of God does Jesus make known? That was easy, I thought at first.  John 3:16, the verse famously displayed on sporting signs in the U.S., makes it clear:  “God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life” (NIV). God loves so much that the later letters would declare, “God is love” (1 John 4:8, 16). Jesus’s command that his disciples must love one another as Jesus had loved them was but a logical, and even missionary, consequence of Jesus’s task to make known a God of love (see John 13:34–35; 15:12, 17; 17:21–26).

Only lately have I become aware that the concept of the loving process from God to Jesus to the disciple was all too easy. I began to run into a strong critical rejection of the long-held admiration among Christians for John’s development of the theme of love. Indeed, a veteran and highly esteemed Johannine scholar (Wayne Meeks) has suggested that the Gospel of John has enjoyed its position as a much-loved book in the Christian tradition only because it has been misinterpreted for almost a thousand years! I was part of that history of misinterpretation.

A number of scholars, especially (but not only) in the U.S. began to see that the Fourth Gospel’s message on love was increasingly introspective. Jesus, and then Matthew, Mark, and Luke, teach love for God, for neighbor, and even for one’s enemies! Yet in John, the believer is never commanded to love God, neighbor, or enemy. Believers must love Jesus and one another. Only when this is in place will they be swept into the love that has always united Jesus and his Father (John 17:24–26). The Gospel of John was thus judged as the first and clearest indication that early Christianity was tending toward sectarianism: believers only look after one another and have a mission to draw outsiders to belief but not into a relationship of love. As Jack T. Sanders puts it: “‘If you believe you will have eternal life,’ promises the Johannine Christian, while the dying man’s blood stains the ground” (Ethics in the New Testament: Change and Development [London: SCM, 1985], 100).

It was time to look again; Love in the Gospel of John is the fruit of that long, hard look. Years of association with the Johannine story led me to look beyond what Jesus teaches and commands about love in the Fourth Gospel. All those words (and there are a lot of them) have their place within a narrative. The problem with so much analysis of the Gospel of John (and biblical texts in general) is that we often forget the whole story as we focus on particular words and commands. I was as guilty of that as anyone, as I had been trained that way. But love is best communicated by loving actions, not loving words. We all know that! I have thus tried to interpret what the Fourth Gospel teaches about love by situating the words within their narrative context. Both words and actions must go together. In the end, actions really count when it comes to making love known.

This intuition has produced a study that features the unique Johannine message of the revelation of God in the lifting up of his son, so that all who gaze on him may find love and life (see 19:37). “Greater love has no one than this, to lay down one’s life for one’s friends” (15:13 NIV). Christians and non-Christians experience loving self-gift most days of their lives. Perhaps it is there that we should be seeking the face of God.”

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Francis J. Moloney, SDB (DPhil, University of Oxford), is a Senior Professorial Fellow of Australian Catholic University at its Melbourne campus, Australia, and member of the Department of Biblical Studies. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Member of the Order of Australia, and the author of more than forty books.

For more information on Love in the Gospel of John, click here.

New Release: Love in the Gospel of John, by Francis Moloney

Cover ArtIn Love in the Gospel of John, Francis Moloney offers a thorough exploration of the theme of love in the fourth Gospel, focusing not only on Jesus’s words but also on his actions. Instead of merely telling people that they must love one another, Jesus acts to make God’s love known and calls all who follow him to do the same.

This capstone work  uses a narrative approach to delve deeply into a theme at the heart of John’s Gospel and the life of the Christian church. Uniting rigorous exegesis with theological and pastoral insight, it makes a substantive contribution to contemporary Johannine scholarship.

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“Francis J. Moloney is one of the most distinguished Catholic scholars of John’s Gospel in the English-speaking world today. In his latest work on the Fourth Gospel, he displays his fine gifts as an able teacher.” – John P. Meier, University of Notre Dame

“Decades of study of the Fourth Gospel have uniquely qualified Frank Moloney to write this book about love in the Gospel of John….The evangelist’s story has all the twists and turns of any real love story. Moloney sheds light on these several twists and turns as only he, among contemporary English-language scholars, can do.” – Raymond F. Collins, Brown University

“What better way to crown a lifetime of research and writing on the Gospel of John than to produce a book on its major theme of love! Francis Moloney, one of the world’s leading experts on the Gospel, has brought to bear his keen analysis of the text and vast knowledge of the secondary literature in this comprehensive study….[B]ound to become indispensable reading for all students of John’s Gospel and its theology.” – Andrew T. Lincoln, University of Gloucestershire

“This book reads as the culmination of a lifetime of exegetical skill, research, and lived discipleship, enabling Moloney to express the heart of the Gospel’s message in the one word love.” – Mary L. Coloe, MCD University of Divinity

“Love plays a central role in the Gospel of John, and in this fine volume Frank Moloney offers a richly textured interpretation of the theme….Scholars and students, theologians and pastors will welcome this compelling treatment of the idea that shapes John’s understanding of God, Jesus, and the path of discipleship.” – Craig R. Koester, Luther Seminary

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Francis J. Moloney SDBFrancis J. Moloney, SDB (DPhil, University of Oxford), is a Senior Professorial Fellow of Australian Catholic University at its Melbourne campus, Australia, and member of the Department of Biblical Studies. He is also a Fellow of the Australian Academy of the Humanities, a Member of the Order of Australia, and the author of more than forty books.

For more information on Love in the Gospel of John, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – October 04, 2013

Cover ArtNijay Gupta reviewed Lee McDonald’s The Story of Jesus in History and Faith, at Crux Sola.

“McDonald represents a view that tries to see faith and history as complementary (not contradictory), and that something is missing when you eliminate one. In terms of history, McDonald urges: ‘Faith in Jesus as the Christ is faith in a historical phenomenon in the sense that Christian faith is centered on God’s activity in a historical person who lived and died in Palestine in the first century’ (p. 21). On the other hand, ‘Faith…realizes that appropriation of God’s activity in Jesus cannot be found in the historical-critical dimension, but through faith alone’ (p. 21)…..I warmly recommend this to teachers and students as a ‘faith-friendly’ guide to studying the historical Jesus!”

Also, Nijay shared an excerpt from Donald Hagner’s The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction, for his post on the Purpose of Matthew.

Matthew Montonini shared his experience attending the Mullen Lecture recently delivered by Francis Moloney at St. Mary’s Seminary. Moloney’s topic was “Love in the Gospel of John: to What End?” based on his book Love in the Gospel of John.

Jesus Among Friends and Enemies, edited by Chris Keith and Larry Hurtado, was included in Brian LePort’s list of resources for studying John the Baptist.

Perry Oakes reviewed Gary Long’s Grammatical Concepts 101 for Biblical Hebrew, for RBL.

Dave, at Can’t Catch My Breath, shared from Eddie Gibbs’ The Rebirth of the Church.

J. Todd Billings’ Union with Christ, G.K. Beale’s A New Testament Biblical Theology, and Bryan Chapell’s Christ-Centered Preaching, were recommended in Derek Rishmawy’s Reformedish Seminary Starter Kit.

Michael Kruger, at The Gospel Coalition, included Herman Bavinck’s Reformed Dogmatics: Prolegomena in his Top 10 Books on the Bible’s Authority.

Englewood Review of Books featured Bonhoeffer the Assassin?, by  Mark Thiessen Nation, Anthony Siegrist, and Daniel Umble in their new release update.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – September 20, 2013

Cover ArtAlan Thompson reviewed the first volume of Craig Keener’s Acts commentary, for Credo Magazine.

“Keener’s extensive interaction with other views, detailed argumentation for the historical reliability of Acts, and comprehensive treatment of the social historical context for so many topics leaves me profoundly grateful for such a resource.  This is essentially an encyclopedia of information related to Acts and its first century world!”

In his post “The Challenge of Conviction and Openness“, Nijay Gupta reflected on a quote from David Turner’s BECNT volume on Matthew.

At New Testament Perspectives, Matthew Montonini shared endorsements for Francis Moloney’s Love in the Gospel of John.

Brent Newsom, at Relief Journal, used James K.A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom to inform his reflections on his personal liturgy as a writer.

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.

Preaching.com 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.