BA Books & Authors on the Web – April 3, 2015

Cover ArtAt RBL, Bálint Károly Zabán reviewed John Cook and Robert Holmstedt’s Beginning Biblical Hebrew.

On the whole, the kernel of the book is very well and carefully written but equally impressively designed. With its focus on especially pragmatics, the textbook delves into a subject sometimes avoided by other grammars—a joy to read, a joy to use, and a joy to teach from!

Also at RBL, Darian Lockett reviewed the Paideia commentary on James and Jude, written by John Painter and David A. deSilva.

CHOICEconnect reviewed Early Christianity in Contexts edited by William Tabbernee (here), as well as Handbook of Religion edited by Terry Muck, Harold Netland, and Gerald McDermott (here).

Andy Naselli recommended Rodney Decker’s Reading Koine Greek.

Daniel Block’s For the Glory of God was reviewed at Spoiled Milk.

Engaging the Christian Scriptures, by Andrew E. Arterbury, W. H. Bellinger Jr., and Derek S. Dodson, was reviewed at the Young Restless Reformed Blog.

At Network, Greg Sinclair reflected on religious diversity in light of Our Global Families by Todd Johnson and Cindy Wu.

The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament series was recommended by The Frederick Faith Debate.

At Euangelion, Michael Bird shared a quote from Peter Oakes’ Galatians commentary.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, interviewed Mikeal Parsons about his recent Paideia commentary on Luke.

At Comment Magazine, James K. A. Smith shared two work-in-progress excerpts from his forthcoming third volume in the Cultural Liturgies series, Beyond “Creation” and Natural Law and Rethinking the Secular, Redeeming Christendom.

 

The Parable of the Vineyard – an Excerpt from Luke

The following is an excerpt from the Paideia commentary on Luke, by Mikeal Parsons.

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Cover ArtThis debate with the religious leaders over Jesus’s authority is in the background of the parable of the vineyard, which he tells to the “people” (20:9–16; cf. Mark 12:1–12; Matt. 21:33–46; Gos. Thom. 65). The parable, in its Lukan form, is an allegory of salvation history “as Luke sees it” and “implies that the bureaucracy recognized him but rejected him because they were unwilling to relinquish control over the vineyard to its rightful owner” (Talbert 1982, 189). The owner, even though the tenants have injured his three servants, is hopeful that they will respect his son (so also Gos. Thom. 65; but cf. Mark 12:6, where the assertion is unqualified).

The rejection of the “beloved son” in the parable does not result in the destruction of the vineyard but results in the removal of the corrupt tenants/leaders who have refused to recognize the authority the vineyard’s owner invested in his servants and his son. In the larger story recorded in Luke’s two volumes, control of the vineyard will be given to others, namely, the apostles (the description of the vineyard in Luke lacks the allusion to Isa. 5 found in Mark 12:2//Matt. 21:33).

The response of the people is visceral; what Jesus has described is unimaginable: When they heard this, they said, “May it never be!” (20:16b). But Jesus offers no words of comfort: Then he looked at them and said, “What, then, does this mean where it says, ‘The stone that the builders rejected, this one has become the cornerstone’? Everyone who falls on that stone will be broken in pieces; and on whomever it falls, it will crush them” (20:17–18). He changes the metaphor from agriculture to construction (citing Ps. 118:22–23; cf. 1 Pet. 2:7), but the message remains the same: woe to those who reject the beloved Son/cornerstone. One hears in the consequence of falling on the cornerstone (or vice versa) an echo of Esther Rab. 3.6: “Should the stone fall on the crock, woe to the crock. Should the crock fall on the stone, woe to the crock. In either case, woe to the crock” (cited by Talbert 1982, 189).

Having elicited a response from the people to his parable (20:16), Jesus provokes a response from the religious leaders with his last words: So the scribes and chief priests were trying to lay their hands on him at that time—yet they were afraid of the people—for they knew that he had spoken the parable against them (20:19). Even though they know that the parable is directed against them and their leadership, the religious authorities are again reluctant to act against Jesus, fearing the people (cf. 19:47–48).

©2015 by Mikeal C. Parsons. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

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For more information on Luke, click here.

New Release: Luke

Cover ArtMikeal Parsons, a leading scholar on Luke and Acts, offers a practical commentary on Luke that is conversant with contemporary scholarship, draws on ancient backgrounds, and attends to the theological nature of the texts. Students, pastors, and other readers will appreciate the historical, literary, and theological insight Parsons provides in interpreting the Gospel of Luke.

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“This lucid, concise commentary displays the distinctive strengths that Parsons has brought to a distinguished career as scholar and author…. I am pleased to give this book my enthusiastic endorsement.” – John T. Carroll, Union Presbyterian Seminary

“Parsons has been a leading voice in Lukan studies, and this outstanding Paideia commentary marks his latest important contribution to the field….No one is better suited than Parsons for the task of creating such a multifaceted commentary on the Gospel of Luke, and he delivers an innovative and helpful work–brilliant yet succinct and accessible.” – David B. Gowler, Oxford College of Emory University

“Mikeal Parsons deftly navigates through Luke’s Gospel, attending to its rhetoric, theology, historical context, and interpretive history. His rich engagement with the text itself makes this companion volume to his Acts Paideia commentary a welcome read.” – Brittany E. Wilson, Duke University Divinity School

“Contract a Greco-Roman historian, a literary critic, and a theologian–or commission Mikeal Parsons! Filled with rich interdisciplinary and intertextual insights, Luke in the Paideia Commentaries is vintage Parsons: tersely brilliant.” – David P. Moessner, Texas Christian University

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Mikeal C. Parsons (PhD, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary) is the Kidd L. and Buna Hitchcock Macon Chair in Religion at Baylor University and the author of several books, including Acts in Paideia: Commentaries on the New Testament and The Departure of Jesus in Luke and Acts. He is the coauthor of Luke: A Handbook on the Greek Text and Illuminating Luke (three volumes). Parsons also serves as editor of Perspectives in Religious Studies.

For more information on Luke, click here.

BA Books & Authors on the Web – January 30, 2015

Cover ArtMathew Sims, at Grace for Sinners, reviewed James K. A. Smith’s Imagining the Kingdom.

I cannot recommend Imagining the Kingdom highly enough. It’s a much needed corrective for the Church especially in our current climate where secular liturgies often are more formative. Christians have failed to tell and live our story in a way that’s believable and affective.

At Jesus Creed, Scot McKnight reflected on Engaging the Doctrine of Revelation by Matthew Levering.

Nate Claiborne reviewed Reformed Catholicity, by Michael Allen and Scott Swain.

At Books at a Glance, Adam Darbonne reviewed Reading the Historical Books by Patricia Dutcher-Walls.

Jackson Watts, at the Helwys Society Forum, reviewed Beth Felker Jones’ Practicing Christian Doctrine.

Adonis Vidu’s Atonement, Law, and Justice was review at Pastor Dave Online.

Gary Ridley, at Send U, reviewed Effective Intercultural Communication by A. Scott Moreau, Evvy Hay Campbell and Susan Greener.

Nijay Gupta, at Crux Sola, is looking forward to Mikeal Parsons’ Paideia commentary on Luke.

Justin Taylor shared Thomas Schreiner’s reflections in The King in His Beauty on seeing the Trinity in Genesis 1:26.

At Lingering in Love, Ian McConnell has been working through Andrew Root’s Bonhoeffer as Youth Worker, and Bonhoeffer’s eight theses on youth work. Read posts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.

The Gospel Coalition shared 8 Lessons from the School of Prayer, an excerpt from D. A. Carson’s Praying with Paul.

 

Baker Academic Library: Acts 2:1-4

Acts 2:1-4 (NIV):
When the day of Pentecost came, they were all together in one place. Suddenly a sound like the blowing of a violent wind came from heaven and filled the whole house where they were sitting. They saw what seemed to be tongues of fire that separated and came to rest on each of them. All of them were filled with the Holy Spirit and began to speak in other tongues as the Spirit enabled them.

Craig Keener, Acts Vol. 1, pp. 793-94:

Yet Luke reports the Pentecost experience not merely as a matter of historical interest but because for him it set the normative pattern for the church. THis is not to say that all the phenomena of Pentecost would be repeated on subsequent occasions (he never reports the wind or fire again) but to contend that, for Luke, the church’s experiences was (or should be) pervasively charismatic; as Richard Hays puts it, it was to be not so much an expression of “early catholicism” as of “early pentecostalism” [Hays, Moral Vision, 135].

The Pentecost experience is repeated (Acts 4:31-35), including beyond Jerusalem for other groups (8:15-17; 10:44-47; 19:6), suggesting that it is paradigmatic. As Luke repeats the Cornelius story and Paul’s conversion each three times, emphasizing key turning points for the Gentile mission, he repeats glossolalia (a sign useful for Luke’s emphasis on cross-cultural speech, 1:8) three times (2:4; 10:46; 19:6). But whereas the other repetitions allude back to a key event, the repetition of this sign from the Pentecost narrative evokes that narrative through a repeated experience. Luke thus treats the Pentecost experience as paradigmatic (as in 2:38-39).

G.K. Beale, A New Testament Biblical Theology, pp. 594-95:

The appearance of “tongues of fire” (Acts 2:3) is an expression of the coming Spirit that reflects a theophany. But more can be said: it appears to be a theophany associated with the descending divine presence of the heavenly temple. A number of considerations point to this.

The report that “there came from heaven a noise like a violent rushing wind” (Acts 2:2), and that there appeared “tongues of fire” calls to mind the typical theophanies of the OT. God appeared in these theophanies with thunderous noise and in the form of fire. The first great theophany of the OT was at Sinai, where “God descended on it in fire” and appeared in the midst of loud “voices and torches and a thick cloud” and “fire”. Sinai was the model theophany for most later similar divine appearances in the OT, and to some degree God’s coming at Sinai stands in the background of the Spirit’s coming at Pentecost.

Mikeal Parsons, Acts (PAIDEIA), pp. 37 -38:

What is the nature of the miracle recorded here in Acts 2:1-4? The coming of the Spirit is joined by two manifestations: a noise in the sky, like a strong blowing wind (2:2), and divided tongues (that looked) like fire (2:3). In describing the event as accompanied by these natural phenomena, Luke is echoing the theophany scenes of the OT, in which God’s presence is accompanied by similiar signs (Exod 19:16; Judg 5:4-5; cf. Ps 18:7-15; 29:3-9).

Luke is also using the rhetorical strategy of ekphrasis, that is, employing language that appeals as much to the eye as to the ear. Theon defines ekphrasis as “bringing what is portrayed clearly before the sight.” What is portrayed could be “of persons and events and places and periods of time” (Prog. 118, trans. Kennedy 2003, 45). An ekphrasis of an event could include a description of “war, peace, a storm, famine, plague, an earthquake” (Prog. 118, trans. Kennedy 2003, 45) […] The function of ekphrasis or ekphrastic language in a narrative is often to draw attention to the significance of the even thus described for the overarching argument of the narrative (Krieger 1992, 7). Such is certainly the case with the use of ekphrastic language in Luke and Acts, in which vivid language is used at key moments in the life of Jesus. […] The ekphrastic language in the Pentecost scene underscores the continuity between the founder of the “Way” and his followers. Significant events in Jesus’ life and ministry were depicted in language that appealed to the eye more than the ear. The beginning of the disciples’ “public ministry” described in similarly vivid language, marking the disciples’ reception of the Holy Spirit.

Darrell Bock, Acts (BECNT), p. 99:

These disciples begin to speak in ἑτέραις γλώσσαις (heterais glossais), which refers to other languages, as verse 8 makes clear. In the OT, the expression appears in Isa. 28:11 LXX in the singular. This one-step understanding differs from the description in 1 Corinthians, where two steps (utterance and interpretation) are required for understanding. In Acts this speaking of tongues in foreign languages is done as the Spirit gives them utterance (so also Jervell 1998: 133-34). The term for “utterance” (ἀποφθέγγεσθαι, apophthengesthai) is relatively rare, appearing only three times in the NT, all in Acts (2:4, 14; 26:25), and six times in the LXX (BDAG 125; 1 Chron. 25:1 [positively of prophecy]; Ps. 58:8 [59:7 Eng.]; Mic. 5:11 [5:12 Eng.]; Zech. 10:2; Ezek. 13:9, 19; five of these six uses are negative, of lies or false prophets). Peter will explain in verses 17-18 that all have received the pouring out of the Spirit as an indication of the arrival of God’s promised new era (see also Luke 3:15-17, where the Spirit’s coming points to the presence of the Messiah, another point Peter makes in Acts 2:36).