BA Books & Authors on the Web – May 29, 2015

Cover ArtByron Borger, at Hearts & Minds Books, featured Leisure and Spirituality by Paul Heintzman.

Thank goodness for the great “engaging culture” series from Baker Academic, and for this long-awaited, just released new volume….I think this book is nothing short of magisterial, and stands, at this point, as the definitive Christian book in the field. There is simply nothing like it on the market, and it should appeal to any number of readers.

James K.A. Smith’s Who’s Afraid of Postmodernism was reviewed by Renea McKenzie at Thinking Through Christianly.

Thomas Schreiner reviewed Simon Gathercole’s Defending Substitution for The Gospel Coalition.

We see the virtues of Gathercole’s scholarship in this stimulating work. Defending Substitution makes precise distinctions and carefully attends to Scripture. Gathercole’s use of primary sources is always illuminating, and his parallels to noble deaths in classical literature are particularly helpful.

CHOICEconnect reviewed The Holy Trinity in the Life of the Church, edited by Khaled Anatolios.

Allen Mickle, at Books at a Glance, reviewed Jeffrey Weima’s 1-2 Thessalonians BECNT volume.

The Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament is probably, in this reviewer’s opinion, one of the best series based upon the Greek text available. Baker released their newest, 1-2 Thessalonians by Jeffrey A. D. Weima (Professor of New Testament at Calvin Theological Seminary) and it is a welcome addition.

The Gospel of John, by Francis Martin and William Wright, was reviewed by Will Duquette at Cry Wolf.

Jim Fowler reviewed Christ-Centered Preaching by Bryan Chapell.

Chris Tilling is organizing a Syndicate symposium to discuss Evangelical Faith and the Challenge of Historical Criticism, edited by Christopher Hays and Christopher Ansberry.


The King’s Burial – an Excerpt from The Gospel of John

The following is an excerpt from The Gospel of John, by Francis Martin and William Wright.


Jesus’ burial is coordinated by two Jewish religious authorities, who were seemingly secret disciples: Joseph of Arimathea and Nicodemus. Up till now, they had not made their discipleship public because they were afraid of the other religious authorities who strongly opposed Jesus (see 12:43–44).

Being an authority in Jerusalem, Joseph has access to Pilate and obtains custody of Jesus’ corpse (see Luke 23:50–53). Nicodemus, a member of the Sanhedrin (7:50–51) who had previously come to Jesus at night (3:1–2), now brings a mixture of myrrh and aloes to his burial.

Cover ArtThe theme of Jesus’ kingship, so prominent in John’s passion narrative, subtly appears in the details of his burial. The myrrh and aloes evoke the description of the Davidic king’s robes as scented with “myrrh [and] aloes” in Ps 45:9. Moreover, reminiscent of Mary of Bethany (12:1–8), Nicodemus brings a huge amount of ointment, befitting a royal burial.

By burying his body, Joseph and Nicodemus perform a culturally significant act of respect and faithfulness to Jesus. Burying the dead was an important service of love in Jewish piety (Tob 1:16–20; 4:3–4); conversely, lying unburied was a great source of shame for the deceased (Tob 6:15).22 Through this public act of piety, Joseph and Nicodemus make known their relationship with Jesus.

John’s description of the Jewish burial custom reminds us of the raising of Lazarus. Just as Lazarus was “tied hand and foot with burial bands” (11:44), Jesus’ corpse was bound . . . with burial cloths. The mention of the spices reminds us of Martha’s worry about the “stench” of the dead body (11:39). Theese connections indicate that like Lazarus, Jesus was truly dead.

As the passion narrative started in “a garden” (18:1), so also does it end in a garden, where there was a tomb. Archaeological excavations suggest that at the time of Jesus’ death, the area near Golgotha contained significant vegetation and tombs “hewn out of the rock” (see Mark 15:46). Since the tomb was close by and daytime was running out on the preparation day, Joseph and Nicodemus put the body of Jesus there.

John’s description of Jesus’ tomb points us to a new beginning. The tomb was new, unoccupied, and in which no one had yet been buried (see Luke 23:53). The location of this tomb in a garden (Greek kēpos) is significant. Many biblical prophets spoke of the future age of salvation as a new creation, which they described in the language and imagery of Eden. Ezekiel articulates the voice of the redeemed after God’s act of salvation: “This once-desolate land has become like the garden [LXX kēpos] of Eden” (Ezek 36:35; see Isa 58:11).

As the passion narrative concludes, Jesus is buried near the place where he died. The new tomb in the garden points us forward to the dawning of the new creation: the resurrection of Jesus.

©2015 by Francis Martin and William M. Wright IV. Published by Baker Academic. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.


For more information on The Gospel of John, click here.

New Release: The Gospel of John

Cover ArtIn this addition to the well-received Catholic Commentary on Sacred Scripture, two well-respected New Testament scholars interpret the Gospel of John in its historical and literary setting as well as in light of the Church’s doctrinal, liturgical, and spiritual tradition.

Francis Martin and William Wright unpack the wisdom of the Fourth Gospel for the intellectual and spiritual transformation of its readers and connect the Gospel with a range of witnesses throughout the whole history of Catholicism. This volume, like each in the series, is supplemented by features designed to help readers understand the Bible more deeply.


“This extraordinary book is a result of the rich renewal in biblical studies that has taken place in the last twenty-five years. Increasingly scholars see the importance of putting historical analysis of the scriptural texts in dialogue with theology, spirituality, and the dogmatic tradition. Francis Martin and William Wright have produced just such a reading of the Gospel of John. Their commentary is textured, smart, accessible, and spiritually alert. I would recommend it to novices and scholars alike.” – Robert Barron, Mundelein Seminary

“Commentaries on John are beyond counting. But amid the many books devoted to this great Gospel, this volume stands out for its easy accessibility, academic thoroughness, and enthusiastic support of the Roman Catholic tradition, its liturgical calendar, and its teachings. Abundant fascinating sidebars draw the reader back in time to both the biblical world and the great voices of the Catholic Church. An ideal commentary for lay leaders, teachers, and priests in the Catholic tradition.” – Gary M. Burge, Wheaton College and Graduate School


Francis Martin (SSD, Pontifical Biblical Institute), a renowned Scripture scholar, is founder and president of Father Francis Martin Ministries (FFMM). He is professor emeritus of New Testament at the Dominican House of Studies, a priest of the Archdiocese of Washington, DC, and chaplain of the Mother of God Community in Gaithersburg, Maryland.

William M. Wright IV (PhD, Emory University) is associate professor of theology at Duquesne University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, and is the author of Rhetoric and Theology: Figural Reading of John 9.

For more information on The Gospel of John, click here.