Michael F. Bird, Jesus is the Christ: The Messianic Testimony of the Gospels (Downers Grove, IL: IVP Academic, 2012), 219 pages.
IVP Academic / Amazon
While the messianic identity of Jesus is certainly not a new topic, ongoing advancements in New Testament scholarship continually offer fresh insights that inform and enrich the discussion. Michael Bird’s book, Jesus is the Christ: The Messianic Testimony of the Gospels, merges these new insights into the stream of the old without a hitch. As a follow-up to an earlier work, Are You the One Who is to Come? The Historical Jesus and the Messianic Question, which focused on the historical Jesus’ messianic claims, this recent work zeroes in on the gospels themselves. The distinctive purpose of each individual evangelist in revealing Jesus’ as the Messiah is elucidated within each gospel’s narrative and theological framework.
The outline of Bird’s work is straightforward: in addition to the introduction and conclusion, the book consists of four chapters, covering in sequence Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John. In the introductory chapter, Bird begins his foray into the discussion with a basic yet crucial question: “When did Jesus become the Messiah?” Here, Bird presents the basic premise that underlies his work: Jesus’ self-understanding was that he was the Messiah, and he intentionally and clearly communicated this truth through his ministry. Standing against the flow of critical scholarship that denies this truth, he presents various viewpoints from that arena with his own correlating counter-arguments. He segues into his analysis of the four gospels by asserting that the messianic theme permeates each work and is central to its purpose and function, albeit each gospel writer elucidates this theme in his own unique way. Continue reading
This third annual, student-led postgraduate conference in Church History draws near, and its organizers have issued a call for papers from current doctoral students in Church History or Historical Theology. Continue reading
Anthony Thiselton, Hermeneutics: An Introduction, (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2009), 424 pages.
I would like to thank Eerdmans for providing me a review copy.
Amazon | Eerdmans
Hermeneutics: An Introduction is Anthony Thiselton’s latest in a long and distinguished list of publications on hermeneutics. New Horizons in Hermeneutics is perhaps his most well-known work on the subject, though in 2006 he published an 800-page collection of articles and essays, and 2013 saw the publication of a festschrift in his honor, Horizons in Hermeneutics, and the proceedings of a conference in his honor, The Future of Biblical Interpretation. Thiselton is an ordained minister in the Church of England. He writes as a Christian scholar.
This book is billed as an “introduction,” but that is somewhat misleading. A better term is a “survey,” or, perhaps, an introduction to the history of hermeneutics and hermeneutical philosophy. The first three chapters function as a brief introduction to the subject: the first chapter discusses the “aim and scope” of hermeneutics, the second discusses the place of hermeneutics in different fields (e.g., philosophy and Biblical studies), and the third seeks to illustrate different hermeneutical approaches to the parables of Jesus. The following thirteen chapters discuss the hermeneutics of a particular time, starting with Judaism and the Greeks, and proceeding on through the NT, the early church, the Reformation, and into the modern period with postmodernism, liberation theology, feminist and womanist hermeneutics, and more. A few chapters give particular attention to an important individual (e.g., Bultmann and Ricoeur). Continue reading
The most recent volume of New Blackfriars is now available online and contains a number of essays on Augustine and Aquinas. Here is the table of contents:
Catholic Theological Association 2013 Conference Papers Augustine or Thomas in Catholic Theology? Introduction
Augustine, Aquinas and the Culture Wars
Why We Still Need Augustine
Why Do We Still Need Aquinas?
Faith before Hope and Love
Aquinas and Augustine on Creation and God as “Eternal Being”
Franklin T. Harkins
The Early Aquinas on the Question of Universal Salvation, or How a Knight May Choose Not to Ride His Horse
Deforming God: Why Nothing Really Matters A Lacanian Reading of Thomas Aquinas
Nicholas M. Healy
The Christian Life: In Addition to Augustine and Aquinas
Petr Pokorný, From the Gospel to the Gospels: History, Theology and Impact of the Biblical Term ‘EUANGELION’. Beihefte zur Zeitschrift für die neutestamentliche Wissenschaft 195. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2013. X + 237 pp. 79,95 €/$112.00.
Amazon | de Gruyter
Petr Pokorný’s most recent monograph originates from his years of research in the Gospel of Mark and his own lectures at Charles University in Prague. The present form of this monograph was included in the “Narrative Gospels: Reasons for their Genesis, Function, Impact on the Shaping of Christian Culture” research project of the Grant Agency of the Academy of Sciences of the Czech Republic.
The gospel, or “good news” (euangelion) is one of the central terms and concepts of the Christian faith. It is a core marker of Christian identity. Yet, adequately defining the gospel remains a difficult task. Pokorný states the issue well, “[u]nless Christians come to a better understanding of their common spiritual heritage, it will be difficult for them to preserve and develop their common identity” (p. 1). Pokorný’s purpose is “to understand the inner dynamics of the Chirstian thinking which could be demonstrated by the history of the term euangelion” (p. 4). He attempts to achieve this purpose by “reconstructing the inner structure (texture) of texts” and by grasping their theological intention (p. 2). Continue reading
Calaway, Jared. The Sabbath and the Sanctuary: Access to God in the Letter to the Hebrews and Its Priestly Context. WUNT 2/349. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2013.
The basis thesis of this book (a published version of Calaway’s dissertation, completed in 2010 at Columbia University) is that the author of Hebrews has combined sacred space (tabernacle) and sacred time (Sabbath) into a “singular heavenly reality denoting proximity to God’s presence” (1–2). Such a combination of sacred time and space locates Hebrews within a trajectory that begins with P(riestly) and H(oliness) portions of the Pentateuch, moves through Ezekiel and Third Isaiah, and finds particular expression in the Second Temple period in the Songs of the Sabbath Sacrifice.
First, Calaway notes close connections between Sabbath and sanctuary in the P(riestly) portions of Genesis and Exodus. In Genesis 1–2, noting the cosmological-sanctuary theme, he states: “The tabernacle became where God rested and the Sabbath when God rested from the work of creation” (37). This connection continues, moreover, as the instructions for the tabernacle are given on a seventh day (Exod 24:15ff.) and conclude with further exhortations concerning the Sabbath (Exod 31:17ff.) (39). Continue reading
I wanted to alert readers to recent published dissertation from an alumni of the PhD program at Wheaton: Stephen T. Pardue, The Mind of Christ: Humility and Intellect in Early Christianity. Pardue is a recent graduate (he studied with Dr. Treier) and is now teaching at Asia Graduate School of Theology just outside of Manila in the Philippines. I highly recommend you give his book a read.
The description reads:
This book brings a variety of theological resources to bear on the now widespread effort to put humility in its proper place. In recent years, an assortment of thinkers have offered competing evaluations of humility, so that its moral status is now more contentious than ever. Like all accounts of humility, the one advanced in this study has to do with the proper handling of human limits.
What early Christian resources offer, and what discussions of the issue since the eighteenth century have often overlooked, is an account of the ways in which human limits are permeable, superable and open to modification because of the working of divine grace. This notion is especially relevant for a renewed vision of intellectual humility—the primary aim of the project—but the study will also suggest the significance of the argument for ameliorating contemporary concerns about humility’s generally adverse effects.