Book Reviews

Review of Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism by Porter and Pitts
Book Reviews , New Testament / April 4, 2016

Porter, Stanley E. and Andrew W. Pitts. Fundamentals of New Testament Textual Criticism. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015, pp. xvi + 202, $22, paperback. Stanley Porter and Andrew Pitts have written a new introduction to the subject of New Testament textual criticism that aims to be a “distinctly midlevel textbook” for people who have at least a basic working knowledge of New Testament Greek. The authors note the current lack of such an intermediate work on the subject. Metzger’s classic work The Text of New Testament (Oxford, 2005) provides a scholarly treatment of textual criticism some of which is too detailed to be useful to seminary students. On the other hand, introductory works, such as Greenlee’s Introduction to New Testament Textual Criticism (Baker, 1993), while they are suitable for college and first-year seminary students, do not cover some subjects or do not provide the kind of detail that students with more than one year of Koine Greek will find useful for applying text critical principles to the New Testament. In large part, the authors have succeeded in meeting their goal of an intermediate textbook. The book’s aim of being useful to seminary students is enhanced by its covering subjects not…

Review of A Vision for Preaching by Abraham Kuruvilla

Kuruvilla, Abraham. A Vision for Preaching: Understanding the Heart of Pastoral Ministry. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015, pp 224, $21.99, softcover. Abraham Kuruvilla (MD, University of Kerala; PhD, Baylor College of Medicine; PhD, University of Aberdeen) is research professor of pastoral ministries at Dallas Theological Seminary. He is also a dermatologist in private practice. As the consummate skin doctor, Kuruvilla treats abnormalities of the epidermis in a clinical setting and academically reflects upon divine words transcribed on vellum scrolls. His academic emphasis centers on the intersection of hermeneutics and homiletics for faithful expository preaching. This intersection is explored in his latest book, A Vision for Preaching. Kuruvilla’s hermeneutical and homiletical proposal is encapsulated in his vision statement. He says, “Biblical preaching, by a leader of the church, in a gathering of Christians for worship, is the communication of the thrust of a pericope of Scripture discerned by theological exegesis, and of its application to that specific body of believers, that they may be conformed to the image of Christ, for the glory of God—all in the power of the Holy Spirit” (p.1). This vision forms the chapter divisions of Kuruvilla’s book and casts a theological vision chapter by chapter…

Review of After the Invasion: A Reading of Jeremiah 40-44 by Keith Bodner
Book Reviews , Old Testament / March 7, 2016

Bodner, Keith. After the Invasion: A Reading of Jeremiah 40-44. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2015, pp. viii + 179, $90, hardback. Keith Bodner is Professor of Religious Studies at Crandall University in New Brunswick, Canada.  Bodner has written several books and commentaries including Elisha’s Profile in the Book of Kings: the Double Agent (Oxford, 2013), Jeroboam’s Royal Drama (Oxford, 2012), and 1 Samuel: A Narrative Commentary (Sheffield Phoenix, 2008), among other titles. Bodner’s writings have largely been within the area of narrative criticism. After the Invasion is an excellent work that will help any thoughtful student of the Bible understand the text of Jeremiah, and particularly Jeremiah 40-44, better. After the Invasion was written “to make a contribution to the interpretation of Jer 40-44 by undertaking a reading of the text with a primary interest in the narrative poetics of the text” (p. 3). In doing this Bodner examines that text of Jeremiah 40-44 in a sequential manner and focuses on features within the narrative like characterization, geography, point of view, temporal compression, plot, intertextuality, and irony. There are two features of this book that I would like to highlight. First, it is well-written and well researched. This work combines…

Review of The Pastor as Public Theologian by Vanhoozer and Strachan

Vanhoozer, Kevin, and Owen Strachan, The Pastor as Public Theologian: Reclaiming a Lost Vision, Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2015, pp. 240, $19.99, hardback. Kevin Vanhoozer (PhD, University of Cambridge) is research professor of systematic theology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. An ordained elder, he has written or edited sixteen books. Owen Strachan (PhD, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) is associate professor of Christian theology and director of The Center for Theological and Cultural Engagement at Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary. Also, Strachan is the author of six books, and he is the president of the Council on Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. In addition to Vanhoozer and Strachan, pastoral contributions are woven throughout the work from twelve ministers across American and European evangelical contexts. Vanhoozer, Strachan, and a team of seasoned practitioners provide a sweeping rebuttal to the contemporary approach of pastoral ministry. Throughout this work, readers are confronted with a passionate plea to recover a historical and biblical view that pastoral ministry is first and foremost a theological calling. The authors dispel the mentality that pastoral ministry is one of only praxis and robust theological reflection is reserved only for the academy. The authors argue that “theological minds belong in ecclesial…