Book Reviews

Review of Leadership in Christian Perspective: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Practices for Servant Leadership by Irving and Strauss

Irving, Justin A. and Strauss, Mark L. Leadership in Christian Perspective: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Practices for Servant Leadership. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019, pp.218, $22.99, pb. Leadership books set themselves to a series of common tasks—they promise to encourage, inspire, equip, and motivate leaders and organizations to greater effectiveness and increased success. Typically, the warrant for such a book is the success and effectiveness of its author, a highly qualified exemplar whose personal use of the methods testifies to its implicit worth. Irving and Strauss, in their 2019 volume Leadership in Christian Perspective: Biblical Foundations and Contemporary Practices for Servant Leaders, are not those kinds of figures. Instead, what they have done is bring together biblical commentary (from Strauss), together with a broad summary of insights from research into leadership models (from Irving), in a topic by topic survey of what they consider to be the key qualities of ‘servant leadership.’ The result is a competent if forgettable book on ‘Christian’ leadership. The governing idea for Irving and Straus’s book is that “the most effective approaches to leadership move leaders from a focus on follower control to a focus on follower empowerment” (p. 12). Toward this goal they…

Review of The Greek of the Pentateuch: Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint 2011-2012 by John A Lee
Book Reviews , Featured , Old Testament / January 15, 2020

Lee, John A. The Greek of the Pentateuch: Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint 2011–2012. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2018, pp. 384, $99, hardback. John A. Lee is Senior Research Fellow at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia, where he taught Greek for 27 years. His recently published The Greek of the Pentateuch: Grinfield Lectures on the Septuagint 2011–2012 is an expansion of his 1983 revised dissertation A Lexical Study of the Septuagint Version of the Pentateuch (Chico, CA: Scholars, 1983). Whereas his revised dissertation sought to demonstrate the lexical correspondences between Pentateuchal Greek and koine in general, The Greek of the Pentateuch seeks to demonstrate from the Pentateuch itself that the linguistic “instrument the translators deploy is fundamentally Greek” (p. 2). In other words, Lee makes a case for why and how we can know that the translators of the Pentateuch primarily utilized the language of their time. To support his thesis, Lee relies heavily on ancient classical Greek literature, third-century BCE papyri, and even modern Greek—all of which he presents countless examples. Seven chapters and eight lengthy appendices make up Lee’s book. Chapter 1 provides “illustrations of the important ‘evidence’ in studying the Greek of the LXX” (p. 39), which…

Review of 1 Corinthians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Paul Gardner
Book Reviews , Featured , New Testament / January 13, 2020

Gardner, Paul. 1 Corinthians. Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018, pp. 811, $49.99, hardback. Paul Gardner received a Ph.D. from Cambridge University. After being ordained as deacon (1980) and later priest (1981) in the Anglican Communion, Gardner undertook a curacy at St. Martin, Cambridge. He then taught at Oak Hill Theological College for seven years, before undertaking parish ministry in Cheshire for over a decade. He served as Archdeacon of Exeter from 2003 to 2005 and as Senior Minister of ChristChurch Presbyterian Church in Atlanta, Georgia from 2005 to 2017. Gardner’s 1 Corinthians focuses on verse-by-verse exegesis of the original Greek of 1 Corinthians. Each unit of the letter gets its own chapter (e.g., 1:1-9 = Chapter 1; 1:10-17 = Chapter 2; etc.). At the beginning of each chapter, Gardner summarizes the literary context and offers a one- or two-sentence summary of the main idea of the pertinent passage. Following is a translation presented in graphical layout, to show the flow of thought in the text. Then comes a summary of the unit’s structure and an exegetical outline. Next, Gardner offers verse-by-verse explanation of the text, heading each verse with the Greek text. Each chapter…

Review of A Latin-Greek Index of the Vulgate New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers by Theodore A. Bergren

Bergren, Theodore A. A Latin-Greek Index of the Vulgate New Testament and the Apostolic Fathers. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2018, pp. 274, €114.00, hardback. Readers who are interested in textual criticism of the New Testament will recognize the value of the Old Latin and Vulgate translations for accessing early forms of the text. The translations make available textual forms from roughly the second through the fourth centuries, while the impact of the translations on the biblical text and wider Christian history extends much further. Although the Latin translations are sometimes overlooked in New Testament textual criticism because of the number of Greek manuscripts that are extant, students of the Apostolic Fathers are not in the same fortunate position. For many texts that have been brought together in this collection, the Latin translations provide key textual evidence due to the paucity of manuscripts. Theodore Bergren’s index offers an important resource for anyone interested in Greek and Latin texts in early Christianity. Bergren is an emeritus professor in the Religious Studies Department at the University of Richmond. He has written commentaries on Fifth and Sixth Ezra and has also compiled A Latin-Greek Index of the Vulgate New Testament (Scholars, 1991). He is thus…

Review of God & the Gothic: Religion, Romance, and Reality in the English Literary Tradition by Alison Milbank

Milbank, Alison. God & the Gothic: Religion, Romance, and Reality in the English Literary Tradition. Oxford: Oxford University Press 2018, pp. 354, hardback. $44.35. Although traditionally seen as a marginal form within the wider world of English literature, the Gothic novel has become increasingly popular with both academic researchers and students since at least the 1970s. Lending itself to a diversity of theoretical and critical approaches, from the psychoanalytic to the Marxist, the Gothic novel has spawned a host of academic monographs and a thriving field of Gothic studies. That said, a surprisingly small amount of attention has been given to the theological and religious elements within this kind of writing—an oversight which stems from both literary studies lack of comfort with the theological and the reticence of theology to take seriously the heterodox and heretical Gothic. Happily, this lacuna has started to be corrected, with increased scholarly attention being given to the intersection of theology and Gothic writing. Into this area, Alison Milbank, associate professor of theology and literature at the University of Nottingham, has produced what will be the landmark text for years to come and an indispensable guide for both students of the Gothic and researchers of…