Book Reviews

Review of Calvin, the Bible, and History: Exegesis and Historical Reflection in the Era of Reform by Barbara Pitkin

Pitkin, Barbara. Calvin, the Bible, and History: Exegesis and Historical Reflection in the Era of Reform. New York, NY: Oxford University Press, 2020, pp. xii + 250, £64.00, hardback. Barbara Pitkin is Senior Lecturer in Religious Studies at Stanford University, where she teaches on the history of Christian thought, including the sixteenth-century reformations and the history of biblical interpretation. She is the author of What Pure Eyes Could See: Calvin’s Doctrine of Faith in its Exegetical Context (OUP, 1999), editor of Semper Reformanda: Calvin, Worship, and Reformed Traditions (V&R, 2018), and co-editor with Wim Janse of The Formation of Clerical and Confessional Identities in Early Modern Europe (Brill, 2006). Pitkin also serves as an editor for the Sixteenth Century Journal and is a former president of the Calvin Studies Society.  In Calvin, the Bible, and History, Pitkin investigates Calvin’s biblical exegesis through a series of case studies and seeks to show how he was consistently historically attuned. Though Pitkin argues that Calvin was not a historian per se, she demonstrates that Calvin was an astute exponent of the Bible as history. Chapter 1 functions as the book’s introduction, which summarises, in broad terms, how Calvin’s biblical interpretation was influenced by…

Review of Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation by Benjamin L. Merkle
Book Reviews , Hermeneutics , New Testament / March 11, 2022

Merkle, Benjamin L. Exegetical Gems from Biblical Greek: A Refreshing Guide to Grammar and Interpretation. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2019, pp. 163, $14.19, paperback. Benjamin Merkle currently serves as professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary in Wake Forest, NC, a position he has held since 2008. He also serves as the editor of the Southeastern Theological Review and series editor of the 40 Questions series.  In the area of biblical Greek, Merkle has co-authored Beginning with New Testament Greek (B&H, 2020), an elementary Greek grammar, Going Deeper with New Testament Greek, Revised Edition (B&H, 2020), an intermediate Greek grammar, and Greek for Life (Baker, 2017), a guide for refreshing Greek. In Exegetical Gems, Merkle offers motivation for students learning or re-learning biblical Greek. Covering various debated passages in scripture, he provides thirty-five ‘exegetical gems,’ which are “substantial insights from NT passages gained by a proper knowledge and use of Greek” (vii). This volume also provides a brief review of Greek syntax normally covered in a second semester/year Greek course.  Each chapter covers a different area of Greek syntax and is broken into three sections: (1) an introduction which presents a verse or passage to…

Review of Reading with the Grain of Scripture by Richard B. Hays

Hays, Richard B. Reading with the Grain of Scripture. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2020. 479 pp. $55.00, Hardcover. Richard Hays is Professor Emeritus of New Testament of Duke Divinity School. He is the author of several books, one of the most notable being his 1989 Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul. This book is a set of twenty-one essays generally dealing with the subject of hermeneutics, representing something of the capstone of Hays’s career, a highlight reel of both recent writings and others culled from previous decades. They are very much a collection commemorative of an illustrious presence in the field of New Testament studies, with each representing some of Hays’s highest-level writing and strongest argumentation relative to each issue discussed. The book is divided into four parts, proceeding in stepwise fashion as Hays moves from the groundwork of interpretive method into the person of Jesus himself and how he has been understood by scholars, into Pauline theology, and finally into the broader New Testament as a whole and the theology that characterizes it. The essays, as Hays notes (p. 3), follow six recurrent themes, namely narrative analysis, figural coherence between the Old and New Testaments, the centrality of Jesus’s…