Book Reviews

Review of Four Ministries, One Jesus: Exploring Your Vocation with the Four Gospels by Richard A. Burridge

Burridge, Richard A. Four Ministries, One Jesus: Exploring Your Vocation with the Four Gospels. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2019, pp 242, $17.09, paperback. Rev. Professor Richard A. Burridge is the Dean of King’s College London where he serves as a professor of biblical interpretation. In 2013 he became the first non-Catholic to receive the prestigious Ratzinger Prize. Burridge is a member of the General Synod of the Church of England and served on the Evaluation Committee for ordination and theological education. Four Ministries, One Jesus examines the somewhat mysterious “call” of those entering into vocational ministry. Though designed with the Anglican context in mind, Burridge addresses all faith traditions in his engaging and articulate manner. The introduction to Four Ministries, One Jesus clarifies that this edition began as a collection of addresses given at an ordination retreat for the Diocese of Peterborough in England and serves as the foundational context for the instructions given by Burridge. The author divides the gospels into four categories of ministry: the teaching ministry of Christ in Matthew, the pastoral care of Christ in Luke, the suffering servant in Mark, and the divine spiritual life of Christ in John. Each chapter includes a perspective on…

Review of 1 Corinthians in the Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament by Paul Gardner
Book Reviews , 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
Book Reviews , Church History , New Testament / January 9, 2020

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 The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis by Steven E. Runge
Book Reviews , New Testament / October 14, 2019

Runge, Steven E. and Christopher J. Fresch, eds. The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis. Bellingham, WA: Lexham Press, 2016. 688 pp. $34.99. The topic of verbal aspect has been highly contested since the publication of Stanley Porter and Buist Fanning’s dissertations over twenty-five years ago. Despite the copious amount of literature written on the issue, there appeared to be no way forward in the debate. That is, the paradigms set forth by Stanley Porter, Buist Fanning, and those who followed did not create a paradigm by which solutions could be found. However, with the publication of Steven E. Runge and Christopher J. Fresch’s The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis, the apparent stalemate in this quarter-of-a-century debate shows tremendous promise for new ways forward. For that matter, the impact of Runge and Fresch’s new monograph upon the topic of verbal aspect within the Greek verbal system can be summarized in the remarks of Constantine Campbell, who states that this volume “deserves careful consideration” since it will “no doubt occupy a significant position within modern discussions of the Greek verbal system” (endorsements page). In The Greek Verb Revisited: A Fresh Approach for Biblical Exegesis,…

Review of A Commentary on the Greek Text of Second Corinthians by Don Garlington
Book Reviews , New Testament / October 8, 2019

Garlington, Don. A Commentary on the Greek Text of Second Corinthians. Eugene, OR: Cascade, 2016, pp. 473, paperback. It has been said that “of the writing of commentaries there is no end.” Even though this reality could lend itself to a stale treatment of texts already analyzed, A Commentary on the Greek Text of Second Corinthians is a welcome resource to Greek students and pastors alike. In distinction from other kinds of commentaries, this commentary by Pauline scholar Don Garlington has as its target audience “students of the Greek New Testament” and thus functions as “a kind of ‘halfway house’ between the likes of Murray Harris and Margaret Thrall, on the one side, and Philip Hughes and Mark Seifrid, on the other” (p. xi). The result of this endeavor is a commentary that focuses on analysis of the Greek grammar and syntax of 2 Corinthians. Even though Garlington occasionally mentions the historical-cultural background of a passage, the focus is more on exegetical insights deriving from grammatical and syntactical analysis. The introduction, therefore, is understandably minimalistic, with a brief section on the purpose of the letter (to prepare the Corinthians for Paul’s upcoming visit), the contents of the letter (the opponents…

Review of Paul and the Gift by John M. G. Barclay
Book Reviews , New Testament / July 15, 2019

Barclay, John M. G. Paul and the Gift. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2015, xvi + 656 pp., $70, hardback.  In one sense, Paul and the Gift is a book about many things. It includes anthropology and the history of interpretation. It is a comparison of Paul and Second Temple Jewish authors. It is part Pauline theology, part commentary on Galatians and Romans. In another sense, though, Barclay’s monograph is a book about one thing: grace. While its methodology traverses a wide array of disciplines relevant to biblical studies, its content never strays far from the concept of beneficence. Barclay, who a decade and a half ago succeeded James D. G. Dunn as Lightfoot Professor of Divinity at Durham University, has proved himself a fitting heir to that professorship. Prior to Paul and the Gift, Barclay was perhaps best known for Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora (1996), an overview of Jewish reactions to the wider culture, as well as many well regarded articles, chapters, and edited volumes on Paul and Hellenistic Jews. But it is Paul and the Gift that secures his legacy. With it, he presents Paul’s theology of grace from a genuinely new perspective — no small feat! —…

Review of Christ is King: Paul’s Royal Ideology by Joshua W. Jipp
Book Reviews , New Testament / April 1, 2019

Jipp, Joshua W. Christ is King: Paul’s Royal Ideology. Minneapolis, MN: Fortress Press, 2015, pp. viii + 380, $44, paperback. Joshua W. Jipp received his PhD in New Testament from Emory University in 2012. He is currently an associate professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. Early in Jipp’s post-graduate studies he became intrigued by “the incredible amount of attention devoted to reflections upon the good king in Greek and Roman writings” (p. vii). In 2013, Jipp began to formally explore the relevance of this ancient kingship discourse (hereafter “AKD”) to NT interpretation. Jipp’s paper (a pre-publication of Chapter 2) won him the SBL Paul J. Achtemeier Award for New Testament Scholarship (p. viii). Jipp’s thesis is that Paul’s teachings about Christ are best understood within the framework of AKD (p. 42). Jipp relies upon abductive reasoning (finding the simplest and most likely explanation), evaluating his claims on the basis of their historical plausibility (pp. 135–137). With his focus squarely on the historical Paul, Jipp is not interested in drawing distinctions between the “Messiah” and the “king” in the LXX (pp. 29–30), or between “biblical” and “extra-biblical” language (p. 79n11), or between “Jewish” and “Greco-Roman” concepts (p. 17);…

Review of The Story of Scripture: An Introduction to Biblical Theology by Matthew Y. Emerson

Emerson, Matthew Y. The Story of Scripture: An Introduction to Biblical Theology. Nashville, TN: B&H Academic, 2017, $19.99, hardcover. Matthew Emerson (Ph.D. Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary) is associate professor of religion and holds the Dickinson Chair of Religion at Oklahoma Baptist University in Shawnee, Oklahoma. Emerson’s work in this volume is a part of the Hobbs College Library Collection at Oklahoma Baptist University which promises to offer additional volumes in the areas of Bible, theology, and Christian ministry. In under one hundred pages, Emerson captures the essence of biblical theology for those training for Christian ministry. Consisting of six succinct chapters, the book begins with a helpful introduction to the discipline of biblical theology in its historical and academic background. Anyone new to this field will appreciate Emerson’s overview and clarity. Following an evaluation of Johannes Gabler’s contribution to the discipline, Emerson explains three primary schools or approaches: the Dallas School which focuses attention on the Israel/Church relationship; the Chicago School which seeks to understand how any given text fits within the overall biblical narrative; the Philadelphia School which asks similar questions of the previous approaches, but also investigates aspects of literary context. Emerson then moves beyond these helpful categories…

Review of Paul: A Biography by N. T. Wright
Book Reviews , New Testament / December 4, 2018

Wright, N.T.  Paul: A Biography. San Francisco, CA: HarperOne, 2018, pp 464, $29.99, Hardcover. N.T. Wright is widely known as one of the most prominent Pauline scholars of today and a retired Anglican bishop.  He has gained much attention in the academic field for his view on the new perspective on Paul, which has stirred up much debate among Pauline scholars.  One of his most recent works that addresses this issue is Paul and the Faithfulness of God, which was published by Fortress Press in 2013. Currently, the author holds the position of Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the School of Divinity of the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. In this book, Wright takes a biographical approach in dealing with Paul’s life and theology.  He begins with Paul’s upbringing as a young Jew living in Tarsus, and takes the readers through Paul’s entire life until the final years before his death.  In order to help the reader better understand the shaping and substance of Paul’s theology, Wright traces through known aspects of Paul’s missionary journeys while filling in gaps of knowledge with his thoughtful speculations.  The author divides his work into three parts: the beginning of Paul’s…

Review of The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus-Devotion in a Vesuvian Town by Bruce W. Longenecker
Book Reviews , New Testament / November 29, 2018

Longenecker, Bruce W. The Crosses of Pompeii: Jesus-Devotion in a Vesuvian Town. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2016, pp. 366, $39,00, paperback. Bruce Longenecker undertakes a historical study in this book that inquires into the evidence for Jesus-devotion in the Roman city of Pompeii prior to its destruction when Mount Vesuvius erupted in 79 CE. He finds the answer by looking at cross-shaped symbols in the city’s archeological record. Having previously taught in the UK, Longenecker is the W. W. Melton Chair of Religion at Baylor University. Among his previous publications, Remember the Poor: Paul, Poverty, and the Greco-Roman World (Eerdmans, 2010) and The Cross before Constantine (Fortress, 2015) are particularly pertinent to the volume currently under review. The book begins with an account of its origins. Longenecker began to study the Vesuvian region in order to understand better the concrete realities of first-century life in which early Christianity developed. After noting that certain traditional elements in Vesuvian scholarship are being reevaluated in fresh ways, he locates his book as part of this scholarly movement. The book “will demonstrate that first-century Jesus-devotion did, in fact, have a Vesuvian foothold in the town of Pompeii” (p. 8). For readers accustomed to studying early Christian…