Book Reviews

Review of Thy Will Be Done: The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life by Gilbert Meilaender

Meilaender, Gilbert. Thy Will Be Done: The Ten Commandments and the Christian Life. Baker Academic, 2020. pp. 125, $21.99, hardcover. Gilbert Meilaender, a Lutheran research professor at Valparaiso University in Indiana, is a leading ethicist. His textbook on bioethics is generally considered a standard. In Thy Will Be Done he follows in a long line of Christian tradition that reflects on the Christian life in terms of the Ten Commandments. On the basis of Exodus 20 and Deuteronomy 5, it is difficult exegetically to know how to number the Ten Commandments. Three different numbering systems have developed. The Catholic-Lutheran numbering, which Meilaender follows, treats the prohibition against other gods and graven images as the first, the prohibition against using God’s name in vain as the second, the command to sanctify the Sabbath as the third, the command to honor parents as the fourth, the prohibitions against murder, adultery, and stealing as the fifth, sixth, and seventh, the prohibition against bearing false witness as the eighth, the prohibition against coveting the neighbor’s house as the ninth, and the prohibition against coveting the neighbor’s wife, servants, and possessions as the tenth. The Eastern Orthodox-Reformed numbering treats no other gods and no graven…

Review of The Nature and Promise of Analytic Theology by Crisp, Arcadi, and Wessling
Book Reviews , Featured , Philosophy , Theology / June 10, 2021

Crisp, Oliver D., James M. Arcadi, and Jordan Wessling. The Nature and Promise of Analytic Theology. Leiden: Brill, 2019. vi + 104 pp. €70.00/$84.00. Ever since the publication of the edited volume, Analytic Theology: News Essays in the Philosophy of Theology, which formally launched the analytic theology movement in 2009, questions and confusions remain as to what exactly analytic theology (AT) is. Not only do scholars from various disciplines take issue with the qualifier analytic in AT, a number of them doubt that AT can even be called theology (e.g., Martin Westerholm, “Analytic Theology and Contemporary Inquiry,” International Journal of Philosophy and Theology 80, no. 3 [2019]: 230–54). After ten years of various attempts at definition, Oliver Crisp as the co-founder of the movement, together with some of his A-Team, James Arcadi and Jordan Wessling, once again take up the task of restating and clarifying a definition in their The Nature and Promise of Analytic Theology. In writing this brief, yet substantive monograph, Crisp et al.’s ultimate aim is not simply to respond to some common misunderstandings to AT; rather they aim to highlight how AT has been operating and developing in the past and how it can contribute further to…

Review of The Eternal Covenant: Schleiermacher on God and Natural Science by Daniel James Pedersen

Pedersen, Daniel James. The Eternal Covenant: Schleiermacher on God and Natural Science. Berlin/Boston: Walter de Gruyter, 2017, pp.xli+187, $114.99, hardback. The focus of this work is the “eternal covenant” between the Christian faith and natural science that is commended in the work of Friedrich Schleiermacher. As the introduction rehearses, two interpretations of this proposal have dominated the literature: a “separationist model”, in which there is a rigid demarcation of the disciplines, and an “accommodation model”, in which the Christian faith always has to accommodate advances in natural science. But Pedersen considers both models flawed: not only do they fail to account for the terms “eternal” and “covenant”; they also fail to consider that the “eternal covenant” is not so much a methodological proposal as a carefully argued conclusion, undergirded by “a host of claims and commitments supported by argumentation” (p. 12). To demonstrate this latter position is the principal task which this book sets itself, and its proving ground is Schleiermacher’s major work in Christian dogmatics, Christian Faith. The ultimate starting-point for all Schleiermacher’s claims and commitments in Christian Faith is, famously, the feeling of absolute dependence. Crucially, however, Pedersen observes that these claims and commitments can be held on…

Review of Not Your White Jesus: Following a Radical, Refugee Messiah by Sheri Faye Rosendahl

Rosendahl, Sheri Faye. Not Your White Jesus: Following a Radical, Refugee Messiah. Westminster John Knox Press, 2019. pp. 204, $16.00, paperback. What would it look like to rediscover the power behind the “red letters” in the gospels during an era of rampant racism, hatred, and division? In Rosendahl’s Not Your White Jesus: Following a Radical, Refugee Messiah, she encourages us to step out of our institutional thinking about the church and challenges the image and ideals of the Americanized, blond-haired, and blue-eyed Jesus. She puts forth the invitation to become followers of a radical, Palestinian, brown-skinned Jew—Jesus Christ of Nazareth. Rosendahl’s work is a bold critique on the Christian church in the United States, arguing that American cultural and nationalistic identity has deeply influenced and warped Christianity that it is currently unrecognizable to the way of life that the Jesus of the gospels taught and lived (pp. 16-17). She addresses the election of Donald Trump, writing with candor to a Christian audience that, as she believes, has forgotten Jesus’ original message (pp. 100-101). Divided into two parts, part one focuses on the profile of the radical, refugee Messiah, while part two examines current issues such as war, racism, nationalism, consumerism,…

Review of Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization edited by Steve Heinrichs

Heinrichs, Steve, ed. Unsettling the Word: Biblical Experiments in Decolonization. Orbis, 2019. pp. 303, $25, paperback. Steve Heinrichs, editor and contributor of Unsettling the Word, is the Director of Indigenous-Settler Relations for the Mennonite Church of Canada. He is an ardent activist for Indigenous peoples and passionate about what he sees as the church’s call to solidarity and reconciliation with this oppressed community. As evidence of such passion, Heinrich was a faith leader who was arrested and served seven days in prison for being with the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tsleil-Waututh peoples. Along with them, he was protesting the expansion of Kinder Morgan’s Trans-Mountain pipeline in Burnaby, B.C. His book, Unsettling the Word, is a timely and conscience-stirring work that seeks to liberate scripture from the traditional lens of settler colonial societies. The book is not an orthodox monograph, but a compilation of 68 independent interpretive stories and poems by a diverse group of scholars, poets, artists, and activists who desire to free scripture from those who have utilized the Bible as a “weapon to dispossess Indigenous and racialized peoples of their lands, culture, and spiritualties” (p. iii). It wrestles with scripture, both “re-imagining and re-interpreting the ancient text for the…

JBTS 6.1 Coming Summer 2021
Articles , Featured / May 11, 2021

JBTS 6.1 will be released in June with a series of articles on the topics of Aramaic and the Bible and a discussion of Christus Odium. There will also be some stand alone articles focused on various topics.  For a list of the upcoming articles see the “Issues” page. Share this on: FacebookTwitterLinkedin