Official Blog of the Bishop of Durham

New Reviews in the Review of Biblical Literature – July 2, 2008

Posted by NT Wrong on July 2, 2008

What’s HOT in the latest Review of Biblical Literature?

Hubertus R. Drobner, The Fathers of the Church: A Comprehensive Introduction (2nd Edition) (2007)

Provides an overview of the most important authors, works and themes from the Apostlic Fathers to John of Damascus. Well, it calls itself “A Comprehensive Introduction”, doesn’t it? As a result, the reviewer says that the reader gets “profound but limited information” about each author and the background contexts. Sounds just about right for an intro. It also provides excellent surveys of the primary and secondary texts.

Brad E. Kelle, Ancient Israel at War 853–586 BC (2007)

Forms part of the ‘Essential Histories’ series on military history. Provides a “mainstream” overview. The reviewer, Ernst Knauf makes a detailed discussion on the number of chariots in Israel, vis-a-vis the biblical records. Knauf says this: “Omri’s annexation of the Canaanite cities, Moab and Galilee should have filled the royal coffers much in the same way as Henry VIII financed his running expenses (and, for a short time, even a fleet) by his ‘reformation’ of the church.”

Amy-Jill Levine and Maria Mayo Robbins, eds, A Feminist Companion to the New Testament Apocrypha (2007)

Provides twelve essays on various apocryphal Acts. Thecla receives big ups. The reviewer is irritated by the “pretentious jargon” of this newfangled criticism.

Magnus Zetterholm, editor, The Messiah in Early Judaism and Christianity (2007)

The essays derive from a symposium held at Lund University in 2006. Zetterholm outlines four major transformations in the concept of the Messiah from the ‘Exile’ to the Amoraic period in Judaism. JJ Collins repeats stuff on messianism in Second Temple Judaism. A Collins maintains “Jesus Christ’ is not just a proper name in Mark. Zetterholm provides a “novel thesis” on Paul (sure it is … ). Hedner-Zetterholm looks at Elijah and Messiah in the Mishnah and Talmud. J-E Steppa looks at second century Christianity. The book also provides a timeline and glossary of messianic jargon.

Mark Wilson, Charts on the Book of Revelation: Literary, Historical, and Theological Perspectives

Contains seventy-nine charts, timelines, and maps – reproducible for classroom use. Dispensational madness? Maybe. There’s a handy chart with bullet-point summaries for and against Johannnine authorship, which turns what is a complex argument into an Oprah Winfrey Revelation Special. There’s charts for the dating of the book, a chart which lists various apocalypses, a chart of parallels with books outside Revelation, charts on seals, trumpets and bowels. And there’s maps of everywhere that’s relevant. While the charts very much need supplementing, some of the charts might come in use as a teaching tool. I’d be wary of the book, though.


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