New Reviews of Biblical Literature (RBL) – weekly update

The following new reviews have been added to the Review of Biblical Literature (RBL):

Craig D. Allert A High View of Scripture? The Authority of the Bible and the Formation of the New Testament Canon. Reviewed by Garwood P. Anderson. [I don’t like to talk about this subject in public. The stakes are too high, and it’s too easy to be misunderstood. But I do own this book, and I encourage people to read it.]

Allert writes A High View of Scripture? for the evangelical community . . . More pointedly, Allert inquires how plenary verbal inspiration, the dominant evangelical “high view of Scripture,” correlates with the historical realities of the formation of the New Testament. . . 

. . . Allert continues with a fine introductory discussion of the “criteria” of canonization, which he summarizes as three: apostolicity (broadly defined), orthodoxy, and catholicity and widespread use. Although it is a common assumption among evangelicals, Allert denies that inspiration functioned as a criterion of canonization, arguing that for the church fathers the inspiration of the Spirit applies to a larger set of Christian texts, utterances, and actions than only those texts that would become canonical. . .  

. . . With the substantive discussion of the New Testament canon behind him, Allert turns to “Inspiration and Inerrancy” in the sixth and final chapter. He offers an exegesis of evangelical loci classici regarding Scripture: 2 Tim 3:14–17; 2 Pet 1:19–21; and John 10:34–35. While not denying the divine inspiration of Scripture, he finds traditional evangelical claims based in these texts to be often exaggerated and sometimes anachronistic. The New Testament does not offer a detailed theory of inspiration, which in turn has implications for the evangelical commitment to inerrancy. . . 

Critique:. . .Allert effectively ignores his own account by treating a typical evangelical doctrine of Scripture as monolithic . . .

[That should give you enough to know whether or not you will like this book.]

Philip R. Amidon, Philostorgius: Church History. Reviewed by Alanna M. Nobbs

Stephen Bertman, Handbook to Life in Ancient Mesopotamia. Reviewed by Aren M. Maeir

Sebastian P. Brock, The Wisdom of St. Isaac of Nineveh. Reviewed by Lucas Van Rompay

Michael J. Gorman, Reading Paul. Reviewed by Stephen Finlan (I own this one too.)


This is a well-written introduction to Paul’s gospel, organized by themes and controlled by a certain theological vision. . . [Finlan seems particularly unhappy that things Gentile are negative and that Gorman doesn’t champion vicarious atonement/penal substitution which is the subject of Finlan’s own book]

Joseph H. Hellerman, Jesus and the People of God: Reconfiguring Ethnic Identity. Reviewed by Vernon Robbins (Emory). [I liked Hellerman’s book, but Robbins’s critique is pretty scathing. He has a point – on certain points, but he seems to have an axe to grind against Sanders, Wright, Dunn, Bauckham – namely evangelicals. See all the rhetoric on page two of the review. He also brings up a few times that Hellerman didn’t use the Gospel of Thomas.]

. . . Missing from Hellerman’s account is any significant awareness of Jesus as a Galilean rather than a Judean. . . a significant “ahistorical” approach, namely, a lack of interest in specific historical contexts. Hellerman presupposes, like E. P. Sanders in particular, that “all Jews” were in certain ways alike during Jesus’ lifetime on earth. . . [Probably a fair critique.]

. . . One of the most interesting aspects of Hellerman’s approach is an evangelical recycling (chs. 9–10) of nineteenth- and twentieth-century lives of Jesus that championed Jesus as a teacher of the fatherhood of God and the brotherhood of man. . . [This comment made me smile.]

Christophe Nihan, From Priestly Torah to Pentateuch: A Study in the Composition of the Book of Leviticus. Reviewed by Jeffrey Stackert

Barbara E. Reid, Taking up the Cross: New Testament Interpretations through Latina and Feminist Eyes. Reviewed by Mary J. Marshall

Bernard Renaud, «Proche est ton Nom»: De la révélation à l’invocation du Nom de Dieu. Reviewed by Jean-Paul Michaud

Joseph B. Soloveitchik; David Shatz, Joel B. Wolowelsky, and Reuven Ziegler, eds., Abraham’s Journey: Reflections on the Life of the Founding Patriarch. Reviewed by Dan W. Clanton Jr.

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