New RBL Reviews (3 Oct.)

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

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Highlights of some of the reviews:

Joel B. Green, 1 Peter. Reviewed by Paul J. Achtemeier who says,

This is an important book, not principally for its commentary on 1 Peter, although the commentary itself is a highly competent piece of work that will prove helpful to anyone who consults it. Rather, it is significant for its way of integrating an understanding obtained by a study of 1 Peter into an understanding of the relation of Christian Scripture, Old and New Testaments, and into the Christian theological enterprise. . .

. . .The second major section of the book (“Theological Horizons of 1 Peter”) begins with a short essay on biblical theology as a discipline, in which he makes a major point for what follows, namely, that since 1 Peter is already “theology,” our task is to see how Peter engaged in theological work  (190, 244).

A second major interest concerns Peter’s “rhetorical strategy.” . .

. . . A third major interest lies in showing how the language of Israel

has been taken over in 1 Peter to describe the reality of the new people of God formed by their new birth in Christ and their confession of Christ, not Caesar, as Lord. Time and again Green affirms this point: “Diaspora” is a metaphor, not a political description (15); “For Peter, the only true categories for making sense of daily existence are determined by a particular narrative, the scriptural story” (201); allegiance to God is made possible by a liberation in Christ “that reverberates with echoes of the story of Israel’s exodus from Egypt” (206). Indeed, “Scriptures serve as the fountainhead of virtually all of the metaphors employed in the letter” (233). In light of those points, and many like them, it is a bit curious that Green finds little merit in my suggestion that Israel serves as the “ruling metaphor” for the letter (218 n. 60).

[Other critiques as well]

. . . But the final word here must be a positive one. This is a first-rate commentary on 1 Peter and an outstanding study in the way 1 Peter carried on theology within the compass of a Roman world intent on eliminating the kind of threat to its dominance embodied by the nascent Christian community. Careful study of this volume and consideration of its points will profit any reader, whether scholar, preacher, or student. It is a volume highly to be recommended.

John Paul Hozvicka, A Primer on Biblical Studies: Vassar summarizes his four major problems with this book by saying,

This text is surpassed by numerous other works that are aimed at the undergraduate level. Hozvicka has written the text for its use outside the classroom, but the errors mentioned above would make it unsuitable for that endeavor. If a layperson or an undergraduate student were interested in the wide assortment of topics contained herein, I would recommend a good Bible dictionary or encyclopedia instead.

Daniel Patte, ed, Global Bible Commentary. Reviewed by Alexander Negrov

The Global Bible Commentary (GBC) is a comprehensive one-volume commentary aimed at undergraduate and seminary students and their teachers; it is also useful for pastors and adult Sunday school classes (xxi). This work is also to be made available in other languages (e.g., a Spanish edition of the GBC is in preparation [539]) The volume contains seventy-two short essays written by an international group of biblical scholars and religious workers from various hermeneutical, sociocultural, political, ethnic, religious, and gender perspectives. The majority of the contributors are from Latin America, Asia, Africa, and North America; other continents and/or ideological contexts are represented. . . .The contributors to this volume have rich, wide-ranging sociocultural and educational backgrounds. They speak from the heart and mind of true citizens of the global village. . . The GBC invites us to read the Bible as if for the first time, with an attempt to hear the biblical text anew.

[Anything with 72 articles is bound to be mixed.]

Finny Philip, The Origins of Pauline Pneumatology: The Eschatological Bestowal of the Spirit upon Gentiles in Judaism and in the Early Development of Paul’s Theology. Reviewed by Justin K. Hardin

In this slightly revised doctoral thesis from the University of Durham (supervised by James D. G. Dunn), Finny Philip seeks to uncover Paul’s understanding of the Holy Spirit in the initial stages of his apostolic ministry, in particular, his conviction that Gentiles would receive the Holy Spirit apart from keeping the law. In order to accomplish this aim, Philip places Paul firmly within his Jewish environment—both as an interpreter of Scripture (part 1) and as a zealous Pharisee (part 2)—in order to examine the conceptual and convictional backgrounds for the expectation that Gentiles qua Gentiles would receive the Spirit. Philip then turns to Paul’s unique experience on the Damascus road and to his experiences with the church at Antioch (part 3). According to Philip, Paul’s conviction that God had bestowed the Spirit on Gentiles apart from Torah observance “is rooted primarily in his own Damascus experience” (27). To be sure, Paul’s belief that the Spirit would come upon Gentiles apart from law observance “did not happen at Damascus but later in his involvement with the Hellenistic communities in the Diaspora” (227).

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