Sadly, the ascension is regularly neglected or forgotten. The ascension is surely essential to NT theology, but what did it mean in the first century? And what role did it play in Luke’s writings, in which it is found? This is where Ascent into Heaven in Luke-Acts: New Explorations of Luke’s Narrative Hinge comes into play. The book has two goals. First, to consider ancient contexts that may have influenced Luke’s presentation of Jesus’ ascent. Second, to consider the importance of the ascension narratives within the larger work of Luke-Acts.
Just how Jewish was Paul after his conversion? Didn’t he renounce his heritage? Didn’t he say that we are under grace, not the Law? To many, Paul effectively rejected his Jewishness and became a circumcised Gentile. 1 Corinthians 9:19-23 is the smoking gun. Here, Paul’s Jewishness appears nonessential, optional. He simply adopted or discarded it for missionary purposes. But what if we’ve misread this passage? In A Jew to the Jews, David Rudolph confronts this reading of Paul. He specifically targets 1 Cor 9:19-23 and proposes that Paul remained a fully-observant Jew in Christ.
The Epistles of John are commonly overlooked and that’s unfortunate but understandable. The logic is often obtuse. The structure appears cyclical. As I prepared to teach 1 John, I wanted a fresh take, and Peter Leithart’s Epistles of John: From Behind the Veil commentary did not disappoint.
I recall my shock when a veteran teacher told me that Romans 2 was possibly the most difficult chapter in the letter for him to interpret. Upon my own study, I soon understood: though Paul’s rhetoric seems clear at first, there is a flow-chart-like abundance of exegetical options available to the interpreter. Change one small interpretation and the whole passage takes on a fresh meaning. As if there weren’t enough already, another branch in the flow chart is growing in popularity among scholarship today. This view questions the long-held tradition/assumption that Romans 2:17ff describes the Jew. The authors of this present volume have written on this question elsewhere, but The So-Called Jew in Paul’s Letter to the Romans presents a unified re-reading of Paul’s letter if this hypothesis were true.