There’s a trend in the evangelical church today of reclaiming that which is old. Hymns and liturgy have been making a comeback. In terms of the church’s worship, what could be more ancient than reclaiming the worship of the first believers? Scholars have postulated that the NT contains ancient pre-existing hymns that were sung in early gatherings. However, a recent trend has been to reject the idea of NT “hymns” altogether. In New Testament Christological Hymns, Matthew Gordley—himself an expert in NT “hymn” passages—walks a nuanced balance between the two poles as he reconsiders these intriguing texts.
Category: Reviews (page 1 of 34)
In the past few decades Psalms scholarship has begun to consider the Psalter as an intentionally arranged collection even with a overarching message or structure. Doing so has highlighted that the Davidic covenant takes pride of place, particularly in Psalm 89 which questions the state of this covenant. The role of David and the Davidic covenant is interpreted differently among scholars, so an in-depth study of the covenants in the Psalter is welcome. Thankfully, Adam Hensley’s published PhD dissertation at Concordia seminary—Covenant Relationships and the Editing of the Hebrew Psalter—addresses this very topic. Adam Hensley seeks to defend and articulate “… the largely unexplored idea that the Psalter presents David as [sic] Moses-like agent of covenant renewal between YHWH as the community” (p. 211).
If we were to travel back in time to the first century, would we recognize “Christianity?” How much of our imagination of the early church is inspired by our modern Western culture, whether it be our contemporary churches or movies such as The Passion? Or, asking the question in the other direction, would the apostles—even Jesus—recognize Christianity? Craig Evans’ From Jesus to the Church goes a long way towards addressing some of these questions. Evans himself presents his book as a study of “the clash between the family of high priest Annas and the family of Jesus of Nazareth” (p. 2), but the contents of his book far exceed this topic.
I must admit I’ve delayed writing this review. It’s not that I didn’t like Stephen Dempster’s Micah commentary; in fact, it was the opposite. I liked it so much that I was intimidated to review it (even after writing so many reviews). It’s just that good. Micah all the expected features of a commentary in the Two Horizons series. A 50-page introduction discusses usual issues such as authorship, setting, and structure as well as Micah’s placement in the Book of the Twelve (interestingly, Micah’s prediction of the temple’s destruction is at the very center of the Twelve). A 120-page commentary follows; one that somehow doesn’t feel as brief as it may look. A 70-page theological reflection concludes the commentary, in which Dempster considers Micah’s themes (e.g. justice, land, temple, messiah), contribution to Biblical theology, and contemporary relevance (e.g. cheap grace, justice, idolatry).
“Christians have become utterly inured to the cross” (p1). With this opening volley, Thomas Andrew Bennett in Labor of God provocatively challenges the church to revisit its thinking and speaking of the cross. Our images, concepts, and explanations Jesus’ work have become so familiar they have lost the scandal of the cross—they no longer shock. However, Bennett does not merely want to lament and deconstruct; he offers a solution to this problem. Bennett finds the solution in the freshness of a long-discarded image: the cross as labor.
The general, or Catholic, letters of James, Peter, John and Jude are the “final frontier” of NT studies (xiii). If it’s true that these letters are neglected individually individually, they are even more neglected as a unit. Darian Lockett’s Letters from the Pillar Apostles aims to remedy this neglect. His goal is “a sustained argument for reading the Catholic Epistles as an intentional, discrete collection set within the New Testament” (xvi).