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Review: Labor of God by Thomas Andrew Bennett

 “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.

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Review: The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation by Matthew Bates

The heart of the Christian faith is not ideas, truisms, or proverbs, but rather, an event. In particular, a series of events constituting one meta-event concerning the person of Christ: the incarnation, life, death, burial, descent to Hades, resurrection, appearances to others, ascension, and session at God’s right hand. This “Christ-event” has always been central to the faith, and in The Hermeneutics of the Apostolic Proclamation, Matthew Bates applies this paradigm to Paul’s own reading of the Hebrew Scriptures (the OT). For Bates, “Paul received, utilized, and extended an apostolic, kerygmatic narrative tradition centered on key events in the Christ story as his primary interpretative lens” (p2). In other words, Paul’s own interpretive center is the story of Christ.

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Review: Reading Backwards by Richard Hays

Reading BackwardsRichard Hays is a leading NT scholar, well-known for works such as Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul and The Moral Vision of the New Testament. For some time now, Hays has been at work on a highly-anticipated project regarding the Gospels’ use of the Old Testament through quotation, allusion and echo. Naturally, this is an immense task, and as Hays continues the project he has released Reading Backwards as a “sort of progress report” (ix). So what is Reading Backwards? It is an examination of how the fourfold Gospels use the Old Testament in their representation of Jesus. Basically it is a work on the Christology of the Gospels, focusing on their Old Testament use. Such a work is an ambitious proposal in itself, especially considering the 172-page count. This brevity should not put the reader off, however, as Reading Backwards covers a lot of ground and makes a compelling case for a “high” Christology in each of the four Gospels.

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Review Books: January 2015

It’s been a while since I posted on new books that I have received to review, and it’s not because there’s a shortage! I have quite a range of material here, so rather than posting the blurb, I’ll write something on why I am reviewing it.

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