It is a common (mis)understanding that “the Old Testament God” is one of wrath, while “the New Testament God” is one of grace and love. The usual response is that in fact Jesus spoke more about hell than anyone else in scripture. But what exactly did he say about hell? And what did he mean? There are several different words and concepts that he used, and “hell” is an unhelpful word to summarize them all. The Geography of Hell in the Teaching of Jesus is Kim Papaioannou’s published dissertation from Durham that tackles these questions and texts.
Tag: Wipf & Stock reviews
John Sailhamer did not produce many books, but I’m gradually recognizing the impact that he has made. I’m regularly bumping up against ideas and emphases that were entrenched in his vocabulary; ideas such as composition, intertextuality, Text vs. Event, and Pentateuch 2.0. Considering Sailhamer’s impact and his passing this year, it’s fitting that editors Robert Cole and Paul Kissling would produce a festschrift in Sailhamer’s honor. Those familiar with Sailhamer will recognize the significance of its title: Text and Canon.
The end of the Bible mirrors the beginning. This is seen in parallels between Revelation 21-22 and the early chapters of Genesis. But what if it goes the other way? Seth Postell’s Adam as Israel is a sustained attempt to prove that Adam’s story foreshadows Israel’s. In fact, Postell concludes that Genesis 1-3 was intentionally framed to introduce the Torah and even the Tanakh (Hebrew Bible).
Like a collection of classic literature gathering dust on a shelf, Ezekiel remains an admired but closed book for many. We know it is important, but we don’t read it. However, random highlights are embedded in our consciousness; if not the valley of dry bones vision, then the battle of Gog and Magog, or the eight chapters describing a temple. These visions play a large role in the end-times theology of many, even if they remain unread! In fairness, Ezekiel can be a difficult book, not least due to the cultural and historic distance between ourselves and the ancient prophet from the East. A sure guide to the book of Ezekiel, Daniel Block has contributed two collections of essays that sit alongside his massive and magisterial commentaries on the book. I have already reviewed his first, and in this review, I will discuss the second, entitled Beyond the River Chebar.
Most don’t feel the need to understand the inner workings of their car in order to drive. Most don’t look up electricity in an encyclopedia before they flip the light switch. How does it work? Simple; turn a key, flip a switch. Beyond that, it beats me. One doesn’t really need to know. That attitude often carries over regarding the death and resurrection of Christ. We know that it saves us, but as to how: who really knows? Throughout church history there have been a variety of explanations for exactly what Jesus did and exactly how it “works”, including Christus Victor and Penal Substitution. According to Michael Gorman, although the question of how is important, there remains the need for a model that focuses more on “what Jesus’ death does for and to humanity than how it does it”, which is what “the New Testament is much more concerned about” (p5, emphasis mine). Gorman attempts to provide such a model in The Death of the Messiah and the Birth of the New Covenant: A (Not So) New Model of the Atonement.
Psychedelic visions, “crazy man” activities, risqué r-rated parables, and a final LOTR-scale epic battle, it’s strange to me that Ezekiel is overlooked. Isn’t everything listed above on the TV shows today that people watch? Not Christians, of course… and perhaps this is why Ezekiel is avoided! Or perhaps we simply need an able guide; and who better to explain this enigmatic book than Daniel Block who has studied it for more than twenty-five years and produced what is widely considered its greatest commentary? Admittedly, reading Block’s two-volume work is a little daunting even for nerds, so you may be glad to know that he has produced two smaller topical books on Ezekiel. In this post I will review the first, entitled By the River Chebar: Historical, Literary, and Theological Studies in the Book of Ezekiel. I will also review the second title in due course.