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Introduces literary, historical, and theological issues of Luke and Acts. Biblical texts create worlds of meaning, and invite readers to enter them. When readers enter such textual worlds, which are often strange and complex, they are confronted with theological claims. With this in mind, the purpose of the Interpreting Biblical Texts series is to help serious readers in their experience of reading and interpreting by providing guides for their journeys into textual worlds. The controlling perspective is expressed in the operative word of the title--interpreting. The primary focus of the series is not so much on the world behind the texts or out of which the texts have arisen as on the worlds created by the texts in their engagement with readers. In keeping with the goals of the series, this volume provides an introductory guide to readers of the New Testament books of Luke and Acts. It focuses on both the synchronic and diachronic dimensions of the literature in an effort to acquaint readers with literary, historical, and theological issues that will facilitate interpretation of these important books. F. Scott Spencer is Professor of New Testament at Baptist Theological Seminary at Richmond.
The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries provide compact, critical commentaries on the books of the Old Testament for the use of theological students and pastors. The commentaries are also useful for upper-level college or university students and for those responsible for teaching in congregational settings. In addition to providing basic information and insights into the Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful interpretation, to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed and critical engagement with the biblical texts themselves.Jeremiah has a reputation for being one of the most difficult books in the Bible to read. Despite its dense and jumbled appearance, Stulman shows that Jeremiah is far more than a random accumulation of miscellaneous materials. Jeremiah is an artistic and symbolic tapestry held together by prose seams. In the first commentary to give the prose literature such strong attention, Stulman explains how the prophetic book reenacts the dismantling of Israel's most cherished social and symbolic systems. In doing so it speaks poignantly of the horrors of war and military occupation, as well as the resultant despair and anger. Siege and deportation, however, do not signal the end for the people of God. As Jeremiah unfolds, seeds of hope begin to emerge. Such hope asserts that massive wreckage does not nullify God's love, that oppressive and murderous forces will not ultimately triumph, and that the suffering and sovereign God will sculpt new beginnings out of the ruin of fallen worlds.
The Abingdon Old Testament Commentaries series offers compact, critical commentaries on all the books of the Old Testament. In addition to providing fundamental information on and insights into Old Testament writings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical exegesis so as to assist students of the Old Testament in coming to an informed engagement of the biblical texts themselves. These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theology students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders. Each volume consists of four parts: -- an introduction that addresses the key issues raised by the writing; the literary genre, structure, and character of the writing; the occasional and situational context of the writing, including its wider social and historical context; and the theological and ethical significance of the writing within these several contexts-- a commentary on the text, organized by literary units, covering literary analysis, exegetical analysis, and theological and ethical analysis-- an annotated bibliography-- a brief subject index In this volume on Deuteronomy, Brueggemann shows the significance of the Book of Deuteronomy to the shape and substance of Israel's faith in the Old Testament. Deuteronomy gave classic articulation to the main themes characteristic of Judaism, and, derivatively, of Christianity. Brueggemann emphasizes that Deuteronomy is an expression of covenant theology, whereby YHWH and Israel are pledged to exclusive loyalty and fidelity to each other; YHWH is to assure the well-being of Israel, and Israel is to live in trust and obedience to YHWH. In examining the relationship of Israel to God, Brueggemann makes suggestions on how such covenant fidelity might be lived out by believers today. "Brueggemann's commentary on the Book of Deuteronomy provides an accessible exegetical and theological understanding of a crucial biblical text. The introduction presents Deuteronomy as an expression of the radical Yahwistic alternative to the political rhetoric and ideology of the Israelite monarchy in the eighth and seventh centuries. Each section consists of an introduction, exegesis, and theological and ethical analysis of the essential elements that form the core of Deuteronomy's message to the Israelite community. The choice between 'covenant' and 'idol' that forms the crux of the text's message is further interpreted in light of the concern for covenant faithfulness as expressed in the rest of the OT and in the proclamation of the NT. Brueggemann explores how this same choice is reflected in the political and ideological voices that address the community of faith today. This commentary introduces the Book of Deuteronomy to theological students, pastors and teachers and points to the relevance of its message for those who seek to bring the alternative biblical message into the current cultural conversation."--Beverly White Cushman, Calvin College, in Religious Studies Review, Volume 29 Number 3, July 2003.
The Abingdon New Testament Commentaries series provides compact, critical commentaries on the writings of the New Testament. These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theological students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other religious leaders. In addition to providing basic information about the New Testament texts and insights into their meanings, these commentaries are intended to exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical biblical exegesis.In this volume, Donald Senior unfolds the meaning of Matthew's Gospel in its original context. The Gospel was written for an early Christian community caught in a moment of profound transition, striving to remain faithful to its Jewish heritage and facing a new and uncertain future in the Gentile world. Building on a lifetime of scholarship on this Gospel, Senior uses an array of methodologies to explore the literary, historical, and theological perspectives of Matthew in context. At the same time, he provides leads for the contemporary reader to note the interplay between Matthew's Gospel and our own time and place. In the nexus between these two worlds of experiences, the message of the Gospel comes alive and takes on new meaning.
Like widely differing siblings raised by the same parents, each letter produced by Paul has its own distinguishing character. For the historically minded critic, each letter's unique traits provide important clues for detecting the circumstances in which Paul wrote it as well as what he hoped to achieve with it. Scholars assume that by examining the content of the letter (the "answer"), they can infer the readers' situation that Paul is addressing (the "question")--a method sometimes called "mirror reading." In the case of Romans, however, both the particular traits and the overall content are so unusual that scholars continue to debate why Paul wrote precisely this letter and what he hoped to achieve by it in Rome." So begins Leander Keck's seminal work on the New Testament book of Romans. Keck asserts that because Romans is part of the New Testament, we can compare it with the other letters ascribed to Paul, as well as with what Acts reports about his message and mission. But the first readers of Romans had only this letter; they could compare it only with what they may have heard about him. While this commentary does from time to time compare Romans with what Paul had said before, it concentrates on Romans itself; what Paul says in this text should not be conflated with--nor inflated into--what he thought comprehensively, though it is essential to understand that as well. "We do not really need another major commentary [on Romans] that loses us in the minutiae of word studies, literary parallels, sociological and rhetorical hypotheses; we have such in plenty. The Abingdon series, however, by its limited size, forces the contributor to focus on the primary task of the commentator: to clarify the meaning (intended or potential) of the words of the text and to provide some basic reflection on its/their continuing significance. And that is where Keck excels." - James D. G. Dunn, Review of Biblical Literature 04/2006.
In this volume, Smith views the Fourth Gospel within several contexts in order to illuminate its specific purposes and achievements. A growing consensus of recent scholarship (including Martyn, Raymond E. Brown, Meeks) seeks the roots of this Gospel and its traditions in the coflict between Jesus' followers and opponents within Judaism. In their struggles, Jesus' followers are encouraged and strengthened by his continuing presence in the Spirit, which articulates his meaning for new situations. Although distinctive, Johannine Christianity does not develop in complete isolation from the broader Christian Gospels. Out of a fascinating, if complex, setting develops the strikingly unique statement of Christian faith, practice, and doctrine found in the Gospel of John. The purpose of this commentary is to enable the reader to comprehend that statement in historical perspective in order to appreciate its meaning and significance.
The Abingdon New Testament Commentaries series offers compact, critical commentaries on the writings of the New Testament. These commentaries are written with special attention to the needs and interests of theology students, but they will also be useful for students in upper-level college or university settings, as well as for pastors and other church leaders. In addition to providing basic information about the New Testament texts and insights into their meanings, these commentaries exemplify the tasks and procedures of careful, critical exegesis. In this volume, Robert C. Tannehill focuses on the significance of the Gospel of Luke in its final form for its original audience. Drawing on his own extensive previous work on Luke as a literary narrative as well as on recent studies of the ancient Mediterranean social world, Tannehill suggests that modern readers will find that certain features of Luke's Gospel only take on significance--or deeper significance--when matched with an appropriate historical and cultural context in the first century. "This commentary is designed to meet the needs of sophisticated nonspecialist students of the Bible. The evangelist's literary genius, frequently displayed in multivalent diction and imagery, finds in Robert Tannehill a faithful and sensitive interpreter. Social-scientific criticism, use of cultural anthropology, and frequent correction of renderings in the New Revised Standard Version appear without undue intrusiveness. This is a work well done." -Frederick W. Danker, Christ Seminary-Seminex/ Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago
In this lucid exposition, an acclaimed interpreter shows that the book of Revelation is to be read as a unified work of religious poetry aimed at extricating Christians from Roman society, in which they were living quietly and peacefully. Thompson considers connections between John's negative view of society and his social location as a wandering prophet, compares his visionary experience with that of other prophets and seers, especially in Judaism, notes similarities between the depictions of Christ and Satan in Revelation and portraits of heroes and demons in other writings of the time, and emphasizes that John's vision of heaven and the future were intended to infuse everyday Christian life with confidence in the goodness and ultimate triumph of God. "Thompson's commentary on Revelation is written in an engaging literary style and, by presenting perceptive comparisons and contrasts with both Greco-Roman and Jewish literature--canonical and non-canonical--he highlights the distinctive features of this book. He deals effectively with the rhetorical and even the epistemological dimensions, while offering an illuminating and convincing proposal for the structure and thematic development of Revelation. In short, it is a most revealing and insightful analysis of this challenging early Christian writing, as it shows how this book addresses perennial human questions about divine purpose and human destiny." --Howard Clark Kee
After years of close contact with the Johannine epistles, David Rensberger discusses the numerous puzzles--linguistic, literary, and historical--that characterize these brief texts. His comments on their theological and ethical significance illumines the meaning and interrelationship of faith and love. In short, Rensberger skillfully demonstrates that despite the Johannine epistles' existence on the periphery of the New Testament canon, they nevertheless touch on the heart of its message. Inquiry includes relationship of these epistles to the gospel of John, Christology, Dualism, Eschatology, the Church, and Salvation.
Identifying the theme of 1 Peter as how the church is to witness responsibly in a non-Christian world, Boring emphasizes the necessity of a sympathetic historical understanding of those parts of the letter that collide with modern cultural values and understandings of what Christian commitment and theology require. He gives special attention, as well, to the narrative world within which this ancient writer operated, and to the strong affirmation of ecumenism implicit in the letter's amalgamation of traditions stemming from Peter and Paul, respectively. "Through the years, Professor Boring has shown himself to be a master of technical exegesis and theology wedded to great pastoral concern. These twin talents are fittingly brought to bear on a New Testament document that shows the same union of rich theology and pastoral care. Indeed, the sober, centrist, yet moving commentary squares perfectly with the sober, centrist, yet moving document that is 1 Peter. If this commentary is a popularization, then it is a popularization of very high caliber; a tremendous amount of research and insight is made available and intelligible to a wide public. This commentary is not just a rehash of what everyone else has said on 1 Peter. The innovative appendix detailing the narrative world of 1 Peter is alone worth the price of admission. All in all, an excellent contribution to present-day literature on an often neglected book of the New Testament." --John P. Meier, The Catholic University of America, Washington, D.C.
Sleeper's lucid exposition of James restores this often neglected work to its rightful place in the Christian canon. Carefully charting the verbal structures and argument of the letter, he demonstrates that it is a coherent piece of moral teaching intended to encourage the development of Christian character, not just a collection of disparate maxims. As he guides the reader through the letter's basic themes, Sleeper is attentive to its echoes in the Old Testament, Hellenistic Jewish wisdom literature, and sayings of Jesus, as well as to its affinities with other Christian writings. Moreover, he shows that the author's understanding of God and of human nature provides a significant theological foundation for practical wisdom about the Christain moral life.
Pfitzner interprets Hebrews as a passionate appeal directed by its author to a community that is in danger of surrendering the distinctiveness of its faith. Through an examination of its structure, rhetorical devices, and arguments, he shows Hebrews to be a splendid example of extended exhoration, with a recurring pattern of formal introduction, scriptural quotation, exposition, and appplication. By seeing the message of Hebrews as a "word exhortation" (13:22) to a community in crisis, Pfitzner is able to set its distinctive Christology firmly in its original social, historical, and cultural context.
"Jouette Bassler's volume on the Pastoral Letters is a model of careful, clearly written cogent interpretation. She gives faithful attention to the problematic trees along the exegetical path, yet without losing sight of the forest. Organized by literary units but not avoiding difficult verses, Bassler's commentary keeps before the reader the unfolding history of the early Christian community from which the text emerges. It is unquestionably the best resource we have on the Pastoral Letters." -- Charles B. Cousar, Columbia Theological Seminary "Bassler's commentary has the crispness of style and no-nonsense quality about it that one has come to expect from its author. The underlying learning is evident throughout. It results in careful, critical exegesis that places the Pastorals securely in their social and historical context. All relevant issues are explained and discussed. Bassler is particularly good at referring the reader to other texts that illuminate her own, with a broad range over Jewish, Greco-Roman, and Christian texts. She presupposes the non-Pauline authorship of the Pastorals, but otherwise has no special axes to grind. As an introductory commentary for theological students, it could not be bettered." --Troels Engberg-Pedersen, Copenhagen University, Denmark
The short letter to the Colossians has played a significant role in the development of Christian thought. Its emphases on salvation as largely realized here and now, on knowledge in relation to faith, on Christ as the head of the church, on the entire cosmos and all humanity as the objects of God's work of redemption through him, and on Paul's authority--all these point in the direction of church theology at the end of the apostolic period. Christian notions of ethical responsibility between asceticism and worldliness, as well as the subordination of wives to husbands and slaves to masters, were influenced by the "household table" of Colossians 3:18-4:1. In the fourth century Colossians' Christological claims surfaced on opposite sides of the Arian controversy, which dealt with the status of the Son of God in relation to the Father/Creator and the created order. In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Colossians attracted special attention as theologians and ordinary believers have wrestled with new questions about science and religious pluralism.
The commentary demonstrates how to work through the texts of Philippians and Philemon in the light of relevant scholarship but also with the use of one's own critical judgment. While traditional exegetical questions are dealt with, contemporary theological concerns are highlighted, and there is a special effort to probe the social issues that arose in the Pauline churches. Gender roles and slavery are given particular attention as they arise in the texts. Scholarship, now enlightened by greater knowledge of the social structures and relationships of Mediterranean antiquity, is just beginning to explore questions of how women functioned in house-church communities, how early Christians dealt with the institution of slavery, and how slaves were integrated into their communities. To the extent allowed by the commentary format, these questions are given special attention in contributing to an ongoing discussion. "Osiek deftly weaves new rhetorical, social-historical, and social-scientific insights into classical historical and philological research on Philippians and Philemon. She has the special gift of discussing difficult issues in simple language and with great clarity. The result is a remarkable synthesis in which readers of all kinds will come to a deeper understanding not only of these two letters and recent scholarship on them, but of Paul and the ancient world he inhabited." --Dennis C. Duling, Canisius College "Professor Osiek's combination of meticulous scholarship, a profound grasp of the rhetorical and social dimensions of Philippians and Philemon, and her succinct yet limpid style make this commentary a remarkably accomplished and mercifully compact addition to Pauline Studies." --Philip F. Esler, Vice-Principal (Research) and Professor of Biblical Criticism in the University of St. Andrews, Scotland "Osiek's brief commentary is a model of excellent scholarship shared with clarity and with sensitivity to contemporary interpretive issues. The historical and sociological approaches in the hands of Osiek lead to insightful and important comments, for example, on issues related to women (in Philippians) and to slavery (in Philemon). Osiek presents alternative interpretations clearly and fairly and always makes her own case with grace. this is authentic biblical scholarship in the service of all God's people." --David M. Scholer, Professor of New Testament and Associate Dean for the Center for Advanced Theological Studies, Fuller Theological Seminary "Osiek succeeds in combining up-to-date scholarship on the puzzles of Philippians and Philemon along with a clear exposition of the real meaning of Paul's thought. The commentary will be of great value to both the professional and the lay reader." --Vincent Branick, Professor of Religious Studies, University of Dayton
In this volume, Pheme Perkins mines the writings from Nag Hammadi and Qumran for illuminating parallels to Ephesians, showing how a first-century audience would have heard and responded to the various parts of the letter. Under her sure guidance, contemporary readers are led to see the rhetorical power and the theological depth of this pseudonymous letter.
This informative and engaging commentary invites modern readers to "overhear" Paul's letter as if they were present in one of the Galatian house-churches where it was being read for the first time. By setting aside the theological baggage of the centuries that burdens many other interpretations of Galatians, Williams allows the Apostle's own provocative thought to be encountered freshly and appreciated anew in its own terms.
This commentary highlights both the socio-political context of 1 Corinthians and the clash of significantly different religious viewpoints represented by Paul and the congregation he had founded in Corinth. In particular, Richard Horsley shows that this letter provides a window through which one may view the tension between the Corinthians' interest in cultivating individual spirituality and the apostle's concern for building up a social-religious community devoted to the common advantage, for the flourishing both of personal dignity and a humanizing solidarity.
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Mark's genius lies, not in telling a story about Jesus, but in creating conditions under which the reader may experience the peculiar quality of God's good news. The Evangelist hurries one along breathlessly, "immediately," making sure that the reader lurches with the characters into one pothole after another. "What is this new teaching" that consorts with the flagrantly sinful, turning the pious homicidal, intimates into strangers, and mustard seeds into "the greatest of all ... shrubs"? Jesus' closest adherents, the Twelve, are among the most muddled. Who can blame them? They ask for an obscure parable's interpretation and receive an answer even more confounding. They are told to feed thousands with next to nothing. Their boat almost capsizes while their teacher sleeps. As they oar in rough waters, the teacher strides the waves intending to bypass them. Putting the reader in the same boat, Mark structures conversations with Jesus that make little sense, if any. The Twelve are craven, stupid, self-serving, and disobedient: meet the average Christian. Besides, "their hearts were hardened." Who hardens hearts? God. Should not God's Messiah lift the burdens of those following him? What kind of Christ heads to a cross, handing his disciples another for themselves. "Do you not yet understand?" from the Introduction
In a striking departure from customary readings of the Acts of the Apostles as the story of the growth of the church, Gaventa argues that Luke's second volume has to do with nothing less than the activity of God. From the beginning of the story at Jesus' Ascension and extending until well past the final report of Paul's activity in Rome, Luke narrates a relentlessly theological story, in which matters of institutional history or biography play only an incidental role. Gaventa pays careful attention to Luke's story of God, as well as to the numerous characters who set themselves in opposition to God's plan.
Many resources have been written to offer assistance in exploring and understanding the lectionary texts for the purpose of preaching. However, few have sought to provide this kind of preaching commentary on texts that do not follow the lectionary's grouping. For those whose preaching does not customarily follow the lectionary, and for those who depart from the lectionary text during certain periods of the year, little guidance has been offered for how to select, and preach on, important biblical texts. The Ten Commandments: A Preaching Commentary, the first book in The Great Texts series, gives guidance to preachers on preaching about this central part of faith. The principles by which volumes in The Great Texts series have been chosen are primarily two-fold: (1) Thematic: Texts on certain overarching themes or ideas of the Christian faith are brought together; (2) Biblical/traditional: Texts that have long been recognized as belonging together, and as being particularly beneficial to the work of preaching.
This helpful one-volume commentary resource provides brief preaching commentaries and prayers for worship for the first Sunday in Advent through Epiphany of the Lord (Years A, B, and C). This book includes: lectionary readings for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; three sermon briefs for each Sunday in Advent and the Sunday after Christmas; sermon briefs for Christmas, Christmas Eve, and the Day of Epiphany; creative prayers for each Sunday and Holy Day in the season; scripture index.
An Introduction to the Gospels is designed to be a textbook for courses on the Gospels, for use at the college and beginning seminary level. Reflecting the most recent scholarship and written in an accessible style, the volume covers all four of the Gospels, including a survey of "the world of the Gospels".The book opens with a discussion of the origin, development, and interrelationships of the Four Gospels. After a chapter-length treatment of each canonical Gospel and the non-canonical Gospels, the work concludes with a discussion of the "historical Jesus" debate.In An Introduction to the Gospels, Mitchell G. Reddish: - provides a solid, convenient survey of the Gospels in an accessible textbook format- presents up-to-date scholarship in a field that has been dominated by older texts- gives a balanced presentation of the content of the Gospels
Taking his point of departure from the newest frontier of research, McCann reads the psalms in the context of their final shape and canonical form. He interprets the psalms as scripture as well as in their character as songs, prayers, and poetry from Israel's history. McCann's intent is to contribute to the church's recovery of the psalms as torah--as instruction, as a guide to prayer, praise of God, and pious living. The explicit connections which McCann draws from the psalms to the New Testament and to Christian faith and life are extensive, making his work suitable for serious study of the psalms in academic and in church settings. An appendix examines the tradition of singing the psalms and offers suggestions for the use of the psalms in worship.
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