Contest to Win Peter Oakes’ Galatians Commentary FREE (Gupta)

Alright folks – I got an extra copy of Peter Oakes’ brand new Galatians commentary (Baker, 2015) and I am giving it away for free.

But wait a second, this is a contest. Here are the rules:

#1: What would Paul Tweet? Make your own summary “tweet” of Galatians and Tweet it. Accurate summaries are decent. Clever summaries of Galatians are better! (No cheating by linking Twitter to a blog, website, etc. to buy more characters!)

#2: Use these two hashtags in your tweet –  #Galatians #WWPT (as in, “What Would Paul Tweet”)

#3: Copy your tweet into a comment on this post, along with the US state you live in. While everyone is welcome to tweet (please do!), I can only give the book away to someone in the contiguous US.

#4: Deadline is April 24 by 11:59PM PST

My New Book, Reading John, Is Finally Available!!! (Skinner)

Reading JohnOK, if you’re on any of my social media feeds, you can feel free to ignore this blog post, as I’ve been talking about this non-stop for the past 24 hours……BUT, my latest book, Reading John, is finally available for purchase. Of course, I’m quite happy with the finished product, but I don’t expect you to take my word for it. Here are the endorsements from the back cover:

“Studying or teaching John? Reading John takes anyone interested in learning to read the Gospel of John and leads them step by step on a delightful journey into its strange and wonderful landscape, with the result that each chapter builds reading competence. Skinner is impressive as a teacher and guide, equally at home in the ancient world, the Gospel of John, and twenty-first-century culture, and he has a keen ear for the nuances of each. This guide is ideal for Bible study groups and college classes.”
–R. Alan Culpepper, Dean, McAfee School of Theology

“In this fresh introduction to John, Christopher Skinner treats readers of John to some of the most valuable of recent approaches to the Fourth Gospel clearly and succinctly. Embracing the narrative through the lens of the Prologue, appreciating the sketching of characters, understanding misunderstandings, and seeing John as a two-level drama afford new insights that would otherwise be lost. Here we see John’s theological, historical, and literary riddles addressed in helpful and compelling ways; Skinner’s readers will not be disappointed!”
–Paul N. Anderson, Professor of Biblical and Quaker Studies, George Fox University

If you are a non-specialist reader who is interested in the Gospel of John, a student who wants to learn more, or a professor looking for a solid teaching tool, I would appreciate you giving this book a try.

Take Anthony LeDonne’s Poll on Billy Graham (Skinner)

Billy Graham & JFKOver at the Jesus Blog, my friend Anthony Le Donne is conducting a(n admittedly) unscientific poll about attitudes toward Billy Graham. (If you recall, he did a similar poll with attitudes toward Bultmann last year). I know that he would really appreciate your input. So head on over and participate. It’s as simple as clicking YES or NO. And of course, I’ll give you extra credit if you participate. :)

Peter Oakes’ New Galatians Commentary – A Must Have (Gupta)

Not long ago, Prof. Peter Oakes’ new Galatians commentary (Paideia, Baker) arrived on my desk. I was elated because I had a chance to read Oakes’ manuscript in full last year when I was teaching an exegesis course on Galatians – it is a delight to see the final product.

I am not going to do an extended review, but let me say, as someone who has read every single word of this fine volume, that it is a “must-have.” To be quite honest, sometimes when I read a commentary on Galatians, I wonder if the author knows much about the Greco-Roman world of the first century. No one would wonder that about Oakes – he is a bona fide social historian, at the cutting edge of archaeological and historical research on Christian origins. And, given the aims of the Paideia series, he does not shy away from making theological comments on the text, and they are always insightful.

I am currently engaged in writing a monograph on Paul’s “faith” language, so obviously Galatians is on my radar. I think Oakes has a strong grip on how and why Paul used pistis and he navigates with finesse the challenges of the pistis Christou debate as well as what the absolute occurrences of pistis means in 3:23, 25.

Here is one of my favorite discussions in the commentary (on Gal 3:23-25 and the Torah-paidagogos analogy):

In the context of the argument of Galatians, Paul’s choice of the term paidagogos is probably quite carefully calibrated. The law was paidagogos, not didaskalos: Paul is not arguing that the law was the ‘teacher.’ However, the law was paidagogos, not desmophylax, “jailer.” The law exercised constraint but not constraint for the sake of punishment. The law’s constraint was the way of managing the circumstances up to the arrival of Christ, up to a time that Paul is about to identify in terms of reaching maturity (4:1-4). The law had an important role. (p. 127)

One more thing – as commentaries and monographs tend to be getting longer, one might get the impression that if something needs to be said, it ought to weight 10 pounds. I appreciate how restrained Oakes was, finding a way to be “weighty” without being “wordy.” Caveat auctor!

This is now the first book I will recommend to seminary students who want to embark on a journey of studying Galatians and wish to have a guide along the way.