SBL San Diego: Review Part 3: The Book Exhibition

Seeing scholars wander through the vast book exhibition hall is like seeing children let loose in a massive candy shop – drool and all! Well, I drool with the best of them! Of course, it was my birthday recently so I had some money to spend, but I was not as lucky as Mike Bird with the freebies!

Anyway, I want to make mention of my top ten best picks (obviously catered to my interests)

1. Pauline Christology (Gordon Fee, Hendrickson): This is a mammoth volume that boasts of filling a void in our understanding of NT Christology. Fee makes the case that there has been no major study of the Apostle’s understanding of who Christ was/is that is exegetical in nature and not simply plundering Paul to unearth ‘origins’. A particular bone Fee has to pick is with Dunn – Fee finds (from 1 Thessalonians to the Pastorals) a ‘high’ christology throughout. Not surprising coming from Fee! Of course some of the best research and analysis is in 1 Corinthians and Philippians, but he shows great skill in each section. He also tackles the issue of the over-eagerness to find Wisdom or Spirit or Adamic christology in Paul. For Fee, this is often read into the text. This book deserves a place next to his God’s Empowering Presence on every Pauline interpreter’s shelf (incidentally I don’t own GEP, hey Hendrickson, hook me up!). See an extensive review of Fee by me coming up in Ashland Theological Journal.

2. The Ways That Never Parted (ed. Becker and Reed; Fortress press): This book is a collection of essays born out of a Princeton-Oxford conference that vigorously challenges the traditional notion of a ‘parting of the ways’ of Judaism and Christianity that supposedly happened in one place at one point in time (often said to be 70AD) with long-lasting results. If ever a group of scholars could turn the tide on this it would be scholars such as Daniel Boyarin, Robert Kraft, Martin Goodman, John Gager, and Simon Price. The voices of Judaism and ancient history weigh in along with NT scholars on this critical issue. I read the book nearly in full (nearly 400 pages) and it is really exceptional work and truly multi-disciplinary. A MUST-READ!

3. UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition (Hendrickson): This is a hardcover text of the NT that footnotes words occuring 30 or less and offers English definitions. How is this different than the Zondervan? The footnotes are in columns so they are much easier to read. The font is excellent. And, the back of the book has a dictionary containing the rest of the Greek words (occuring more than 30X). Though heavy, the differences are weighty – wait for it…

4. Greed as Idolatry (Rosner; Eerdmans): Brian Rosner is a great exegete and a sane, balanced scholar who has established himself in Paul’s ethics and use of Scripture. In fact, his writing has influenced my work very much. My interests lie in metaphor theory and Paul’s ethics, so this book is right down my alley. I would recommend anything by Rosner, though, for model interpretation of Paul. More to come when I have read this particular book.

5. Jesus and Paul Reconnected (ed. Todd Still; Eerdmans): My friend Todd Still has done us a great service. He has gathered together some of the greatest NT minds on this stimulating topic of the relationship between Jesus and Paul. The cost of the book is a small price to pay for a collection that brings together John Barclay (go Durham!), Markus Bockmuehl, Beverly Gaventa, Bruce Longenecker, Stephen Westerholm, and Francis Watson (go Durham!). Again, more to come.

6. Our Mother Saint Paul (Gaventa; WJK): She is one of my favorite authors. This text (I am about halfway through) looks at how metaphors of nursing and motherhood are attributed by Paul to his own work. She especially draws out apocalyptic themes as one might expect.

7. Recovering Paul’s Mother Tongue (Susan Eastman; Eerdmans). I heard Susan at SBL and she is sharp and has a quick mind. I think we will be seeing some good stuff from her in the future. More to come on this book when I have interacted with it more.

8. Social Distinctives of the Christians of the First Century (Judge; Hendrickson). This is a collection of essays by Edwin Judge with an intro by David Scholer. Judge has influenced social historical approaches to Paul and it is nice to have this collection in print.

9. Paul, Judaism, Gentiles (Watson; Eerdmans): Francis Watson has thoroughly revised and expanded his thesis research that has been much discussed in Pauline studies. He previewed thoughts at British NT Society in September and he continues to stir debates. I would eventually like to do a comparison of differences in his thought from his earlier work.

10. Commentary on the NT USe of the OT (eds. Carson, Beale; Baker):A highly anticipated 1152 pages mammoth book (which I wish ended up in multiple volumes) that focuses on intertextual moments going beyond just quotations to allusions and even more subtle ‘echoes’. I have not received the book yet (I had it shipped), but I will do some more extensive reviewing of it when I get a chance to interact with it. Sadly I wish some of the authors came from the Annual Seminar on the Old in the New in UK (esp. Steve Moyise, Maarten Menken, Paul Ellingworth). But, the authors of this book are truly excellent choices (e.g., two of my former professors, Roy Ciampa and Sean McDonough; also former Gordon-Conwell prof Greg Beale). And, as you can guess, more to come from me on this!

(If I can make a ‘plug’, I chatted with Mike Gorman about his new book on Paul [Cascade Books] and as an introductory book for laypeople or younger students, it sounds very useful).