Best Gospel of John commentary as textbook for seminary course?

Next summer (2011), I am teaching exegesis of  the Gospel of John for Asbury Theological Seminary and I will require students to work through a commentary (as one of a few textbooks).  I am undecided, as I want something extensive, but engages well in theology and ethics (and not just historical and philological details). I welcome you to participate in my poll (below) keeping in mind this is for seminary students (primarily training for ministry) [i.e. longer and more complex is not necessarily better].

When you make your choice in the poll, if your opinion is strong, I would appreciate if you give your reasons for your choice (or against the other options) in the comments. If you think there is a better one out there that is not on the list, do share with a comment. Thanks for your votes!

Come Study Philippians in Greek with me in Seattle this fall!

I would like any interested reader who lives in the Seattle area to consider coming to study Philippians (in Greek!) with me this fall at Seattle Pacific University on Tuesday nights from 6pm-8:35pm.  I am teaching this course in the graduate school of theology.

Part of the class will involve serious engagement in the Greek text- discussion of translation (syntax, textual criticism, some morphological issues), but I want to have ample time to dive into historical, social, theological, and ethical issues.

I am currently leaning towards assigning Bockmuehl’s BNTC commentary, which is universally praised for being concise, rich in wisdom, and attentive to all the exegetical problems. If a student has already read this commentary, I would allow a substitution like Morna Hooker’s commentary or perhaps equivalent pages in Fee.

In terms of theology and ethics, we will also be working through a very important book by Michael Gorman called Cruciformity which shaped my own thinking about Paul in many ways.

We will utilize a number of articles in the course by Stephen Fowl, Ross Wagner, Morna Hooker, N.T. Wright and others.  Students will also read two of my own articles – one on Chapter1 and one on Chapter 2.

I am working on a couple of book projects involving Philippians and I will be testing out some of those materials on my students. There will be ample opportunities to give me helpful feedback that can make these resources more useful.

So, please consider joining me in this course. If you have any questions about the course, feel free to write a comment.

Details: THEO 6210 Scri in Org Lang-Grk: Phili/Phi

“This course will include an in-depth exegetical treatment of the text, focusing on linguistic analysis of the Greek text. Attention will be given to historical, literary, and theological questions, as well as selected issues in the history of interpretation.”

Redman, Perrin, Popkes, DeConick, and Others

Judy Redman’s critique of Nick Perrin seems to be generating a buzz around the blogosphere over the last few days. Judy started off with a few posts to which Clayboy (aka Doug Chaplin) responded. This morning over at Euangelion Mike Bird has posted a response from Nick (presumably given directly to Mike?) where he compares the views of E. E. Popkes (expressed in his recent monograph Das Menschenbild des Thomasevangeliums) and April DeConick. This exchange is providing helpful discussions for those considering important issues in Thomas studies. Let’s hope it continues.

Book Notice: Hearing the NT, 2nd ed. (ed. J. Green)

In my seminary, there was a strong emphasis on learning well the tools of exegesis.  One of the books that was on the recommended reading list of every exegesis course of mine was the first edition of Hearing the New Testament (ed. JB Green; Eerdmans, 1995).  Thus, I was excited to see a new edition come out recently (2010) with some revisions and additions.

Most often, changes to a book like this would make it longer – an expansion.  However, it was apparently decided that they should revise and re-write in such a way as to maintain about the same length.  Here are some changes I noticed:

Deletions: They removed Anthony Thiselton’s “New Testament Interpretation in Historical Perspective”  and Edgard McKnight’s “Presuppositions in New Testament Study”.

Replacements: Bruce Chilton’s “Traditio-Historical Criticism and the Study of Jesus” was replaced by Holly Carey’s “Traditio-Historical Criticism”; Sandra Schneiders’ chapter on “Feminist Hermeneutics” was replaced by F. Scott Spencer.  In place of John R. Levison and Priscilla Pope-Levison’s “Global Perspectives on New Testament Interpretation” we have two essays: “African American Criticism” (Emerson Powery) and “Latino/a Hermeneutics” (Efrain Agosto).

Expansions: Most of the essays have additions to the “Suggestions for Further Reading” sections.  A few essays brought new material into the actual bodies of the chapters.  Prof. Green added a good portion to the introduction.  One remarkable statement he adds is this: “During [the last forty years], we have witnessed the fall of historical criticism as the approach that, previously, quite literally defined critical biblical studies” (p. 11).  However, it is noted that a good number of chapters (2-6) still fall within this ambit.

I am still very impressed with the excellent contributors chosen for this project and the erudition in the essays.  However, it should be kept in mind that this book does not teach how to use these interpretive strategy.  Rather, they give the reader background and insight into the significance of the tool/approach and its development in biblical studies.

Judy Redman Critiques Nick Perrin

Over at Judy’s Research Blog, Judy Redman has provided a few posts (here and here) in which she critiques Nick Perrin’s book Thomas: The Other Gospel (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007). In the first post she takes issue with Nick’s claim that the Gospel of Thomas does not require belief in Jesus. In the second, much longer post, she comes to the defense of April DeConick in areas where Perrin has criticized her. Right now she seems to be plodding through chapter by chapter. Let’s hope she provides us with her thoughts on the entire book.

The Free First Issue of Early Christianity

As many have noted, the new journal called Early Christianity (Mohr Siebeck) is offering its launch issue for free.  In a market of academic resources that is overcrowded, it is difficult to justify a new journal.  However, given the international cooperative effort of this work (esp. English-speaking and German-speaking scholars) and its attempt to study early Christianity as both involving the NT and the post-NT developments, I think it will be very productive and significant.

I was eagerly looking forward to Francis Watson’s review of Campbell’s Deliverance of God, but it was not nearly as analytical as it was simply descriptive.  A couple of comments he makes, though, are interesting:

This is a highly unusual book which is likely to prove influential even among those who remain unpersuaded by some, most, or all of its arguments. (p. 185)

…the [synthetical re-construction of Campbell’s view of Justification] theory itself operates with sovereign disregard for the actual views of other Pauline interpreters, who find themselves transplanted onto a terrain whose contours and features have been determined by Campbell himself.  This may be at least as disconcerting for those he enlists as his allies as for those he regards as his opponents (whom, it should be said, he treats with courtesy throughout). (p. 185).

All of the essays in this first issue are excellent – particulary John Barclay’s which he shared with me when it was in the version of a conference paper.  Durham student Jono Linebaugh’s essay is also impressive and getting into this journal, in the inaugural volume nonetheless, will be a nice feather in his cap when he turns to the job market – well done, Jono!