My SBL Book Buys (Part 1): Classics and Backlist

Not unlike Chris Tilling, I got a HEAP of books at SBL, both old and new. For the first time (ever!) I have a “personal development” fund coming from my employer! Woo-hoo! So, I saved up for SBL and went a tad crazy. Anyway, as others are sharing their “buys” so I would like to. I am splitting it into a few posts. In this post, I will offer my “classics” and “backlist” (old books) acquisitions.

1. The Word of Life: A Theology of John’s Gospel (C. Koester, Eerdmans, 2008). I am interested in John’s Gospel (as you will soon be able to tell!) and I have always appreciated Koester’s careful analysis of John, and especially his appreciation of the richness and complexity of the Gospel. This short theology is accessible, but incisive. I have wanted this for my own library for a while. I have worn out the library copy!

2. John (D. Moody Smith, Abingdon Commentary, 1999). Though quite short and abbreviated, Moody is such an influential interpreter of 4G. I could not afford his Cambridge Theology of John, so this will have to do.

3. Documents for the Study of the Gospels (eds. Cartlidge and Dungan, Fortress, 1994 edition). This is a “backgrounds” volume I have wanted for a while. This will be, I hope, an especially useful tool for teaching my 4G course this summer.

4. The Christology of Jesus (Witherington, Fortress, 1990). This is one of Witherington’s more “academic” works that has won praise from Martin Hengel, Francis Moloney, Charles Cousar, and Larry Hurtado. W. pitches the book as “a broad-scale study on the self-understanding of Jesus, approach the matter from different angles and seeing what all the evidence that can be reasonably argued to go back to the Sitz im Leben Jesu will reveal to us” (p. x). He focuses chapters, respectively, on the relationships, deeds, and words of Jesus.

5. Fortress Introduction to the Gospels (Mark Allan Powell, Fortress, 1998). As a “Paul” guy, I have a lot of catching up to do if I want to really engage in Gospels studies. I hope that Powell will be a good guide. I cut my teeth on narrative criticism in seminary with Powell’s What is Narrative Criticism (1990). I assume this Fortress intro will be illuminating. It comes in at less than 150 pages.

6. The Gospels and Letters of John (R.A. Culpepper; Abingdon, 1998). I am particularly interested in Culpepper’s short introduction to “The Gospel [of John] as Literature” as well as the chapter on the theology of the Johannine writings – especially the Christology of John.

7. King and Messiah as Son of God: Divine, Human, and Angelic Messianic Figures in Biblical and Related Literature (A.Y. and J.J. Collins; Eerdmans, 2008). As I explore Christology in the NT (and esp the Gospels) I am interested in the Collins’ perspective. Plus, at $16 this was too good to pass up.