Well, it’s that time of the year when we look back on 2014 and proclaim the best academic New Testament books of the year! To be honest, I did not review as many books in 2014 as I have in previous years – mostly due to a cross-country move and a new job. But I think it worthwhile to have a short list.
Bruce Longenecker and Todd Still, Thinking through Paul (Zondervan) – a textbook written by model interpreters, each complementing the other’s expertise.
Honorable mention goes to my colleague Paul Anderson for his textbook From Crisis to Christ (Abingdon).
Best Jesus/Gospels Book
Michael Bird, Gospel of the Lord (Eerdmans) – a fine textbook, I learned much from it and I even quoted it in class!
Honorable mention goes to Chris Keith, Jesus Against the Scribal Elite (Baker).
Best Paul Book
Galatians and Christian Theology (Baker). An excellent collection of essays from the St. Andrews conference. I will have more to say on this later.
J. Weima, 1-2 Thessalonians (BEC; Baker). I am getting a little ahead of myself since I haven’t actually read the book, but I have read much of Weima over the years and I have every good expectation this commentary will become the evangelical standard for years to come.
Honorable mention goes to Mark Strauss, Mark (ZECNT, Zondervan).
Best Reference Work
Yamauchi and Wilson, Dictionary of Daily Life: Volume 1 (Hendrickson). This great resource offers broad perspectives on “daily life” in biblical times (everything from alcohol, to birds, to beards, to clothes).
Honorable mention goes to Richard Ascough et al, Associations in the Greco-Roman World: A Sourcebook (Baylor). Associations are talked a lot about by NT scholars, but I wonder how many of those scholars have actually read the literary evidence directly associated with these groups. This is a great tool for studying the world of the New Testament.
Best Book Overall
Richard Hays, Reading Backwards (Baylor). This should come as no surprise since I have been a Hays fan quite overtly for a long time, but this book has lived up to expectation – eloquent, insightful, engaging, stimulating. It serves extremely well as an “appetizer” whetting our appetite for the “big book” he has promised!
Best Book Written by a Jamaican-Canadian Living in the USA
Richard Middleton, A New Heaven and a New Earth: Reclaiming Biblical Eschatology (Baker). OK, the category is facetious, but I do want to praise this book and my friend Richard. I have heard bits and pieces of this book in his lectures and in conversation. It will become a classic and you should buy it.