Book Review: 40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)

40 Questions about the Historical Jesus (Pate)Whatever you may think about him or his followers, Jesus of Nazareth continues to capture the attention of billions across the planet. From church-going Christians and New Atheists to the media and academics, Jesus remains a pretty popular guy, at least in terms of the time spent discussing this first century Palestinian Jew and his various views on contemporary issues. Amidst these ongoing conversations about what Jesus would think or say about the latest news cycle there are those who have proposed a quest (or, more accurately, quests) for the real Jesus of Nazareth, the Jesus of history who stands behind the Jesus of Christian faith. These voices—which are by no means new—have long influenced the popular understanding of the Nazarene and continue to shape how many people interpret the message of Jesus. However, many practicing Christians remain generally unaware of the divergent claims regarding the “Jesus of Faith” and the “Jesus of History” and are (understandably) concerned when they first encounter such statements. Continue reading

Book Review: Believe (Frazee)

Believe (NIV)The Bible is a complex book, full of countless stories, prophecies, and genres of writing, each of which (ostensibly) applies to the Christian life in some way. It is no easy task, however, to read the entire Bible and grasp how each portion relates to the others or how 21st century Christians should engage the scriptures in their complexity. To assist those journeying towards God through a close reading of the Bible comes Believe: Living the Story of the Bible to Become Like Jesus (Zondervan: 2014) edited by Randy Frazee. Continue reading

Book Review: Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods (Ed. Fiensy and Strange)

Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Early Mishnaic PeriodsA longstanding problem for those attempting to study early Christianity involves the obscurity of the first centuries of the Common Era. Though nearly constantly reflected upon and studied since those years faded into the past, there remain numerous gaps in our understanding of the world and context of Jesus and his earliest followers. Unfortunately, this fact becomes especially noticeable when examining conceptions of how Second Temple Judaism and those living in Ancient Palestine impacted the subsequent shape of early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism. To help address this gap and to introduce the recent textual and archaeological findings from this important period comes Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods: Life, Culture, and Society: Volume One (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2014), edited by David A. Fiensy and James Riley Strange. Continue reading

Book Review: Catholic Bible Dictionary (Ed. Hahn)

Catholic Bible DictionaryIn an age of competing “internet histories” and lists of “ten things you need to know about this”, where the first page of Google and a Wikipedia entry are often marshaled as appropriate evidence for engaging important issues, access to serious resources serves an important role in properly understanding and interpreting our world. This is especially true when it comes to faith, where what you hear in church and what you see on the History Channel are often worlds apart. And, while there are some great online resources for encountering our world, for many topics nothing quite replaces the encompassing usefulness of a well-written book. To serve this purpose among the Catholic faithful comes the Catholic Bible Dictionary (New York: Doubleday, 2009) edited by Scott Hahn. Continue reading

Book Review: Celebrate Recovery Bible

Celebrate Recovery BibleThe New International Version Celebrate Recovery Bible is geared toward those looking for hope in the face of difficult life circumstances and destructive habits. Developed by Jeff Baker and Rick Warren of Saddleback Church, the Celebrate Recovery Bible includes the text of 2011 NIV accompanied with several useful features designed to guide Christians toward true recovery in Jesus Christ. Continue reading