Book Review: Encountering the New Testament (Elwell and Yarbrough)

First impressions matter. Whether at a job interview, social function, or classroom, the initial picture people paint tends to color all subsequent interactions with that person. To a large degree, this is true of non-personal interactions as well, with institutions, places, and subject matter. And while a bad first impression can be overcome (often throughContinue reading “Book Review: Encountering the New Testament (Elwell and Yarbrough)”

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What Day Did Jesus Die?

This post also  appears this morning at Conciliar Post. “When students are first introduced to the historical, as opposed to a devotional, study of the Bible, one of the first things they are forced to grapple with is that the biblical text, whether Old Testament or New Testament, is chock full of discrepancies, many ofContinue reading “What Day Did Jesus Die?”

Numbering the Psalms?

The Psalms have long been the hymnal of Christian worship. Jesus and his disciples sang the psalms of the Hebrew Bible and the practice continued with Paul and other early followers of Christ. In fact, insofar as we can tell, Christians of the first two centuries used the Psalm more than any other book ofContinue reading “Numbering the Psalms?”

Book Review: Ancient Christian Worship (McGowan)

There are few times in history so important and yet so obscure as the years following the death and resurrection of Jesus of Nazareth, when the movement bearing his name transformed from a band of several dozen followers hiding in terror into an international community that would shape the subsequent history of the world. DespiteContinue reading “Book Review: Ancient Christian Worship (McGowan)”

Messianic Expectations of Second Temple Judaism

Since the earliest days of the Jesus Movement, Christianity has proclaimed Jesus of Nazareth as the long-awaited Messiah of the Jewish people. What exactly did this proclamation mean to those who heard it in the context of the Roman Empire and Second Jewish Temple in Jerusalem? Much recent scholarship has attempted to assess the theologicalContinue reading “Messianic Expectations of Second Temple Judaism”

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

A 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, thisContinue reading “Book Review: Galilee in the Late Second Temple and Mishnaic Periods (Ed. Fiensy and Strange)”

Predestination and Freewill: N. T. Wright

This post is part of our ongoing series examining Romans, Predestination, and Freewill. In The New Interpreter’s Bible, N.T. Wright begins by writing that, “Romans is neither a systematic theology nor a summary of Paul’s lifework, but it is by common consent his masterpiece.”[1] Wright describes the main theme of the letter as “God’s gospelContinue reading “Predestination and Freewill: N. T. Wright”

Predestination and Freewill: James Dunn

This is part of our ongoing series on Romans, Predestination, and Freewill. In the Word Biblical Commentary, James D.G. Dunn employs the ‘New Perspective’ on Paul to interpret his letters. This perspective argues that “Protestant exegesis has for too long allowed a typically Lutheran emphasis on justification by faith to impose a hermeneutical grid onContinue reading “Predestination and Freewill: James Dunn”

What About People Who Died Before the Incarnation?

A while back, a friend wrote me and asked, “How do you justify [and explain] the people who died before Christ came [i.e., Abraham, Moses, David]?” This struck me as an important and insightful question. In our rush to talk about and theologize heaven and hell, we often pay little attention to people who wouldContinue reading “What About People Who Died Before the Incarnation?”

Rethinking Vinegrowers and Violence (Part Two)

Having examined Schottroff’s interpretive concerns in yesterday’s post, we now turn to her reinterpretation of the Parable of the Vinegrowers in The Parables of Jesus (Trans. Linda M. Maloney. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2006.), in which she critiques a traditional allegorical interpretation of the parable, and reconsiders its meaning for today’s context. The crux of herContinue reading “Rethinking Vinegrowers and Violence (Part Two)”