Thursday, August 28, 2008

Happy Birthday Jim West!

Yes, that most prolific, controversial and Zwinglialtrous of authors, the Bultmannaphile Jim West, celebrates his birthday tomorrow. Unfortunately, I will be on the road all day so cannot mark the occasion on the proper date, plus I need to write this straightaway before I pack the computer into a box. So here is a raised glass to my good friend, the king on the chessboard of biblioblogs, the 'main man' on the floor at SOTS. To be remarkably inventive: may you live long and prosper. Let's face it, life would be a duller matter without Jim's blog, not to mention our regular conversations on MSN Messenger.

But now that I have gone out of character and publically been nice toward the man, expect the worst from my keyboard for the next few months.

Driving to the UK

Tomorrow we set off to London loaded with more books than the suspension of most Vans can carry, a large dollop of heaviness of heart at the countryside, friends and family I am leaving, and a huge serving of excitement about the new St Mellitus post, seeing my family again and all of the new friends I hope to make (yes, please be my friend – I pay good rates).

If you are the praying sort, do think of us driving from Tübingen to London tomorrow.

It is nice to be quoted

Especially when I agree with myself.

This is the new banner of opensourcetheology:

The graphic links to information about Andrew Perriman’s book, Otherways, and I fully stand by my cited comment. Whatever Perriman publishes I get my hands on as soon as possible - few authors stimulate my thought as much. My brain was busy with aspects of his argument in Re:Mission yesterday, as I went to pick up cardboard boxes for the move. Great fun! And despite what Crest says, the book has nothing to do with being an ‘emergent Driscollite’!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Surprise Quote of the Day

"Reading Paul is not reading other people's mail. It is reading mail meant for all of us, however we may construe Paul's message"

No, not from the pen of a conservative trying desperately to refuse the historical situatedness of the biblical text, but from Alan Segal's essay ("Universalism in Judaism and Christianity") in Paul in his Hellenistic Context, ed. Troels Engberg-Pedersen, p. 29.

Fruit-loop link of the day

File this one in the same draw that contains the concaveworld and flat-earth cosmologies.


Given that I am about to take up the post of NT Tutor at St Mellitus, I suppose I had better add a disclaimer to this blog at some stage, to the effect that 'the opinions here expressed are not necessarily representative of St Mellitus or St Paul's Theological Centre, but usually only reflect those of a slightly caffeine-high Chris Tilling'. I say 'usually' not only because I have the occasional guest poster, like Richard Bauckham and more importantly Cardinal Spin, but also because I later realise I don't always agree with what I've written!

Update: I have added a temporary disclaimer to the sidebar

Friday, August 22, 2008

Guest Book Review: OT Ethics

My thanks to Phil Sumpter for the following review, and to the kind folks at IVP for the copy.

Christopher J. Wright, Old Testament Ethics for the People of God (Downers Grove, IL: IVP, 2004)

The title alone is enough to make you baulk at the scope this volume attempts to achieve. This isn't just a description of the ethics of ancient Israel, nor is it a description of the ethics found in the literary deposit of this community: “the Old Testament.” It is an attempt to locate the ethics of both within their true Sitz im Leben, the lived contemporary reality of the true Israel, the Church. Before we even enter its pages, then, one can expect at the outset an attempt to integrate historical critical, literary, philosophical, and theological concerns in a synthesis of the like rarely encountered in the guild of biblical studies. Whether Wright has succeeded will remain to be tested by those with an adequate knowledge in all these areas. Critique by specialists in only one area will run the risk of confusing the particular with Wright's broader vision.

A three-dimensional approach to OT ethics such as this, which strives both for descriptive accuracy and theological normativity, cannot be content to tell us “what the OT said.” A model is needed in order both to integrate the parts and span the horizons, and this is the task Wright's first section: A Structure for Old Testament Ethics. He takes the now well-known route of “world-view” analysis (á la N.T. Wright) in order to provide a context in which to make sense of and correlate the mass of OT ethical material. Though he often talks of “what an ancient Israelite thought,” it is clear that the world view he has in mind is the one presupposing the entire OT canon – an entity with its own hermeneutical and theological integrity (see footnote 3). If one poses this totality the four “world-view questions” (Where are we? Who are we? What's gone wrong? What's the solution?), we come up with an “Israelite” answer along the following lines: we are in God's creation, created for relationship in the image of God, the created order is in a state of fallenness due to our rebellion and so God's solution has been to initiate a historical project of redemption. The “we” in the narrow sense is Israel, elected to be the means of God's redemption in the world. As Wright goes on to explain, this “we” can be expanded in different directions: either paradigmatically to stand for humanity as a whole, eschatologically to stand for the redeemed community of the eschaton, or typologically to refer to the church.

Wright identifies three primary “actors” in this world-view who stand in triangular relationship to each other: God, Israel and the Land. This so-called “ethical triangle” provides Wright with a framework for sifting through the diverse OT material as well as a foundation for expanding the OT material beyond its original horizon.

These three “pillars of Israel's faith” are padded out in the following three chapters. Accordingly, the “theological angle” provides us with the “fundamental axiom” of OT ethics: “ethical issues are at every point related to God—to his character, his will, his actions and his purpose” (23). Wright takes us through the OT's presentation of God's identity, particularly as it is manifested in the narrative accounts of his actions. This activity, salvific in nature, provides a foundation for ethics. God takes the initiative (e.g. the exodus), his people respond, and obedience flows out of thankfulness for this action. These actions are combined with God's speaking (e.g. at Sinai) in order to bring about his purposes for creation through Israel. Wright sums up the heilsgeschichtliche context: “Old Testament ethics, based on history and bound for a renewed creation, is thus slung like a hammock between grace and glory” (35). In the meantime, our actions should be grounded in a knowledge of this God as we emulate him by “walking in his ways.”

The “social angle” references Israel on the triangular grid. Wright points out that within the aforementioned meta-narrative, redemption has a social dimension. In Gen. 12:1-3 God responds to the fall by choosing a nation, which was to pattern, model and be a vehicle of this redemption. In terms of the application of OT ethics, then, our hermeneutical procedure must take very seriously the communal nature of the people of Israel. We must not jump from isolated principles to the present, but rather first locate that principle within its original social context. Only then can we draw an analogy with present “Israel,” before going on to see the implications for the world at large. Yet the distinctive nature of this nation as opposed to the other nations must not be lost. This nation has a unique experience of God, which gives its history a didactic quality. Through it we learn about God (the “theological angle”) and we learn how to live (the “social angle”). In short, Israel is God's paradigm, an important concept for Wright as he attempts to make Israel's ethics ours. According to Wright, a paradigm is

a model or pattern that enables you to explain or critique many different and varying situations by means of some single concept or set of governing principles” (63).
Israel as paradigm helps the Church today implement what was true then to a new situation now.

The final essential element in Israel's world view is the Land, providing us with an “economic angle.” When understood within Israel's story, we see that the promised land is a theological entity, part of the pattern of redemption. The understanding of the land as both divine gift and divine tenement, for example, has what Wright calls “enormous paradigmatic power” for the appropriation of Israel's economic ethics. Within the divine economy, we see that the welfare of the land and its inhabitants functioned as a “covenantal measuring gauge,” signally the quality of the relationship between God and his people.

Following the belief that “God's relation to Israel in their land was a deliberate reflection of God's relation to human kind on the earth” (183), Wright moves on in the following two chapters to work out the implications of this “redemptive triangle” for the ethics of ecology and economics in general. In the case of ecology, for example, he discovers parallels to the affirmations made at the narrower level concerning Israel in the land of Canaan: “divine ownership (the earth belongs to God, Ps. 24:1) and divine gift (the earth he has gifted to humanity, Ps. 115.16)” (103)—the so-called “creation triangle.” This double claim becomes the foundation for Wright's ethical reflection in the following two chapters. The fact that a concern for ecology is largely foreign to the authors of the Bible demonstrates how we can paradigmatically appropriate the Bible's principles for issues beyond the Bible's original horizon.

The most intriguing chapter is the sixth, in which Wright, having now illustrated ways in which the Bible can be paradigmatically appropriated, rises once again to theory in order to discuss two others ways of appropriating the OT: the eschatological and the typological. By means of fascinating triangular diagrams, he shows how these different methods are distinct yet complementary. Paradigmatically interpreted, for example, the land becomes the earth as it is now: cursed. Eschatologically, the past becomes a template for the new, and so we have a foretaste of the new creation. Typologically, for the apocalyptic community caught at this point in the “in-between-time,” the land is now fulfilled by the koinonia, the fellowship of believers. This complex interrelationship is then demonstrated exegetically in relation to the jubilee (Lev. 25).

The rest of this main part of the book is dedicated to further ethical issues: politics and the nations, justice and righteousness, law and the legal system, culture and family and finally the way of the individual. The volume is rounded off in Part 3 with a historical overview of the church's wrestling with this question, a bibliographic overview of the contemporary attempts to deal with the question of OT ethics from a confessional standpoint and a detailed discussion of hermeneutics and authority in the OT. A final appendix presents us with some broad perspectives which Wright finds helpful for setting the “Canaanite question” within it the context of broader biblical considerations. Though Wright doesn't feel he has solved the issue, he feels these considerations help “contain” them.

In response, I can only echo a critic's comments on the blurb at the back of the book: this book is “truly a magnum opus and should be at the top of the reading list for any student, teacher, minister or layperson interested in the relevance of the first part of the Bible to modern ethical issues.” Issues that have dogged the church since its inception are taken up once again and re-articulated in a clear, logical and thorough manner, taking into account the latest developments in rhetorical, literary, and, to a degree, canonical criticism. Whether Wright's conclusions become the consensus opinion of the next generation obviously remains to be seen, but I can't imagine future discussion of the issue ignoring the well-thought out arguments laid out in this book.

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Thursday, August 21, 2008

Breaking News: Jim West is being replaced

In an historic and unanimous decision, the Church Committee of Jim West's Baptist Church have voted to remove their Pastor from active service and to replace him with a new preacher. To quote their official statement, their new appointment preaches sermons "that make much more sense than those of Pastor West".

While we should all keep the West family in our prayers at the moment, having seen some online video footage of West's successor, I can understand their decision. 

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Thought of the Day

Better not to be a minimalist or a maximalist because the variety of literature in the biblical canon(s) tends to resists being explained in terms of only one or the other.

Shed a few tears

I'm standing just a week or two before moving back to England, so today I took the last of my Tübingen library books back to the library (I had over 150 out at once for a while)

It was tough parting with those guys – been with me for years. I stuck my bottom lip out at the lady who scanned my books in to try to make her feel guilty, hoping she would say 'aw, go on then, take this one as a gift for your faithful use of our library for 6 years'.

But no. All I got was a flippin nod. And so all my beloveds were left behind on the book cart, no doubt as distraught as me.

I took the opportunity to run a few cats over on the way home to calm my nerves.

But to cheer me up, the storm we had today made for perfect conditions for a few drive-by-baptisms. What made it particularly sweet was that David, my passenger, is a Latin language expert, so he (while I was concentrating on covering the baptismal candidates with an anointed wave of muddy street water) could lean out the window and perform the necessary liturgy in Latin (in nomine Patris... etc) – which makes it even more holy, of course. Today's candidates seemd to get particulaly excited - waving their hands all over the place, jumping up and down. Veritably Florida-like in its charismatic effects.

But my blatant lying aside, I will seriously miss Tübingen library. Perhaps it is the world's best theology resource.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Theological conversion: the day Brueggemann messed with my head

As many of my readers know, I used to be a screaming conservative street preaching 'it's not religion it's a relationship' ethical black and white liberal = evil Catholic bashing Christian pop music listening shine-Jesus-shine singing puritan paperbacks reading borderline-Fundie. While there is much about that background for which I am grateful, I'll never forget the day I was sitting in a bus (prayerfully) listening to a Brueggemann lecture on the OT portrayal of God.

What a shock it was for my theological world. At that stage I didn't know too much about Brueggemann expect that he wasn't on my usual 'safe' list. But his dismantling of my assumption that exegesis and systematic theology exist in a straightforward relationship was a world shaking moment from which I never recovered. The Old Testament, I learned, was not a book of settled theology; it was doing theology and generating a variety of testimonies concerning God. Perhaps von Rad had the same effect for an earlier generation, but having listened to Brueggemann I left the bus literally feeling sick; sick, but forever delivered from naive assumptions that had crippled my engagement with the bible and theology. I struggled with what he said, but later I came to very much appreciate the door he opened into a new theological world. So thanks, Walter.

A New Laptop

This week I have wasted more hours than I care to remember installing software, copying files to, internet updating etc. my new laptop. It is a PC because the Apple version is obviously evil. Besides, with 320 GB HD, 3GB RAM, 2 Ghz Duo core CPU – this was love at first sight. More importantly for a cheapskate like me: the price was right. Plus it was called 'Multimedia-Knaller', so we had to buy it!

All this means, of course, that my usual stream of blog-related lexical diarrhoea shall continue unabated.

A Perfect Birthday Gift

Jim West's birthday is around the corner, and I found the perfect gift for him at Amazon. The figure's name seemed so utterly appropriate for Jim.

Also, you will see that there are some cheap models available via the 'used & new' option. Although I still thought it a bit too much to spend on him.

Monday, August 11, 2008

Book Review: The Quest for Paul’s Gospel

First, my thanks to T & T Clark for a review copy of Douglas A. Campbell, The Quest for Paul's Gospel: A Suggested Strategy (London: T & T Clark, 2005)

The Quest for Paul's Gospel is an ingenious and innovative, if unusual, book. Rather ambitiously, Campbell attempts to sketch a 'grand strategic' plan for understanding Paul's Gospel, an approach for understanding the Apostle's thought in its entirety.

First, Campbell seeks to justify the necessity for such a grand-strategic thesis. Importantly, he defends himself against potential postmodern objections which would question the need to conceptualise and systematise an objective Gospel at all. Contrary to this, and other issues, Campbell believes his project is vital in recovering Paul's theology for the church out of the hands of anti-theological readings most notoriously represented by Heikki Räisänen. Only by postulating a coherent Pauline understanding of 'Gospel' can the Apostle speak powerfully to and through the church today.

To this end Campbell's argument proceeds in three steps.

In step one he details the main strategic options for understanding Paul's Gospel. The main contenders, he argues, the following three models: justification by faith (JF), pneumatologically participatory martyrological eschatology (PPME - similar to what many have designated as an 'apocalyptic' approach), and salvation-history (SH). Importantly, in chapter 2 he maintains that only one of these models, unless Räisänen's anti-theology approach is accepted, must be adopted at the exclusion or subordination of the others. They cannot all be right. For Campbell, the PPME model constitutes the heart of Paul's Gospel.

In chapter 3 he elaborates on what is meant by PPME, offers reasons why 'apocalyptic' is not the best label, and details the relationships between the various words, 'pneumatologically', 'participatory', 'martyrological', and 'eschatology' which constitute the PPME model. Importantly, he makes a case for the elimination of the SH model as a contender for Paul's Gospel by assimilating its concerns into his preferred PPME model.

Step two of Campbell's argument seeks to answer such questions as what the PPME Gospel is, and what it means for the church today. To do this he examines the narrative dimensions of Paul's letters, particularly that of Romans 5-8, what he calls 'the textual heartland' of the PPME approach. His analysis isolates the story of Christ in Paul's letters, one which includes trajectories of Christ's descent and ascent. An added strength of the PPME model, in light of Campbell's analysis of the model in terms of the Christ-story, is that it involves a complete soteriology.

Chapter 5 is an extended meditation on Galatians 3:28, a passage Campbell believes presents the PPME model in nuce. In particular, the abolitionist thrust of the passage evidences the a-posteriori (not a priori) logic of the PPME model. Whereas the SH and JF models both assume a first phase or given state-of-affairs, and from this point work forwards, the 'PPME model works backwards. It is an a-posteriori account of salvation, a retrospective model, which begins with the solution and then defines the problem in the light of this revelation' (47). This is one reason why it is impossible to adopt the JF and/or SH models together with the PPME model. They belong in completely different theological worlds and can only relate to one another via subordination or exclusion.

In light of this Campbell examines, as a case study, the question of gay ordination in relation to Paul's Gospel understood in terms of the a-posteriori nature of the PPME model. Essentially, Campbell argues that to be consistent to the PPME heart of Paul's Gospel, one can argue that gays can be ordained as such sexual distinctions are rendered null and void in light of Christ (here building on his reflections on Gal. 3:28). That Paul's ethical reasoning appears to explicitly contradict Campbell's assertions can be explained on the basis of the Apostle's own inconsistency: when Paul reasons ethically a priori, from the way things are, from creation, the Apostle falls into the binary ethics of exclusion and oppression that the heart of his Gospel actually negates (according to the PPME model). So Campbell writes: 'Paul's analysis of society in terms of serried binary oppositions lacks theological authority. It is neither christologically derived, not fundamentally scriptural; it depends on Athens, not on Jerusalem' (120). The a-posteriori logic of the PPME model, on the other hand, recognises that 'the clearest insight that we get into God's purposes as given to us in Christ in redemption is also our clearest insight into creation' (119). And so the PPME model helps the church to creatively think ethically through modern issues in a way that is faithful to the heart of Paul's Gospel even though it may need to critique the apostle where he has not been consistent enough to his own proclamation. This makes for fascinating reading! In chapter 7, Campbell argues that the a-posteriori, retrospective logic of the PPME model also helps clarify the relation between Paul, Judaism and the law in a way that is acceptable in a post-Holocaust world.

Step three of Campbell's thesis seeks to engage with what he considers is the main competitor to the PPME model, namely the JF model. If his own model is to win the battle as a coherent explanation of the heart of Paul's Gospel, then it needs to either eliminate or subordinated the JF model, and to justify this move exegetically where the JF model appears to have a strong foothold. To do this he engages with two terms that are foundational to the JF model: 'faith' and ' works of law'. But in order to first grasp the scope and nature of the JF model, he brilliantly examines the JF model in more depth in terms of its contractual construal of Paul's Gospel. While the contractual JF model 'has a rigorous internal coherence...; and number of explanatory strengths; an impressive church-historical pedigree; and a reasonable number of supporting texts in Paul, including an extensive section of his most important that, Romans' (164), the entire contractual understanding of Paul's Gospel is deeply flawed. Its main difficulties cluster around its portrayal of 1. Natural theology; 2. The justice of God; 3. Christ and the Atonement; 4. The nature of Judaism; 5. conversion; and 6. The nature of Christian existence. Campbell's prose sparkles with energy as he lampoons the JF model on these fronts.

This analysis of the JF model leads to a deconstruction of its supposed basis in Paul's letters. First Campbell disputes that its understanding of faith is coherent with Paul's notion of pistis (chapter 9). In chapter 10 Campbell builds an impressive and convincing case that pistis in Galatians 3:15-29 is best understood christologically, as indicating Christ's faithfulness -- not the faith of believers in Christ. Finally, in Chapter 11, Campbell attempts a complete rereading of Romans 1:18-3:20 in such a way that contradicts the reliance of the JF model on this text. Rather than expressing the apostle's own considered opinion throughout, Paul, so Campbell argues, presents the understanding of his Jewish-Christian opponents in these chapters, and through his argument cleverly undermines them.

Campbell cuts to the chase in his conclusion and states that: 'my central contentions have been that the theological future of Paul, and hence much of the church, lie in what I have called the PPME model of his Gospel, and here only. Every other objective spells disaster, but this objective holds the promise of total victory' (262).

A Response

What is one to make of this brilliant and often persuasive thesis? There are undeniable strengths to Campbell's arguments, sharpened as they are by Campbell's impressive intellectual grasp of the many interlocking issues and themes. In this respect one could mention his analysis of the narrative dimension in Paul. Campbell focuses on the Christ-story, one actually found in some Pauline texts and is thus not merely a story presupposed by 20th century scholars. This way of dealing with narrative in Paul has some advantage over narrative patterns that are not actually found in Paul. The ethical vision of Campbell's thesis is also exciting and his criticisms of the contractual nature of the JF model almost worth the price of admission alone. However, while I was much stimulated by Campbell's proposals, I have not often marked a book with so many question marks! I will limit myself to mentioning the following potential problems with his thesis.

  1. Campbell cites NT Wright as the 'foremost representative ... today' of the SH model (cf. 24 n.22). And the SH model, Campbell tells us, reasons only a priori. But I argue that this is a straw man portrayal of the SH approach. Indeed, Wright himself is a clear example of a broadly SH approach which embraces continuity and discontinuity most effectively (cf. his Romans commentary where he explicitly states the vital necessity to grasp both continuity and discontinuity [N. T. Wright, "The Letter to the Romans. Introduction, Commentary, and Reflections," in The New Interpreter's Bible, ed. L. E. Keck, et al. (Nashville: Abington, 2002), 402-3], and Paul: Fresh Perspectives [London: SPCK, 2005] where he masterfully works this out in detail through various themes)

  2. Construing Paul's theology in terms of a-posteriori and a priori approaches may make a lot of sense in 20th century, especially post-Barthian, theology. However, and building on the previous point, I remain unconvinced that it is a helpful way of seeking to categorise Paul's Gospel so as to illuminate the flow of thought in Paul's letters themselves. As Francis Watson has argued:

    'For Paul, it is more important that scripture should shed light on Christ than that Christ should shed light on scripture. Paul has no independent interest in the meaning of scripture as such: the meaning of scripture is identical to its significance, and both are to be found in its manifold, direct and indirect testimony to God's saving action in Christ. Scripture is not a secondary confirmation of a Christ-event entire and complete in itself; for scripture is not external to the Christ-event but is constitutive of it, the matrix within which it takes shape and comes to be what it is. Paul proclaims not a pure, unmediated experience of Christ, but rather a Christ whose death and resurrection occur "according to the scriptures" (1 Cor.15.3-4). Without scripture, there is no gospel; apart from the scriptural matrix, there is no Christ. The Christ who sheds light on scripture is also and above all the Christ on whom scripture simultaneously sheds its own light. In Galatians 3, for example, Paul does not simply assert that scripture must be read differently in the light of Christ, so as to refute opponents who appeal to scripture on their own ground. Rather, Paul's rereading of scripture is determined by his single apostolic preoccupation with the Christ-event, which must be interpreted through the lens of the scriptural witness' (Francis Watson, Paul and the Hermeneutics of Faith [London: T&T Clark, 2004], 16-17)

  3. A good litmus test for whether one has understood Paul is to ascertain whether too much in Paul's letters speaks against a certain case. To push Pauline material away as theologically inconsistent with the heart of Paul's Gospel (as Campbell does in relation to Paul's ethics) or as the views of Paul's opponents (as Campbell does in relation to Rom. 1:18.3:20) should thus raise warning signals that Paul has simply been misunderstood. Indeed, Campbell's argument in relation to Romans 1-3 is perhaps the weakest link in his chain. While Paul could cite his opponents or positions he would later critique (as in 1 Cor. 8, for example), Paul's 'irony' in Romans 1-3 is not so marked (there is, for example, no hoti marking a view not his own, and the argument of 1:18 simply flows on from 1:17 thematically – especially clear if one keeps the content of the cited Habakkuk in mind).

  4. Finally, the tone of the book is, in my judgment, overly polemic and employs far too many aggressive military metaphors to make his argument. I agree with Michael Gorman's comment on an earlier post on this blog here, and look forward to his forthcoming (fall 2008) Eerdmans book, Inhabiting the Cruciform God: Kenosis, Justification, and Theosis in Paul's Narrative Soteriology, which pursues a 'more synthetic model' than Campbell's.

These point aside, I would end this review with a hearty recommendation. If you have recently discovered the SH model and/or have begun to feel that the JF model does not square as well with Paul's texts as you previously believed, then before you simply lock, stock and barrel accept the approach of, say, Wright or Dunn, give Campbell's PPME model a hearing. Not only has it much to offer the exegete in terms of insight, it has a tremendous amount of potential for wisely thinking through a variety of both theological and ethical matters.


Thursday, August 07, 2008

CTRVHM is coming back to England

After about 6 years in Germany, living just outside beautiful Tübingen, we are moving back to London, UK. Not only that, but I am moving back to take up a post as NT Tutor at St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre! *Chris enters another double-whopper super sized Graham Kendrick Benny Hinn-ised angelic chorus of 'Hallelujahs'!*

Of course, this is all extremely exciting for us. I will detail more in due time (the last few weeks have been rather hectic, as you can perhaps imagine), but I cannot tell you how much we are looking forward to working with everyone at Holy Trinity Brompton, St Mellitus College and St Paul's Theological Centre.

Here is their announcement.

Our sincere thanks to all those who prayed and were in any way involved in the whole process.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Guess the Author

'[D]ogmatics as such does not ask what the apostles and prophets said but what we must say on the basis of the apostles and prophets'

Not hard, this one. So here is the idea: the first to get it wrong gets picked on by the rest of us for a week or two.

Sunday, August 03, 2008

Recent Purchases

While in London, a couple of weeks ago, I purchased the following books:

  • John Ziesler, Paul's Letter to the Romans. For just 1 pound! A big Benny Hinn 'AAMMMMEEEENNN' for that (and a Benny Hinn 'TOUCH!' for good measure)
  • Robin Parry, Worshipping Trinity. I have already mentioned this one. A fun and important read, especially for those of us in the broadly evangelical / charismatic tradition.
  • Graham Tomlin, The Provocative Church. Ever have the feeling that evangelism and theology often operate in two different worlds? Or that those interested in one are inversely interested in the other? Ever wondered why the NT doesn't often speak about 'telling your friends' about Jesus? Reading this has both been challenging and liberating at the same time, and Anja too is now reading it (which is always a good sign!)
  • Francis Watson, Paul, Judaism, and the Gentiles. Picked up at LST bookshop (thanks for the loan, Nick!). I haven't started it yet, but I am really looking forward to this one.
  • Mike Bird, A Bird's-Eye View of Paul. I had this as a pdf already, but it is so good I just had to get a hard copy. I will use this when I teach Paul.
  • Michael Lloyd, Café Theology. While I'm not finished yet, this has been a delight to read. Very rarely will you find a footnote to Derek Prince, immediately followed by a footnote to Hans Urs von Balthasar. But you do in this book! Though he has taught theology at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and is presently lecturer at St Paul's Theological Centre, he writes very smoothly for a wider audience. It will help some to think through their faith at a completely new level, and prompt others to simply put the book down and worship. Highly recommended (You may know Mike - and Graham above for that matter - from Godpod).

Yesterday I popped into a few bookshops in Tübingen. I found some great deals:

  • Richard Swinburne, Was Jesus God? I've not read any Swinburne before, so this will be a new experience for me.
  • Peter Stuhlmacher, Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments. Band 1 (Jesus and Paul). Flippin only 16 euro! YEEEEESSSSSSSSSS!
  • Utterly shockingly, I found a special deal on Alois Grillmeier's five volume work, Jesus der Christus im Glauben der Kirche. Get this: five volumes for only 39,90 euro! Originally these books totalled to 274 euro! I saved 234,10 euro!

Right, enough blogging. I'm off to read.