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Narratives of Nature and the Self in Job
Theologians and philosophers are turning again to questions of the meaning, or non-meaning, of the natural world for human self-understanding. Brian R. Doak observes that the book of Job, more than any other book in the Bible, uses metaphors drawn from the natural world, especially of plants and animals, as raw material for thinking about human suffering. Doak argues that Job should be viewed as an anthropological “ground zero” for the traumatic definition of the post-exilic human self in ancient Israel. Furthermore, the battered shape of the Joban experience should provide a starting point for reconfiguring our thinking about “natural theology” as a category of intellectual history in the ancient world. Doak examines how the development of the human subject is portrayed in the biblical text in either radical continuity or discontinuity with plants and animals. Consider Leviathan explores the text at the intersection of anthropology, theology, and ecology, opening up new possibilities for charting the view of nature in the Hebrew Bible.
Paul, Biblical Commentary, and the Development of Doctrine in the Early Middle Ages
Constructing Antichrist engages readers with the question: what does Paul have to do with the Antichrist? Integrating new scholarship in apocalypticism and the history of exegesis, this book is the first longitudinal study of the role of Paul in apocalyptic thought
In this masterwork, one of America's leading biblical scholars takes a fresh look at the theology of the Old Testament. Anderson cuts his own path and provides us with creative new insights on all the major sections of the Old Testament. He illuminates the nuances of the various covenants and theological shifts in a highly readable style. His conversation partners include the formative contributors from both the Christian community (Eichrodt, von Rad, Childs) and the Jewish community (Heschel, Herberg, Levenson) while interacting with the most recent developments in the field, especially Walter Brueggemann's Theology of the Old Testament.
Canon as a Model for Biblical Education
Every faith community knows the challenges of inviting new members and the next generation into its shared life without falling into an arid traditionalism or a shallow relativism. Renowned scholar Walter Brueggemann finds a framework for education in the structure of the Hebrew Bible canon, with its assertion of center and limit (in the Torah), of challenge (in the Prophets), and of inquiry (in the Writings). Incorporating the best insights from his own career and from the fields of canonical criticism, Old Testament theology, and pedagogical theory, Brueggemann offers a vision of how the community can draw on the shape of Scripture to educate its members. First published in 1982, The Creative Word is now updated and introduced with a foreword by Amy Erickson of Iliff School of Theology.
God's Wonder and Mystery
German theologian, Klaus Schwarzwäller reclaims Christ's cross and resurrection as God's wonder and mystery. He connects with art, history, contemporary culture, and especially scripture in presenting a trenchant analysis of the modes of power and production that have undergirded both society and the church since the Enlightenment.
The church in the present era comes under the power of the Enlightenment's quest for truth in the measurable, reproducible, and rational. The proof of the Spirit’s power thus comes to depend on the criteria of reason and theory, rather than on the Spirit’s work in the reality of daily life.
When the church and theology operate in this way, the cross and resurrection become something that requires our management, manipulation, or expert interpretation. Thus, the church and theology wind up existing for their own ends, and freedom and faith are replaced with brutal indifference and control.
The truth of the gospel is that on the cross Christ bore the brunt of power and production that could not bear his utter devotion to God and care for the powerless. The cross excludes our control and the power of the resurrection ensures that the negativity of human life borne on the cross will be overcome.
Schwarzwäller calls the church and theologians to relinquish both their conformity to society and the indifference that power and production create and instead focus on tending to God’s word so that the cross and resurrection are again revealed as God’s wonder and mystery.
The Early Life of a Christian Symbol
This book brings together, for the first time, the relevant material evidence demonstrating Christian use of the cross prior to Constantine. Bruce W. Longenecker upends a longstanding consensus that the cross was not a Christian symbol until Constantine appropriated it to consolidate his power in the fourth century. Longenecker presents a wide variety of artifacts from across the Mediterranean basin that testify to the use of the cross as a visual symbol by some pre-Constantinian Christians. Those artifacts interlock with literary witnesses from the same period to provide a consistent and robust portrait of the cross as a pre-Constantinian symbol of Christian devotion. The material record of the pre-Constantinian period illustrates that Constantine did not invent the cross as a symbol of Christian faith; for an impressive number of Christians before Constantine’s reign, the cross served as a visual symbol of commitment to a living deity in a dangerous world.
Fathers, sons, and mothers take center stage in the Bible’s grand narratives, Amy Kalmanofsky observes. Sisters and sisterhood receive less attention in scholarship but, she argues, play an important role in narratives, revealing anxieties related to desire, agency, and solidarity among women playing out (and playing against) their roles in a patrilineal society. Most often, she shows, sisters are destabilizing figures in narratives about family crisis, where property, patrimony, and the resilience of community boundaries are at risk. Kalmanofsky demonstrates that the particular role of sisters had important narrative effects, revealing previously underappreciated dynamics in Israelite society.
Azazel and Satanael in Early Jewish Demonology
Discusses the two most important figures in early Jewish mythologies of evil, the fallen angels Azazel and Satanael. Dark Mirrors is a wide-ranging study of two central figures in early Jewish demonology—the fallen angels Azazel and Satanael. Andrei A. Orlov explores the mediating role of these paradigmatic celestial rebels in the development of Jewish demonological traditions from Second Temple apocalypticism to later Jewish mysticism, such as that of the Hekhalot and Shi>ur Qomah materials. Throughout, Orlov makes use of Jewish pseudepigraphical materials in Slavonic that are not widely known. Orlov traces the origins of Azazel and Satanael to different and competing mythologies of evil, one to the Fall in the Garden of Eden, the other to the revolt of angels in the antediluvian period. Although Azazel and Satanael are initially representatives of rival etiologies of corruption, in later Jewish and Christian demonological lore each is able to enter the other’s stories in new conceptual capacities. Dark Mirrors also examines the symmetrical patterns of early Jewish demonology that are often manifested in these fallen angels’ imitation of the attributes of various heavenly beings, including principal angels and even God himself.
An Introductory Exposition
In Dialectical Theology and Jacques Ellul, Jacob E. Van Vleet argues that the work of Jacques Ellul is frequently—and deleteriously—misread on account of inattention to the theological underpinning that governs Ellul’s thought. In a penetrating analysis, the first of its kind, Van Vleet provides a substantive account of the theological structure of Ellul’s work and demonstrates the determinative role that theology, especially dialectical theology, plays in a proper understanding of Ellul.
Van Vleet offers a major introduction to Ellul’s thought, his contribution to theology and philosophy, and how his philosophy of technology is both theologically informed and culturally relevant. As well, this work situates Ellul’s theological and philosophical thought within an important genetic context, from Kierkegaard to the dialectical theologians of the twentieth century.
The Prayer Jesus Taught in Its Historical Setting
Christians around the world recite the “Lord’s Prayer” daily, but what exactly are they praying for—and what relationship does it have with Jesus’ own context? Jeffrey B. Gibson reviews scholarship that derives the so-called Lord’s Prayer from Jewish synagogal prayers and refutes it. The genre of the prayer, he shows, is petitionary, and understanding its intent requires understanding Jesus’ purpose in calling disciples as witnesses against “this generation.” Jesus did not mean to teach a unique understanding of God; the prayer had its roots in first-century Jewish movements of protest. In context, Gibson shows (pace Schweitzer, Lohmeyer, Davies, Allison, and a host of other scholars) that the prayer had little to do with “calling down” into the present realities of “the age to come.” Rather, it was meant to protect disciples from the temptations of their age and, thus, to strengthen their countercultural testimony. Gibson’s conclusions offer new insights into the historical Jesus and the movement he sought to establish.