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The Book of Joshua as Paradoxical Portrait of Faithful Israel
Two themes have dominated scholarly interpretation of the book of Joshua within the past century: the literary "discovery" of the Deuteronomistic History and the archaeological detection of evidence related to Israel's occupation of Canaan. In this newest volume in the series Reading the Scriptures, Rachel M. Billings addresses the fragmentation often brought about by these developments and offers a more holistic reading of Joshua, which joins theological sophistication with an emphasis on its meaning and purpose as a literary work. Through a hermeneutical and literary lens, Billings analyzes the story of Rahab and Achan, the stories of the Gibeonites and the Transjordanian altar, and the theme of the completeness of Israel's taking of the land of Canaan. She argues that the way in which the book of Joshua presents these materials reminds Israel of the dynamic nature of its identity as YHWH's people—an identity that demands a continued response of obedience parallel to YHWH's ever-unfolding work on Israel's behalf. The book of Joshua portrays Israel's obedience as not merely an unattainable ideal or a thing of the past, but a living reality that unfolds when YHWH's people acknowledge His claim upon them and strive to serve Him.
Reading the Bible Intertextually explores the revisionary hermeneutical practices of the Bible. Here some of the world's foremost interpreters of the New Testament examine the varied and distinctive ways that the canonical texts engage in conversation with other parts of the Bible.
Making the Bible a Timeless Text
For many people the Bible is a dusty old book with little relevance to their lives. But for Vistozky the Bible is a living entity that can offer endless insights for its readers if they enter into dialogue with it in the manner of the ancient rabbis, whose midrash, or commentary, has accompanied it almost from its beginning. Focusing on themes in key biblical texts - good and evil, sexuality, parent-child relations, sibling rivalry, faith, and creation - Reading the Book demonstrates the ingenuity and richness of this traditional Jewish approach. It then shows how readers of any religion can create their own midrashim and develop living relationships with the text.
The New Testament Witness
In The Reality of the Resurrection Stefan Alkier bridges the chasm between history and theology. Through a patient historical, canonical, and hermeneutical study, Alkier demonstrates that the resurrection of Jesus is inextricably bound to the general eschatological resurrection of the dead. Jesus’ resurrection is no isolated miracle but is instead the crucial disclosure of the nature of reality, the identity of God, and the destiny of human beings. Interpretation of Jesus’ resurrection is thus necessarily and unavoidably both historical and theological. Alkier accomplishes three tasks. Through a descriptive exegetical survey of New Testament rhetoric, he locates the resurrection of the Crucified One within a distinct narrative world. Alkier then employs the semiotics of C. S. Peirce to develop a creative epistemology that avoids propositional literalism and modernist reductionism. Alkier finally outlines how resurrection impacts Christian praxis. The Reality of the Resurrection witnesses to that which Paul names as of “first importance”—not only for the early Christian communities but also for the shaping of our communities today.
Essays in Honor of Ed Parish Sanders
For nearly four decades, E. P. Sanders has been the foremost scholar in shaping and refocusing scholarly debates in three different but related disciplines in New Testament studies: Second Temple Judaism, Jesus and the Gospels, and Pauline studies. This collection of essays by an impressive array of colleagues and former students presents original scholarship that extends—or departs from—the research of Sanders himself. Both apologists and dissenters find their place in this volume, as the authors actively debate Sanders’s innovative positions on central issues in all three disciplines. The introductory group of essays includes a substantive intellectual autobiography by E. P. Sanders himself. The next three parts examine in turn the three areas in which Sanders made his important contributions. The essays in part 2 engage Sanders's notion of “common Judaism.” Those in part 3 deal with issues that Sanders raised respecting the historical Jesus and the Gospels. And the essays in part 4 debate, among other issues, Sanders’s contention that participation in Christ, rather than justification by faith, is the central theme of Paul’s soteriology. The volume concludes with a bibliography of Sanders's works.
Scholarship, Sacrifice, and Subjectivity
First published in 1998 by the University of California Press, The Renaissance Bible skillfully navigates the immense but neglected materials spanning the gap between medieval biblical scholarship and the rise of Higher Criticism. Debora Kuller Shuger powerfully demonstrates the disciplinary fusion of Renaissance biblical scholarship—in which the Bible remained the primary locus for cultural, anthropological, and psychological reflection—against modern historians’ penchant for bracketing all things religious when reimagining the Renaissance world. Despite the considerable ground she covers and the interdisciplinary nature of her subject, Shuger never roves. Her penetrating focus casts remarkable light on her subject, especially Renaissance writers’ use of the Passion. Their concerns emerge as surprisingly contemporary, inviting the reader to reflect on such relevant topics as selfhood, violence, and gender.
John's apocalyptic revelation tends to be read either as an esoteric mystery or a breathless blueprint for the future. Missing, though, is how Revelation is the most visually stunning and politically salient text in the canon. Revelation and the Politics of Apocalyptic Interpretation explores the ways in which Revelation, when read as the last book in the Christian Bible, is in actuality a crafted and contentious word. Senior scholars, including N.T. Wright, Richard Hays, Marianne Meye Thompson, and Stephan Alkier, reveal the intricate intertextual interplay between this apocalyptically charged book, its resonances with the Old Testament, and its political implications. In so doing, the authors show how the church today can read Revelation as both promise and critique.
The Art and Theology of New Testament Chain-Link Transitions
In Rhetoric at the Boundaries Bruce W. Longenecker explores the way in which New Testament authors used an ancient rhetorical device to effect smooth transitions, both large and small. His study demonstrates how recognition of this rhetorical technique proves decisive for New Testament interpretation. Longenecker accomplishes this by examining the evidence for chain-link interlocks in a variety of ancient sources, including the Hebrew scriptures, Jewish and Roman authors of the Graeco-Roman world, and the Graeco-Roman rhetoricians. He then applies the results of the survey to fifteen problematic passages of the New Testament. In each case, Longenecker establishes the presence of chain-link interlock and highlights the structural, literary, and theological significance of the rhetorical device for New Testament interpretation.