Monday, April 16, 2007

Bargain Book

I was utterly delighted to have found a cheap second hand hardback copy, today, of a book that I have wanted for a long, long time: Jüngel's Gott als Geheimnis der Welt– only 18 euro! I skipped home!

I also skimmed through Pope Benedikt XVI's new volume on Jesus (Jesus von Nazareth. Von der Taufe im Jordan bis zur Verklärung). As I mentioned already to Jim, it is an unapologetic mix of biblical scholarship (albeit limited in scope if the index is anything to go on) and confessional prose. While this may put some off, I found it to be a breath of fresh air and I look forward to reading it. I would add that at 24 euro this is a well priced book.


Friday, March 23, 2007

A couple of good purchases

I return to England tomorrow, and whilst here I must boast that I showed tremendous restraint in my book buying. I only bagged two from the LST bookshop (with one very near miss). Just two! Frigging miracle! (and Anja breathes a sigh of relief)

*Lucky Git Mode*

Admittedly I have numerous review books to get to work on for this blog, so many of the most exciting books I would have wanted to buy I already have.

*Mode Off*

The near miss, which I still intend to get soon, is Neil MacDonald’s new book, Metaphysics and the God of Israel: Systematic Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2006). He seeks to write a systematic theology of God in light both the Old and New Testaments, in particular dialogue with such a variety of names as von Rad, Barth, Wright, Bauckham, Aristotle, Augustine etc. Mouth wateringly fascinating. But for another day. Jim West mentions an important link about this book here.

You may have heard of him before in relation to his monograph on Barth: Karl Barth and the Strange New World within the Bible: Barth, Wittgenstein, and the Metadilemmas of the Enlightenment 2nd edition (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2001).

Which leads me to my first buy: Karl Barth and Evangelical Theology: Convergences and Divergences (Carlisle: Paternoster, 2006). Being an evangelical enormously interested in all things Barth shaped, I snapped this up with less than a second thought. The book involves discussion on various theological themes by a variety of evangelical authors, themselves representing various evangelical perspectives. For example, John Bolt examines Barth’s eschatology in light of both academic evangelical eschatology but also its more popular face in writers such as Frank Peretti and the Left Behind series. A Pentecostal theologian examines Barth’s pneumatology, John Franke looks at Barth in terms of the ‘postmodern turn’, etc.

While he is certainly not to every evangelical’s taste, I try to read whatever Keith Ward writes. I find him to be one of the most engaging and creative Christian writers around, and he argues in a no nonsense manner which I most enjoy. His latest, Christianity: A Guide for the Perplexed (London: SPCK, 2007) was a definite and I’m already loving it.

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Tuesday, February 06, 2007



Apart from being ill, which has decreased my ability to concentrate and read (I really hate that), I have managed to work though – or at least start to – a couple of extraordinary books.

The first, Brant Pitre’s Jesus, the Tribulation and the End of the Exile, is one of the most engaging and suggestive books on the historical Jesus I have read in a good while (I first mentioned it here). One point hit me between the eyes because it was so obvious. What do you think the Gospel talk of ‘gathering the elect from the four winds’ means? Pitre ties this into the prophetic hope for return of the northern tribes (the ten scattered among the Gentiles in the Assyrian Exile about 700 years BC). Fascinating!

And I’m thrilled that Brant is joining blogdom!

The other gem of a book which I shall review in more depth in due time is Chris VanLandingham’s Judgment and Justification in Early Judaism and the Apostle Paul mentioned previously here. This one has to be the most provocative thesis about Paul and justification that I have read for a long, long time. It is ‘messing with my head’ as it seems to me to be trying to prove that a theological square is a circle, but I’ll certainly try to keep an open mind. It is a brutal critique of Sander’s notion of ‘covenantal nomism’, but if Chris is right it won’t be just Sanders who should be quaking in his boots – all Pauline exegetes and theologians will need to take a deep breath and do some serious rethinking. My thanks to the kind folk at Hendrickson for sending me a review copy.

When I read stimulating books like these, whether my initial reaction is ‘hot damn!’, ‘oh dear’, ‘no frigging way’, or whether it is pure epiphany, an ‘ahhhh, of course!’, it is always exciting!