Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Reading for October 2006

Google released an updated version of their Blogging platform, so in updating, I changed the template. I hope it is a positive change; at the very least it is something different. On to the books.

Focusing on the techniques used to compose the Hebrew narrative of the Old Testament, the author examines the deliberate literary artistry in the text. Alter encourages reader to approach Scripture as literature and note similarities with fiction writing in the presentation of characters and events. Techniques considered include the prominence of dialogue, stereotypical narratives, artful repetition, and the weaving together various sources into a unified narrative. Alter shows that a careful, knowledgeable reading of the text will show the skill of the ancient authors. Of note was his discussion of the prominence and the use of dialogue in telling a story and focusing the reader’s attention on the central concern. Also useful was his discussion of repetition, demonstrating it as a deliberate phenomenon and not necessarily signs of a different sources unskillfully combined. A major emphasis was the need to notice differences in repeated material or deviations from standard paradigms to discern significance in the narrative.

  • “Reformation Then and Now”- New Horizons (October 2006)

The feature article discussed five areas of continued need for reformation based in Calvin’s writings concerning the Reformation in his day. The five areas of concern Scripture, worship, justification, the sacraments and the church. The article took note of current streams in the wider evangelical church, and made hints at concerns within Reformed circles, in particular the Federal Vision and New Perspective and Dr. Enn’s book. The other two principle articles concerned the Catholic church and their theology in light of the Second Vatican Council and Catholicism and liberty. An article of interest also concerned the needs and place of young adults in the church and efforts made by various churches to minister to them. The book Translating Truth: The Case for Essentially Literal Bible Translation a series of articles by Grudem, Leland Rylem. Collins, Poythress and Winters received a glowing evaluation.

  • “What is Public Worship? Is God Looking for You?”- Evangelium (Volume 4: Issue 4; October 2006)

The articles were included in a publication from Westminster Seminary California. The lead article concerned worship with an emphasis on the regulative principle. The second article examined women’s place in ministry, where it was briefly argued that a woman can be involved in any ministry a non-ordained man is. This was an interesting article, but needed more extensive and sound argumentation. The final major article dealt with Christ in the historical books, where a forced redemptive-historical reading was applied to two historical occurrences- the apostasy of Jeroboam and Ezra’s reading of the law.

  • Poetics and Interpretation of Biblical Narrative- Adele Berlin: 1983

A short book exploring some narrative technique in the Old Testament. Characterization and point of view are the two primary concepts examined by the author. The latter section is particularly helpful in examining how a narrative presents a particular point of view, and may transition between several different perspectives in a narrative. The author used the book of Ruth as an illustration of the principles she outlined. The book concludes with an examination of the literary qualities of the narrative and their impact on source and form criticism.

  • “Young, Restless, Reformed” Christianity Today- Collin Hansen: (Volume 50: Number 9, September 2006)

A short article outlining the resurgence of Calvinism among the younger generations, particularly through Jonathan Edwards; the article highlights John Piper, Josh Harris, Al Mohler and Mark Dever. The discussion focuses on Calvinism in Baptist circles, with little discussion of those who are within Reformed churches, with the exception of a mention of R. C. Sproul.

  • Misquoting Jesus: The Story Behind Who Changed the Bible and Why- Bart D. Ehrman: 2005

An introductory book to textual criticism written at a popular level. After the author gives an overview of his personal history in Biblical studies, he examines the writing and copying practices during the period of the early church. Ehrman also offers an overview of the history of the Greek text and textual criticism. The strength of the book lies in the analysis of textual variants and the reflection of the theological and social discussions of the early church, demonstrating that intentional changes must be considered along with human error in determining the best reading.

  • Desecration- Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins (Book 9): 2001

The major events in the book centered on Caparthia’s desecration of the Temple and the protection of the Jewish Christians at Petra. David Hassid, computer expert died at Petra, while another pilot connected with the Tribulation force was killed. Chaim took on the persona of “Micah” and served as a second Moses. The actions of Caparthia are evil to the point of being comical, and the authors dispensational belief in the unique status of Jewish believers is even more pronounced in this volume.

  • “God-Inspired Scripture” - Benjamin B. Warfield. The Works of Benjamin B. Warfield

(Volume I- Revelation and Inspiration- pgs. 229-280)

The article examines in some depth the meaning of θεοπνευστος as used in II Timothy 3:16. Taking his starting point from a lexical entry by Dr. Hermann Cremer, Warfield examines the other occurrences of the word, especially in non-Christian usage, and its active or passive sense. Taking into account some of the text critical issues surrounding the term, Warfield argues that the term is not distinctly Christian, but was used by other authors than Paul. Warfield argues that the term also has an passive sense, expressing production from God, and not active sense, inspiring in relation to God.

  • “Preaching Christ from all the Scriptures” - Edmund P. Clowney. The Preacher and Preaching edited by Samuel T. Logan Jr. (163-191): 1986

An article exploring the centrality of Christ in both the Old and New Testament. The author contends that God intentionally structured events in the Old Testament to point towards and find their fulfillment in the person and work of Christ. A major concern of the essay is to encourage pastors to greater engagement with the Old Testament in preaching in a Christian manner. In expressing his redemptive-historical method, he outlines his famous rectangle. The examples Clowney chooses tend to more easily lend themselves to a redemptive historical reading; while the principles he espouses are more general and difficult to apply to many Old Testament texts.

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