Kevin J. Youngblood’s Excellent Jonah Commentary, Second Edition

 

I preached through Jonah in Advent 2014. It remains one of my favorite series to prepare and preach–unlikely liturgical pairing notwithstanding.

In those days, I read as many Jonah commentaries as I could get my hands on. Kevin J. Youngblood’s rose to the top. Then it was part of a series called Hearing the Message of Scripture. Now it has been released in its second edition, with the series name being changed to the less exciting Zondervan Exegetical Commentary on the Old Testament, to bring OT volumes in line with the NT volumes of the same overall series.

Zondervan was gracious to send me a review copy of the Second Edition.

The changes are minor, and they are really only three:

  1. The re-branded series name
  2. Transliterated Hebrew is replaced with actual Hebrew text (yay!)
  3. The author’s translation and visual layout of the text includes the original Hebrw text now, too

Here, for example, is how that text layout section has changed (the new edition is the one on the bottom):

 

 

Otherwise, the text is identical to the first edition. (Even the Bibliography has not been updated, from what I can see.) So if you own the first edition, there’s no need to also get the second. But if you don’t own this commentary, by all means, check it out from a library or purchase it. Even if you don’t know Hebrew, this is an excellent guide to a beautiful and challenging biblical book.

For my full review of the first edition (which all applies to the second edition), see here.

 

New (Old) matt pond PA, Reviewed

mpPA
Photo by Anya Marina

 

Closer has always been one of my favorite songs by matt pond PA. So I was pumped when it was the first-released single on their new album, A Collection Of Bees Part 1, 12 tracks of rarities, demos, and a re-recording. It’s impossible to improve on the 2002 version of Closer, with the strings from Rachel’s, but the just-released demo is great, too. It took me right back to my Chicago suburbs 2003 existence where I first heard it.

It’s the strongest track on the new album, but the whole thing is great listening.

I lost track of mpPA after their 2007 Last Light. That album didn’t hit me the way The Green Fury and The Nature of Maps (both released in 2002) did. It didn’t feel as cohesive as Emblems (2004) or Several Arrows Later (2005), although all four of these albums are hard to top. I got back into mpPA again withThe Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand (2013, released by just “Matt Pond”). And I just bought Last Light at a used CD store the other day! I like it now more than I first did.

I reminisce because A Collection Of Bees Part 1 is a perfect opportunity to re-visit the band’s discography. The album spans quite a few records. I haven’t seen this anywhere yet, so here’s the track listing, followed by where (as best as I can tell) one would have first heard that track, or a version of it:

1. Starlet (Acoustic), The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand (2013)

2. Stopping, Threeep (2010)

3. Blue Fawn (First Light Demo), called “First Light” on Auri Sacra Fames (2008)

4. Love To Get Used (Demo), The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand (2013)

5. Wild Heart, Fleetwood Mac cover

6. First Fawn (Brooklyn Fawn Demo), called “Brooklyn Fawn” on The Dark Leaves (2010)

7. Lily 3 (Acoustic), bonus track from The Lives Inside the Lines in Your Hand (2013)

8. Remember Me, Threeep (2010)

9. Closer (Demo), The Nature of Maps (2002)

10 .The Colour Out of Space, Threeep (2010)

11. Round and Round, Free the Fawns (2016, obscure release!), maybe somewhere else, too?

12. The Wrong Man, Threeep (2010)

Even tracking down where these songs come from, I realize how much music this band has put out over the years! It’s awesome to revisit it all because of this new album, which itself holds together quite nicely.

You can hear the album here, and visit mpPA’s site here. I hope there is more where this came from.

 


 

Thanks to the powers-that-be for the advance release download of this fine album, so I could write a review.

Göttingen Septuagint in Accordance (Lowest Sale Price)

Septuaginta.band 1Accordance Bible has put its Göttingen Septuagint on sale, at its lowest price ever. There are 19 volumes, which span 34 Septuagint books. As Brian Davidson notes, Logos has five LXX volumes not in Accordance (Judith; Tobit; 3 Maccabees; Wisdom of Solomon; and Susanna, Daniel, and Bel et Draco), while only Accordance has the 2014 2 Chronicles. Neither has yet digitized the recently released Ecclesiastes volume.

$499 for the in-progress critical edition is not cheap, but serious students of the Septuagint will receive at least that much value from the modules. The Genesis print volume alone retails for about $250. The Accordance versions are morphologically tagged, so you never have to guess at a parsing or translation equivalent. As with all Accordance texts, Göttingen integrates seamlessly with lexicons, parallel texts, and other resources.

Here’s what the recently released 2 Chronicles volume looks like, with its apparatus open at bottom and two English translations of the Septuagint also open:

 

2 Chr LXX in Accordance

I’ve noted elsewhere that the critical apparatus in the Göttingen Septuagint is a text criticism workout. I’ve posted here and here about how to understand and use its apparatuses. Accordance hyperlinks all the abbreviations (everything in blue and underlined in the screenshot above is a hyperlink). The expanded abbreviations don’t mitigate the need for Latin and German in understanding the apparatus!

Apparatus Search Fields
Apparatus Search Fields

What especially sets Accordance apart from Logos is Accordance’s use of search fields in the apparatus, so that you can select a search field and run a more targeted search. I’ve found this most useful for when I’m trying to get a handle on how a particular manuscript might have treated the text. You can also search the apparatus by Greek content, so could see, for example, all of the Greek words that get treatment in the apparatus.

When I read through LXX Isaiah (mostly using Accordance) a few years ago, I made heavy use of Accordance’s “Compare” and “List Text Differences” features. This way you can see at a glance where Göttingen and Rahlfs or Swete differ on the book you’re looking at.

Do you want to really geek out on using the Septuagint in Accordance? Here‘s a post I wrote for their blog the other day, on using Accordance to generate a list of Greek vocabulary that New Testament readers might want to consider when coming to the Septuagint.

 

 


 

Disclosure: Accordance set me up with the 2 Chronicles volume to review. And I lead Webinars for them. That did not influence the objectivity of this post.

Bonhoeffer: Lying Destroys Community

 

Source: German Federal Archive
Source: German Federal Archive

Dietrich Bonhoeffer from his Cost of Discipleship:

Because the first and last concern of truthfulness is the revealing of persons in their whole being, in their evilness before God, such truthfulness is resisted by the sinner. That is why it is persecuted and crucified. The truthfulness of the disciples has its sole basis in following Jesus, in which he reveals our sins to us on the cross. Only the cross as God’s truth about us makes us truthful. Those who know the cross no longer shy away from any truth. Those who live under the cross can do without the oath as a commandment establishing truthfulness, for they exist in the perfect truth of God.

There is no truth toward Jesus without truth toward other people. Lying destroys community. But truth rends false community and founds genuine fellowship. There is no following Jesus without living in the truth unveiled before God and other people.

New (Boston-Inspired) Believe Training Journal

Last December I reviewed VeloPress’s Believe Training Journal (here). I’ve been using a new edition for the last few weeks. All due respect to the teal cover on my last one, I like this “Boston-inspired blue and gold” much better:

 

 

The souped-up journal comes from Lauren Fleshman and Roisin McGettigan-Dumas. As I noted with the previous edition, this one has:

  • a two-page spread for tracking run details each week… there are 54 undated weeks, so use them whenever you want
  • each week has a small box for “this week’s focus”… I consistently benefit from thinking through this each week (I otherwise never would on Strava, etc.)
  • similarly, each week ends with a few lines for a “rundown,” also the kind of reflection not built in to any activity tracking apps
  • quotes from different runners to inspire (this week it was Shalane Flanagan)
  • a guided goal-setting section
  • pages for logging races
  • what most sets this journal apart (and makes it more than just a blank journal): short articles on running-related topics like racing, recovery, community, setbacks, and more

Here are some pictures. You’ll see that I’ve been using the log so far to track my progress in injury recovery (I fractured my ankle in late October). I’d much rather be tracking runs, but right now recovery is my training plan:

 

 

There are “check-in” pages throughout, which has been a great place to record notes from doctor’s visits!

 

 

Here’s an article (this one was in the last journal I used, too):

 

 

As with other Believe journals, this one is undated (a year’s worth of pages) and includes an annual calendar where you could easily see multiple months’ worth of mileage at once.

This cover is “flexi-bound synthetic,” material which is a little stronger than softcover.

If your goal is to log your runs (distance, pace, mindset, weather, etc.), all you need is a blank notebook. Especially being in recovery mode, though, I’ve enjoyed having this journal with its additional reading material to keep me interested. I still appreciate the 6” x 7 ½” size and ribbon marker that keeps my place at the current week.

You can find the journal here, with other options available, as well.

 


 

Thanks to the great folks at VeloPress for the review copy.

One Album, Three Seasons! (Advent, Christmas, Epiphany)

Disclosure of Material Connection: One time when we were in college, hanging out outside Caribou Coffee, I put my hand on Steve’s forehead and started to fake push his head against the brick wall. But I didn’t let go soon enough, so caused him “actual pain,” the same safe words I had to employ another time when I was roughhousing with his friends in the chapel backstage area, and they broke my glasses. I don’t mean to suggest these two events are connected–just that, well… Steve and I go way back.

Disclosure of Material Connection, cont’d: Even at barely 20 he was a ridiculously gifted guitarist, singer, and songwriter. Some of my favorite college memories are Steve Thorngate concerts. Steve may remember most the time Abram Jones and His Loud, Loud Band opened for Steve and His Chair-Sitting Whispercore Corps, but the Steve concert experience I most remember is one he played at (now razed and rebuilt?) Pierce Chapel in Wheaton College. He and his band were loudly rocking an epic rendition of “If I Find You“, and Steve was, as the kids would say, absolutely crushing the major 7 intervals in the melody, as he scraped his pick–top string to bottom string–across an Fmaj7 with the top two strings open, walking the shape up two frets over the same melody, then sitting on an A minor while the melody resolved. Emo Abram was–and still is–in awe of that song. And I believe I may have witnessed its best performance that night.

Disclosure of Material Connection, still cont’d: In recent years Steve has brought his musical genius to bear in the church. There’s a lot of it here. Last year he released an album (digitally and now in CD form) called After the Longest Night: Songs for Advent, Christmas, & Epiphany.


One night as part of my kids’ bedtime routine, I played and sang them Steve’s song “The Thick Darkness Where God Dwells.” I introduced the song by saying, “This song is by my friend Steve.” At that point they’d heard After the Longest Night a few times. Two lines in to the song, I was interrupted by a resounding chorus of, “You KNOW HIM???” and, “Wait, is he famous?”

Steve has foregone the fame that was certain to be his, in service instead to the church. Last Advent I had to try hard not to quote Steve’s lyrics in every sermon. Listening to this album–and dialoguing with him about it over email–profoundly shaped my preaching last Advent, as well as stretched my understanding of light, darkness, and just where God resides.

Here are some highlights of this album:

  • A wide variety of musical arrangements
  • Many-part harmonies
  • FIVE Thorngates for the price of one
  • The melodies are immediately memorable, which bodes well for congregational singing, if you want to try some of these in that setting
  • Speaking of leading these songs with a congregation, Steve has you covered: the album comes with a PDF songbook
  • “The Thick Darkness Where God Dwells” was an early favorite track. For one, I love seeing a song based on such a moving Bible verse. For another, it’s a fresh exploration of themes of light and darkness… more than just light=good=God, dark=bad=devil, but a meaty exploration of what God-in-the-darkness looks like
  • I mean, just check out these lyrics:

    Winter days are so short. 
    In the nighttime keep watch for the Lord, 
    Who reverses our vision 
    With new order that we can’t see. 
    Yet we cry, “Jesus, come! 
    Here’s who needs to be saved; here’s who from!” 
    Learn to trust in the darkness, 
    Where our God of mystery dwells. 

  • Advent, Christmas, Epiphany: they are all here
  • One of the songs is called “The Night is Long (But Not for Long),” which I think beautifully captures the “already-but-not-yet” aspects of waiting

This is Steve’s first full-length album in 14 years, and I hope we’ll get to hear another one in less time. There’s more to say in praise of this musical offering, but I’ll stop there so you can go listen for yourself.