Carta Publishing: 3 New Titles, at Introductory Discount

Carta 25 Off Banner

 

Carta–one of my favorite publishers–has just announced the release of some new titles. As with anything I’ve seen from Carta, they each look fascinating and thorough, even if the books themselves are brief.

Thanks to Carta, readers of Words on the Word (and anyone, really) can get 25% off a Web order at Carta’s online store. Simply click on any cover image below to go to that title, and enter the code 25-off to receive the discount. The offer is good through December 15 (UPDATE: December 31) or so.

Jerusalem City of the Great King

1. Jerusalem: City of the Great King, by R. Steven Notley (whose excellent works I have reviewed here and here)

This volume, the second of four in The Carta New Testament Atlas series, presents the latest advances in the history and archaeology of Jerusalem. The last fifty years in particular have seen significantly increased efforts to discover the city’s past. New finds every year render what is previously written almost out of date before the ink is dry. With an acknowledgement of this reality, together with a recognition that much of the Old City of Jerusalem remains inaccessible to archaeological investigation, the present work lays its shoulder to the challenge.

2. Understanding the Boat from the Time of Jesus: Galilean Seafaring, by Shelley Wachsmann

Understanding the BoatYes, an entire book (even if only 40 pages) devoted to understanding the state of the boat in Jesus’ time. When I flipped it open yesterday, I found myself drawn to and reading the two-page glossary of terms first! It’s a good sign that even the glossary is interesting. I’m excited to dig in to this one. Here’s the publisher’s description:

The ancient boat from the Sea of Galilee exhibited at the Yigal Allon Museum at Kibbutz Ginosar speaks of pivotal times on the lake two millennia ago, when an itinerant rabbi walked its shores and sailed its waters with his followers, and changed the world forever.

This volume aims to give the non-expert reader an in-depth understanding of the boat, the story of her discovery and excavation and, most importantly, her significance for illuminating Jesus’ ministry by helping us better understand its contemporaneous milieu of seafaring and fishing on the Sea of Galilee.

3. Understanding the Life of Jesus: An Introductory Atlas, by Michael Avi-Yonah, updated by R.Steven Notley

Understanding the Life of JesusUnderstanding the land of Jesus is a necessary component to comprehending the message he proclaimed. From the beginning of the four Gospels until their end, the Evangelists assume that we possess an intimate knowledge of the historical and geographical stage onto which Jesus stepped.

For most Christian readers this is unfortunately not true. Many have not had the opportunity to visit the Holy Land. Even for those who have, it can prove to be a confusing experience. Much about life in this land has changed over the course of two millennia.…

It is hoped that the maps [in this book] and the brief texts that accompany them can serve as a guide for the Christian reader to navigate the geographical stages in the Gospel accounts. …May the reader be aided in their pursuit to follow the steps of the Master and to grasp more clearly the message he preached.

As I have a chance to explore these titles more, I’ll report back. Again, the code is 25-off at Carta’s online store. (UPDATE 2: This code is good for the titles above and anything else in the store, not the least of which is this beauty of a book.) Also, if you have 13 seconds, are on Twitter, and like to share your opinions about printed maps, check out this poll, which particularly has the last title above in mind.

 


 

View my reviews of Carta works here. Check out their site here, and go here to see their works via Hendrickson, their U.S. distributor. For the next few weeks, however, the titles above are only available through Carta’s site.

Baron Fig: Put Your Confidant Notebook in Leather

The inside of a Baron Fig Confidant is exactly what I want in a notebook: off-white paper, perfect thickness (no bleed-through with my Pilot G2 07 gel pen), and an option for dot grid paper. It looks like this:

 

Confidant Page Up Close

 

When I reviewed the Confidant notebook, I was generally impressed with it, but not with the aesthetic of the binding:

 

Binding

 

Today, however, Baron Fig announced a leather slip case for the Confidant. It looks awesome:

 

Screengrab from Baron Fig's site
Screengrab from Baron Fig’s site

 

The Guardian notebook cover is here. (And here‘s my original review of the Confidant.)

Baron Fig’s Confidant Notebook, Reviewed

The first thing I noticed about Baron Fig’s Confidant notebook is that the paper is a delicious off-white. The paper’s thickness is perfect: there’s not very much writing bleed-through at all, even when using a Pilot G2 07 gel pen. That’s probably my first desideratum in a notebook, and Baron Fig nails it here.

The Confidant comes with blank paper, ruled paper, or dot grid paper, which is what I reviewed for review. The grey dots are visible and usable as guides for diagramming or sketching or writing… but they’re also subtle enough to stay out of your way. A great balance here.

 

Confidant Page Up Close

 

The Confidant lays flat, just as Baron Fig claims, though sometimes a bit of pushing down on the pages is required for them to stay flat. But this will happen naturally as you’re writing or sketching anyway. The binding itself lays flat as you’d hope. As you can see:

 

Baron Fig Confidant with writing
You guessed it: I started this blog post in my Confidant notebook

 

The acid-free paper means the book is built to last. And the dimensions just feel perfect to me: 5.4 by 7.7 inches. It’s 192 pages, with 12 pages at the back of the journal which are perforated. In other words, it’s enough space to keep you supplied for a while, but not so much that you’ve got a bulky journal to carry around. The portability is right on.

The cloth cover looks and feels good. The binding is sewn (yes!), which is, of course, one reason it lays flat so well.

I was not as impressed with the aesthetic of the binding: I thought it could have used maybe a thicker piece of cloth to cover up the binding construction that is so easily visible? I might just be missing that the look is intentional, but it didn’t appeal to me.

 

Binding

 

But let me step back for a moment. The packaging is top-notch. The notebook comes in its own attractive case, so that it’s gift-ready:

 

Confidant Gift Box

 

And as design goes, these folks are impressive. (See their Website here, for example.) Here’s a little clip from the insert that comes inside the box with the journal:

 

Confidant Design

 

The Confidant notebook comes with a ribbon for marking your place. I greatly appreciated this. It is about twice the thickness of most other ribbon markers, though, so it felt to me like it was out of step with the rest of the notebook. I have gotten used to this over time.

*******

Overall, the critiques above notwithstanding, I’ve had a positive experience using the Confidant, which gives me a notebook I really do want to reach for and write in! It goes with me in my satchel just about everywhere I go now.

You can learn more about the Confidant here and order it here.

Bonus paragraph: Baron Fig also makes the pocket-sized Apprentice notebook, which I think is an A+ in its class. It fits perfectly into even small pockets and isn’t a nuisance there. I’ve been carrying one of those around, too, so I don’t have to whip out a device every time I want to write down an action item I’ve committed to. The 3.5″ by 5″ little guy comes in a three-pack. More info on the Apprentice notebook is here; you can order here.

 


 

Many thanks to the awesome people at Baron Fig for the notebooks for review! Check them out here.

Book Note: Advances in the Study of Greek

Advances in the Study of Greek

 

I really appreciated Constantine R. Campbell’s Basics of Verbal Aspect in Biblical Greek. Yes, I read it cover to cover. And no, it was not even for a book review or class! Just for fun. I don’t know enough to wade intelligently into the minutiae of the verbal aspect debate, but I do know that Campbell presented his view succinctly and clearly in that work. I felt like I had a good, basic grasp on aspect after working through that book.

Now Advances in the Study of Greek releases this month. It surveys the thoughts, studies, and work of many Greek scholars. It’s got a chapter on aspect, but covers much more territory than just that.

Here is the description from the publisher’s page:

Advances in the Study of Greek offers an introduction to issues of interest in the current world of Greek scholarship. Those within Greek scholarship will welcome this book as a tool that puts students, pastors, professors, and commentators firmly in touch with what is going on in Greek studies. Those outside Greek scholarship will warmly receive Advances in the Study of Greek as a resource to get themselves up to speed in Greek studies. Free of technical linguistic jargon, the scholarship contained within is highly accessible to outsiders.

Advances in the Study of Greek provides an accessible introduction for students, pastors, professors, and commentators to understand the current issues of interest in this period of paradigm shift.

I’m looking forward to reading it and writing the review, which will be published in an upcoming issue of Bible Study Magazine. Check out the book here.

Omar Comin’…. (for real, this time)

A long time ago I promised you:

Coming soon to this blog… some interaction with The Wire. Stay tuned.

I showed you the cover of this book:

 

The Wire

 

I’ve read a chunk of it, and more than half of this book, too:

 

Source: http://hub.jhu.edu/
Source: http://hub.jhu.edu/

 

(Find it at Amazon here.)

From the product page of publisher Johns Hopkins University Press:

Did Omar Little die of lead poisoning? Would a decriminalization strategy like the one in Hamsterdam end the War on Drugs? What will it take to save neglected kids like Wallace and Dukie? Tapping into ‘The Wire’ uses the acclaimed television series as a road map for exploring connections between inner-city poverty and drug-related violence. Past Baltimore City health commissioner Peter Beilenson teams up with former Baltimore Sun reporter Patrick A. McGuire to deliver a compelling, highly readable examination of urban policy and public health issues affecting cities across the nation. Each chapter recounts scenes from episodes of the HBO series, placing the characters’ challenges into the broader context of public policy.

So far the main thrust of the book is to (mostly convincingly) suggest that decriminalizing (or “medicalizing”) drug use can go a long way to advance public health. More specifically, there is a call to keep non-violent drug offenders out of jail and get them into treatment options. I’ll have more to say on the matter when I review the book–which really will happen this summer.

So, yes, patient readers, more on The Wire is coming to Words on the Word.

Va-yikra’: A JPS Companion for Reading Leviticus

I think I am actually on pace to finish my Bible-in-a-Year reading plan in two years–but, as I’ve said before, as much as I value getting a good overview of all of Scripture in a short time, it’s so deep and rich (and sometimes surprising and/or befuddling) that I keep wanting to go slow. This is not, of course, a bad thing. The reading plan can wait.

JPS Torah LeviticusThe JPS Torah Commentary has been my go-to companion for reading through the first five books of the Bible. I’m three volumes in, and each one has been excellent. See what I say about the Genesis volume here, and the Exodus volume here and here. Now I’ve found myself similarly aided by Baruch A. Levine’s JPS Torah Commentary: Leviticus as I’ve made my way through that dense book of the Bible.

Levine’s commentary is more difficult to sit down and read through than Nahum Sarna’s Genesis or Exodus volumes, but this is less because of Levine and more because Leviticus does not have the same narrative flow of Genesis and Exodus. Its descriptions of laws and rituals are difficult for the uninitiated (um… and for the initiated) to wade through. It’s dense.

But Levine matches the density of the text with detail of his own, drawing also on rabbinical traditions to help the reader understand the world of the text. Levine addresses historical background and theology, as well as exegetical detail at the word level. But even his detailed exegesis highlights the larger literary context, so you can see the interrelations of Scripture as you read this commentary.

Allow me to share a specific example.

Here is the Hebrew text (nicely included in this commentary) of the admittedly harsh-sounding Leviticus 26:21:

 

Hebrew text of Leviticus

 

Here’s the verse in the Jewish Publication Society’s New JPS translation–also included in this edition:

And if you remain hostile toward Me and refuse to obey Me, I will go on smiting you sevenfold for your sins.

Levine’s comment for the verse focuses on the phrase, “And if you remain hostile toward Me.” Note how he balances lexical analysis with both extrabiblical and biblical references (the Hebrew in the commentary is transliterated throughout):

 

Here, again, is a transition, where the conditions for God’s forgiveness are stated.

Hebrew keri, “hostility,” and the idiom halakh ʿim. . . be-keri, “to walk with. . . in hostility,” are unique to this chapter. Targum Onkelos translates be-kashyu, “with hardness, obstinacy,” deriving keri from the root k-r-r, “to be cold.” Compare the noun form karah, “cold wave,” in Nahum 3:17, and mekerah, “cool chamber,” in Judges 3:24. The reverse of “walking in hostility” is “agreeing to obey” (ʾavah li-shmoʿa) suggesting that keri is synonymous with meri, “rebelliousness.” Note the contrast in Isaiah 1:19–20: “If, then, you agree and give heed, / You will eat the good things of the earth; / But if you refuse and disobey (u-meritem), / You will be devoured by the sword.” The notion of meri as “rebelliousness” is a major theme in the prophecies of Ezekiel, but the term keri occurs nowhere else in the Bible; hence its meaning remains uncertain.

 

There is one other portion I need to quote at length, since it comes in Levine’s opening explanation of the sacrificial system in Leviticus 1. Maybe I’m obtuse or just not familiar enough with Leviticus, but I had somehow missed until now that one could not sacrifice to expiate for intentional sins:

It should be emphasized here, as the workings of the sacrificial system are introduced to the reader, that the laws of the Torah did not permit Israelites to expiate intentional or premeditated offenses by means of sacrifice. There was no vicarious, ritual remedy—substitution of one’s property or wealth—for such violations, whether they were perpetrated against other individuals or against God Himself. In those cases, the law dealt directly with the offender, imposing real punishments and acting to prevent recurrences. The entire expiatory system ordained in the Torah must be understood in this light. Ritual expiation was restricted to situations where a reasonable doubt existed as to the willfulness of the offense. Even then, restitution was always required where loss or injury to another person had occurred. The mistaken notion that ritual worship could atone for criminality or intentional religious desecration was persistently attacked by the prophets of Israel, who considered it a major threat to the entire covenantal relationship between Israel and God.

Is this why David in Psalm 51 says,” For you have no delight in sacrifice; if I were to give a burnt offering, you would not be pleased”?

Levine comes back to this theme as Leviticus introduces the various offering types. He also explains the difference between sin and impurity, in a way that is really helpful for more fully engaging Leviticus.

The Introduction is some 30 pages, addressing both “The Leviticus Text” (which summarizes the book, highlights its structure, discusses its formation, and compares early versions) and “The Context” (Levine spells out how this commentary supports “the realism of Leviticus”). The 11 Excursuses (spanning some 40 pages) are utterly fascinating, covering topics like dietary laws, the scapegoat ritual, the festivals, and more.

All that is already more than enough to help the reader or teacher in her/his quest to better enter the world of Leviticus. But then the icing on the cake is the section called, “Leviticus in the Ongoing Jewish Tradition.” Here Levine hopes that “the reader of the Commentary may catch a glimpse of continuity and change and focus attention on the lasting relevance of Leviticus.”

And here’s some icing to go on that other icing: the binding is sewn and the book is beautifully bound. I’m quite sure I’ll be returning to this commentary again, but first–I’ve got more of the Torah to read through.

 

Tolle, lege.

 


 

Many thanks to the folks at University of Nebraska Press/Jewish Publication Society for sending me a copy of the commentary for review. The book’s JPS product page is here; you can order it through Nebraska Press here. Find it on Amazon here.

Prefer an electronic edition? Accordance has the JPS Torah Commentary here.

From the Publishers Who Brought Us The Sacred Bridge: In the Master’s Steps

In the Master's StepsFar and away, The Sacred Bridge is the best Bible atlas–and one of the most impressive books–I’ve ever used. Now Carta is beginning to publish bite-sized adaptations from that massive and beautiful work. In the Master’s Steps: The Gospels in the Land is Volume 1 of The Carta New Testament Atlas, to be released in four total volumes. In the Master’s Steps is “partially excerpted” from The Sacred Bridge (TSB). (EDIT/UPDATE: Volume 2 will not be an excerpt from TSB–it’s a new work.)

The hope of the book, author R. Steven Notley writes, “is that a better understanding of the physical setting and events that framed the life of Jesus can assist us to hear more clearly the message he proclaimed.” Or, as St. Jerome puts it (quoted in this book):

Five gospels record the life of Jesus. Four you will find in books and the one you will find in the land they call Holy. Read the fifth gospel and the world of the four will open to you.

Those of us who have not yet had occasion to travel to Israel will have to settle for books such as Notley’s. However, as one makes her or his way through Notley’s careful writing, the vivid images, and the flawlessly rendered maps–one realizes there is no settling with this book. It’s the next best thing until such a day as one can make it to the Holy Land.

This book does not differ very much from its corresponding TSB sections, though this one is intended for a wider, more popular audience. Owners of TSB do not need to buy this volume, which does, however, carry with it the advantage of being portable, affordable, and concisely addressing the life of Jesus. If you don’t have TSB and are interested in geography and the New Testament, definitely pick up this work.

A few highlights in review:

Like all Carta books I’ve put my hands on, this one is of high quality. It’s paperback, but the thick, semi-glossy paper helps the full-color images really pop, and is perfect for making marginal notes in pencil.

As with The Sacred Bridge there is an index of place names, but not an index of Scripture references. Notley includes plenty of references, especially at the multiple points where he seeks to explain what could be, in fact, a harmony of apparently divergent gospel accounts when it comes to certain geographical details. Or if no harmonization is possible, Notley at least offers side-by-side comparisons.

The content of In the Master’s Steps is culled from chapter 22 of The Sacred Bridge, which, as it turns out, is the chapter I chose to profile most in-depth in my TSB review. Rather than repeat myself here, I simply refer you to my section 4 (“Case Study: The Sacred Bridge on The Holy Gospels”) here. Most, if not all, of what I say about the content there would apply to this book under review.

Here are the chapters of In the Master’s Steps:

  1. The Birth of Jesus and the Flight into Egypt
  2. The Ministry of John and the Baptism of Jesus
  3. The Travels of Jesus
  4. The Sea of Galilee: Development of an Early Christian Toponym
  5. The First-century Environs of the Sea of Galilee
  6. The Last Days of Jesus
  7. Jesus and the Myth of an Essene Quarter in Jerusalem
  8. The Arrest and Death of Jesus
  9. From the Empty Tomb to the Road to Emmaus

Okay, I will quote this one helpful paragraph that leads off chapter 5 of In The Master’s Steps:

Events recorded in the ministry of Jesus outside of Jerusalem are primarily located in the region around the Sea of Galilee, specifically in the north and northwest area of the lake. The Gospels are an important historical witness for Jewish settlement in this region. Scholarship seldom notes that for many of these settlements, their first mention in the literary witnesses is in the New Testament. After a confrontation in the synagogue in Nazareth, his boyhood home, Jesus relocated to Capernaum on the Sea of Galilee (Mt 4:13; Mk 1:21; Lk 4:31). This village would become the center of his ministry in the region. We now turn our attention to settlements around the Sea of Galilee that find mention in the New Testament.

Here is a sample of the graphics and maps to be enjoyed (click on each image to enlarge):

 

Last Days of Jesus
Carta Caption: The arrest, interrogation and execution of Jesus

 

Around the Lake of Gennesaret (Sea of Galilee) (Carta's caption)
Around the Sea of Galilee (Carta’s caption)

 

To book’s hope, to revisit it again, “is that a better understanding of the physical setting and events that framed the life of Jesus can assist us to hear more clearly the message he proclaimed.” Reading through In the Master’s Steps will certainly offer such an understanding for the teacher, student, reader, or person of faith who picks up the book. The connections between geography and theological applications are not often made explicit here, but the reader will have more than enough historical background and imagery to begin to make those associations for herself or himself.

 


 

Many thanks to the good folks at Carta for sending the book. They didn’t ask for a review, so I write this of my own volition! I think they are one of the finest publishers in the business today. Check out their site here, and go here to see their works via Hendrickson, their U.S. distributor.

Read Matthew and Mark in Six Languages at Once

Matthew and Mark Polyglot

 

Much as I am grateful to be able to see the text of the Bible in multiple languages at one time on a computer, sometimes you just want to curl up with a good, printed edition of a 6-language polyglot.

Fredrick J. Long and T. Michael W. Halcomb have begun such a series, with the recent publishing of Matthew and Mark in Hebrew, Latin, Greek, English, German, and French. It’s obvious that an English-speaking Bible reader would want access to biblical texts in Greek and Hebrew and Latin. German and French, as major research languages for biblical and theological studies, complete the languages of this almost-500-page polyglot.

It’s a pretty sweet work, and an awesome way to practice multiple languages at once. Here’s what it looks like:

 

GlossaHouse Polyglot Matthew

 

The layout of the polyglot is clean and easy to follow. It would not be all that difficult to read through all of Matthew and/or Mark in a single language, if one so desired. The fonts are quite legible, although the Hebrew font for Mark differs from the Hebrew font for Matthew. (Also, the vowels are not properly centered under the Hebrew consonants in Mark. This doesn’t make reading it impossible, but I found it distracting.)

There is no critical apparatus, but this is no problem–Long and Halcomb intend simply to provide multiple texts for reading. (Text-critical notes on six languages would make this volume unwieldy, indeed!) The versions used are largely ones in the public domain. The Greek text, for example, is the Robinson-Pierpont Byzantine edition. I have a Greek reader’s Bible I used to use with this same edition. At first I worried that I wasn’t using the academic version of the NA28, but after using that reader’s Bible for a few weeks, I realized it really didn’t matter, if the goal was just to get better at reading Greek. So, too, here: not having the NA28 text included is no loss.

The English translation in Matthew is an authors’ revision of the 1901 American Standard Version (ASV). In Mark the authors use their own translation. They aim to be “fairly literal” in translating the Greek, I’ve never really agreed with such translations’ taking the Greek’s historical present, for example, and keeping it in the present tense in English.

For example, Mark 10:35 begins, “And they come near to him…,” which follows a Greek present participle, but then the two verses later in English has “they said to them” (my emphasis). Though this translates a Greek aorist in the expected way, I would have smoothed out the tenses for the purposes of readability in English translation–even while seeking to be close to the Greek text. Even somewhat literal translations of Greek ought to put its historical present into English past tense, in my opinion. But this perhaps just amounts to a difference in translation philosophy. And a benefit of the authors’ translating Mark this way is you can easily tell, if your Greek parsing is rusty, which Greek verbs are present and which are aorist, since Greek historical present is rendered as present in English.

Those concerns aside, this modern-day “Hexapla” is hard to beat as a way of learning (and keeping active) multiple languages at once. A resource like this would be essential for someone preparing for a Ph.D. program in biblical studies or theology. Pastors, such as yours truly, who want to keep their Greek and Hebrew alive can do so with just this single book.

GlossaHouse offers a wide selection of creative resources for language learning and retention. Check out their site here to see the Hexapla and more.

 


 

Thanks to the good folks at GlossaHouse for the review copy! Find it here on Amazon.

Book Review: Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man

Mark 13 is one of the most difficult chapters of the Bible to interpret and understand. From the “abomination of desolation” to the claim of Jesus that “this generation will not pass away until all these things have taken place,” the chapter is full of statements that could refer either to the near (historical) or far (apocalyptic) future.

Robert H. Stein’s goal in writing Jesus, the Temple and the Coming Son of Man: A Commentary on Mark 13 is to finish the sentence, “I, Mark (the author), have written Mark 13:1-37, because…”. Stein, author of the Baker Exegetical Commentary on the New Testament volume on Mark, is one of the best commentators one could hope to read on such a challenging and important chapter.

Here is Stein’s outline of Mark 13, in his words (p. 49):

 

  • 13:1-4: Jesus’ prediction of the destruction of the temple (and Jerusalem) (chapter 3 of this book)
  • 13:5-23: The coming destruction of the temple (and Jerusalem) and the sign preceding it (ch. 4)
  • 13:24-27: The coming of the Son of Man (ch. 5)
  • 13:28-31: The parable of the fig tree and the coming destruction of the temple (and Jerusalem) (ch. 6)
  • 13:32-37: The parable of the watchman and the exhortation to be alert for the coming of the Son of Man (ch. 7)

 

The majority of the book (chapters 3-7) is taken up with Stein’s exposition of each verse in Mark 13. Chapter 1 defines the goal of the book: “to understand what the author of the Gospel we call Mark meant and sought to convey by the present text of Mark 13” (39). Stein focuses especially on what Mark meant to “teach his readers by the Jesus traditions that he chose to include in this chapter, his arrangement of these traditions and his editorial work in the recording of this material” (45). Chapter 2 is “Key Issues Involved in Interpreting Mark 13.”

Chapter 8 is a really nice add-on, which consists of Stein’s “interpretive translation” of Mark 13. What a great idea! You can read the chapter in one sitting and see right away how Stein interprets it. This could be a really good starting point for the reader, as could the excellent and detailed “Outline” starting on p. 9 (basically an annotated table of contents).

Stein offers at the outset a nice tour of the so-called quests for the historical Jesus, and how that relates to reading Mark. But Stein doesn’t seem to think the authorship (Mark) or genre (historical narrative) of Mark matters much to the purpose of this short commentary. I find his views here less than compelling, but that didn’t keep me from being convinced by the rest of the book.

Two key points the book makes will give a sense of Stein’s approach:

  1. Stein differentiates between three settings we need to keep in mind: “the first involving the teaching of the historical Jesus to his disciples, the second involving the situation of the early church between the death and resurrection of Jesus and the writing of the Gospels, and the third involving the situation in which and for which the Evangelist Mark wrote his Gospel” (47).
  2. Because of the above point, Stein can tease out different settings and time-frames that different portions of Mark 13 refer to. He says, for example, “Mark does not see the coming of the Son of Man [AKJ: the apocalyptic imagery in 13:24-27] as part of Jesus’ answer (13:5-23) to the disciples’ twofold question (13:4) concerning the destruction of the temple” (72).

Throughout the book Stein keeps in view the distinction between the soon-to-come, 1st century future (destruction of the temple) and the distant, unknown day of the coming of the Son of Man. Stein acknowledges that it is “easy to intermix these two horizons [two settings in time] of the text, and the result is confusion and lack of clarity in understanding either setting in time” (100). Much of the chapter, Stein argues (but not all), anticipates the destruction of the Jerusalem temple in A.D. 70.

You don’t need to know Greek to make good use of this text, but Stein does keep (transliterated) Greek in front of him so he can analyze the text at the word and phrase level. He is really good, too, at using a broader biblical context to help explain specific parts of Mark 13.

I read the book cover-to-cover in a few sittings—it was that intriguing! As detailed and in-depth as Stein’s reasoning is, it reads really nicely: his tone is conversational, which makes it easy to try to sort through some tough hermeneutical issues. Stein’s is certainly not the only possible interpretation of Mark 13, but it’s a persuasive one.

 

Thanks to the fine folks at IVP Academic for the review copy. Find the book here at IVP’s site, or here on Amazon.

Two New Greek-Related Books Coming from Baker Academic

Invitation to the Septuagint 2nd EdDecember 1 is a long way away. But it’s the release date for two Baker Academic books I’m looking forward to checking out. (HT: Cliff Kvidahl.)

 

1. Going Deeper with Biblical Greek: Reading the New Testament with Fluency and Devotion, by Rodney A. Whitacre

From what I can tell, Whitacre explains lectio divina… using the Greek text. I had never even considered the possibility, but it sounds amazing.

 

2. Invitation to the Septuagint (Second Edition), by Karen H. Jobes and Moisés Silva

Jobes and Silva update and revise their classic work in Septuagint studies.

I’ll do what I can to report more on each of these books when they arrive. They are both volumes to eagerly await.