New Book on the Theology of Amos by John Barton

John Barton, The Theology of the Book of Amos. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2012. Pbk. ISBN-13: 9780521671750. pp.215.

The publisher’s blurb says:

In modern times Amos has come to be considered one of the most important prophets, mainly for his uncompromising message about social justice. This book provides a detailed exploration of this theme and other important elements of the theology underlying the book of Amos. It also includes chapters on the text itself, providing a critical assessment of how the book came to be, the original message of Amos and his circle, which parts of the book may have been added by later scribes, and the finished form of the book. The author also considers the book’s reception in ancient and modern times by interpreters as varied as rabbis, the Church Fathers, the Reformers and liberation theologians. Throughout, the focus is on how to read the book of Amos holistically to understand the organic development of the prophet’s message through the many stages of the book’s development and interpretation.

Table of Contents:
General editors’ preface
Preface
1. Amos: the critical issues
2. Religious belief and practice in Amos’s day
3. The theology of Amos and his circle
4. Theological theme in the additions to the book of Amos
5. The theology of the book of Amos
6. The reception of the theology of Amos
7. The theology of Amos then and now.
Features:
• Provides an up-to-date survey of theories about the writing and theology of the book of Amos
• Discusses social justice in the prophets and links to Liberation Theology
• Reflects current interest in reading the ‘final form’ of biblical books

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament Vol 1

The JESOT website explains:

Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament (JESOT) is a peer-reviewed journal devoted to the academic and evangelical study of the Old Testament. The journal seeks to fill a need in academia by providing a venue for high-level scholarship on the Old Testament from an evangelical standpoint. The journal is not affiliated with any particular academic institution, and with an international editorial board, online format, and multi-language submissions, JESOT cultivates and promotes Old Testament scholarship in the evangelical global community. The journal differs from many evangelical journals in that it seeks to publish current academic research in the areas of ancient Near Eastern backgrounds, Dead Sea Scrolls, Rabbinics, Linguistics, Septuagint, Research Methodology, Literary Analysis, Exegesis, Text Criticism, and Theology as they pertain only to the Old Testament. The journal will be freely available to the scholarly community and will be published bi-annually online. Hard copies will be produced by request. JESOT also includes up-to-date book reviews on various academic studies of the Old Testament.

The contents of the first issue are:

Michael S. Hieser, “Does Divine Plurality in the Hebrew Bible Demonstrate an Evolution from Polytheism to Monotheism in Israelite Religion?” Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 1-12.

Eugene H. Merrilll, “Deuteronomy and de Wette: A Fresh Look at a Fallacious Premise,”  Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 25-42.

Joel E. Anderson, “A Narrative Reading of Solomon’s Execution of Joab in 1 Kings 1 – 2: Letting Story Interpret Story,”  Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 43-62.

Todd Scacewater, “Divorce and Remarriage in Deuteronomy 24:1 – 4,?  Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 63-79.

John F. Hobbins, “Critical Biblical Theology in a New Key A Review Article,”  Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 81-101.

“Book Reviews,”  Journal for the Evangelical Study of the Old Testament 1.1 (2012): 103-130.

HT: Ancient Hebrew Poetry, which has a favourable review here.

The Jesus Scandals: Book Review and Giveaway

Instone-Brewer, David I was dlighted when David Instone-Brewer, with whom I work on Tyndale House’s STEP Project, contacted me and asked me to write a review of his latest book, The Jesus Scandals: Why He Shocked His Contemporaries (and Still Shocks Today).
I have always been fascinated with research that attempts to shed light on the meaning of obscure biblical texts by drawing upon relevant background material from the culture of day. In this case the author uses the theme of “Scandals” in Jesus’ life and teachings and among Jesus’ friends, using his extensive knowledge of rabbinic sources, to explain why what Jesus said and did was so shocking to the religious people of his day. scandals-small Each chapter contains references to these sources for further reading.

Of course, there are dangers in relying on background alone to clarify the meaning of biblical texts. There are countless examples where new interpretations of particular verses have been suggested based on background material that later turned out to have been misinterpreted, or in one case I can think of, completely fabricated! Rabbinic material is difficult to date, so that danger of an anachronistic interpretation is very real. However, the author is well aware of these potential pitfalls (as he has described in detail elsewhere), and strives to avoid falling into them.
The chapters are deliberately short and pithy, allowing them to be read in a few minutes, meaning that they could easily be used to provoke a discussion in a Bible Study or home group context, especially as a modern day application is suggested. The chapter on “Censored Arrest Warrant”, based on a document acquired by Tyndale House in Cambridge, where David works, can also be viewed as a video:

I found this and the chapter on “Child Abuse” particularly interesting as I had never come across this material before. Those interested in the New Testament teaching on divorce will want to read the chapters on “No Fault Divorce” and “Marital Abuse”, perhaps going on to read the author’s major work on that subject [Divorce and Remarriage in the Church: Biblical Solutions for Pastoral Realities].

Whether you agree with all of David’s conclusions or not, I am sure that you will find as I did that your understanding of the context of Jesus’ life and ministry is expanded and enhanced, and so warmly recommend this book. For a sample chapter and a peak at the introduction and table of contents, click here.

I thought that this was such a great book that I bought another copy which you can win book by entering the giveaway below [i.e. it is not the free copy I was sent to review 🙂 ].

This Giveaway is now closed.