The Tree of Life


The tree of life is an iconic visual symbol at the edge of religious thought over the last several millennia. As a show of its significance, the tree bookends the Christian canon; yet scholarship has paid it minimal attention in the modern era. In The Tree of Life a team of scholars explore the origin, development, meaning, reception, and theology of this consequential yet obscure symbol. The fourteen essays trek from the origins of the tree in the texts and material culture of the ancient Near East, to its notable roles in biblical literature, to its expansion by early church fathers and Gnostics, to its rebirth in medieval art and culture, and to its place in modern theological thought.

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Douglas Estes (Ph.D., University of Nottingham) is Associate Professor of New Testament and Practical Theology at South University. His latest book is Questions and Rhetoric in the Greek New Testament (Zondervan, 2017). He is the editor of Didaktikos (Lexham Press).

Contributors are: Amy L. Balogh, James H. Charlesworth, Charles L. Echols, Mark Edwards, Douglas Estes, Christopher Heard, Dustyn Elizabeth Keepers, Ty David Kieser, Peter T. Lanfer, Jutta Leonhardt Balzer, G. Ronald Murphy, S.J., William R. Osborne, Ken M. Penner, Pippa Salonius, Carl B. Smith II, Beth M. Stovell, Daniel J. Treier.
List of Figures
Notes on Contributors

Douglas Estes

1 The Tree of Life in Ancient Near Eastern Literature
Charles L. Echols

2 The Tree of Life in Ancient Near Eastern Iconography
Amy L. Balogh

3 The Tree of Life in Genesis
Christopher Heard

4 The Tree of Life in Proverbs and Psalms
William R. Osborne

5 The Tree of Life in Jewish-Christian Legendary Texts
Peter T. Lanfer

6 The Tree of Life in Ancient Apocalypse
Beth M. Stovell

7 The Tree of Life in Enochic Literature
Ken M. Penner

8 The Tree of Life in the Apocalypse of John
Douglas Estes

9 The Tree of Life in Early Christian Literature
Mark Edwards

10 The Tree of Life in Philo
Jutta Leonhardt Balzer

11 The Tree of Life in Gnostic Literature
Carl B. Smith II

12 The Tree of Life in Medieval Iconography
Pippa Salonius

13 The Tree of Life in the North
G. Ronald Murphy, S.J.

14 The Tree of Life in Modern Theological Thought
Daniel J. Treier, Dustyn Elizabeth Keepers and Ty David Kieser

Douglas Estes

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