Paul S. Evans,
. The Story of God Bible Commentary. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2018. 560 pp. hb. $ 44.99, ISBN 978-0-310-49093-7.
The theology and literary structure of the books of 1–2 Samuel are complicated to say the least. Into the increasingly complicated discussion about these matters, Paul S. Evans has brought a new voice in his 1–2 Samuel commentary. As part of The Story of God Bible Commentary series, the intended audience is pastors, and the goal is to illuminate not only the original meaning of the text but also the
Jeffrey D. Johnson,
The Failure of Natural Theology: A Critical Appraisal of the Philosophical Theology of Thomas Aquinas
. Conway, AR: Free Grace Press Academic, 2021. 264 pp. hb. $ 40.00, ISBN 978-1952599378.
Thomas Aquinas ranks among the greatest minds in history. Author Jeffrey Johnson agrees: ‘I am awestruck. I am astonished by the rigor, depth, and extent of his thinking’ (p. 3). Thomas’s mastery of Scripture, philosophy and theology is rare so any critique of his works will also require a basic level of mastery. His magnum opus, the Summa Theologica, has
Helen K. Bond,
The First Biography of Jesus: Genre and Meaning in Mark’s Gospel
. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2020. xiii + 317 pp. hb. $ 42.99, ISBN 978-0802874603.
While most scholars have categorized the Gospels as ancient biographies, few explore adequately the implications of this genre classification. That is precisely what Helen Bond, Professor of Christian Origins at the University of Edinburgh, does in her well-written and well-researched piece, The First Biography of Jesus. When Bond asks the question of what it means to say that Mark’s Gospel is Graeco-Roman biography (βίος), most scholars
Bruce Lindley McCormack,
The Humility of the Eternal Son: Reformed Kenoticism and the Repair of Chalcedon
. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2021. xi + 316 pp. hb. $ 39.99, ISBN 978–1316518298.
In The Humility of the Eternal Son Princeton Seminary professor Bruce McCormack develops an account of God as ontologically defined and constituted by the historical incarnation of the Son. This continues a long-running theme in McCormack’s writings. He is convinced that historical Chalcedonian Christology was impaired by its commitment to divine impassibility. McCormack finds this idea ‘to be a pagan one in
In 1970, I. H. Marshall published Luke: Historian and Theologian. The influence Marshall had by the publication of Luke: Historian and Theologian has been seen in the various effects the book had on redaction-criticism in the field of New Testament studies, and how Luke, the writer of Luke-Acts, has since been appreciated as both a theologian and an historian, not one or the other, as it was before Marshall’s work. In 2021 at the 73rd national meeting of the Evangelical Theological Society and after a one-year postponement following the global pandemic, the Luke-Acts steering committee celebrated the 50th year of the publication of Marshall’s book with a section specifically dedicated to aspects of the book and its legacy.
I. H. Marshall’s Luke: Historian and Theologian was a relatively short volume published in 1970. It was written primarily to respond to Hans Conzelmann’s book, Die Mitte der Zeit (‘The Middle of Time’), which claimed that the author of Luke-Acts redacted his sources to respond to the crisis provoked by the delay of the parousia in the church of his day. While Marshall’s work had a relatively narrow focus, it had a surprisingly significant impact, not only defending the historicity of Luke-Act but also introducing evangelical readers to redaction criticism and the theological purposes of the Evangelists. Fifty years after its original publication, we survey the book’s contents and reflect on its impact for evangelical scholarship and New Testament studies in general.
David G. Firth,
Including the Stranger: Foreigners in the Former Prophets
. New Studies in Biblcal Theology 50. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity, 2019. xiv + 218 pp. pb. $ 28.00, ISBN 978-0-8308-2919-4.
David Firth’s Including the Stranger: Foreigners in the Former Prophets presents both a fresh and timely study, focusing on the sole theme of foreigners—one rarely discussed, though entirely pertinent in our current public discourse—while maintaining the New Studies in Biblical Theology characteristic of tracing such a theme systematically through the biblical text. Having been a foreigner my entire
Michael J. Lynch,
John Davenant’s Hypothetical Universalism: A Defense of Catholic and Reformed Orthodoxy
. New York: Oxford University Press, 2021. 272 pp. hb. $ 99.00, ISBN 978-0197555149.
John Davenant, successively Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity at Cambridge and Bishop of Salisbury, was one of the preeminent theologians of the early Stuart Church of England, and one of the British delegates who represented the Church of England at the Synod of Dordt (1618–19). Davenant was known especially for his ‘moderate’ Calvinism which insisted that God had ordained the death of Christ as a ‘universal redemption’ sufficient
I. Howard Marshall broke fresh ground with his Luke: Historian and Theologian in 1970 when the reigning critical methodology was a form of redaction criticism that largely assumed that theology and history were mutually exclusive. Not only did Marshall contest this assumption but he stressed that a historian was as good as his sources, and Luke had good ones. A half-century later, scholarship has significantly progressed, with Marshall’s views having left an important legacy. Multiple critical tools may be combined. Theology and history can work in tandem. Redaction criticism need not be antithetical to the historical reliability of a Gospel.
This essay reviews I. Howard Marshall’s chapter on salvation as the core theological theme of Luke-Acts in Luke: Historian and Theologian. He contends for the idea of salvation being rooted in historical events and challenged Hans Conzelmann’s idea of the delay of the parousia. Jesus as Saviour and salvation in its broadest terms are at the center of Luke’s concerns. An assessment follows. Many have joined Marshall since in contending for a historically rooted portrait of the early church’s message. The idea of Jesus as Messiah-Lord may be a better central term for Luke’s Christology than Saviour. The theme of salvation as tied to reconciliation has brought focus to Luke’s emphasis on salvation. Also traced is the central role of geographical progression to point to the theme of Gentiles’ inclusion, as well as Paul’s career. The legacy of Marshall’s work still lives fifty years after this work.