مرکزی صفحہ Religious Studies Review Remebered for Good: A Jewish Benefaction System in Ancient Palestine. By Susan Sorek. The Social...
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Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 need to be supplemented with digital color examples to be fully appreciated. Tyler Jo Smith University of Virginia • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 most unfamiliar aspects intelligible. Readers may quarrel with some of Roisman’s omissions, but on the whole, the book constitutes a very solid choice as a core text for a course in Greek history or civilization. Daniel W. Leon University of Virginia HOMER, THE ILIAD. Translated with an introduction and notes by Stephen Mitchell. New York: Free Press, 2011. Pp. lxiii + 466. $35.00. Mitchell’s Iliad translation is notable in part for what it leaves out: approximately 500 lines deemed questionable by M. L. West and others, the “baroque and nasty” book ten, and epithets that have no immediate bearing on their context. The result is strikingly direct and natural sounding, even if (arguably) incomplete. Mitchell’s introduction focuses on a vivid portrait of the Homeric worldview that helps the reader understand how a mother can “rejoic[e] at her son’s return from battle with the bloody armor of [his] enemy as if she were watching him . . . graduating from college.” The translation is particularly effective when it comes to battle scenes and blunt Homeric insults (a dead man falls “like a tower”; Achilles calls Agamemnon an “insolent son of a bitch”). Scenes of domesticity and mourning are less stylistically distinct, but nonetheless skillfully rendered. Mitchell’s translation is likely to be especially useful in the classroom or for any reader who wishes to experience the “ﬁller” battle scenes as something fresh and new. Molly Herbert University of North Dakota Christian Origins THE EERDMANS COMPANION TO THE BIBLE. Edited by Gordon D. Fee and Robert L. Hubbard, Jr. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011. Pp. xvii + 834. Cloth, $40.00. This book attempts the nearly impossible task of covering all the background material a layperson needs to know about the entire Bible in a single edition. The volume opens with a number of introducto; ry articles that touch on important subjects behind the text, e.g., lands, languages, archaeology, hermeneutics. Each chapter then outlines a book of the Bible with a brief section-by-section commentary, supplemented with overviews on issues raised in the texts (e.g., warfare, Temple, parables). Without delving in depth on any one topic, the editors have produced a volume that gives a succinct overview of each biblical book with enough detail to introduce a novice to the ﬁeld of biblical studies. The editors are successful in creating a useful tool for evangelical laypersons, although the lack of depth will make this book less than desirable for the scholar or student of the Bible. Matthew James Hamilton Southwest Virginia Community College ANCIENT GREECE FROM HOMER TO ALEXANDER: THE EVIDENCE. Edited by Joseph Roisman DICTIONARY OF SCRIPTURE AND ETHICS. Edited by Joel B. Green. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011. Pp. xix + 889. Cloth, $59.99. Three brief essays orient the reader through a general overview of the content, history, and methodology of examining ethics in scripture. Close to 500 entries contributed by an array of biblical scholars and ethicists fall into three broad categories: ethics and scripture (e.g., deontology, utilitarianism, social contract), ethics within scripture (e.g., purity regulations, economics, individual biblical books), and issues in Christian ethics (e.g., health care, ecology, sexuality, business). Despite the title, the clear emphasis herein is on Christian ethics, albeit with various entries dealing with aspects of Jewish moral codes. That is to say, missing are entries on the ethical perspectives of rabbinic traditions, and even the entry on Torah ends by discussing the “OT” portrayal in light of the mistaken Christian sense of Jewish legalism. To be fair, this Christian emphasis is clear from the outset. The editor notes that this introduction to scriptural ethics and their relevance to contemporary moral questions primarily aims to provide pastors with a reference tool for preaching, teaching, and counseling and to help biblical scholars and ethicists understand how to understand and embody Christian ethics. Overall, it is a with translations by J. C. Yardley. Malden, MA: WileyBlackwell, 2011. Pp. xlv + 642. Hardcover, $99.95; paper, $54.95. Roisman intends this sourcebook to introduce nonspecialists to the basic materials for the study of ancient Greek history, acknowledging openly that his selection of evidence is not comprehensive and based in part on his own interests. Accordingly, instructors who adopt this book will need to supplement it with additional materials. Roisman’s approach is traditional, focusing on political and military narratives, especially those pertaining to Athens and Sparta. Surprisingly, little attention is given to Macedonia, which is covered in the ﬁnal two (out of thirty-nine) chapters. Some material evidence is presented, but literary and epigraphic texts predominate. There is a companion web site that might have been used to host high-resolution color images or interactive features but instead offers essentially the same kind of evidence as the printed book. Roisman gives a helpful introduction and explanatory notes for each item. Criticalthinking questions follow each section, and every chapter ends with review exercises and a bibliography for further reading. Yardley’s translations are elegant and readable. An impressive apparatus of learning aids (e.g., glossary, maps, table of weights and measures) renders some of antiquity’s 164 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 REMEBERED FOR GOOD: A JEWISH BENEFACTION SYSTEM IN ANCIENT PALESTINE. By Susan well-executed resource that will best serve the Christian community and should ﬁnd a home in all seminary reference collections, at the very least. Richard S. Ascough School of Religion, Queen’s University Sorek. The Social World of Biblical Antiquity, 5. Shefﬁeld, UK: Shefﬁeld Phoenix Press, 2010. Pp. v + 285. Cloth, $110.00. Was the system of Jewish benefaction within Palestine distinct from the Greco-Roman system, and if so, was the underlying motivation of Jewish benefactions distinct as well? These are the major questions guiding Sorek’s monograph. To answer them, she compares Greco-Roman euergetism with late Second Temple and post-Temple epigraphic evidence, all of which suggests that the Jews of Palestine had a distinctive pattern of exchange. Sorek labels this distinct system hesedism, a motivational ideology grounded in the horizontal reciprocal laws of Deuteronomy. The basic idea of hesedism is twofold: 1) to avoid becoming dependent on a benefactor and 2) to contribute to the good of the community. To be sure, there are superﬁcial similarities with euergetism, but one fundamental difference is that hesedism is motivated by piety and good deeds, with God as the motivating agent of compassion in and through his people toward others. This tripartite sketch of God as benefactor, the Jewish person as a channel of benefaction, and the Jew or non-Jew as the recipient is indeed illuminating and opens some paths for further research. For example, it would be interesting to compare this pattern of exchange with Paul’s conception of gift, identifying the points of convergence and divergence, and then accounting for any differences created by the Christ-event. David Briones Sterling College KEEP YOUR GREEK: STRATEGIES FOR BUSY PEOPLE. By Constantine R. Campbell. Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2010. Pp. 90. Paper, $9.99. What most Greek teachers do on an ad hoc and informal basis—suggest ways for their students to “hang on” to the Greek they have acquired—the author has done purposely and formally. The result is a small and useful book of wise and practical advice, some familiar (e.g., “read every day,” “burn the interlinear”) and some less so (“use your senses”), that will enable its reader to do successfully exactly what the title encourages. The inclusion of blog responses at the end of chapters is a nice touch. A brief list of useful resources, electronic and print, closes the volume. Michael W. Holmes Bethel University VON DER SEPTUAGINTA ZUM NEUEN TESTAMENT: TEXTGESCHICHTLICHE ERÖRTERUNGEN. By Martin Karrer, Siefried Kreuzer, and Marcus Sigismund. Arbeiten zur neutestamentlichen Textforschung, 43. Berlin: De Gruyter, 2010. Pp. vi + 464. $195.00. The explosion of interest in the complex, fascinating, and interrelated textual histories of the Septuagint and NT has spurred the production of a variety of specialized studies on the topic. Von der Septuaginta zum Neuen Testament emerges as one of the more recent and consequential installments in this area. The by-product of series of workshops from the Institute for Septuagint Research at the Kirchliche Hochschule in Wuppertal Germany, this collection of predominantly German essays targets ﬁve main areas of study: text-types (“The Septuagint and the Antiochene Text”), scribal activity (“The Marking of Citations in the Manuscripts”), research aids (“The Development of Tools for the Textual History of NT Scripture Citations”), intertextuality (“Septuagint and NT Scripture Citations”), and the Apocalypse’s peculiar textual history (“The Apocalypse of John—Problems of Textual History and the Reception of Scripture”). The volume’s attention to particular manuscripts and their scribal features is a major strength of the work. The role of the diple in the great fourth-/ﬁfth-century codices, for example, is reappraised, as is the identiﬁcation of the scribes and correctors of Codex Alexandrinus. The reluctance of scribes to redact NT allusions to the LXX is also documented. Oft-repeated and unwarranted generalizations about scribes and scribal activity are consequently dealt another blow. The volume is required reading for the textual study of the LXX-NT. Juan Hernández, Jr. Bethel University “WHO IS THIS SON OF MAN?” THE LATEST SCHOLARSHIP ON A PUZZLING EXPRESSION OF THE HISTORICAL JESUS. Edited by Larry W. Hurtado and Paul L. Owen. Library of New Testament Studies, 390. New York: T & T Clark, 2011. Pp. vii + 191. Cloth, $130.00. This collection of essays explores the interpretive options for the phrase “son of man,” a frequent vehicle of self-expression of the Synoptic Jesus. Ultimately, the central problem concerns the titular or nontitular nature of the phrase. A. Lukaszweski introduces the methodological and linguistic issues, especially as they relate to the Aramaic origin of the phrase. Owen, D. Shepherd, and P. J. Williams each respond to the work of M. Casey, who has predominantly shaped the scholarly tradition. D. Bock, B. Reynolds, and D. Hannah examine the use of the expression in Jesus’s trial, the Gospel of John, and the Parables of Enoch, respectively. Finally, Hurtado summarizes the material evidence and offers some concluding observations that prove to be most helpful in framing this puzzling and provocative Greek phrase. As the ﬁrst collection of essays on this topic written exclusively in English, this volume provides a useful summary of the current conversation for advanced undergraduates, seminarians, and scholars alike. Matthew Ryan Hauge Azusa Paciﬁc University 165 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 FOUR PORTRAITS, ONE JESUS: A SURVEY OF JESUS AND THE GOSPELS. By Mark L. Strauss. Grand • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 that is going to serve as a case study to examine how the statements regarding the unique lordship of Jesus Christ in key Pauline texts (e.g., 1 Cor 8:5-6) would have been heard in their ancient contexts. Chapter one brieﬂy discusses the scope of the study and method, namely relevance theory. Chapters two and three present the cognitive environments of Paul and the Imperial Cults, respectively. Chapter four explores the semantic range of “lord” in the ﬁrst century, focusing on the relational nature of the term and the exclusivity of the “supreme lord.” Finally, chapter ﬁve examines select Pauline texts that feature unique modiﬁers, creedal formulas, and praises hymns as potential polemical devices intended to challenge the emperor as supreme lord in antiquity. Although the prose is wooden and clumsy at times, the data Fantin has collected concerning the place of the emperor in the ﬁrst century will prove to be invaluable for advanced undergraduates, seminarians, and scholars alike. Matthew Ryan Hauge Azusa Paciﬁc University Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011. Pp. 560. Cloth, $44.99. There are a number of good introductions to the gospels available today, yet Strauss’s textbook is a welcome addition because it is comprehensive, current (in scholarship), clear, and produced in a very attractive format (with numerous helpful charts and pictures). While Strauss regularly defends more conservative views regarding the gospels (e.g., authorship and authenticity of sayings and events), he offers balanced discussions that reﬂect fair recognition and respectful criticism of alternative views. The twenty chapters of the book are divided into four parts: introduction (chapters 1-3), setting (chapters 4-6), discussions of each gospel (chapters 7-10), and the historical Jesus (chapters 11-20). At the end of each chapter are summaries, lists of key terms, discussion and study questions, and a chapter-speciﬁc bibliography. This book could serve undergraduate and introductory seminary courses well, and I highly commend it to anyone interested in the gospels. Nijay K. Gupta Seattle Paciﬁc University DATING THE PASSION: THE LIFE OF JESUS AND THE EMERGENCE OF SCIENTIFIC CHRONOLOGY. By Philipp E. Nothaft. TAC 1.C. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Pp. 319. $166.00. The subtitle of this revised dissertation (Ludwig Maximilian University under Helmut Zedelmair, 2010) is far more important than the title for two reasons. First, the book discusses suggested dates for the birth of Jesus in addition to dates for Jesus’s passion. Second, and more importantly, Nothaft makes no effort independently to date the passion. This book is a historical survey of calendars and chronological studies and of the emergence of critical scientiﬁc chronologies with a strong emphasis on the importance of using eclipses for establishing ancient dates. The life of Jesus is used merely as a common reference point in many Western chronologies. The book’s chapters are arranged chronologically, beginning with Julius Africanus and “the Alexandrian 19-year cycle” and concluding with “clever Jean” in sixteenth-century Italy. The book is tightly written, richly documented, and well indexed. The book will serve religious studies scholars best as a guide tothe relevant primary sources. The book is recommended for research libraries. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA PSYCHOLOGICAL ANALYSES AND THE HISTORICAL JESUS: NEW WAYS TO EXPLORE CHRISTIAN ORIGINS. By Bas Van Os. Library of New Testament Studies, 432. New York: T & T Clark, 2011. Pp. xii + 222. $120.00. This blending of psychology, sociology, and sociohistorical studies attempts to establish a new framework to analyze the psychobiography of a “Theoretical Jesus” based on the literary remains of his followers. Van Os divides the book into three main parts: 1) a history of the use of psychobiography to study the historical Jesus; 2) a sociological analysis of the ﬁrst-generation followers of Jesus, including an overview of the demographics of the movement and the historical memory of Jesus found in Paul’s letters; and 3) a collection of essays that each deal with psychological theory in relation to the historical Jesus: Attachment Theory, Rational Choice Theory, Anthropological Psychology, Psychology of Religion and Coping, and Role Theory. Van Os succeeds in developing a framework to analyze what the earliest Christians thought about Jesus. The intended audience is limited to those researching the historical Jesus or studying psychology and religion. Matthew James Hamilton Southwest Virginia Community College THE CONTENT AND SETTING OF THE GOSPEL TRADITION. Edited by Mark Harding and Alanna THE LORD OF THE ENTIRE WORLD: LORD JESUS A CHALLENGE TO LORD CAESAR? By Joseph D. Fantin. Nobbs. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2010. Pp. 460. Paper, $55.00. This is a splendid collection! The eighteen essays in this volume, written by seventeen different (primarily Australian) scholars, cover the essential questions of intermediateto advanced-level gospel research. The ﬁrst third of the book New Testament Monographs, 31. Shefﬁeld, UK: Shefﬁeld Phoenix Press, 2011. Pp. viii + 327. Cloth, $120.00. In the Prologue of this revised dissertation (Shefﬁeld, 2007), Fantin introduces Demetrios, the ﬁctional character 166 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 MATTHEW, MARK, LUKE AND PAUL: THE INFLUENCE OF THE EPISTLES ON THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS. By David Oliver Smith. Eugene, OR: Resource surveys the social, political, archaeological, and religious contexts of the Jesus movement and the gospels, as well as some information on the gospels’ manuscript traditions. The remainder of the book examines key issues within the study of the gospel tradition, ranging from the relationships between the canonical and noncanonical gospels to the structure of Mark’s gospel. Several of the chapters are explicitly theological in orientation (e.g., “the ethics of Jesus” and “the titles of Jesus”), but the tone is consistently scholarly. Each chapter is richly documented and includes an up-to-date bibliography (although almost exclusively of English-language works). The volume is indexed for ancient writers and places (although neither for biblical texts nor for modern authors). The book’s most signiﬁcant limitation is the unevenness of coverage. There is a chapter on Mark’s literary structure but no comparable chapters on Matthew and Luke. John’s gospel is hardly addressed. This is a book about the (synoptic) gospel tradition—and not primarily about the gospels themselves. Still, the volume is highly recommended. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA Publications, 2011. Pp. xiv + 332. Paper, $38.00. Smith, a retired attorney from Texas, believes that his research establishes “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the historical Jesus never existed and that the gospels, including the Q source, were created from Paul’s authentic letters and Hebrews. The lines of evidence that Smith offers in support of his verdict will be familiar to most scholars: Paul’s letters and Hebrews predate the gospels by several years; Paul’s letters and Hebrews show little clear evidence of interaction with the stories and sayings of Jesus; and early Christians exhibited a strong tendency to historicize what they regarded as Messianic allusions within the LXX. According to Smith, therefore, there was no oral tradition between Jesus and Q, and in fact, no Jesus and no Q. It all started with Paul and Paul’s letters. This set of arguments, not far removed from a previous generation’s “Paul created Christianity” arguments, is hardly as novel as Smith believes. In spite of his detailed analysis of the English translations of the gospels, Smith is unlikely to convince the jury of NT scholarship that his conclusions are established by even a preponderance of the evidence—to say nothing of proof beyond a reasonable doubt. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA MEMORY, JESUS, AND THE SYNOPTIC GOSPELS. By Robert K. McIver. Resources for Biblical Study, 59. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011. Pp. xii + 241. Paper, $29.95. This is an important volume that, if it gets the attention it deserves, will generate much controversy. McIver takes a step back from current debates about the historical Jesus and the gospels’ relationships to the original eyewitnesses to raise a question about the general reliability of human memory. Much of the book surveys recent scholarship on how memories are created and maintained both by individuals and by groups. McIver suggests that even if some of the gospels do rely on eyewitness testimony, no more than 80 percent of the details in their accounts should be expected to be accurate. This conclusion, in spite of the rich detail and nuance in McIver’s research, will lead many readers to a facile rejection of the volume’s contents—either as “unduly minimalistic” or as “naively maximalistic.” McIver’s willingness to entertain the notion that a substantial portion of the gospel materials do stem from eyewitness testimony could be labeled as “conservative,” but his consistent insistence of the biases and malleability of memory could also be labeled “liberal.” Overall, the book is a fair and even-handed, scientiﬁcally informed exploration of patterns within human memory and their implications for gospel research, and it deserves careful reading and reﬂection by all scholars of the gospels and historians of early Christianity. Although it will garner critics from across the ideological spectrum, it should also begin many fruitful conversations. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA JESUS’ PARABLE OF THE RICH FOOL: LUKE 12:13-34 AMONG ANCIENT CONVERSATIONS ON DEATH AND POSSESSIONS. By Matthew S. Rindge. Early Christianity and Its Literature, 6. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2011. Pp. 299. Paper, $36.95. The revised dissertation (Emory University under Gail O’Day, 2008) argues that Luke’s parable of the rich fool has been underinterpreted by most scholars who read the parable as an example story that merely illustrates the foolishness of greed. Instead, Rindge argues that the parable should be read against the Jewish wisdom tradition and that the parable stands within a robust tradition of dialogue about how one should live in the face of human mortality. Rindge argues that the parable should be read as an explanation about why one should avoid greed, that is, because of life’s fragility and death’s inevitability, uncertain timing, and potential imminence. The thesis is soundly argued and ﬁrmly convincing. Although a competent interpreter of the relevant primary texts, Rindge has overlooked a signiﬁcant number of secondary resources on Luke’s Gospel that would have both supported and challenged his thesis. This study is strongly recommended for Lukan scholars and scholars of social and economic issues in ﬁrst-century Judaism and Christianity. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA 167 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 SCRIPTURAL INTERPRETATION AND COMMUNITY SELF-DEFINITION IN LUKE-ACTS AND THE WRITINGS OF JUSTIN MARTYR. By Susan • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 libraries and interested readers will ﬁnd the cost of this volume prohibitive. John K. Goodrich Moody Bible Institute Wendel. NovTSup, 139. Boston: Brill, 2011. Pp. x + 226. $169.00. This revised dissertation (McMaster University) argues that Luke-Acts participates in a tradition of Scriptural interpretation and identity formation that is also witnessed in many of the Qumran documents and in Justin Martyr. Those who employed this interpretative approach claimed that their community stood in the prophetic tradition and had been given a particular and authoritative reading of the Jewish Scriptures (in their Hebrew or LXX forms, respectively). These readings of the Jewish Scriptures were used by their adherents as demonstrations of the readers’ distinctive identity as the true people of God. According to Wendel, both Justin Martyr and Luke appropriated this interpretative tradition in order to assert the inclusion of non-Jewish people in the true people of God, although Justin Martyr advocated for a replacement theology (that Christ-believing non-Jews had replaced the Jewish people as the people of God) while Luke advocated only for the inclusion of Gentiles into the people of God and retained an ambiguous role for the Jewish people within the redeﬁned people of God. The volume is tightly argued, deeply conversant with previous scholarship, and cautious in its conclusions. It deserves the attention of scholars working in either Lukan studies or early Jewish/ Christian relations. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA THE SOCIAL SIGNIFICANCE OF RECONCILIATION IN PAUL’S THEOLOGY: NARRATIVE READINGS IN ROMANS. By Corneliu Constantineanu. Library of New Testament Studies, 421. London: T & T Clark/Continuum, 2010. Pp. 254. Cloth, $120.00. This revision of the author’s University of Leeds doctoral dissertation not only argues for the inseparability of vertical and horizontal dimensions within Paul’s concept of reconciliation but also connects this understanding with contemporary issues in Romania. After demonstrating that Pauline views of reconciliation have been too narrowly interpreted in recent research, the author discusses social and political aspects of Paul’s message by drawing upon larger theological themes, especially Isaiah’s vision of peace and restoration for God’s people. Then follows a narrative analysis of Rom 5-8 in which the event of God’s reconciliation through Christ is directly connected with the social embodiment of a reconciling community. Paul’s exhortations to practice genuine love and promote peace throughout Rom 12-15 are likewise presented as an integral part of his gospel message. The ﬁnal chapter addresses the Romanian context, challenging both the troublesome ethnic/nationalistic tendencies within the Romanian Orthodox church and the move toward “private religiosity” among minority evangelical churches. Although some might question the author’s strong thesis and a few of his exegetical decisions, this work makes a valuable contribution to Pauline studies and biblical theology. David Charles Aune Ashland University PAULINE CHURCHES AND DIASPORA JEWS. By John M. G. Barclay. WUNT, 275. Tübingen, Germany: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. xii + 452. €129.00; $257.50. This volume consists of nineteen essays covering a range of issues relating to Jewish and Christian identity during the foundational period of the Pauline communities. Barclay seeks primarily to illuminate the social identity of the early Christians by comparing Paul and his churches with Diaspora Jews (especially Philo and Josephus). All except three of the essays have appeared previously elsewhere. Included are Barclay’s seminal studies on the law in Rom 14-15, circumcision in Philo and Paul, the social contrasts between the Thessalonian and Corinthian churches, and several essays on Josephus. New, or substantially new, are the introduction to the collection (a helpful summary of the state of scholarship on the book’s major themes), chapter 18 (“Paul, Roman Religion and the Emperor: Mapping the Point of Conﬂict”), and chapter 19 (“Why the Roman Empire Was Insigniﬁcant to Paul”—Barclay’s contribution to a 2007 SBL debate with N. T. Wright). Each essay is remarkable, and the ﬁnal two chapters will be greatly attractive to those interested in the “Paul and politics” debate. However, while collections like this normally seek to make one’s previous work more accessible, many PAUL’S LETTER TO THE ROMANS: A COMMENTARY. By Arland J. Hultgren. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011. Pp. xxvii + 804. Cloth, $60.00. The chief contribution of this commentary is Hultgren’s proposal that Paul wrote Romans as a theological statement to establish common ground with the Romans and to provide an account of his missionary plans in order to deﬂect any crisis that might occur during his anticipated visit to Jerusalem and thus threaten his prospective Spanish mission. Acknowledging multiple secondary reasons for the letter’s composition, including matters both in Paul’s own context and those particular to the church in Rome, Hultgren plausibly argues that only his theory adequately accounts for Paul’s expressed anxiety over his upcoming visit to Jerusalem. Commentary is offered on each passage and helpfully includes a select bibliography for each section. The book concludes with eight appendices orienting the reader to signiﬁcant issues of contention in Romans scholarship (e.g., the righteousness of God, the faith of Christ, homosexuality). 168 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 Specialists will ﬁnd this volume useful, although Hultgren’s focus on the theological content of Romans will increase this volume’s appeal to pastors and students. Matthew P. O’Reilly University of Gloucestershire • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 exegete, is thoroughly conversant with recent research on the letter, and in his notes draws richly upon the best insights of the relevant secondary literature. This is a stimulating study for biblical specialists, which will also serve well as a valuable mini-commentary on the letter for preachers and teachers. James Ware University of Evansville INTRODUCING ROMANS: CRITICAL ISSUES IN PAUL’S MOST FAMOUS LETTER. By Richard N. Longenecker. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011. Pp. xxvii + 490. Paper, $40.00. Longenecker, who is currently preparing the volume on Romans in the NIGTC series, has provided herein an extensive treatment of nearly every signiﬁcant preliminary matter concerning the study of Romans. Included are chapters on authorship, integrity, occasion and date, addressees, purpose, rhetoric, textual criticism, themes, and structure. This book will function for most readers as a reference work to be consulted as needed for helpful discussions and up-todate bibliographies on introductory topics. Particularly valuable are the chapters on the letter’s addressees and themes. Longenecker provides a lucid history of Judaism and Christianity in Rome and a plausible, if not conventional, scenario for the rise of Jew–Gentile conﬂict in the Roman churches, emphasizing the signiﬁcance of the Claudius edict and lack of regional synagogue oversight. Although Longenecker’s treatment of the letter’s themes are somewhat abbreviated, he does provide a helpful orientation for students new to the debates. Longenecker himself sides with the subjective reading of pistis Christou while being critical of the New Perspective on Paul as well as those interpreters who focus principally on cultural conventions such as honor and shame. This is a valuable one-stop source for discussion on all “critical issues” concerning Romans. No library should be without it. John K. Goodrich Moody Bible Institute PAUL’S LETTER TO THE PHILIPPIANS: A SOCIORHETORICAL COMMENTARY. By Ben Witherington III. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011. Pp. v + 312. Paper, $38.00. Although Witherington published a short commentary on Philippians in 1994, this one not only exceeds it in length but also contains two important shifts in his thinking about the letter: 1) the need to consider Paul’s letters in light of the dominantly oral and rhetorical nature of the Greco-Roman world; and 2) the need to ponder more seriously silences in the text, when elsewhere in the Pauline corpus there is not silence. The ﬁrst shift highlights his methodological approach in this commentary. Although his earlier book led many to think that he viewed Philippians through the framework of friendship letters, he actually insists on reading the letter through a rhetorical lens, deeming it an excellent example of deliberate rhetoric with epideictic elements. The second shift, however, refers to the absence of Hebrew Bible citations (which helps identify Paul’s audience as primarily non-Jewish), the lack of textual variants (which conﬁrms the unity of the letter), and the silence on the collection project (which may speak loudly against an Ephesian provenance for Philippians). However, of all the shifts in his thinking, he unfortunately did not change his mind on 4:10-20, considering it Paul’s deliberate (although gentle) reminder that he is not the Philippians’ client and that he does not desire to be in their debt, a claim that I ﬁnd highly contestable. David Briones Sterling College PHILIPPIANS: LET US REJOICE IN BEING CONFORMED TO CHRIST. By John Paul Heil. Early Christian- PAUL AND THE IMPERIAL AUTHORITIES AT THESSALONICA AND ROME: A STUDY IN THE CONFLICT OF IDEOLOGY. By James R. Harrison. ity and Its Literature, 3. Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2010. Pp. xi + 205. $25.95. In this work, one in a series of studies by the author exploring chiastic structures within Paul’s prison letters, Heil proposes that Philippians is composed in an intricate chiastic pattern of ten interlocking units, each of which in turn exhibits its own individual chiastic structure. He argues that the recognition of Philippians as a series of “microchiasms” embedded within an overarching “macrochiasm” provides an important key to unlocking Paul’s hortatory aims in the letter. While not all facets of his proposal are equally persuasive, Heil’s text-centered, literary-rhetorical approach yields many convincing connections and splendid theological insights. He argues persuasively for a missional dimension of Paul’s exhortation in Philippians, a key feature of the letter often ignored. Heil, a seasoned scholar and skillful WUNT, 273. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. xv + 428. Cloth, €114.00. Harrison rightly presumes that detailed attention to how the imperial cult functioned in particular locales will help interpreters identify distinctions in individual letters written by Paul. That “Paul’s gospel ideologically engaged with the Julio-Claudian propaganda in the Greek East and Latin West” in different ways is clear in his test-case cities of Thessalonica and Rome, but the details, of which Harrison provides many, are fascinating. Paul’s different responses are predicated on the key differences between eastern Hellenistic ruler cult traditions and the state cult perspectives at Rome. In both Thessalonian letters, Paul’s apocalyptic 169 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 Selected biblical texts (ten from the OT, two from the NT) are used as case studies to conﬁrm and illustrate in detail themes of “right relationships” with God, with fellow human beings, and with the totality of creation, all from the viewpoint of “conﬂict transformation” theory. Pedagogical aids for the reader include questions for reﬂection and discussion, other resources and activities, and suggested readings. For the authors, ancient cultures have formed the Bible (thereby providing insights into the world of antiquity and its peoples), and in turn the Bible has formed subsequent culture. This process has provided a vision of God and humanity that transcends time, place, and individual cultures with their diverse religious manifestations. The important chapter on Joseph and his brothers, for instance, plumbs the nature of forgiveness from a psychological and religious point of view. Social conﬂict, in contrast to personal conﬂict, is discussed in the chapter on Matt 5-7. The present volume, with its accent on communication theory, lends an academic aura to a process that interpreters (exegetes, homilists) from antiquity to the present have been doing, albeit using different nomenclatures. But this volume’s overall theme, “grace in the wilderness,” is entirely appropriate as a reminder that through divine communication, people can change. It will serve particularly well for a student text in faith-based institutions or for a general Christian readership. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey gospel challenges the divinization of successive emperors and calls on believers “to abandon reliance upon the provincial networks of imperial beneﬁcence and assume the role of benefactors for themselves.” In Romans, Paul counters JulioAugustan claims to beneﬁcence by contrasting the grace bestowed by God through Christ, and warns believers to fear potential abuses in imperial power while encouraging them to support the role of political rulers in “maintaining cohesion and implementing justice in society.” This is an important and stimulating book, both for its methodological sophistication and its sociopolitical interpretations of particular texts in Paul’s letters to the Thessalonians and Romans. It is highly recommended for specialists. Richard S. Ascough School of Religion, Queen’s University A NEW TESTAMENT BIBLICAL THEOLOGY: THE UNFOLDING OF THE OLD TESTAMENT IN THE NEW. By G. K. Beale. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2011. Pp. xxiv + 1047. Cloth, $54.99. In this gargantuan treatise, Beale expounds his notion of NT theology, based on a lifetime of teaching, reﬂection, and previous publications. He divides the subject matter into ten parts while recognizing the impossibility of completely covering everything about NT theology: the “storyline” (a theme that furnishes his leitmotif throughout the book) of the OT which is then continued in the NT, eschatology, resurrection of Jesus and the new creation, sin and restoration, salvation as already begun, the work of the Spirit, the church as the Israel of the end-time, the marks of the church, Christian living, and conclusion. Beale assumes a typically conservative view for the dating and authorship of the biblical books. He admits that presuppositions are an inevitable part of any form of scholarship but trusts that his are the right ones. Only the Protestant canon is admitted as divinely inspired and authoritative (thereby alienating Catholics and Orthodox with their Deuterocanonical books). The treatment on justiﬁcation in Paul reﬂects the typical Reformation understanding. Beale offers much of value: the bibliography is immense; and for the most part his expositions are not controversial but are the product of commonly accepted exegesis. Beale intends the treatise for “serious Christian readers,” by which I understand him to mean those members of Reformed conservatism who accept the Westminster Confession of Faith. For those who fall within these limited strictures, the book can be recommended. Other students will have to look elsewhere. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey DID THE FIRST CHRISTIANS WORSHIP JESUS? THE NEW TESTAMENT EVIDENCE. By James D. G. Dunn. Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox Press, 2010. Pp. viii + 168. Paper, $20.00. The early ecumenical councils, basing themselves on the words of the NT, confessed that the person (individual) Jesus (Christ) was both God and man. Dunn approaches the issue from the viewpoint of historical scholarship with the more modern question: did the early Christians really worship Jesus? In relatively few pages Dunn provides an abundance of insights (not all necessarily original) and well-turned phrases that provide a nuanced “yes” to the question. Thus, the oneness of God is not a mathematical unity (willy-nilly, Dunn here agrees with the medieval Scholastic theologians—God does not fall under Aristotelean categories); monotheism (or monolatry, one may say) is not endangered by seeing the man Jesus as “God.” The danger, however, of “Jesusolatry” is always a threat; in reality, Jesus is the icon, not the idol, of the Father. Jesus is not the Word, but the Word become ﬂesh. Discussed brieﬂy or at length are the heavenly mediators and divine agents of Judaism (Logos, Spirit, and Wisdom), all of which contributed in one fashion or another to the subject at issue. These entities were metaphorically personiﬁed in Judaism. In Christianity they were really personiﬁed in Jesus of Nazareth. Dunn does not provide the last word on the subject, but his treatise offers for biblical students an important READING THE BIBLE, TRANSFORMING CONFLICT. By Carol J. Dempsey and Elayne J. Shapiro. Theology in Dialogue. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2011. Pp. 229. Paper, $26.00. 170 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 summary of the state of the historical discussion, as it exists at the present time. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 gospels are helpful in understanding Jesus and his use of Scripture. Few scholars have attempted a reﬂection speciﬁcally on Jesus’s use of Scripture, and Moyise executes his own short study with perceptivity and balance. I highly recommend this book to anyone interested in the use of the OT in the NT. Nijay K. Gupta Seattle Paciﬁc University THE SACRIFICE OF JESUS: UNDERSTANDING ATONEMENT BIBLICALLY. By Christian A. Eberhart. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2011. Pp. x + 170. Paper, $9.99. The OT background is provided by the initial chapter “Rereading the Hebrew Bible: Discovering the Sacriﬁcial Cult,” which occupies nearly two-thirds of the whole. The second chapter deals with the metaphorical terms used to describe the sacriﬁce of Jesus. The concluding third chapter brieﬂy summarizes the outcome. For Eberhart, sacriﬁce does not of itself demand killing or a victim; violence in animal sacriﬁce is only the preliminary act of the rite; there is no vicarious suffering on behalf of the guilty. All this demands “rethinking the sacriﬁce of Jesus.” The entire life of Jesus, not just his death, makes him the savior. Going further, I would refer to the classic article of H. H. Rowley (notmentioned in Eberhart’s bibliography), “The Meaning of Sacriﬁce in the Old Testament,” available in his From Moses to Qumran (London: Lutterworth, 1963). Rowley accentuates the human predispositions in the act of sacriﬁce; in effect, sacriﬁce is a prayer in action; there was nothing automatic in the notion of (genuine) OT sacriﬁce; all the more so in the sacriﬁce of Christ. For me, sacriﬁce is rooted in human experience; examine the manner in which human relationships ﬁnd reconciliation and one will have the model for the divine—not, paradoxically, the other way around. All in all, Eberhart goes far, just not quite far enough. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey CHRISTIAN BODY, CHRISTIAN SELF: CONCEPTS OF EARLY CHRISTIAN PERSONHOOD. Edited by Clare K. Rothschild and Trevor W. Thompson, with the assistance of Robert S. Kinney. WUNT, 284. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. xvi + 370. €119.00. Originally inspired by the SBL section’s steering committee, the seventeen articles of this compilation, divided into seven segments, treat the latest advances in understanding early Christian notions of personhood: introduction, Jewish literature, Pauline literature, canonical Gospels and Acts, extra-canonical Gospels and Acts, later witnesses, and history of interpretation. Rothschild begins by narrating the recent history of research and then provides a brief overview of each article, beginning with K. M. Hogan’s “The Mortal Body and the Earth in Ben Sira and the Book of the Watchers” and ending with J. R. Levison’s “Assessing the Origins of Modern Pneumatology: The Life and Legacy of Hermann Gunkel.” Only M. Meiser’s “Anthropologie im Markusevangelium” is presented in a language other than English. “Personhood” is a theme wide enough to support the inclusion of articles on the morality of women’s clothing (A. B. Huizenga), Pythia, the medium of Apollo in Delphi (F. Graf), or the use of the plural “bloods” in John 1:13 (T. Martin). All things considered, this collection provides for NT scholars a variety of insights that go well beyond the precise subject of its title. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey JESUS AND SCRIPTURE: STUDYING THE NEW TESTAMENT USE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT. By Steve Moyise. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker, 2011. Pp. 160. Paper, $21.99. In this short volume, Moyise focuses on how Jesus used Scripture. What makes this issue more complex than, for example, looking at the apostle Paul is that we do not have any documents written by Jesus. Thus, while Moyise concentrates on the canonical gospels as reports of the life and words of Jesus, he confesses that scholars do not agree regarding the reliability of the evangelists’ portrait of the historical Jesus. Therefore, understanding how the historical Jesus used Scripture involves a careful assessment of how each evangelist coveys Jesus, his attitude toward his Jewish religion, and his own messages about and based on Torah. Moyise divides scholarly opinion into three categories. “Maximalists” take the gospels at face value in terms of their accurate portrayal of Jesus’s use of Scripture. “Moderates” accept the broader representation of Jesus in the gospels but accept some embellishment and redactional reworking by the authors. “Minimalists” do not believe the canonical GETTING “SAVED”: THE WHOLE STORY OF SALVATION IN THE NEW TESTAMENT. By Charles H. Talbert and Jason A. Whitlark. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 2011. Pp. xii + 324. Paper, $30.00. Many of the twelve articles in this collection have already appeared elsewhere. Talbert provides ﬁve essays; Whitlark, three, plus the Introduction; single articles by four other contributors are also included here. The essays treat salvation in the Pauline writings, the Gospels, the Catholic Epistles, and Revelation. The contributors consider “new covenant piety” as a widespread manifestation of salvationthought in the entire NT. It is a piety based on Jeremiah’s prophecy of a new covenant written on the heart by God, who takes the initiative in forgiving sins and who provides the power for human beings to respond to the divine initiative, thereby enabling them to both “get in” and “stay in” the saving covenant relationship. Talbert in particular therefore 171 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 mainly from South Africa, together with scholars from the Netherlands, Germany, Austria, and the United States. All articles are in English except for that of Ulrich Busse on eschatology in Acts (German). Each essay is accompanied by copious footnotes and an extensive bibliography, thereby aiding the reader to easily validate the arguments adduced. As is to be expected in a project as large as this and with a subject as controversial as eschatology, differences of opinion among contributors are many. No matter; scholars and serious students of the NT will ﬁnd the volume an immense aid in understanding this lynchpin theme of NT theology. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey takes issue with the “revisionists” new perspective on Paul (thus E. P. Sanders and others), who appear to dilute the sola gratia of Reformation interpreters; for Talbert, on the other hand, grace and obedience are bound together in Paul as “root and fruit.” At issue here, of course, under another form, is the dichotomy between human action and divine grace—of meriting salvation or receiving it as a divine gift. The true answer, by no means resolved here, is not “either–or” but “both–and.” Still, any attempt to cast additional light upon the question is welcome, and for that these essays are worthy of attentive study. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey THE NEW TESTAMENT: A LITERARY HISTORY. By Gerd Theissen. Translated by Linda M. Maloney. Minneapolis: Fortress, 2012. Pp. xvi + 311. Cloth, $49.00. In this well-organized, exciting treatise, Theissen investigates the forms of the NT writings (only to a lesser degree their contents) by placing them in the thoughtworld and religious background of their time and place of origin. The two basic, initial forms of the NT were Gospels and letters. They were evoked and created by persons, Jesus and Paul. The Gospel tradition was originally Palestinian but later was amalgamated in its Greek form with Gentile Christianity. The letter form, on the other hand, arose on Gentile soil. The NT is nonliterary “minor literature”; it is Jewish-Hellenistic koine literature, in the tradition of the LXX. It traces the gradual path from charismatic beginnings to an institutionalized church, buttressed by apostolic authority and tradition. This process meant that at times the Paul of the letters either was made to correct himself (in the nongenuine “Pauline” corpus) or had to be corrected in letters by other (apostolic) ﬁgures as James, Peter, John, Jude, and in a sense, by the author of Hebrews. The Gospels underwent a similar process, with updating corrections to Markan traditions made by Matthew, Luke, and especially John. Many more good things could be said about Theissen’s outstanding achievement, which should proﬁt both scholars and serious students alike by placing known facts in a new light. Casimir Bernas Holy Trinity Abbey THREE VERSIONS OF JUDAS. By Richard G. Walsh. London: Equinox, 2010. Pp. viii + 179. Paper, $32.95. The last decade has seen a great deal of interest in the “historical Judas.” This intriguing volume interacts with that body of scholarship but also transcends it. Walsh is aware of recent scholarship on the “canonical Judas” and the current scholarly revisions to that image, but his concern is broader than mere scholarly reconstructions. Walsh engages in a sophisticated and fascinating survey of the images of Judas in both scholarly and popular books and movies over the past century. Jorge Louis Borges’s reﬂections on Judas in his Ficciones provides the conceptual framework for Walsh’s wide-ranging investigation, leaving Walsh with three versions of Judas: the “cooperative Judas,” who is a true believer and an instrument of the divine; the “ascetic Judas,” who is a scapegoat for the evils wrought in the cruciﬁxion; and “Judas the God,” who is a divine or at least a revelatory ﬁgure. This volume will intrigue readers across several disciplines: biblical studies, history of interpretation, ﬁlm students, cultural theorists, critics of contemporary ﬁction, and mythologists. The book is highly recommended for advanced students and for scholars, as it demands more from the reader than most entry-level students will be able to supply. Thomas E. Phillips San Diego, CA CHRISTIANITY: HOW A TINY SECT FROM A DESPISED RELIGION CAME TO DOMINATE THE ROMAN EMPIRE. By Jonathan Hill. Minneapolis: For- ESCHATOLOGY OF THE NEW TESTAMENT AND SOME RELATED DOCUMENTS. Edited by Jan G. van tress, 2010. Pp. 256. Cloth, $29.95. The author depicts Christianity as a minority sect, persecuted by Jews and Romans alike, which triumphs in a culture that “did not simply reﬁne and transform the Christian religion: it did the same thing to the pagan and Jewish religions, and to society as a whole”—the implied presumption being, of course, that the Christianization of the Roman empire was a good thing! Little attention is paid to recent scholarship that has wrestled with many of the issues Hill raises, and he relies mostly on (elite) literary texts for his der Watt. WUNT II/315. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2011. Pp. xi + 722. Paper, €99.00. Twenty-nine articles from a 2007 conference at the University of Pretoria are assembled in the canonical sequence of the NT books: an introduction; Gospels and Acts; Pauline and Deutero-Pauline letters; General Epistles, Hebrews, and Revelation; and further early developments (Didache, second-century theologians, Gnostics, 2 Clement, and moral role of eschatology). The contributors come 172 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 Gnostic Writings,” has nine articles: A. DeConick, and J.-D. Daniel Dubois and F. Ruani on patristic testimonies; K. King, A. Marjanen, A. Pasquier, M. Scopello, and J. D. Turner on Sethian Gnostic texts; L. Painchaud on the Gospel of Philip; and N. A. Pedersen on Coptic Manichaean texts. Part 2, “Mystery and Secrecy in Other Christian Practices, Text Traditions, and Material Culture,” has seven articles: D. Brakke, D. J. Kyrtatas, and H. Lundhaug on Egyptian monasticism; I. Dunderberg on the Gospel of John; B. A. Pearson on Paul; P.-H. Poirier on the Acts of Thomas; and T. Rasimus on the origins of the ichthys symbolism. Part 3, “Mystery and Secrecy in Non-Christian Practices, Text Traditions, and Material,” has seven articles: J. Bjørnebye on Mithraism; J. N. Bremmer on the Eleusinian Mysteries; C. H. Bull and J. Podemann Sørensen on Hermetism; L. I. Lied on 2 Baruch; M. Meyer on the “Mithras Liturgy”; and R. Uro on theoretical approaches to ritual. This book will be of interest to students of Gnosticism and Greco-Roman religions in general. Birger A. Pearson University of California, Santa Barbara understanding of the “social and cultural context” of the “early Christians.” The volume does provide a survey of some of the major ﬁgures of the ﬁrst four centuries in an easy-to-read and amply illustrated format, although most of the images are of paintings from much later centuries, which may give the reader a sense of historical presence but really adds little to an understanding of the time period itself. Scholars and students will likely prefer more methodologically sophisticated works by writers such as R. MacMullen or R. Stark. Richard S. Ascough School of Religion, Queen’s University THE TRIUMPH OF CHRISTIANITY: HOW THE JESUS MOVEMENT BECAME THE WORLD’S LARGEST RELIGION. By Rodney Stark. San Francisco: HarperOne, 2011. Pp. vi + 506. Cloth, $27.99. This historical overview of Christianity divides two thousand years into six sections. “Christmas Eve” brieﬂy surveys the incipient religious environment. “Christianizing the Empire” traces successful recruitment practices of a “small, fearful minority” among Jews and persons of wealth and privilege. “Consolidating Christian Europe” looks at the movement’s political ascendency and the long, slow demise of “paganism” through to the middle ages. “Medieval Currents” argues that the Dark Ages were actually a time of rapid Western scientiﬁc and cultural progress. “Christianity Divided” shows that despite heated debates of the theologians, church attendance was rather low across the board, and the Spanish Inquisition was not so bad after all. “New Worlds and Christian Growth” traces the competitive global growth of Christianity as it moved out of Europe. Characteristically, Stark summarizes and quotes scholars who conﬁrm his constructions and dismisses other scholarship with phrases such as “as might be expected, there have been many efforts to explain this discovery away.” Yet without providing the evidence, the reader must trust that Stark has done due diligence. On the whole the volume is engaging and stimulating, even while at times infuriating, and is sure to attract adherents and opponents to Stark’s innovative, if ultimately rather conservative, understanding of the “triumph” of Christianity. Richard S. Ascough School of Religion, Queen’s University GREEK AND LATIN SOURCES ON MANICHAEAN COSMOGONY AND ETHICS. Translated by Greg Fox and John Sheldon, introduction and commentary by Samuel N. C. Lieu. Corpus Fontium Manichaeorum, Series Subsidia, 6. Turnhout, Belgium: Brepols, 2010. Pp. xxxviii + 256. €90.00. This book consists of four main parts. The ﬁrst part has eleven selections from primary Manichaean sources. The second part has thirty-seven selections from pagan or Christian writings. In the third part Lieu provides extensive commentaries to the selections in parts 1 and 2. Part 4 has indices of Greek and Latin words, Manichaean terms and proper names in English translation, and sources used. In his Introduction Lieu provides an extensive discussion of Manichaean writings in Greek and Latin, the Manichaean cosmogonic myth, Manichaean eschatology, ethics, and community, and comments about the volume as a whole and its place in the series. Six of Mani’s seven original canonical writings are represented in part 1, as well as selections from his earliest disciples. The earliest selections in part 2 consist of a fragmentary papyrus containing a refutation of Manichaean teachings by a Christian leader (Bishop Theonas of Alexandria, d. 300 [?]) and the polemical treatise by the pagan writer Alexander of Lycopolis. This book is a welcome addition to the CFM series, which is indispensable for scholarly work on Manichaeism. Birger A. Pearson University of California, Santa Barbara MYSTERY AND SECRECY IN THE NAG HAMMADI COLLECTION AND OTHER ANCIENT LITERATURE: IDEAS AND PRACTICES: STUDIES FOR EINAR THOMASEN AT SIXTY. Edited by Christian H. Bull, Liv Ingeborg Lied, and John D. Turner. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 76. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Pp. xx + 540. €173.00; $237.00. This Festschrift for a leading scholar in Gnosticism and other ancient religions consists of three main parts. Part 1, “Mystery and Secrecy in the Nag Hammadi and Related WHAT ARE THEY SAYING ABOUT THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS? By Christopher W. Skinner. New York: Paulist Press, 2012. Pp. xv + 121. Paper, $16.95. 173 Religious Studies Review • VOLUME 38 • NUMBER 3 • SEPTEMBER 2012 History of Christianity This little book in the Paulist series “What Are They Saying About?” is intended primarily for students but will be found useful by general readers as well. In the ﬁrst chapter (“The Gospel of Thomas in Historical Perspective”) Skinner notes that there was a general consensus among scholars from the late 1950s until the mid-1980s that GTh was a second-century Gnostic text dependent upon the synoptic gospels. That consensus evaporated in the 1980s so that there are now great differences among scholars on the questions of the gospel’s date, its relationship to the canonical gospels, and its theological outlook. Chapters 2-4 are devoted to those issues. There is wide divergence on dating, from the mid-ﬁrst century to the end of the second. Some scholars continue to view the gospel as a Gnostic document, others as reﬂecting Jewish wisdom, asceticism, mysticism, or even Platonism. The ﬁnal chapter takes up the issue of the gospel’s relationship to the historical Jesus; the works of J. P. Meier and J. D. Crossan are prominent in this discussion. Skinner is probably right in ﬁnding that scholarly consensus on the GTh is no longer possible. Birger A. Pearson University of California, Santa Barbara FINDING PIECES OF THE PUZZLE: A FRESH LOOK AT THE CHRISTIAN STORY. By Ronald A. N. Kydd. Eugene, OR: Wipf & Stock, 2011. Pp. xii + 272. $31.00. When historians typically center the Christian story upon events in or stemming from Jerusalem, Rome, and Constantinople, they often choose to ignore events in India, North Africa, “Kongo,” China, or Los Angeles. Given the monumental shift of contemporary Christianity away from Europe and North America, church historians must give due consideration to these vital pieces of the global Christian puzzle. Kydd writes twelve entertaining narratives of history from the margins concerning persecuted, unassuming, and oft-neglected Christians. Though most historians usually convey a Western story through the lens of ecclesial hierarchies, the story of the church is one of ordinary people not relegated to Euro-centric roots. Kydd begins with a tale of NT Christianity based upon a ragtag band of Jesus’s followers that he deems archetypal for the ensuing Christian story. He narrates the exemplary courage of an expectant motherturned-early-Christian martyr, an innovative yet littleknown seventh century Syrian monk who takes the gospel to Xi’an, an indigenous church under a sixteenth-century King of Kongo, and an unassuming Los Angeles revival under the leadership of an underappreciated African American, the son of former slaves. With each chapter, Kydd sets the broad cultural and socio-political contexts, followed by a critical event and ensuing developments that result from the actions of a central character(s). He produces not only a church history that educators should consider as a valuable complement to any standard Euro-American history, but an engaging read for anyone interested in ﬁnding missing pieces to the Christian story. Martin William Mittelstadt Evangel University LA VOIE D’HERMÈS: PRATIQUES RITUELLES ET TRAITÉS HERMÉTIQUES. By Anna Van den Kerchove. Nag Hammadi and Manichaean Studies, 77. Leiden: Brill, 2012. Pp. xxv + 440. €161.00; $221.00. In this revision of her Paris dissertation directed by J.-D. Dubois, the author provides a detailed interpretation of the “philosophical” or “theoretical” Hermetic texts dating from the ﬁrst to the third centuries CE. She emphasizes ritual practice as reﬂected in the texts, in which she ﬁnds “the voice of Hermes.” She notes that some early Christians believed in the authority of Hermes Trismegistus (e.g., Lactantius). Part 1 is devoted to the practice of the instruction at the heart of the “voice of Hermes” (chapters 1-3). Hermes (Egyptian Thoth) is the supreme authority and model of the Hermetists; the ﬁve types of Hermetic tracts serve as esoteric guides for the disciple. In part 2 (chapters 4-5), the author discusses the various ways in which the Hermetist becomes a communicator with the divine. Part 3 is devoted to intellect, word, and knowledge in Hermetic practice. Intellect as a gift to acquire is the vehicle for communication with the divine. Gnosis, involving regeneration and illumination, is what leads to the divine and to self-transformation. In her general conclusions, Van den Kerchove notes the importance of spiritual exercises in Hermetic instruction as a ritual practice. The importance of Egyptian traditions, including hieroglyphics, is also noted, while aspects of Alexandrian Greek philosophy are inherent in the “voice of Hermes.” She also allows for some Alexandrian Jewish inﬂuence, particularly in CH I: Poimandres. This book is a very important contribution not only to Hermetic studies but also to Gnostic studies as well. Birger A. Pearson University of California, Santa Barbara History of Christianity (Early) THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF THE TRINITY. Edited by Gilles Emery and Matthew Levering. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2010. Pp. xvi + 704. $150.00. The Oxford Handbook of the Trinity includes forty-three commissioned essays treating scriptural, historical, and systematic aspects of Christian Trinitarian theology. The handbook divides these themes into seven parts: The Trinity in Scripture (six essays, covering the OT and NT); Patristic Witnesses to the Trinitarian Faith (four essays); Medieval Appropriations of the Trinitarian Faith (ﬁve essays); The Reformation to the Twentieth Century (nine essays); Trinity and Dogmatics (eight essays); The Trinity and Christian Life (seven essays); and Dialogues (four essays). Each essay includes a description of the appropriate historical period/ thematic topic and provides both “suggested reading” and a 174