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Naming the Powers: The Language of Power in the New Testament (Powers #1)

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  151 Ratings  ·  13 Reviews
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Title: Naming the Powers
Author: Wink, Walter
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress Pub
Publication Date: 1983/09/01
Number of Pages:
Binding Type: PAPERBACK
Library of Congress: 83048905
Paperback, 3 pages
Published January 5th 1984 by Augsburg Fortress Publishing (first published January 5th 1983)
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May 27, 2014 David rated it liked it
Shelves: bible
This might not be a classic, but Wink's book (and the two sequels) are frequently cited. After years of noticing such citations in other books I was reading, I figured I'd go back to the source. Wink's book does a fantastic job in making what the Bible says about spirits/demons/angels and such palpable for modern people. On one extreme are materialists who discount all the Bible, or other literature, says about such things since, well, we modern people know such things do not exist. Wink's book ...more
Dec 31, 2009 Aeisele rated it liked it
Shelves: religion
I liked the first two sections of this book very very much. Wink does a great job exploring the textual evidence of the language of "Powers", and is convincing in his interpretation of the inter-related reality of the "heavenly" and "earthly" powers (or the "spiritual and material" powers). This does significant justice to the text and the early Christian's sense of what the powers were in the ancient world.
He is not convincing in the 3rd section, however. He asserts, without much argument, tha
Adam Ross
Dec 24, 2015 Adam Ross rated it really liked it
Wink's classic study of "the principalities and powers" should be required reading for every Christian. The first half of the book is exegetical in nature, exploring the Greek terms for power in the New Testament carefully and in detail. From this Wink concludes that each of the words for power cover an overlapping range of semantic meaning, that is they are more or less interchangeable. He also concludes that the words for power in the New Testament can be used to speak interchangeably of indiv ...more
Jan 19, 2012 Scott rated it it was amazing
A few years ago I read Wink's The Powers that Be, the one volume summary of his comprehensive trilogy that begins with this book, Naming the Powers. The summary electrified me and altered my thinking on a handful of theological issues.

Wink is largely responsible for recovering the language of powers from the scripture. He contends that there is a spiritual reality to systems and institutions and that when we struggle for social justice, we don't just struggle against physical manifestations of
Garland Vance
Nov 16, 2012 Garland Vance rated it really liked it
I would give this 3.5 stars if I could. I had to read this book for a class that I am taking, so the timing of reading the book was not the best. In other words, I think that this book could have been excellent if the timing of reading the book were a bit different--for example, if I were preparing to fight against some institutional evil and wanted to better understand the social and spiritual forces and how they collude with each other.

The book is divided into three parts:
Part 1 portrays an o
Jul 09, 2010 J.D. added it
This book was excellent in starting the Powers Trilogy by beginning to set the stage for a biblical understanding of the powers and their implications then and now(whether earthly or spiritual; good or bad, etc.). Unbeknownst to me I actually read The Powers that Be first several years ago and only discovered after the fact that it was a summary of the trilogy. While at first I felt silly for it, I'm glad that I had that and so the language was familiar as I approached this book. I don't believe ...more
Jun 03, 2013 James rated it it was amazing
Another book I wish I had read decades ago. Wink tackles theological issues that most shy away from. His is both a scholarly and compassionate look at how we think about the forces of evil and of good. He addresses the scandal of our calling ourselves monotheistic while naming a plethora of spiritual beings alongside of God. He closes with significant work around the power and usefulness of the stories and myths that we use to think about the powers.

This should be mandatory reading for every yo
Feb 20, 2008 Gene rated it it was amazing
Shelves: biblical
Sub title: "The Language of Power in the NT". Excellent treatment of the use of the language of "powers" in the NT which often have been not understood or badly interpreted. With this first of three volumes Wink not only gives a clear and forceful interpretation but shows how the often esoteric language of many of texts written as codes in times of persecution can provide for our age the same hopeful and challenging guidance as they did for our ancestors.
Feb 02, 2016 Josh rated it really liked it
Shelves: nonfiction
I'm very interested in what Wink has to say about power, but I'm not sure that this book would be of much interest to someone who isn't a New Testament scholar. I might recommend that those who are not skip this volume. Not that there's nothing interesting here. Mostly, I just feel unqualified to comment on Wink's exegesis.

Dec 10, 2013 David rated it it was amazing
so thoughtful and helpful in de-mystifying the confusing, shadowy language of the powers. I recently incorporated some of Wink's ideas in church ministry, and it has proved quite effective.
Oct 18, 2012 Jason marked it as to-read
Recommended to Jason by: Dr. Bryan Miller
In an odd synchronicity, it turns out that SF author Neal Stephenson has also been turned on to Wink's work.
Feb 09, 2013 Tony added it
Shelves: demons
Economic and power elites are demonic forces that oppress the people.
Feb 25, 2015 Bill added it
A theological treatise on the concept of "the powers" that situates them neither as simply metaphors of institutions nor literal supernatural entities, but rather as the inner metaphorical subjective "within-ness" of the concretion of power and institutions. Heady stuff but I learned a lot. 3.4 Martinie glasses
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Oct 11, 2016
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Dr. Walter Wink is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. Previously, he was a parish minister and taught at Union Theological Seminary in New York City. In 1989-1990 he was a Peace Fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

His newer works include:

The Human Being: Jesus and the Enigma of the Son of the Man
(Fortress Press, 2001.)

More about Walter Wink...

Other Books in the Series

Powers (3 books)
  • Unmasking the Powers: The Invisible Forces That Determine Human Existence (Powers, # 2)
  • Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination (Powers, #3)

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