The Divine Conspiracy is a book of reflections on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. It is less a traditional commentary than a theological...moreThe Divine Conspiracy is a book of reflections on the Sermon on the Mount in Matthew’s Gospel. It is less a traditional commentary than a theological reconsideration of the text for the sake of modern readers. In the introduction, Willard says that his hope is too “gain a fresh hearing for Jesus especially among those who believed they already understand him.” This is a good and worthy goal considering that so many Christians today understand Jesus primarily through their reading of the New Testament epistles, rather than through Gospels themselves.
Using the Sermon on the Mount as foundation for discussion, Willard discusses the answers Jesus gives to the two major questions humanity always faces: “Which life is the good life,” and “Who is a truly good person.” Since Jesus’ primary concern is the coming of the kingdom and its availability, the Sermon on the Mount is a clarification, or development of this theme in his talk and in his life.
Willard writes theologically and philosophically to moderns in a style reminiscent of Lewis and Chesterton. For this reason, one needs to take time to consider what he is saying. The Divine Conspiracy is well worth reading, but should not be thought of as a typical commentary on the Bible. (less)
Wonderful philosophical treatment of the Four Gospels. This is not a commentary on one or all of the Gospels - nor is it really a theology of the Gosp...moreWonderful philosophical treatment of the Four Gospels. This is not a commentary on one or all of the Gospels - nor is it really a theology of the Gospels. Rather, ERH explains how the Four Evangelists (Matthew, Mark (Peter), Luke (Paul) and John provide for the Church a means of understanding how Jesus becomes the founder of a new and final age. In their canonical order, the Four Gospels were written in four different decades, meeting the needs of each period to advance the "good news" into the world. Each of the writers, through their experience of writing were transformed, and as we that read their Gospels. Each builds on the past, and each takes up where the other left off. They are, intentionally, a literary unit, and together they form one Gospel (with Acts). The Four Gospels together are "The Fruit of Lips" of Jesus and His Body, the Church in the world, without end.
For those interested in Modern Higher Criticism of the Bible, this book will be of great interest.
This is ERH's last book (published posthumously)and is really his final word. Thus, for those who have already read his works, as expected, it follows and explains further his linguistic philosophy of the Cross of Christ.
As usual, ERH is no easy read - but is well worth the effort.(less)
I have the privilege of being on an email group that discusses all things Biblical and Theological, and Michael Bull is on that list. He sent me a com...moreI have the privilege of being on an email group that discusses all things Biblical and Theological, and Michael Bull is on that list. He sent me a complimentary copy of the book - for which I am entirely grateful.
I wanted to like the book more than I do, but alas, I've not been able yet to see the same importance of literary structures that Bull, James Jordan and others do. Here are a a few comments I made in a recent blog post of mine:
"Literary Structure: For some, it is the key to understanding all things literary (especially in ancient literature). For some others, it is a useful curiosity. For other still, it is a worthless enterprise that is much ado about nothing. For me – I guess I find myself vacillating between all three. Although we cannot know for sure, it may be that authors (including biblical writers) actually do use literary structures to help them communicate their message. In which case, identifying these structures is very useful in understanding their intended meaning. It may also be that since structure is part of God’s creation, and therefore inescapable, writers my just write in such a way that their works have a structure that they are not fully conscious of. Identifying these unintentional structures can gives us a richer understanding of the text we are looking at. And still, it is possible that literary critics and students are so predisposed to find structures that they impose on the text structures that then become a distraction from a free reading of text. For this reason, I think it good to think a little about such things, allow ourselves to be open to a wide varieties of ways of looking at the text – on its own terms." (see: http://tinyurl.com/3ohdomw)
In my circles - literary structures (especially Chiasmus) have become the key to unlocking the heretofore unknown emphases and meanings of the scriptures. Although I passionately believe that the Holy Spirit continually is teaching the Church things, including how to understand the Bible, I have a very difficult time believing that these structures are only now are being discovered and written about in the history of the church. Further, too often when I see these structures (especially chiasms)I can't figure, for the life of me, out how they were arrived at. They seem to be imposed on the text, and forced to fit biblical-theological patterns (7 days of creation, the !0 Words, etc). Let it be known: I do think these structures (including chiastic ones) are really in SOME of the texts of scriptures. But I do think we need to be exceedingly careful with how we approach the text to allow it to speak on its own terms.
I do think Bull has made a good contribution to the discussion of biblical studies, and his work is helpful to those that have never really thought about biblical structures or biblical theology.
May God use this book to His Glory and the edification of the Bride of Christ! (less)
As usual - Leithart brings to light what would otherwise remain in obscurity in the scriptures. With his ability to interpret scripture with scripture...moreAs usual - Leithart brings to light what would otherwise remain in obscurity in the scriptures. With his ability to interpret scripture with scripture, and an uncommon sensitivity to how the ancient texts of the Bible are to be made relevant to today - From Behind the Veil is a tremendous resource.
What I particularly like is the way he first addresses textual, structural and linguistic analysis and then uses those insights in applying the text to our contemporary living.(less)
Another wonderful contribution to biblical scholarship and the edification of the Church by Peter Leithart!
The only negative comment I can make is sam...moreAnother wonderful contribution to biblical scholarship and the edification of the Church by Peter Leithart!
The only negative comment I can make is same criticism that I have felt before when reading Peter's books: NOT ENOUGH - I WANT MORE! I especially felt this about his comments on Matthew (although everything he gave us in groundbreaking and important).
The Four is like his "A House for My Name" - Focusing on the biblical theology, themes and structures of the Gospels. Most important is his ability to properly identify what the good news (gospel) was in the Gospels and the ongoing meaning for the Church in history. There are nuggets of application for Christians today that are unique and powerfully useful in our mission in the world.
A must read to anyone that intends to teach The Gospel(s).(less)
This is a good and insightful little commentary that is accessible to laymen. Ferguson has a good grasp on the importance of union with Christ in the...moreThis is a good and insightful little commentary that is accessible to laymen. Ferguson has a good grasp on the importance of union with Christ in the gospel message of Paul. (less)
As with all of his books in the "For Everyone" series, it is written for the lay reader, although there are some gems to be found. While easily access...moreAs with all of his books in the "For Everyone" series, it is written for the lay reader, although there are some gems to be found. While easily accessible to everyone, it is Wright through and through. (less)
It's hard to know who this book would appeal to. It is a tracing of words and phrases found in the Bible into wider cultural use. Chapter by chapter D...moreIt's hard to know who this book would appeal to. It is a tracing of words and phrases found in the Bible into wider cultural use. Chapter by chapter David Crystal works his way through the Bible and identifies how biblical language has been taken up by society - usually without recognizing their biblical foundations. It's more of a book for those who are curious about such things than any kind of meaningful interaction with either the Bible or culture. (less)