Eminent Old Testament scholar Brueggemann (Theology of the Old Testament) offers a clear and eloquent introductory study of the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament that surpasses many older introductions such as Anderson’s Understanding the Old Testament and Bright’s A History of Israel. Focusing on the literature of the Old Testament rather than on the ways that such literature grows out of the history of Israel, he emphasizes that the development of the Old Testament was an act of imaginative remembering. It evolved through what he calls a “traditioning” process, whereby the texts grew dynamically out of a confluence of historical, ideological, political and religious forces in Israel. Brueggemann arranges his introduction in canonical order (Torah, prophets, writings) to demonstrate the ways that various themes built upon one another and how the texts reflect the ongoing development of Israel. For example, the “writings”-which include Proverbs, Psalms and Job as well as Esther and Daniel-reflect, in Brueggemann’s view, the diversity of life and faith characteristic of post-exilic Judaism. Brueggemann’s reading of the Old Testament makes it alive for us today. As we interpret the text in our own times, we engage in the “traditioning” process, for each time we read, new meanings are disclosed to us. Although Brueggemann sometimes veers off into territory for which a background in biblical studies is necessary, his crystal clear prose, lucid ways of telling stories and canny theological insights make this introduction a real gem.
Starred Review. Long, a homiletics professor and well-regarded preacher, argues that funerals have become spiritually impoverished and need revitalization. Providing a comprehensive review of the history, traditions and theology of Christian funerals, Long notes that recent decades have seen both growing comfort with cremation and an increased preference for disembodied memorial services offering closure. In defiance of this trend, Long argues that just as bodies are present for baptism and weddings, they should be present for funerals. Long laments that eulogies celebrating individual lives often replace gospel preaching and advocates instead that liturgies emphasize a community’s conveyance of a beloved’s body to its final resting place, worshipping as they go. Delineating the purposes of a good funeral, Long urges clergy and congregations to embrace funerals as opportunities to act out one more time the great and hopeful drama of how the Christian life moves from death to life and from baptism to resurrection. This book promises to be a welcome theological resource and practical guide for pastors and others who care for the dying and officiate at Christian funerals.
This introductory-level book on Christianity looks clearly at what the church believed and taught throughout its history. Hard questions about the Bible, theology, and the Christian life are dealt with from the perspective of faith. As author, veteran scholar, and pastor James Howell puts it, “Great hope rests in thinking through these questions, and this book wrestles with them.” Howell knows the questions people ask and is adept at answering them. In doing so, he explores what it means to live as a Christian, as part of the church community, and also what it means to live with the hope Christian faith provides, even for those who “previously believed there was no hope.” Includes study questions for discussion.
About the Author
James C. Howell is Pastor of the Myers Park United Methodist Church in Charlotte, North Carolina. He is the author of a number of books, including The Beatitudes for Today and The Will of God, both from Westminster John Knox Press.
WJK is proud to present this special collection of fourteen of Karl Barth’s World War I-era sermons— the only English language collection of Barth sermons preached between 1917 and 1920 when he was a parish pastor in Safenwil, Switzerland. This volume offers a fascinating glimpse into Barth’s interpretation of Scripture during a time of great historical significance. Renowned preacher William H. Willimon provides expert commentary on the theological and homiletical substance of each selection and points to the many ways in which Barth’s early preaching can enrich the work of preachers today.
Many would argue that a true understanding of contemporary Christian thought is impossible without a basic understanding of John Calvin’s contributions. Now, just in time for the 500th anniversary of Calvin’s birth, William Stacy Johnson, a leading theologian, offers this clear and fundamental study of Calvin’s insights as a primer for those with little or no knowledge of his work. Calvin is more than just a figure from history. His life and work—both infused with his passion for the reform of the church—had a continuing impact through the centuries, not only on the church but on society in general. Enhanced with questions for discussion and a handy glossary, this volume is sure to be an invaluable resource for those who seek an accessible way into a deeper understanding of Calvin’s role in the development of today’s Christian faith.
About the Author
William Stacy Johnson is Arthur M. Adams Associate Professor of Systematic Theology at Princeton Theological Seminary.