Daily Gleanings: RBL (3 July 2019)

In the Review of Biblical Literature, Gordon Zerbe reviews Fiona Gregson’s, Everything in Common? The Theology and Practice of the Sharing of Possessions in Community in the New Testament (Wipf & Stock, 2017). According to Zerbe,

Gregson’s first stated interest is to discern common themes that occur across diverse examples and genres. A second core concern is to see how “the Christian theology and practice of sharing possessions in the NT texts” differs from similar examples in the surrounding culture. (1)

Zerbe’s primary evaluation is that

This book will be useful for Christian scholars and practitioners who are looking for a synthesized New Testament theology of sharing possessions in community. Disappointing to others may be the overtly apologetic and piecemeal (and not mainly illustrative) use of comparative materials, in search of finding how “the NT is consistently different from its surrounding contexts.” Others may find the choice of New Testament materials for investigation somewhat arbitrary or inconsistent. (4)

For the full review, see RBL‘s website.


In the Review of Biblical Literature, Jonathan Hicks reviews Jason Maston and Benjamin E. Reynolds’s edited volume, Anthropology and New Testament Theology (Bloomsbury, 2018).

According to Hicks, the volume tries to answer both the question of the New Testament’s teaching about humanity and the implications of this teaching for “decisions we make now regarding the right performance of a human life” (1). The volume includes contributions that address the New Testament’s anthropological context, traces human identity as sketched in various New Testament corpora, and concludes by “assisting readers to see how the volume’s contents might be brought into conversation with other disciplines/issues” (1).

Hicks’s main critique is that “more clarity is needed on how to move from the exploration of New Testament texts to the applicative sense of those texts for contemporary anthropological debates” (6). But overall, he finds the volume a helpful beginning to further discussion (6–7).

For Hicks’s full review, see RBL‘s website.

Daily Gleanings (8 April 2019)

Charles Quarles’s Theology of Matthew: Jesus Revealed as Deliverer, King, and Incarnate Creator (P&R, 2013) is available this month for free from Logos Bible Software.

Cover of Quarles's "Theology of Matthew"

Matt D’Avella hosts a short (< 9 min) video with Greg McKeown that introduces some of the key lines of thinking around essentialism.

For additional discussion, see previous posts about essentialism.

Biblical references in writing theology

Earlier this month, Rick Brannan posted an analysis of the most frequently cited in a selection of systematic theologies. Rick has since made available on his blog the bibliography of systematic theologies that fed this analysis.

Meanwhile, Christianity Today picked up the post for further discussion. According to CT,

Perhaps most interesting—and potentially disturbing—is the dearth of Old Testament references among the 100 most-cited verses. This raises the question of whether the Old Testament is necessary for Christian theology, and whether it should be included in systematic theology more often.

Is such a strong preference for the same key verses, especially those in the New Testament, a problem in systematic theology? CT asked experts to weigh in.

There then follows a paragraph each from Kevin Vanhoozer, Craig Keener, John Stackhause, Michael Bird, Michael Allen, and William Dyrness.

Now Brannan has followed up at theLAB with the promised corresponding analysis for biblical theologies. This new analysis comments in part,

What is immediately striking to me is the frequency of Old Testament references. Systematic theologies had nine OT references in the top 100. In Biblical theologies, seven of the top ten references are from the Old Testament, and 29 of the top 100.

Twenty-nine is markedly larger than nine. But, the still-substantial slant to the New Testament perhaps suggests a tendency to do primarily “New Testament biblical theology” in practice, if not always in title. As a balancing resource, perhaps we need a new sub-publishing genre of “Old Testament biblical theology”?