In the (e)mail: Boccaccini and Segovia, “Paul the Jew”

Boccaccini and Segovia, "Paul the Jew" coverIn my email recently, I found Fortress Press had kindly provided a review copy of Gabriele Boccaccini and Carlos Segovia’s edited volume Paul the Jew: Rereading the Apostle as a Figure of Second Temple Judaism (2016). According to the book’s blurb:

The decades-long effort to understand the apostle Paul within his Jewish context is now firmly established in scholarship on early Judaism, as well as on Paul. The latest fruit of sustained analysis appears in the essays gathered here, from leading international scholars who take account of the latest investigations into the scope and variety present in Second Temple Judaism. Contributors address broad historical and theological questions—Paul’s thought and practice in relationship with early Jewish apocalypticism, messianism, attitudes toward life under the Roman Empire, appeal to Scripture, the Law, inclusion of Gentiles, the nature of salvation, and the rise of Gentile-Christian supersessionism—as well as questions about interpretation itself, including the extent and direction of a “paradigm shift” in Pauline studies and the evaluation of the Pauline legacy. Paul the Jew goes as far as any effort has gone to restore the apostle to his own historical, cultural, and theological context, and with persuasive results.

I’m looking forward to working through the text and reviewing it for the Stone-Campbell Journal.

Bates, “Salvation by allegiance alone” and some theological forebears

Bates, "Salvation by allegiance alone" coverOne of the new titles in the recent Baker catalog (due for release this month) is Matthew Bates’s Salvation by Allegiance Alone: Rethinking Faith, Works, and the Gospel of Jesus the King. According to Michael Bird’s blurb,

Matthew Bates argues that faith or believing is not mere assent, not easy believism, but covenantal loyalty to the God who saves his people through the Lord Jesus Christ. Bates forces us to rethink the meaning of faith, the gospel, and works with a view to demonstrating their significance for true Christian discipleship. This will be a controversial book, but perhaps it is the controversy we need!

I haven’t read the volume yet, and the book’s apparent thesis will doubtless be controversial in some quarters as Bird suggests. But, this thesis is also something that definitely resembles prior thinking.

Dietrich Bonhoeffer had the formulation “only he who believes is obedient, and only he who is obedient believes”—because believing is a response to an announcement that has the nature of a command (Cost of Discipleship, 69–70). Or,  as Augustine suggested, the notion of faith may have two aspects:

We use the word in one sense when we say, “He had no faith in me,” and in another sense when we say, “He did not keep faith with me.” The one phrase means, “He did not believe what I said;” the other, “He did not do what he promised.” (On the Spirit and the Letter 31.54)

Or, indeed, in Romans, as sometimes is bypassed all too easily, part of Paul’s portrait of Abraham is precisely that his faith was also obedient: Abraham becomes the father not only of individuals within the scope of his biological descendants, but to all “those follow in the footsteps of the faith our father Abraham had while he was uncircumcised” (Rom 4:12; τοῖς στοιχοῦσιν τοῖς ἴχνεσιν τῆς ἐν ἀκροβυστίᾳ πίστεως τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν Ἀβραάμ; cf. Rom 1:5, 3:31; Dunn, Romans, 211–12).

Free books for March from Faithlife

Faithlife logoMarch’s free and reduced-price companion volumes from Faithlife include:

Logos: Paula Gooder, This Risen Existence: The Spirit of Easter, and for $1.99, Dennis Ngien, Fruit for the Soul: Luther on the Lament Psalms

Verbum: Bonaventure, The Life of Saint Francis, and for $0.99, Bonaventure, Mystical Opuscula

I haven’t yet found a dedicated Spanish “free book of the month” page, but the past several months have also had on offer a free Spanish resource. This month’s is, in translation, A. W. Pink’s Reflexiones paulinas: Estudios en las oraciones del Apóstol (vol. 1).