January 18, 2011

Firstly, check out NTS, which has some new articles by Kavin Rowe (on the Areopagus speech), M.Y. MacDonald (household codes), Udo Schnelle (order of the Johannine writings), and Simon Gathercole (Luke’s influence on the Gospel of Thomas).

Secondly, the new issue of Interpretation is about Liturgy and Easter with articles on Mark 16:1-8 through the centuries (C.E. Joynes) and Ulrich Luz on the resurrection of Jesus in art.

And, of course, Expository Times is always worth a glance!

October 26, 2009

I have mentioned before that, as I have a very long commute to work, I have been scouring itunes for good (free) courses to listen to.  I did stumble across a great find!

Dale Martin (Yale University) is on itunes with his Introduction to New Testament History and Literature course which is comprised of 26 lectures, each one ranging from 45 minutes to 51 minutes.

He seems to do a good job of covering a number of NT books, though it does not seem like he hits all of them (though I could be wrong).  He does get into some history of reception stuff towards the end (such as “medieval interpretations), and the formation (and formalization) of the church.  When he discusses the gospels, he includes a lecture on the gospel of Thomas.  He also spends about 6-7 lectures on Paul.

I have learned some important things from Martin’s work in the past, though I am certainly critical of some parts of his thinking and work.  This does seem like an interesting course with more than your typical NT survey stuff – provocative, but probably very insightful at times.

Check it out on itunes by going to your itunes store page and in the search window (top right) type in “Dale Martin” and you should find it.  Happy listening!

April 12, 2021

A.J. Swoboda, PhD – Bushnell University

Nijay K. Gupta, PhD – Northern Seminary


On Good Friday, April 2, we published an (admittedly too-short) article with Christianity Today entitled “Jesus was the God-man, not the God-Superman.” Within, we (A.J. as a theologian and pastor; Nijay as a New Testament scholar) sought to identify what we believed was an array of integral, pressing, and pertinent set of questions regarding the nature of doubt. First, did Jesus ever experience doubt? And, secondly, if so, does his life, death, and resurrection show us as followers a way to walk in and through our own doubts unto obedience and deeper faith. In short, we suggested that (1) Jesus did; and (2) it does. 

Our intention was to communicate, indeed, that Jesus had moments of deep internal struggle (that we opted to call “doubt”) and eventually walked faithfully through them to the cross where he secured our salvation from sin by his self-giving death. 

The article received a wide array of readers’ responses. On both sides of the discussion which almost immediately ensued, we received hundreds of responses on social media and in person ranging from numerous words of gratitude to countless messages of disdain, anger, and theological outrage over what we were suggesting. One thing remains clear: both of us were ignorant to the fact that this conversation about doubt and Jesus would turn out to be as upsetting as it turned out to be. 

Since our article’s release, a variety of written responses have been published. One in particular, we believe, deserves our careful attention. Professors Brandon Smith (Cedarville University) and Madison Pierce (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) penned a loving, generous, and thoughtful rebuttal entitled “Jesus is the God-man, not the flawed man” that was published on Ed Stetzer’s Christianity Today blog, “The Exchange.” Their response embodied a generosity and kindness in tone, candor, and care. They love Jesus as we love Jesus. They care for the spiritual journeys of doubters as we care. And as we do, they desire to be faithful to the sacred words of Scripture.

What, then, still needs to be said? 


Generous Dialogue is the Christian Way

A few points of response are in order. To begin, first, we believe this conversation must continue even beyond responding to each other’s articles. The deepest and most beautiful mysteries of Christian theology deserve the deepest and most beautiful of discussions. Why? Because what we are discussing here pertains to the most ultimate of realities—namely, Jesus Christ, his kingdom, and the centrality of the gospel’s witness in the world today. Particularly, for those who wrestle with doubt and are enduring deconstruction. We serve our students, our children, and our neighbors best when we invite conversation, not throw careless grenades at one another from afar on social media. If civil and grace-filled to-and-fro discourse continues, we are excited to stay engaged.


What Counts as “Doubt”?

Second, we admit at the onset that we do not believe that the article was conclusive by any stretch of the imagination. Nor was it as clear as we wish it were. We erred on a number of fronts. At points, we failed to understand how our language would fit into the broader theological discussions already afoot regarding these things. And, for another, we never explicitly defined “doubt.” As a result, it produced a discernible strain for the reader between Christ’s humanity and particular New Testament texts which clearly cast “doubt” in a negative light (such as James 1). As a result, when read through a particular lens, one could (wrongly) say we were arguing that Jesus sinned. For that we are sorry for the misunderstanding. Hindsight = 20/20.

Let us be very, very clear:

Jesus is fully God.

Jesus is fully human. 

Jesus never sinned.

Jesus did not for a moment abandon his hope, faith, or love in his Father in heaven.

Full stop. 

Part of the ongoing problem, it appears, is there remains a lack of agreed-upon, biblically-determined, and user-friendly definition of “doubt” that can speak to the diversity of biblical literature in both the Old and New Testaments and the nature of human experience. Undeniably, if one defines doubt exclusively in negative terms (“distrust,” “unbelief,” “lack of belief,” or “rejection of God”) then clearly we would agree: Jesus never doubted. But this was an imported assumption by many who read the article. We weren’t using doubt in this “vice” sense. We were using “doubt” in the modern, conventional sense of a “feeling of uncertainty,” reservation, reluctance, and hesitancy (see Merriam-Webster, OED). While we wish we could retroactively be more sensitive to this in our original article, we are profoundly grateful for the tension points this conversation has exposed. 

In this very vein, we are simply not convinced that doubt should always be cast in such a negative light. The Psalms, in particular, give voice to a kind of experience we might call “struggle” or “inner turmoil” or “angst” that clearly echoes throughout the Psalter and other wisdom literature. This is the very angst and struggle we believe Jesus walked through when he cried out with the words of Psalm 22 at his crucifixion. German theologian Helmut Thielicke confesses that on the cross the Cry of Dereliction demonstrates how “Jesus undergoes the assault of doubt.” Yes, the long-form Psalm Jesus quotes has a crescendo of hope. Indeed! But we believe we rob Jesus of his anguish when we quickly appeal to the part of the Psalm Jesus did not actually voice. As Markan scholar Joel Marcus explains, “The Markan Jesus does not quote Psalm 22’s ending but its beginning, and that agonized incipit corresponds perfectly to the situation of torment in which a crucified person finds himself.” Correspondingly, we echo the sobering words of theologian T.F. Torrance who describes the Cry as “the desperate question which man directs to God out of the depths of his God-forsakenness and despair…[Jesus] descending into the hell of our darkness and godlessness.” Jesus’ words on the cross are enough. And they should not be added to. We believe it is important to resist the urge to supplement Jesus’ words on the cross. 

We do great damage to orthodox Christology when we circumvent these excruciating aspects of Jesus’ life, ministry, and humanity. His humanity was not just physical; he had a human mind too (a paradox, again), which could experience turmoil. It was this very inner turmoil that caused Jesus to sweat teardrops of blood, cry out from the cross, and weep at the death of his friend Lazarus. One thing is clear: Christ’s suffering was real on the outside and on the inside. It seems for some of our most angry responders, Jesus had a human body with a divine brain. But he is both human and divine at the same time. And we ought not to partition which parts are “divine” and which parts are “human.” 

Our respondents in Smith and Pierce have suggested that we “argue that one (consistent) aspect of Jesus’s human experience was doubt.” That word “consistent” is theirs. We never used that word and we wouldn’t now. Rather, we offered very clear examples of New Testament texts testifying to Christ’s inner turmoil. There simply is not enough New Testament evidence to suggest it was “consistent.” We would say Jesus faced moments of doubt in the feeling of struggle, inner turmoil, or angst sense—not as some flaw in his divinity or in humanity, but simply because it is part of being human, having a human brain which at times has to make difficult decisions, that experiences uncertainty, reluctance, hesitancy. 

This raises one vital concern regarding which particular aspects of humanity Christ experienced in his humanity? Our respondents rightly contend that “Jesus was finite and socially-constrained in his humanity…[which does not] diminish the fact that Jesus is God with us in our suffering, but we cannot assume that taking on flesh requires the assumption of every aspect of humanity’s fallen heart, mind, or will.” Indeed, again, Christ never sins. Christ does not become a sinful human. Christ enters humanity who are in a sinful world. As such, Christ’s enfleshment shows us how to be a faithful human in a world influenced by the serpent. 

What is one to do about Christ’s restlessness and inner-turmoil in Gethsemane? “Doubt,” Smith and Pierce contend, “is not proper to humanity.” (Emphasis ours) By this, they rightly argue that doubt is not a normative part of the Edenic, original, human condition. Amen! We could not agree more. But neither is heavy inner-turmoil Jesus endured a part of the original human condition. Or deep sadness. Or intense suffering. Would Smith and Pierce (or anyone else) dare to suggest that Jesus sinned as he endured that turmoil of Gethsemane, sweating blood, asking his Father for a reprieve from the suffering cup? Does his seeming anxiety of the impending cross mean he was flawed? Does his anger mean he was a sinner? Do his tears mean he is a fallen being? No!

Restlessness is not a sin.

Inner turmoil is not a sin.

Temptation is not a sin.

Sin is humanity’s giving itself over to these things. We see this in the gospels. The New Testament clearly outlined the difference between a Judas and a Peter. Both sin in the very same way—they both turn their back on Jesus in their own denial. The difference between Peter and Judas? One gives up by giving in to the denial. The other perseveres through the denial by the grace of God. What so few people struggling with their faith recognize is that there is great grace for doubt. Judas gave himself to his denial. Peter was willing to repent. 


Jesus Redeeming Doubt

That brings us, thirdly, to why we wrote the article. We wrote this article almost exclusively with pastoral intentions. In so doing, we failed to fully understand the broader intramural theological debates swirling around that readers implicitly had in their minds when they read the article. For that we are sorry. We did not primarily write this piece to question the integrity or divinity of Jesus; rather, we had pastoral concerns. We are seeking to help doubters find the grace of Jesus who became one of us to change us.

Unquestionably, our mistake was in equating this experience with “doubt” without proper explanation. But we continue to believe that the category of “doubt” might actually be helpful in bridging people to the gospel of Jesus. And here is why. We have all come to see it for ourselves: there is a generation of people who are walking away from the faith, our churches, and our families over these issues of doubt and deconstruction. They want to follow Christ but see so much in Christianity that does not reflect who he is. Whether it is this conversation or not, the church of Jesus is in deep need of theological reflection around the doubt and deconstruction experiences. Without it, we will see one generation after another walk away from the church because we have not thought in a more robust way about this experience. In the end, we increasingly suspect that there is a lurking Docetism alive and well in our various ecclesial tribes. By this we mean that the contemporary church’s failure to wrestle with the full humanity of Jesus keeps us from understanding ours. We can’t become the humans God calls us to be if we fail to see the kind of human God became when he walked on our planet in Jesus. 

The hope of the world is Jesus. Not the church. Jesus! Nothing else. And that the hope for the doubter is not therapeutic or remedial—it is Christological. We were, and are, seeking to help doubters find themselves in Jesus. 


Explaining Jesus Can Be Messy

Finally, fourth, the respondent authors use the word “paradox” at the beginning of their article. That is a great word. And one that we share a desire to enter into. The humanity/divinity conversation is challenging, fraught with difficulties, but deeply important. We grieve if in any way we undermined the church’s historic, orthodox theology of Christ. But we don’t believe we did. The paradox of Christ’s humanity and divinity is messy, difficult, and fraught with potential landmines. For some, we stepped on one. But for others, we have disarmed one. 

This isn’t a new conversation. A cursory glance of church history would reveal that this debate matters, is difficult, yet exceptionally worthy of having. If we look back to the Church Fathers, they wrestled with the mystery of the full divinity and full humanity of Jesus. Leo the Great, for instance, comments on the Garden of Gethsemane:

“My Father, if it be possible, let this cup pass from me; nevertheless not as I will, but as you will.” The first petition arises from weakness, the second from strength: He desired the former based on our nature and chose the latter based on his own. Equal to the Father, the Son knew that all things were possible to God; rather, he descended into this world to take up the cross against his will so that he might suffer through this conflict of emotions with a disquieted mind. But in order to show the distinction between the receiving nature and the received nature, what was proper of humanity desired divine intervention and what was proper of God looked upon the human situation. The lower will yielded to the higher will, and this demonstrated what the fearful person may pray for and what the divine healer should not grant. (Sermon 43.2.26) (See similarly Chrysostom, Homily on Matthew, 83).

A disquieted mind indeed. That’s putting it mildly, but yes Jesus’ (weak, as Leo puts it) human will yielded to his Father’s will. He took on our humanity to teach us how to journey in and through doubt to living with faith and hope in God. It’s not a flaw, it was and is a beautiful plan to redeem fallen humanity. It’s not a “plot hole” in the story of the Gospel, it is the Gospel: he became what we are, so we could become like him (Irenaeus).

On a personal note: for the robust biblical response we received from Smith and Pierce: thank you! You went out of your way to help us think afresh about some very important key biblical texts. You edified us. Nobody in this conversation seeks to shape the Bible around our own thoughts. We all long for our theology to be cruciform: shaped around the self-giving, other-loving Jesus we find in the New Testament. 


Final Words (But the Discussion Should and Will Continue)

You may have noticed: we began with a quote by John Calvin. We are not Reformed either theologically or denominationally. We come from the Wesleyan/Holiness tradition. But this has by no means kept us from being impacted by the great theological tradition of our Reformed brothers and sisters in history and at present. In some odd and providential way, we find ourselves strangely aligning with the words of one of the Reformed traditions greatest minds. Calvin wrote a great deal about doubt:

Therefore the godly heart feels in itself a division because it is partly imbued with sweetness from its recognition of the divine goodness, partly grieves in bitterness from the awareness of its calamity; partly rests upon the promises of the gospel, partly trembles at the evidence of its own iniquity; partly rejoices at the expectation of life, partly shudders at death. This variation arises from imperfection of faith, since in the course of the present life it never goes so well with us that we are wholly cured of the disease of unbelief and entirely filled and possessed by faith. (ICR 3.2.18)

Calvin wrote a great deal about doubt. As described in his excellent overview of Reformed theology of justification, Faith Alone, Dr. Thomas Schreiner has brilliantly unpacked Calvin’ theology for today’s church. We can’t help but find ourselves aligning deeply—in this case—with Schreiner, Calvin, and the theological tradition that seems to have really struggled with what we sought to argue. Schreiner’s words are worthy of our attention:

Calvin taught that believers can have a sure and certain knowledge, an assurance that they are justified by faith in Christ. Calvin’s emphasis on assurance in faith raises questions about the role of doubt, for on first glance, his definition seems to say that believers never suffer from doubt. Calvin, however, affirms that believers struggle with doubts; what characterizes genuine faith is not that it never doubts but that it perseveres to the end. Believers experience ups and downs in their lives, but the final reality of their lives is faith. The divided experience of believers is captured well by Calvin. 

 

We are not contending that Jesus doubted and stopped believing, loving, or trusting the Father. We are contending that we can persevere because Jesus first persevered for us—we follow his footsteps. Jesus faced his own crucible—his own moments of internal struggle—and, as Shreiner puts it, “perseveres to the end.” But that perseverance implies, indeed, there was a great struggle. And in that, Jesus not only teaches us how to walk with our own internal struggles (even doubts?), but how to walk through ours into the loving arms of the Father. 

Perhaps we can all agree on this: that there is most certainly a way to walk through doubt faithfully because of Jesus. We fear—for a generation of people asking these questions—that Smith and Pierce’s likely unintentional suggestion that doubt equals being “flawed” will perpetuate the doubters’ own internal struggle that they are people abandoned (even forsaken) by the living God. Have we too quickly forgotten the story of the one disciple known for doubting—Thomas? What does Thomas do after his doubt? History tells us he went to India and preached the gospel—starting the famous Thomas Christian community still alive today. We refuse to perpetuate any notion that those in the throes of what Thomas went through are a problem for the church. Doubters who are trying to follow Jesus in their struggle aren’t a problem. 

We dare to believe they are the gospel’s next generation of missionaries, led by the faithful God-man Jesus. 


If you want to get more detailed discussions and arguments regarding Jesus and New Testament Christology, see our relevant publications below. And please check out our co-hosted podcast IN FAITH & DOUBT

 

Nijay K. Gupta


 

A.J. Swoboda

 

February 4, 2021

Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald, ed. The World of the New Testament (Baker Academic, 2017).

Book Description: Two respected senior scholars have brought together a team of distinguished specialists to introduce the Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman history and culture relevant for understanding the New Testament and the early church. The book includes seventy-five photographs, fifteen maps, numerous tables and charts, illustrations, and bibliographies. All students of the New Testament will value this reliable, up-to-date, comprehensive textbook and reference volume on the New Testament world.

 

From the Editors: Editor Joel Green explains:

The World of the New Testament is notable for the breadth of the topics covered, the relative brevity of each of the chapters, and the suggested bibliography for further reading at the end of each chapter. This makes it an ideal, go-to source for major questions related to understanding the New Testament in its social and historical world.

Distinctive Features: Editor Joel Green explains:

This book draws on experts for each of its short chapters. The result is that readers are treated to up-to-date discussions. It includes lots of photographs, maps, and other learning tools that supplement the text.

Nijay’s Notes:

Like Green says, these are brief, up-to-date essays that will get you caught up on the NT world. Highly recommended!

Contents

  1. Introduction Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald
  2. New Testament Chronology Lee Martin McDonald Part 1: Setting the Context: Exile and the Jewish Heritage
  3. Exile Nicholas Perrin
  4. The Hasmoneans and the Hasmonean Era Larry R. Helyer
  5. The Herodian Dynasty Everett Ferguson
  6. Monotheism Nathan MacDonald
  7. The Scriptures and Scriptural Interpretation Lidija Novakovic Part 2: Setting the Context: Roman Hellenism
  8. Greek Religion Moyer V. Hubbard
  9. The Imperial Cult Nicholas Perrin
  10. Greco-Roman Philosophical Schools John T. Fitzgerald
  11. Civic and Voluntary Associations in the Greco-Roman World Michael S. Moore
  12. Economics, Taxes, and Tithes David J. Downs
  13. Slaves and Slavery in the Roman World S. Scott Bartchy
  14. Women, Children, and Families in the Greco-Roman World Lynn H. Cohick
  15. Education in the Greco-Roman World Ben Witherington III Part 3: The Jewish People in the Context of Roman Hellenism
  16. Temple and Priesthood David Instone-Brewer
  17. Jews and Samaritans Lidija Novakovic
  18. Pharisees, Sadducees, and Essenes Michelle Lee-Barnewall
  19. The Dead Sea Scrolls C. D. Elledge
  20. Prophetic Movements and Zealots James D. G. Dunn
  21. Apocalypticism Larry R. Helyer
  22. Synagogue and Sanhedrin Kenneth D. Litwak
  23. Jews in the Diaspora David A. deSilva
  24. Noncanonical Jewish Writings Daniel M. Gurtner
  25. Jewish Identity, Beliefs, and Practices Archie T. Wright
  26. Jewish Education Kent L. Yinger
  27. Healing and Healthcare Joel B. Green Part 4: The Literary Context of Early Christianity
  28. Reading, Writing, and Manuscripts E. Randolph Richards
  29. Pseudonymous Writings and the New Testament Lee Martin McDonald
  30. Literary Forms in the New Testament Thomas E. Phillips
  31. Homer and the New Testament Thomas E. Phillips
  32. Josephus and the New Testament Michael F. Bird
  33. Philo and the New Testament Torrey Seland
  34. Rabbinic Literature and the New Testament Bruce Chilton
  35. Early Canonical Christian Writings Nicholas Perrin Part 5: The Geographical Context of the New Testament
  36. Jesus Research and Archeology James H. Charlesworth
  37. Egypt John D. Wineland
  38. Palestine Thomas R. Hatina
  39. Syria, Cilicia, and Cyprus Mark Wilson
  40. The Province and Cities of Asia Paul Trebilco
  41. Galatia Mark Wilson
  42. Macedonia Gene L. Green
  43. Achaia Gene L. Green
  44. Rome and Its Provinces Thomas Hatina Additional Resources Money in the New Testament Era Lee Martin McDonald Measurements in the New Testament Era Lee Martin McDonald Glossary Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald Indexes

About the Author: Joel B. Green (PhD, University of Aberdeen) is provost, dean of the School of Theology, and professor of New Testament interpretation at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is the author or editor of numerous books, including the Dictionary of Scripture and Ethics, the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, The World of the New Testament, Introducing the New Testament, and commentaries on Luke and 1 Peter. He is also editor-in-chief of the Journal of Theological Interpretation.   Lee Martin McDonald (PhD, University of Edinburgh), before his retirement, was professor of New Testament studies and president of Acadia Divinity College. He is the author or coauthor of several books, including The Biblical Canon, and coeditor of The Canon Debate (with James Sanders), and The World of the New Testament (with Joel Green). He lives in Mesa, Arizona.

January 28, 2021

Congratulations to Daniel Castelo and Kenneth Loyer on editing the massive T&T Clark Handbook of Pneumatology (Sept 2020).

I contributed an essay called “The Lord the Spirit: Paul’s Pneumatology” (ch. 2). There are many excellent essays across the spectrum of disciplines of Christian theology, history, and Scripture.


Introduction, Daniel Castelo (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA) and Kenneth M. Loyer (Independent Scholar, USA)

1. The Holy Spirit in the Synoptic Gospels, Laura C. S. Holmes (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
2. The Lord the Spirit: Paul’s Pneumatology, Nijay K. Gupta (George Fox University, USA)
3. The Role of the Acts of the Spirit within Scripture, Robert W. Wall (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
4. The Spirit in the Catholic Epistles, David R. Nienhuis (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
5. Pneumatology in the Johannine Corpus, Robert W. Wall (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
6. The Holy Spirit in the Work of Christ, D. Stephen Long (Southern Methodist University, USA)
7. The Spirit-Infused Hope of Christ, Margaret B. Adam (University of Oxford, UK)
8. The Spirit and the Old Testament, Lee Roy Martin (Pentecostal Theological Seminary, USA)
9. The Spirit and Learning in the Hebrew Scriptures, John R. (Jack) Levison (Southern Methodist University, USA)
10. The Spirit, Mediation, and Sacramentality, Kenneth M. Loyer (Independent Scholar, USA)

11. The Spirit and Science, Wolfgang Vondey (University of Birmingham, UK)
12. The Spirit and Visions of Life: Seeing the World and Humanity Otherwise in the Light of God’s Face, Daniela C. Augustine (University of Birmingham, UK)
13. Spirit and Ecology, J. J. Johnson Leese (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
14. “The Giver of Life”: The Spirit and Creation, Marc Cortez (Wheaton College, USA)
15. Pneumatological Development in Trinitarian Perspective, Jackson Lashier (Southwestern College, USA)
16. The Filioque: Theology and Controversy, Thomas G. Weinandy, O.F.M., Cap. (Capuchin College, USA)
17. “Who Together with the Father and Son is Worshipped and Glorified”: Roman Catholic Perspectives, Matthew Levering (University of Saint Mary of the Lake, USA)
18. Eastern Orthodox Perspectives, Marcus Plested (Marquette University, USA)
19. The Holy Spirit: Lutheran Perspectives, Cheryl M. Peterson (Trinity Lutheran Seminary at Capital University, USA)
20. Reformed Perspectives on the Holy Spirit, Shannon Nichole Smythe (Independent Scholar, USA)
21. The Theology of the Holy Spirit in Anglicanism, Ephraim Radner (University of Toronto, Canada)

22. The Holy Spirit in Wesleyan Perspectives, Jason E. Vickers (Asbury Theological Seminary, USA)
23. Quaker Pneumatology, Cherice Bock (George Fox University, USA)
24. The Holy Spirit and Anticlericalism, J. Alexander Sider (Bluffton University, USA)
25. Pentecostal Perspectives in Pneumatology, Peter Althouse (Independent Scholar, Canada)
26. Charismatic Perspectives on the Holy Spirit, Andrew K. Gabriel (Horizon College and Seminary, Canada)
27. Perspectives on the “Spirit” in Africa, Daniel K. Darko (Gordon College, USA)
28. Towards an Asian Pneumatology: A Reflective Reading, David Sang-Ehil Han (Pentecostal Theological Seminary, USA)
29. Spirit of Integration and Solidarity: Asian American Pneumatologies, Daniel D. Lee (Fuller Theological Seminary, USA)
30. The Spirit in the Colonial Difference: A Story of Pneumatology in the American Global South, Oscar García-Johnson (Fuller Theological Seminary, USA)
31. Black Theologians of the Spirit, Frederick L. Ware (Howard University School of Divinity, USA)
32. Latinx Perspectives, Daniel Castelo (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)

33. Where the Wind Blows: Pneumatology in Feminist Perspective, Lisa P. Stephenson (Lee University, USA)
34. Pneumatology and the Canonical Heritage, Mark E. Powell (Harding School of Theology, USA)
35. Discernment, Douglas M. Koskela (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
36. Mysticism and Renewal, Daniel Castelo (Seattle Pacific University and Seminary, USA)
37. Anointing and Power, Chris E. W. Green (Southeastern University, USA)

January 26, 2021

I am developing a large academic bibliography on this subject. Feel free to make recommendations in the comment section. This is a work in progress and I plan to add a lot more in the months and years to come.

(*) = High recommended


Must Have Resources

*Lynn Cohick, Women in the World of the Earliest Christians (Baker Academic, 2009)

 

 

 

*Ronald Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothius, and Gordon Fee, ed. Discovering BIblical Equality (IVP Academic, 2005)

 

 

 

General Resources

Loveday Alexander, “Women as Leaders in the New Testament,” Modern Believing 54.1 (2013): 14-22.

Andrew Bartlett, Men and Women in Christ: Fresh Light from the Biblical Texts (SPCK, 2019)

*James Beck and Craig Blomberg, ed. Two Views on Women in Ministry (Zondervan, 2005)

 

 

 

*Linda Belleville, Women Leaders and the Church: Three Crucial Questions.

 

 

 

Michael F. Bird, Bourgeois Babes, Bossy Wives, and Bobby Haircuts: A Case for Gender Equality in Ministry (Zondervan, 2011; Kindle only)

Michelle Lee-Barnewall, Neither Complementarian nor Egalitarian (Baker Academic, 2016).

Jaime Clark-Soles, Women in the Bible: Interpretation, Resources for the Use of Scripture in the Church (WJK, 2020). LINK TO AUTHOR INTERVIEW: HERE.

Lynn H. Cohick, “Why Women Followed Jesus: A Discussion of Female Piety,” SBET 25.2 (2007): 172-193.

Kevin Giles, What the Bible Actually Teaches on Women (Cascade, 2018)

Kevin Giles, The Headship of Men and the Abuse of Women: Are They Related in Any Way? (Cascade, 2020)

Mark Husbands and Timothy Larsen, ed. Women, Ministry, and the Gospel: Exploring New Paradigms (InterVarsity Press Academic, 2007)

*Dorothy A Lee, The Ministry of Women in the New Testament: Reclaiming the BIblical Vision for Church Leadership (Baker Academic, 2021).

 

 

 

*Scot McKnight, Junia is Not Alone (Zondervan, 2011, Kindle only)

 

 

 

*Lucy Peppiatt, Rediscovering Scripture’s Vision for Women (IVP Academic, 2019).

 

 

 

Dennis Smith and Michael E. Williams, ed. The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible Volume 13 New Testament Women (Abingdon, 1999)

*Derek and Dianne Tidball, The Message of Women (IVP Academic, 2014).

 

 

 

Elsa Tamez, “Women’s Leadership in the New Testament,” in Gender in Theology, Spirituality, and Practice (2012): 77-85.

Marion Ann Taylor and Agnes Choi, eds. Handbook of Women Biblical Interpreters: A Historical and Biographical Guide. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2012.

Joan E. Taylor and Ilaria K.E. Ramelli, ed. Patterns of Women’s Leadership in Early Christianity. Oxford University Press, 2021.

 

Ruth Tucker and Walter Liefeld, Daughters of the Church: Women and Ministry from New Testament Times to the Present.

Ben Witherington III, Women in the Earliest Churches (Cambridge University Press)

 

William G. Witt, Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women’s Ordination (Baylor University Press, 2021).

 

Websites with academic information

Christians for Biblical Equality (which sponsors the journal, Priscilla Papers)

Marg Mowczko (website dedicated to women in Scripture, history, and ministry)

Women Biblical Scholars

Complementarian Resources

The vast majority of this bibliography is oriented towards egalitarian literature. In this section I am listing a few key complementarian resources.

Kathy Keller, Jesus, Justice, and Gender Roles: A Case for Gender Roles in Ministry (Zondervan)

Andreas J. Köstenberger and Thomas R. Schreiner, Women in the Church: An Interpretation and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 (Crossway, 2016)

Andreas J. Köstenberger and Margaret Elizabeth J. Köstenberger, God’s Design for Man and Woman: A Biblical-Theological Survey (2014)

John Piper and Wayne Grudem, ed. Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood (2012).

 

Women and the Old Testament

Catherine Kroeger and Mary J. Evans, ed. The IVP Women’s Bible Commentary (IVP, 2002).

Jacqueline E. Lapsley, Whispering the Word: Hearing Women’s Stories in the Old Testament (WJK, 2005)

Jennifer Matheny, “Ruth in Recent Research,” CBR 19 (2020): 8-35.

Carol Meyers, “Double Vision: Textual and Archaeological Images of Women,” Hebrew Bible and Ancient Israel 5.2 (2016): 112-131.

*Ronald Pierce, Rebecca Merrill Groothius, and Gordon Fee, ed. Discovering BIblical Equality (IVP Academic, 2005)

 

 

 

Michael E. Williams, ed. The Storyteller’s Companion to the Bible Volume 4 Old Testament Women (Abingdon, 1993)

 

Women in the Greco-Roman World

Holly Beers, A Week in the Life of a Greco-Roman Woman (IVP, 2019)

*Lynn Cohick, Women in the World of the Earliest Christians (Baker Academic, 2009)

 

 

 

*Suzanne Dixon, The Roman Family (Johns Hopkins University Press, 1992)

*Elaine Fantham et al., Women in the Classical World (Oxford University Press, 1994)

Judith Evans Grubbs, Women and the Law in the Roman Empire: A Sourcebook on Marriage, Divorce and Widowhood (Routledge, 2002)

*Emily Hemelrijk, Hidden Lives, Public Personae: Women and Civic Life in the Roman World (Oxford University Press, 2015)

*Susan Hylen, Women in the New Testament World (Oxford University Press, 2018)

 

 

 

*Mary R. Lefkowitz, Women’s Life in Greece and Rome: A Sourcebook in Translation (Johns Hopkins University Press, 2016)

Beryl Rawson, ed. A Companion to Families in the Greek and Roman World (Blackwell, 2011)

*Richard P. Saller, Patria Potestas and the Stereotype of the Roman Family (Cambridge University Press, 1986)

*–. Patriarchy, Property, and Death in the Roman Family (Cambridge University Press, 1995)

*Bruce W. Winter, Roman Wives, Roman Widows: The Appearance of New Women and the Pauline Communities (Eerdmans, 2003)

 

 

 

Women in Early Judaism

Mayer Gruber, “The Status of Women in Ancient Judaism,” in Judaism in Late Antiquity (Brill, 1999)

 

Women in the Gospels and Acts

Mary Ann Beavis, ” ‘Like Yeast That a Woman Took’: Feminist Interpretation of the Parables,” R&E 109.2 (2012): 219-231.

Jeffrey Aernie, “Cruciform Discipleship: The Narrative Function of Women in Mark 15-16,” JBL 135.4 (2016): 779-797.

Susanna Asikainen, “Women Out of Place: The Women Who Challenged Jesus,” Neotestamentica 52.1 (2018): 179-193.

*Richard Bauckham, Gospel Women: Studies of the Named Women in the Gospels (Eerdmans, 2002)

Teresa Calpino, “Tabitha and Lydia: Models of Early Christian Women Leaders,” 42.2 (2016).

Joanna Dewey, “Women in the Gospel of Mark,” Word & World 26.1 (2006): 22-29.

Beverly Gaventa, Mary: Glimpses of the Mother of Jesus (Fortress, 1999)

Frances Taylor Gench, Back at the Well: Women’s Encounters with Jesus in the Gospels (WJK, 2004)

Marianne B. Kartzow, “Resurrection as Gossip: Representations of Women in Resurrection Stories in the Gospels,” Lectio Difficilior 1 (2010): 1-28.

Matthew Malcolm, “Did the Syrophoenician Woman Change Jesus’ Mission,” BBR 29.2 (2019): 174-186.

 

Barbara E. Reid and Shelly Matthews. Luke 1-9. Wisdom Commentary. Liturgical Press, 2021.

 

 

Barbara E. Reid and Shelly Matthews. Luke 10-24. Wisdom Commentary. Liturgical Press, 2021.

 

F. Scott Spencer, Dancing Girls, Loose Ladies, and Women of the Cloth: The Women in Jesus’ Life (Continuum , 2004)

*–. Salty Wives, Spirited Mothers, and Savvy Widows: Capable Women of Purpose and Persistence in Luke’s Gospel (Eerdmans, 2012).

 

The Magnificat (Luke 1:46b-55)

Kenneth E. Bailey, “The Song of Mary: Vision of a New Exodus (Luke 1:46-55),” Theological Review 2.1 (1979): 29-35.

John L. Bell, “‘Blessed Be Jael Among Women’: Judges 4:4-24; Luke 1:46-55,” McMaster Journal of Theology and Mission 5 (2002).

N. Clayton Croy, “Mantic Mary? The Virgin Mother as Prophet in Luke 1.26-56 and the Early Church,” JSNT 34.3 (2012): 254-276.

Nijay K. Gupta, “Teach Us, Mary: Authority of Women Teachers in the Church in Light of the Magnificat,” Priscilla Papers 29.3 (2015): 11-14.

Barbara Reid, “An Overture to the Gospel of Luke,” CTM 39.6 (2012): 428-434.

–. “Prophetic Voices of Elizabeth, Mary, and Anna in Luke 1-2,” New Perspectives on the Nativity, ed. Jeremy Corley (2009) 37-46.

David M. Scholer, “The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55): Reflections on Its Hermeneutical History,” in Conflict and Context: Hermeneutics in the Americas, ed. Mark L. Branson and René Padilla (Eerdmans, 1986).

Matthew L. Skinner, “Learning from Mary in Our Age of Endless War”

Gerturd, Wittenberg, “The Song of a Poor Woman: The Magnificat (Luke 1:46-55),” in Women Hold Up Half the Sky: Women in the Church in Southern Africa, ed. Denise Ackermann et al (1991).

 

Women in Paul

General resources

*Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives (Baker, 1992)

Carolyn Osiek, “Diakonos and Prostasis: Women’s Patronage in Early Christianity,” HTS 61.1-2 (2005): 347-370.

Carolyn Osiek, “Women Leaders of Households in Early Christianity,” Emmanuel 115.2 (2009): 141.

Philip Barton Payne, Man and Woman, One in Christ (Zondervan, 2009)

Sandra Hack Polaski, “Paul and Real Women,” Word & World 30.4 (2010): 391-398.

Christoph Stenschke, “Married Women and the Spread of Early Christianity,” Neotestamentica 43.1 (2009): 145-194.

*Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ (Baker Academic, 2016)

 

 

 

Galatians

Beverly Gaventa, “Is Galatians Just a ‘Guy Thing’? A Theological Reflection,” Interpretation 54.3 (2000): 267-278.

Romans 16

Mary Ann Beavis, “I Commend to You Our Sister: Women in Romans 16,1-16,” The Bible Today 46.4 (2008): 227-232.

*James D.G. Dunn, Romans (2 vols; WBC)

*Beverly Gaventa, When in Romans (Baker)

Robert Jewett, Romans (Hermeneia, 2006)

Veronica Koperski, “Women in Romans: Text in Context,” in the Letter to the Romans (Leuven, 2009)

Richard N. Longenecker, Romans (NIGTC, 2016)

*Scot McKnight, Reading Romans Backwards (Baylor University Press, 2019)

Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, “The Pauline Network: A Glimpse from Romans 16,” The Bible Today 42.4 (2004): 218-223.

Christoph Stenchke, “Paul’s References to Women in His Letter to the Romans and Their Function in the Argument of the Letter: A Modest Proposal,” Neotestamentica 54.1 (2020): 1-45.

N.T. Wright, Romans (NIB, 2002)

 

1 Corinthians 11

Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians (PNTC, 2010)

*Gordon D. Fee, 1 Corinthians (NICNT, 2014)

David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (BECNT, 2003)

Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians (Interpretation, 1997)

Craig S. Keener, 1 & 2 Corinthians (NCBC, 2005)

*Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives (Baker, 1992)

Preston T. Massey, “Is There a Case for Elite Roman ‘New Women’ Causing Division at Corinth?” Revue Biblique 118.1 (2011): 76-93.

Preston T. Massey, “Women, Talking, and Silence: 1 Corinthians 11.5 and 14.34-35 in the Light of Greco-Roman Culture,” JGRCJ 12 (2016): 127-160.

*Lucy Peppiatt, Unveiling Paul’s Women: Making Sense of 1 Corinthians 11:2-16 (Cascade, 2018)

Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGTC, 2000)

*Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ (Baker Academic, 2016)

Ben Witherington III, Conflict and Community in Corinth (Eerdmans, 1995)

 

1 Corinthians 14

Roy Ciampa and Brian Rosner, The First Letter to the Corinthians (PNTC, 2010)

Gordon D. Fee, 1 Corinthians (NICNT, 2014)

*David E. Garland, 1 Corinthians (BECNT, 2003)

*Richard B. Hays, First Corinthians (Interpretation, 1997)

*Craig S. Keener, 1 & 2 Corinthians (NCBC, 2005)

*Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives (Baker, 1992)

Anthony Thiselton, The First Epistle to the Corinthians (NIGTC, 2000)

*Ben Witherington III, Conflict and Community in Corinth (Eerdmans, 1995)

 

1 Timothy 2

Linda Belleville, “Exegetical Fallacies in Interpreting 1 Timothy 2:11–15: Evaluating the text with contextual, lexical, grammatical, and cultural information” CBE website (Click Here)

Adela Yarbro Collins, “The Female Body as Social Space in 1 Timothy,” NTS 57.2 (2011): 155-175.

Gordon D. Fee, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus (NIBC/UBNT, 1989)

Timothy Foster, “1 Timothy 2:13-15 as an Analogy,” JSPL 7.1-2 (2017): 53-67.

Kevin Giles, “A Critique of the ‘Novel’ Contemporary Interpretation of 1 Timothy 2:9-15 Given in the Book, Women in the Church. Part 1′, EQ 72:2 (2000): 151-67.

Kevin Giles, “A Critique of the ‘Novel’ Contemporary Interpretation of1 Timothy 2:9-15 Given in the Book, Women in the Church. Part 2″ EQ 72:3 (2000): 195-215.

*Sandra Glahn, “The First-Century Ephesian Artemis: Ramifications of Her Identity,” BibSac 172 (2015): 450-469.

*Sandra Glahn, “The Identity of Artemis in First-Century Ephesus,” BibSac 172 (2015): 316-334.

*James R. Harrison and L.L. Welborn, ed. The First Urban Churches: Ephesus (SBL Press, 2017).

*Gary G. Hoag, Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy (2015)

*Jamin Hübner, “Revisiting αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12: What Does the Extant Data Really Show?” The Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters 4, no. 1 (Spring 2015)

*–. “Translating αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12a,” Priscilla Papers (2015)

*Craig S. Keener, Paul, Women, and Wives (Baker, 1992)

Howard Marshall, The Pastoral Epistles (ICC, 2000)

Jerome Murphy O’Connor, St. Paul’s Ephesus (2008) [background on ancient Ephesus]

Geert van Oyen, “The Character of Eve in the New Testament: 2 Corinthians 11.3 and 1 Timothy 2.13-14,” in Out of Paradise: Eve and Adam and Their Interpreters (Sheffield, 2010): 14-28.

*Aida Spencer, 1 Timothy (NCCS, 2013)

*Rick Strelan, Paul, Artemis, and the Jews in Ephesus (deGruyter, 1996).

*Philip Towner, The Letters to Timothy and Titus (NICNT, 2006)

*Paul Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius (2007)

Cynthia Long Westfall, “The Meaning of Authenteō in 1 Timothy 2.12,” JGRChJ 10 (2014): 138-173.

*Cynthia Long Westfall, Paul and Gender: Reclaiming the Apostle’s Vision for Men and Women in Christ (Baker Academic, 2016)

Ben Witherington, Letters and Homilies for Hellenized Christians (2006)

Albert Wolters, “A Semantic Study of αὐθέντης and its Derivatives,” JGRChJ 1 (2000): 145–75

Albert Wolters, “Αυθεντης And Its Cognates In Biblical Greek,” JETS 52, no. 4 (2009): 719–29

Henry Baldwin, “An Important Word: αὐθεντέω in 1 Timothy 2:12,” in Andreas Köstenberger and Thomas Schreiner, eds., Women in the Church: An Analysis and Application of 1 Timothy 2:9–15, 2nd ed. (Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2005), 39–52

Leland Wilshire, Insight into Two Biblical Passages: Anatomy of a Prohibition 1 Timothy 2:12, the TLG Computer, and the Christian Church (Lanham: University Press of America, 2010)

 

Phoebe

Mary Ann Beavis, “I Commend to You Our Sister: Women in Romans 16,1-16,” The Bible Today 46.4 (2008): 227-232.

Robin Gallaher Branch, “Female Leadership as Demonstrated by Phoebe: An Interpretation of Paul’s Words Introducing Phoebe to the Saints in Rome,” In die Skriflig 53.2 (2019): 1-10.

Paula Gooder, Phoebe: A Story (IVP, 2018)

*Susan Mathew, Women in the Greetings of Romans 16.1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women’s Ministry in the Letter to the Romans (T&T Clark, 2013)

 

Junia

*Eldon J. Epp, Junia: The First Woman Apostle (Fortress, 2005)

*Susan Mathew, Women in the Greetings of Romans 16.1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women’s Ministry in the Letter to the Romans (T&T Clark, 2013)

Lin Yii-Jan, “Junia: An Apostle before Paul,” JBL 139.1 (2020): 191-209.

 

Priscilla

Craig S. Keener, Acts (4 volumes; Baker Academic, 2012-2015)

*Susan Mathew, Women in the Greetings of Romans 16.1-16: A Study of Mutuality and Women’s Ministry in the Letter to the Romans (T&T Clark, 2013)

 

New Testament Household Codes (Colossians, Ephesians, 1 Timothy, 1 Peter) And Families in the Roman World

David L. Balch and Carolyn Osiek, ed. Early Christian Families in Context (Eerdmans, 2003)

*Stephen Barton, ed. Family in Theological Perspective (T&T Clark, 2000): ESSAY: James D.G. Dunn, “The Household Rules in the New Testament”

Andrew T. Lincoln.  “The Household Code and Wisdom Mode of Colossians,” JSNT 74 (1999): 93-112.

Lynn Cohick, The Letter to the Ephesians (NICNT, 2020)

*Nijay K. Gupta, Colossians (SHBC, 2013)

James P. Hering, The Colossian and Ephesian ‘Haustafeln’ in Theological Context: An Analysis of Their Origins, Relationship, and Message (Peter Lang, 2007)

*Scot McKnight, The Letter to the Colossians (NICNT, 2018)

Halvor Moxnes, ed. Constructing Early Christian Families: Family as Social Reality and Metaphor (Routledge, 1997)

Carolyn Osiek and David L. Balch, Families in the New Testament World: Households and House Churches (WJK, 1997)

 

 

 

*Carolyn Osiek, Margaret MacDonald, and Janet Tulloch, A Woman’s Place: House Churches in Earliest Christianity (Fortess, 2000)

 

Methodology and Hermeneutics

Feminist Interpretation

Jennifer Garcia Bashaw, ” ‘When Jesus Saw Her…’: A Hermeneutical Response to #MeToo and #ChurchToo,” R&E 117.2 (2020); 288-297.

*Barbara Reid, Wisdom’s Feast: An Invitation to Feminist Interpretation of the Scriptures (Eerdmans, 2016)

 

 

 

See the Wisdom Commentary, a Feminist Interpretation series  (Liturgical Press)

Hermeneutics and Social Ethics

*Gary Meadors, ed. Four Views on Moving beyond the Bible to Theology (Zondervan, 2009)

*Scot McKnight, The Blue Parakeet: Rethinking How You Read the Bible (Zondervan, 2016)

 

 

 

*William Webb, Slaves, Women, and Homosexuals: Exploring the Hermeneutics of Cultural Analysis (IVP, 2001)

 

 

 

*N.T. Wright, Surprised by Scripture: Engaging Contemporary Issues (HarperOne, 2015)

 

Maternal/Womanly Imagery in the Bible

Beverly Gaventa, Our Mother Saint Paul (WJK, 2007)

 

“Masculinity” and “Femininity” in the Bible

Greg W. Forbes and Scott Harrower, Raised from Obscurity: A Narratival and Theological Study of the Characterization of Women in Luke-Acts (Pickwick, 2015)

*Brittany E. Wilson, Unmanly Men: Refigurations of Masculinity in Luke-Acts (Oxford University Press, 2015)

 

 

 

Women in the Patristic Era/2nd Century+ Christianity

*Lynn H. Cohick and Amy Brown Hughes, Christian Women in the Patristic World: Their Influence, Authority, and Legacy in the Second through Fifth Centuries (Baker Academic, 2017)

Margaret Y. MacDonald, “Was Celsus Right?: The Role of Women in the Expansion of Early Christianity,” in Early Christian Families in Context (Eerdmans, 2003).

Patricia Cox Miller, ed. Women in Early Christianity: Translations from Greek Texts (CUAP, 2005)

Christine Schenk, Crispina and Her Sisters: Women and Authority in Early Christianity (Fortress, 2017)

 

Women in Christian History

Amy Oden, In Her Words: Women’s Writings in the History of Christian Thought (1994)

 

Raymond E. Brown, Karl P. Donfried, Joseph A. Fitzmyer, and John Reumann, eds. Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars. New York: Paulist Press, 1978.

Barbara J. MacHaffie, Her Story: Women in Christian Tradition. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Augsburg Fortress Publishers, 2006.

 

Mary T.Malone. Volume I: Women and Christianity: The First Thousand Years. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2001.

Mary T. Malone. Volume II:Women & Christianity:mFrom 1000 to the Reformation. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2002.

Mary T. Malone.  Volume III: Women & Christianity: From The Reformation To The 21st Century. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 2003.

Women in Ministry Today

Tara Beth Leach, Emboldened: A Vision for Empowering Women in Ministry (IVP, 2017)

Kristen Padilla, Now That I’m Called: A Guide for Women Discerning a Call to Ministry (Zondervan, 2018)

*Alan F. Johnson, ed. How I Changed My Mind about Women in Leadership (Zondervan, 2010)

*William G. Witt, Icons of Christ: A Biblical and Systematic Theology for Women’s Ordination (Baylor University Press, 2020).

 

Video Resources

Lynn Cohick

 

Beverly Gaventa, “Listening to Phoebe Read Romans”

Beverly Gaventa, “Listening to Romans with Junia and Her Sisters”

Lidija Novakovic, “There is No Longer Male and Female”

Ben Witherington, “Women and Their Roles in the New Testament”

N.T. Wright

 

March 31, 2020

This blog series spotlights 50 NT scholars and their research. The goal of this series is to introduce readers to a wider circle of scholarship than they have encountered. The majority of people on this list are early or mid-career NT scholars who are doing great research and writing. 

 

Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.

My love of teaching stems from the satisfaction of knowing that when I teach I am fulfilling the commandment to love God and my neighbour through the work which God has called and equipped me to do. Thus I approach my teaching as an act of worship in which I aim to express my love of God (and to inspire my students to love God more!) through the careful handling of the Scriptures. And since I cannot claim to love God whom I do not see if I fail to love our brothers and sisters whom we do see (1 John 4:20), I likewise strive to love my neighbours well when I am teaching–especially neighbours from backgrounds or cultures that all too often have been marginalised by the Western academy, but without whom I would have a truncated and distorted view of the Kingdom of God. In my classroom, I try to the best of my ability to show the breadth and beauty of the Body of Christ, and it brings me tremendous joy to watch as students marvel at the vast scope of the gospel.

What is one “big idea,” emphasis, or theme in your scholarship that you hope impacts the way students and scholars read and understand the NT?

I hope that Christian students of the NT learn that in order to understand the Scriptures we need to learn to inhabit the Scriptures. We should be people who have so fully consumed the Scriptures that, as Eugene Peterson says, they get into our nerve-endings, reflexes, and imaginations (Eat This Book, 9). This certainly isn’t an idea unique to my work, but it is certainly one that motivates all of my own writing projects.

Who is your academic hero and why?

Beverly Gaventa has been one of my heroes for many years now. Her scholarship strikes a balance between grace and courage, and her exegesis is always patient and measured. More than that though, she taught me to love Paul’s letters through her own infectious love of Romans, and for that I am exceedingly thankful.

Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.

Beverly Gaventa; Our Mother St. Paul

James Cone, The Cross and the Lynching Tree

J. Louis Martyn, Galatians


 Read Heim’s Work

Adoption in Galatians and Romans

“In Him and through Him from the Foundation of the World: Adoption and Christocentric Anthropology” in Christ and the Created Order (ed. A.B. Torrance and T.H. McCall)

“The Inward Groaning of Adoption (Rom 8:12-25): Recovering the Pauline Adoption Metaphor for Mothers in the Adoption Triad” in Making Sense of Motherhood (ed. Beth Stovell and Lynn Cohick)

 

Read Heim’s Work ONLINE

OnScript Podcast (Co-host)

Follow Heim on Social Media

TWITTER:  @Doctrixerinheim


If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, what would you want to talk about?

Gardening, cooking, traveling, or my children

What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?

I’m currently working on a couple of different projects on Galatians (a commentary and a critical introduction), and I have really enjoyed having two projects that allow me to linger over the details of one of Paul’s relatively short letters.
February 25, 2020

This blog series spotlights 50 NT scholars and their research. The goal of this series is to introduce readers to a wider circle of scholarship than they have encountered. The majority of people on this list are early or mid-career NT scholars who are doing great research and writing. 

Introducing

Michael Barber

Associate Professor of Scripture and Theology

 

Explain why you love teaching and/or writing, and why it brings you vocational satisfaction.

To interpret the Bible properly, the exegete must, among other things, carefully investigate its literary, historical, and theological dimensions. I find teaching, researching, and writing about all three of these dimensions of the text to be enriching and utterly fascinating. I thoroughly enjoy wrestling with the questions such study raises. Yet, to be clear, for me the Bible is more than a matter of academic curiosity. As a Catholic, I believe that the biblical texts contain, in the final analysis, the inspired Word of God. This perspective of faith makes the task of biblical interpretation especially enriching. Jesus is more than a historical figure to me. I seek to know him better and, by grace, be more conformed to his image by studying Scripture. In short, contemplating Scripture means contemplating Christ. Nothing could be more fulfilling than that!
Of course, I do not approach the text as a fundamentalist. I fully reject fideistic perspectives and affirm the need for critical analysis. I try to approach the text in a way that seeks to integrate faith and reason. Indeed, I have found profound truth in Paul’s teaching that believers are called to be “transformed through the renewal of your mind” (Rom 12:2). Authentic Christian transformation, it seems to me, entails more than happy thoughts and good feelings; it must involve the courage to “rethink” reality. For me, that is what my job as a professor of Scripture is all about.

What is one “big idea,” emphasis, or theme in your scholarship that you hope impacts the way students and scholars read and understand the NT?

One of the main emphases in my work has been underscoring the cultic dimension of the New Testament books. For a variety of reasons, these aspects of biblical traditions have long been viewed with antipathy in the guild. I find, however, these to be incredibly fruitful areas of research. I hope that a deeper appreciation of cultic themes–especially as it relates to Jewish cultic traditions–can better illuminate the New Testament and its message.

Who is your academic hero and why?

I would first have to name my doctorvater from Fuller Theological Seminary, Colin Brown. Colin was an exceptionally well-read scholar who published some very important works. He seemed to know every obscure book in New Testament studies from the past 200 years. His overview of Historical Jesus research in the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (2d edition), one of his last contributions before his death, is truly a tour de force where his breadth of knowledge is put on display. But he also fully invested in students. He would turn things back to me with pages and pages of bibliographical suggestions, questions that sharpened by analysis, and tips which truly made me a better writer. He was the most remarkable Ph.D. mentor a student could ever hope to have. Finally, he was also a man of faith who always engaged academic dialogue with charity and patience. He was a true gentleman and a scholar. I hope to be like him when I grow up.
Second, I would have to name Dale Allison. I do not know him well personally. We only met a few times and spoken briefly. But I am continually amazed at his knowledge of both ancient sources and secondary literature. What I especially like about the latter is the way he engages older scholars such as T. W. Manson, figures who, unfortunately, are often forgotten. I also like the fact that he is willing to change his mind. Too many scholars are unwilling to do that. I hope as I mature as a scholar to engage research with the kind of honesty and open-mindedness I have come to expect from him.

Name a few academic books that were formative for you as a student.

(1) Joachim Jeremias, The Eucharistic Words of Jesus: Study Edition (SCM, 1966).

I was a teenager when I was given this book by my uncle, an intellectual Roman Catholic priest who has had a major impact on my life. When he learned that I was becoming interested in biblical studies, he gifted this book to me from his own personal library. He had read the book in seminary and had two copies. Both were well-worn. I will never forget looking through its heavily marked-up pages. There was untranslated Greek, which I couldn’t make heads or tails out of, but I was fascinated by it. I devoured the book (at least, as much as I could understand). For me, it was exhilarating to enter into the world of biblical scholarship. Of course, today I would have all kinds of quibbles with it, but it remains a landmark book (though dated). This book helped me realize that I wanted to become a biblical scholar.

(2) N. T. Wright, The Climax of the Covenant (Fortress, 1993).

This book remains my favorite N.T. Wright book. Among other things, Wright had fascinating things to say about the messianic significance of “Christ” for Paul. The book also contained a chapter on what Wright argued were different nuances between Paul’s language of “in” (Greek en) Christ and “into” (eis) Christ. Without endorsing all of Wright’s specific views, his book made it very clear that what may seem familiar (“Christ”) or what may seem like small details in Paul are all very important and required deeper thought and reflection than I had been given them. This book made me fall in love with Pauline studies.

(3) James Kugel, The Bible as It Was (Harvard University Press, 1997).

Kugel’s book was the first work to really introduce me to ancient Jewish and Christian reception of biblical traditions. The book essentially assembles interesting texts from sources such as the Dead Sea Scrolls, Targumic texts, and rabbinic literature to ancient patristic sources. It is the more affordable version of Kugel’s larger work, Traditions of the Bible (Harvard University Press, 1999). Both shed enormous light on the way ancient readers interpreted the biblical books. I learned so much from Kugel that I still draw upon today.
 

 Read Barber’s Books

Paul, A New Covenant Jew: Rethinking Pauline Theology (Eerdmans, 2019). Co-authored with Brant Pitre and John Kincaid.Foreword by Michael Gorman. (Michael Gorman mentioned it as one of the three most important recent books on Paul in his interview on your website!)

Salvation: What Every Catholic Should Know (Augustine Institute, 2019). Despite the subtitle, I hope non-Catholics will find it interesting and helpful. I am grateful that Ben Blackwell and Joshua Jipp have endorsed it.

Four Views on the Role of Works at Final Judgment (Zondervan, 2013). Here I had the honor of engaging with James D. G. Dunn, Thomas Schreiner, and Robert Wilkin. I represented the Catholic perspective in the book. You reviewed this on your blog. You said you thought you would most likely side with Dunn, but it seemed like you found my contribution helpful too. [NKG: true!]

Follow Barber’s Work ONLINE


If you ran into me at SBL, and you didn’t want to talk about New Testament studies, what would you want to talk about?

Baseball. I am a massive fan of the sport. I am also a huge music fan, especially of the classic rock genre, most especially, The Beatles.

What is a research/writing project you are working on right now that you are excited about?

I am working on a revision of my doctoral dissertation which focuses on historical Jesus and cultic themes in the Gospel of Matthew. The first chapter on methodology grew into an article that is forthcoming in Journal for the Study of the Historical Jesus. In short, the book wants to rethink methodology by looking specifically at issues raised by Matthew’s narrative and the question of the Gospel’s relationship to Judaism.
October 11, 2019

PGPIf you follow me on social media, you might know that I am really excited about the new book, Paul and the Giants of Philosophy, edited by Joseph R. Dodson and David E. Briones. I have a short essay in this work, and I have had a chance to read some of the other essays. It is an excellent comparative study, bringing the Apostle Paul into conversation with the moralists and big thinkers of his time. Below is a bit more about one of the editors, Joseph aka “Joey” Dodson (who I am going to hang out with this weekend, as it happens!).

NKG: How did you become interested in the subject of Paul and ancient philosophers?

 JRD: I became enamored with Socrates and Plato in ninth-grade when Mr. Gilmore lectured on their lives and works. I doubt Mr. Gilmore was familiar with N.T. Wright’s comment about Plato being the “New Testament” for the people in the first century, but Mr. Gilmore said something similar. “Socrates was like the Greek Jesus, and Plato’s books were kinda like the Greek Bible.” Intrigued, I checked out my library’s dusty copy of The Republic. Being one of those too-cool-for-school popular kids (e.g., an athlete, the prom king and most of the other John Hughes’ stereotypes), I remember hiding The Republic between the seats in my truck to keep my friends from seeing it so as not to ruin my reputation. Since I was also a part of an anti-intellectual church tradition, I would also stash the book under my bed to avoid freaking my parents out because their little Baptist boy was reading pagan philosophy. [NKG: LOL!]

It took me a couple of years in college to realize I didn’t have to hide my love for learning and that it was really okay to read ancient philosophers in addition to my Bible. This became all the more the case when I was assigned to write an undergraduate exegetical paper on Paul in Athens (Acts 17), where the apostle himself quotes philosophers and where Luke presents Paul as a “new Socrates.” (It dawned on me: I too was a “spermologos”!) [NKG: editor’s note, spermologos means “seedpicker” = “babbler”; get your mind out of the gutter] Later on I discovered Paul was not the only Jew to employ and integrate ancient philosophy. I started reading the writings of Philo, the Wisdom of Solomon, 4 Maccabees, and other Jewish works, which in turn lead me further beyond looking at Paul in light of Socrates and Plato to investigating Paul in dialogue with Seneca and Epictetus (for that story, see https://dailystoic.com/joseph-dodson/ ).

NKG: This is an academic book (Paul and the Giants of Philosophy, PGP), but the audience in mind is students, pastors, and anyone interested in the New Testament and in Paul. (Dodson edited a more scholarly book called Paul and the Greco-Roman Philosophical Tradition and also Paul and Seneca in Dialogue). Why would you say this kind of book (PGP) is helpful for Christians in general? What can pastors, for example, learn from this study? 

In The Republic, Socrates argued humanity would never reach the eutopia until kings are philosophers and philosophers are kings. I have a similar burden. It is to raise up pastors and Christian leaders who have the mind of a scholar and the heart of a shepherd. Because most people do not have the time or energy for academic works, I desire to take what’s cooking in the ivory tower and walk it down to the church in order to share it with our brothers and sisters doing the amazing work of ministry on the ground. Since placing Paul in dialogue with an influential ancient philosopher has been a burgeoning enterprise in the academy lately, I asked some of these authors to take their work and boil it down for students, pastors and interested laypersons. Similar to what John Barclay says in the preface, I myself learned so many new things about Paul and his theology from reading these essays. Aspects and passages at which I had previous yawned, now – because of these new insights – I gaped. “Wait, is that what Paul meant by faith in 1 Corinthians?!,” “Wow, that really changes how we should apply Romans 14-15 in our churches,” and so on and so forth. To borrow from what my co-editor, Dave Briones, says in the introduction: comparisons (properly done) lead to clarity in understanding the gospel, which leads to more poignancy in preaching to our people and to greater effectiveness in making disciples of them.

NKG: When you are not “scholaring,” what are your favorite hobbies?

I love traveling and watching Netflix with my wife, hiking and hanging out with my boys, drinking coffee and reading poetry with my daughter, and watching sports (especially the New Orleans Saints).

NKG: What are some other writing projects you have in the pipeline or are working on?

 JRD: Well I am not nearly as prolific as you are, but related to this interview, I am writing the “Philosophy” entry for the new edition of IVP’s Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. I have also been asked to write an essay on 4 Maccabees for The Septuagint and Old Testament Apocrypha volume (ed. James Aitken and Bruce Longenecker). In addition to these, I am writing a book on Romans 7 for Lexham Press, a commentary on Colossians-Philemon for Thomas Nelson, and one on Romans for Brill. 

NKG: Thanks for sharing, see you soon! 

 

May 26, 2019

Mary Magdalene: Equal to the Apostles

In the last post, I talked about marvelous Mary. There is another important Mary (or Miriam): Mary Magdalene. Contrary to popular assumptions, she was not a prostitute or woman of ill repute. (see HERE for more information on that.) According to Luke, she was someone Jesus cured from the oppression of seven demons (8:2). Presumably, she was also one of the many women disciples who travelled with Jesus and financially supported his ministry out of her funds (8:3).

Mary’s importance in the Jesus tradition should not be underestimated. She is mentioned by name and appears in the Passion Narratives in all four Gospels. That means her presence and importance has staying power. She was and is remembered as a uniquely loyal and faith-filled disciple.

According to Matthew, Mary Magdalene (and another Mary) go to the tomb, and are greeted by an angel who announces to them the resurrection of Jesus (Matt 28:7). Filled with faith, they left with joy ready to tell the disciples (28:8). Then Jesus himself greets them and they hold his feet and worship him (28:9). There is no fear or doubt, only joy and worship. Jesus, the risen Lord, could very well have disappeared and met the other disciples himself. But Jesus commands the women: “Do not be afraid. Go and tell my brothers to go to Galilee; there they will see me” (28:10).

Luke tells us that while the women were faithful to their task, the male disciples doubted (Luke 24:10). We often fixate on the leadership of the church as the male 12 (or 11), “the disciples,” and “the apostles.” We know these men had their flaws—Peter denied, Thomas doubted, John bragged about being a faster runner (!). But these women were incredibly brave. NT Wright calls Mary Magdalene apostle to the apostles. The Orthodox tradition hails Mary as isapostolos – equal to the apostles. If the qualifications for apostle were that the person was with Jesus during his ministry, witnessed his resurrection life, and was sent to proclaim to others “I have seen the Lord” (John 20:18), then equal to the apostles she is.




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