Sunday, November 25, 2007

SBL Panels III: The Books

As many of you already know, I'm hopelessly addicted to religion books. So don't let my previous posts fool you... I was really in San Diego to pick up some books at deep discounts. (I'm pretty proud of myself, actually... I stayed pretty close to my self-imposed limit of $200.) Here's what I brought home:

Rudolf Bultmann, Theology of the New Testament (Baylor University Press)
Although Bultmann is certainly not as fashionable as he once was, and his views on the historical Jesus and first-century Judaism are particularly problematic, I'm still a fan. This is a lovely new edition of a classic work; I was particularly glad that it retained the pagination of the original two-volume edition, as so many older New Testament studies cite it.

Elizabeth Castelli, Martyrdom and Memory (Columbia University Press)
I used this book last semester while taking Martyrs and Martyrdom with Adela Collins, and I'm sure that I'll continue to use it as I explore the subject further. Her conclusion "that martyrdom is not simply an action but rather the product of interpretation and retelling" (p. 173) is, in my mind, quite convincing.

Bruce Chilton et al, The Cambridge Companion to the Bible (Cambridge University Press)

Alright, I'll admit it... one of the reasons I bought this one was that it was cheap (only $10!). Nevertheless, I've since come to recognize it for what it is: one of the best one-volume introductions to the Bible that I've seen in quite some time. The contributors are all top-notch scholars, and the book is filled with photos and dozens of detailed, helpful excurses.

Bruce Chilton and Jacob Neusner, The Brother of Jesus (Westminster John Knox)
Not a new title... but Westminster John Knox offered some nice discounts on their backlist collection, and this one provides some nice background for anyone seeking to understand a critically important yet critically underrepresented leader in early Christianity.

Hubertus Drobner, The Fathers of the Church (Hendrickson)
Thanks to Rick Brannan for pointing me in the direction of this fine volume. I don't know of a better English-language introduction to patristic studies; even the bibliographies are excellent. I'm sure it will provide some excellent additions to my current research project on Arian exegesis of Hebrews.

James D. G. Dunn and Scot McKnight, The Historical Jesus in Recent Research (Eisenbrauns)
I bought this one based upon Chris Stroup's recommendation... so if I eventually decide it's no good, I'm blaming him. ;-) Not that there's much chance of that... Eisenbrauns is to be commended for collecting so many valuable excerpts in a single, accessible volume.

J. N. D. Kelly, Early Christian Creeds (Continuum)

Another new edition of a classic, essential study. Kelly's Early Christian Doctrines is required reading in Yale's introductory-level patristics courses, and this is the perfect companion volume.

Amy-Jill Levine et al, The Historical Jesus in Context (Princeton University Press)

Another fine one-volume introduction to historical Jesus studies, this time with a nod to the primary sources. The list of contributors is certainly impressive--Dale Allison, Bruce Chilton, John Dominic Crossan, Mary Rose D'Angelo, Amy-Jill Levine, etc. Also included is a concise essay summarizing the various "quests" for the historical Jesus.

Christopher Rowland, Christian Origins (SPCK)

Another title that was particularly attractive because of its low price... but its insistence on the placement of Christianity within the larger Jewish matrix is welcome.

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