Preaching the Letters Without Dismissing the Law: A Lectionary Commentary Ronald J. Allen, Clark M. Williamson  
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This unique lectionary commentary on the Epistle readings in the Revised Common Lectionary helps preachers see how knowledge of first-century Judaism can help them avoid incorporating misunderstandings and stereotypes into their sermons on the letters. Allen and Williamson highlight insights from recent Christian-Jewish dialogue, call attention to the continuities between Judaism and the theology of Paul, and explore how awareness of the Roman occupation can help the preacher understand the Jewish context of the letters. As in Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews, they also suggest how today’s preacher can deal with issues or comments in the text that are inappropriate or controversial in today’s context.

Identity, Memory, and Narrative in Early Christianity: Peter, Paul, and Recategorization in the Book of Acts Coleman A. Baker  
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Social identity, social memory, and narrative theory intersect in this study of the characterization of Peter and Paul in the book of Acts. Baker argues that the authorial audience's memories of Peter and Paul are reinterpreted as their characters are encountered in the narrative, and as a result, the audience is to understand themselves as united by a superordinate ingroup identity that transcends cultural boundaries. As prototypes of this common identity, the characters of Peter and Paul demonstrate the open, inclusive identity the audience is expected to embrace.

The Book of Acts ain Its Palestinian Setting Bauckham  
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Bauckham's study is Volume 4 in a new six-volume study that seeks to place the Book of Acts within its first-century setting. In pursuance of that goal, the book examines Palestinian social and political settings that serve as background to Luke's narrative.

Acts Darrell L. Bock  
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Respected New Testament scholar Darrell L. Bock provides a substantive yet highly accessible commentary on Acts in this latest addition to the acclaimed BECNT series. With extensive research and thoughtful chapter-by-chapter exegesis, Bock leads readers through all aspects of the book of Acts—sociological, historical, and theological. His work blends academic depth with readability, making it a useful tool for students, teachers, scholars, and pastors alike. A user-friendly design with shaded text and translations of the Greek text make this commentary engaging and easy to use.

The result is a guide that clearly and meaningfully brings this important New Testament book to life for contemporary readers.

A Theology of Luke and Acts: God's Promised Program, Realized for All Nations Darrell L. Bock, Andreas J. Kostenberger  
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Zondervan's Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series has for years provided pastors, students, and readers with valuable analyses of New Testament books and their contents. In this latest installment, Darrell L. Bock examines Luke and Acts, drawing from his years of experience in biblical theory and interpretation to write an informative resource sure to prove invaluable for seekers of holistic biblical understanding. A Theology of Luke andamp; Actsidentifies and evaluates the contribution of Luke, both to the New Testament and to the Bible as a whole text. Bock aims to demonstrate Luke's significance and his influence in the development of theological discourse. Features include: * Lukan themes and thematic relevance * Interpretation and significance of language and vocabulary * Contextual importance of Luke's placement in the Bible Continuing the valuable tradition of the Biblical Theology of the New Testament Series, Bock's theories regarding Luke and Acts will prove a lasting resource for pastors and aspiring biblical scholars alike.

Jewish Law in Gentile Churches: Halakhah and the Beginning of Christian Public Ethics Markus Bockmuehl  
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This text examines the halakhic rationale behind the ethics of Jesus, Paul and the early Christians. It asks questions such as: why did the Gentile church keep Old Testament commandments about sex and idolatry, but disregard many others, like those about food or ritual purity?

Paul: Pioneer For Israel's Messiah Jakob Van Bruggen, J. Van Bruggen  
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This detailed yet eminently readable description of Paul’s life clearly shows that all sources converge to present a pioneer life: adventurous, unpredictable, nonlinear, full of risks.

An analysis of Paul’s place in the development of the Christian church shows that Paul was not a marginal figure, operating out of reaction. He was instead a driven pioneer for a Christianity that is aware of Christ’s kingship, and that realizes it is not a new religion but the fulfillment of the messianic promises made to Abraham. Thus Paul was above all the pioneer for the Messiah, Jesus Christ.

Included are maps, charts, appendixes on chronology, bibliography, and indexes.

Stuart Chepey  
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Nazirites appear in a number of sources relevant to Judaism of the late Second Temple period. This book surveys the pertinent evidence and assesses what it reveals regarding the role of the Nazirite within Judaism of the late Second Temple and early Christian era.

The survey is arranged according to three primary sections: “Direct Evidence for Nazirites”; “Possible and Tangential Evidence for Nazirites”; and a final section, “Making Sense of the Evidence.” It concludes by arguing that the role of the Nazirite portrayed in sources was that of a religious devotee, and concomitant with biblical law, Nazirite devotion typically involved flexibility, personal freedom of expression, and adaptation to outside cultural norms.

Those interested in the Nazirite vow as portrayed in the New Testament and other relevant sources will find this study useful, as will those interested in Bible translation and interpretation in late Second Temple and early rabbinic literature.

Readership: Students, scholars, and educated laymen, especially those interested in Luke's portrayal of Paul in the New Testament and the use of rabbinic literature as evidence for Jewish practice in the late Second Temple era.

Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins James Crossley  
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“This is an important work. It makes the major advance of comparing the approaches of biblical scholars to the history of Christian origins with the approaches of historians in other periods and aspects of history. . . . Crossley’s whole discussion constitutes in its own right a significant advance in knowledge. He is crucially effective in sorting out useful insights in the secondary literature from the ideological concerns that generally dominate conventional scholarship.” —Maurice Casey, Professor of New Testament Languages and Literature, University of Nottingham, UK “The reasons why Christianity included people who were no longer observing major commandments were largely social rather than the result of an individual genius like a Jesus or a Paul finding ‘something wrong’ with Jewish law. But these social reasons for the shift from a law-observant movement to one that included people no longer observing the law require a full explanation. This book is an attempt to do just that.” —from the introduction Looking beyond theological narratives and offering a sociological, economic, and historical examination of the spread of earliest Christianity, James Crossley presents a thoroughly secular and causal explanation for why the once law-observant movement within Judaism became the beginnings of a new religion. First analyzing the historiography of the New Testament and stressing the problematic omission of a social scientific account, Crossley applies a socioeconomic lens to the rise of the Jesus movement and the centrality of sinners to his mission. Using macrosociological approaches, he explains how Jesus’ Jewish teachings sparked the shift toward a gentile religion and an international monotheistic trend. Finally, using approaches from conversion studies, he provides a sociohistorical explanation for the rise of the Pauline mission.

The Date Of Mark's Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity James G. Crossley  
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This book argues that Mark's Gospel was not written as late as c.65-75 CE, but dates from sometime between the late 30s and early 40s CE. It challenges the use of the external evidence (such as Irenaeus and Clement of Alexandria) often used for dating Mark, relying instead on internal evidence from the gospel itself. James Crossley also questions the view that Mark 13 reflects the Jewish war, arguing that there are other plausible historical settings - for example the Caligula crises - going on to critically examine other arguments which place the writing of Mark as either around the time of the Jewish war, or at least after Paul's letters. The Date of Mark's Gospel argues that the gospel makes numerous Jewish assumptions, particularly concerning law observance. It shows that the synoptic gospels all portray Jesus as a law-observant Jew, before arguing more specifically that Mark assumes that Jesus fully observed biblical law, while Matthew and Luke had to make this explicit. Mark could only make such an assumption at a time when Christianity was largely law observant: and this could not have been later than the mid-40s, from which point on certain Jewish and gentile Christians wer

Jews and Anti-Judaism in the New Testament: Decision Points and Divergent Interpretations Terence L. Donaldson  
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Jews and Anti-Judaism in the New Testament offers a balanced, sensitive, and erudite guide to the precarious issues of anti-Semitism, anti-Judaism, and supersessionism in the New Testament. Combining adept navigation of the relevant literature—both classics of the field and more recent forays—with a keen exegetical analysis of the Christian canon, Terence L. Donaldson maps the major New Testament writings across three axes: self-definition, degree of separation, and rhetorical intent. In doing so, he successfully brings his readers up to speed on this crucial discussion, even while pushing the conversation forward with intellectual force and exegetical savvy.

The Restoration of Israel: Israel's Re-gathering and the Fate of the Nations in Early Jewish Literature and Luke-Acts Michael E. Fuller  
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This study identifies and explores texts of restoration in a wide selection of Early Jewish Literature in order to assess the variety of ways in which Jews envisioned Israel's future restoration. Particular attention is given to the expression of restoration in what is identified in the present study as the exilic model of restoration. In this model, Israel's restoration is characterized by the features of (a) a future re-gathering, (b) the fate of the nations, and (c) the establishment of a new Temple. The present work focuses primarily on the first two features. Through this framework Jews in the Greco-Roman period could draw on Israel's history and legacy, but re-appropriate `exile and return' in new and creative ways. Finally, the writing of Luke-Acts is investigated for its ideas of restoration and its indebtedness to Early Jewish traditions.