John Barton and JuliaBowden. The Original Story: God, Israel and the World, Grand Rapids, Mich.:Eerdmans, 2005. ISBN 0-8028-2900-7; 334 pages;$20.00; (800) 253-7521 orwww.eerdmans.com.
This is anintroductory guide to the Old Testament that exposes beginning students totools that will enrich their study of it. The authors divide the 27easy-to-read chapters into five major sections: “The Basics,” “Major Themes,”“History,” “Institutions” (both social activities and literary genres) and“Methods, Text, and Interpretation.” The book uses black and white high qualityphotos, charts and maps as well as useful sidebars with scholarly quotations,biblical references, and supplemental facts. It is a solid resource for thoseteaching a survey class.
Barton is Professorof the Interpretation of Holy Scripture at the University of Oxford.Bowden is a religious studies teacher at Guildford High School, England.
Walter Wangerin Jr.Jesus: A Novel, Grand Rapids, Mich.: Zondervan, 2005. ISBN0-310-26673-4; 196 pages; $19.99; (800) 926-6548 or www.zondervan.com.
The novel’s story istold as if it was offered by “the beloved” of John’s Gospel and imagines thelife of Jesus from his early childhood through his death and resurrection. Asone would expect, Jesus is a compelling figure who draws relatives, neighborsand strangers to the irresistible power of his authority and love. Novels suchas Jesus illustrate how stories can be transformational vehicles that aid us inappreciating and expressing our own fears, hopes and sense of destiny.
Wangerin is aprofessor of theology and creative writing at Valparaiso Universityand is the author of The Book of the Dun Cow.
CHRISTIANITY AND CULTURE
David F. Wells. AboveAll Earthly Pow’rs: Christ in a Postmodern World, Grand Rapids, Mich.:Eerdmans, 2005. ISBN 0-8028-2902-3; 352 pages; $25.00; (800) 253-7521 orwww.eerdmans.com.
Wells describes howthe church regularly abandons its mission in the world when she becomes seducedby consumerism and attempts to negotiate the gospel in order to be “relevant”to a postmodern culture.
Wells raises an alarmas he sees a danger when churches so focused on swelling in size they sacrificethe truth of Christ as the center of reality in order to be palatable topotential seekers whose worldview is fragmented and rooted in a philosophy ofmeaninglessness. Church leaders who seek to responsibly express truth in Christwithin a postmodern culture will benefit greatly from this resource.
Wells is a professor ofHistorical and Systematic Theology at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary.
Editor: BillBradfield. On Reading the Bible: Thoughts and Reflections of Over 500 Men andWomen, from St. Augustine to Oprah Winfrey, Mineola, N.Y.: Dover Publications, 2005.ISBN 0-486-43708-6; 196 pages; $6.95; www.doverpublications.com.
This is an anthologyof quotations about the influence and inspiration that comes from reading theBible. Interestingly, quotations come from both believers (both those in and outof the Restoration heritage) as well as those not known for any devotion toChrist (such as Ray Charles, W. C. Fields and Oscar Wilde) lead readers to seethe Bible as a unique gift from God to transform lives.
Bradfield is a memberof the Skillman Church of Christ in Dallas.
Thislist includes information provided by publishers. For more information, contactReviews Editor John Harrison at [email protected].