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Leviticus An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Philip Peter Jenson
ISBN : 9780567674852
Genre : Religion
File Size : 76. 10 MB
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In this guide, Philip Peter Jenson provides an introduction to Leviticus, examining its structure, character, and content. In particular, he focuses on explaining the basic concepts that inform the rituals and ethics of Leviticus. This is especially the case for the pervasive and complex category of holiness, along with its antithesis, impurity. Overall, Jenson's emphasis is on the overarching coherence of the book and how it reached its present canonical form. Leviticus is a difficult book for most readers, describing rituals that are no longer practiced and reflecting a culture that is vastly different from that of the modern West. Yet it is the central book of the first section of the Bible of both Jews and Christians, and it is at the heart of the law revealed to Moses on Mount Sinai. It includes the foundational texts on matters such as sacrifice or love for one's neighbour. In this comprehensive introduction, Jenson offers extensive analysis, and concludes each chapter with reflections on the contemporary significance of the texts being discussed.

Isaiah An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : C.L. Crouch
ISBN : 9780567680358
Genre : Religion
File Size : 87. 94 MB
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C. L. Crouch and Christopher B. Hays introduce the Book of Isaiah in its diverse historical contexts, tracing its origins and development over several centuries: beginning with the career of the prophet Isaiah ben Amoz in eighth century Jerusalem, continuing with a late seventh century edition and the further revisions made in the late sixth century, and concluding with final shaping during the Persian Period. At each stage Crouch and Hays pay close attention to the historical, cultural, and theological conversations that influenced the book's aims and interests. Crouch and Hays discuss the theological and literary continuities among the book's contributors, as well as where language and concerns differed from generation to generation. They also consider the reception history of Isaiah and what the text has meant to people through history. With suggestions of further reading at the end of each chapter, this guide will be an essential accompaniment to study of the Book of Isaiah.

Joshua An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : James Gordon McConville
ISBN : 9780567670991
Genre : Religion
File Size : 55. 36 MB
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The book of Joshua, with its memorable images of the crossing of the River Jordan and the miraculous conquest of the city of Jericho, plays an important part in the Old Testament's narrative and theology of God's promise and gift of the land of Canaan to Israel. In this guide, Gordon McConville considers the various aspects of interpreting Joshua, including questions of its origins and occasion, its literary formation and its theology. He also looks squarely at the difficulties it poses to the modern reader, and the dangers of simplistic interpretations, especially when allied with power systems. Yet, among the possible approaches to Joshua, certain readings suggest unexpected messages, and with the book's memorable central image of crossing a river in an escape from tyranny into new life, it can prompt fruitful reflection on other 'crossings', perhaps helping us to overcome the deepest human hostilities.

Amos An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Walter J. Houston
ISBN : 9781350009004
Genre : Religion
File Size : 33. 91 MB
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This study guide to Amos is divided into three parts. The first sets out to describe the genre, style, shape and aim of the text, along with its leading ideas, with the help of recent scholarship on the Hebrew Bible in general and the prophets in particular. Special note is taken of the many images of violence in Amos, along with its denunciations of injustice, and its overwhelming emphasis on the ineluctable destruction awaiting Israel. The second part sets the book in its historical and social context, with particular focus on the social context of the injustices denounced by Amos. Houston also provides an overview of the various proposals made in the last 50 years for how the book has assumed its present shape. The final part outlines the ways in which the book has been read over the centuries, with an emphasis on the modern period, in which it has become a rallying call for those concerned with injustice in their own world.

Ephesians An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Stephen E. Fowl
ISBN : 9781350008687
Genre : Religion
File Size : 79. 62 MB
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In this guide Stephen E. Fowl introduces students to both theological fruit and critical issues of the letter to the Ephesians. On the theological front, Fowl shows how Ephesians offers an unparalleled cosmic vision of the significance of the death and resurrection of Jesus, of the role of heavenly powers in the universe, and of how the community of Christians is to engage with those powers. Fowl also opens up the major identity questions Ephesians shows existed for early Christians: how to conceive the relationship of Gentiles with the Jews from among whom their faith emerged, and how to live as a Christian within households ordered on patriarchal lines while not capitulating to patriarchy. On the critical front, Fowl provides an introduction to the key critical questions and issues, such as whether this letter was actually written to a church in Ephesus, and whether Paul the apostle was indeed the author of the letter. Yet, whilst there are demanding linguistic, historical and cultural questions to be answered, Fowl is careful to point out that this should not be done at the expense of reading the text closely and appreciating its meaning and message.

Luke An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Greg Carey
ISBN : 9780567670908
Genre : Religion
File Size : 46. 18 MB
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Greg Carey's guide equips readers to develop their own informed assessments of Luke's Gospel. The book begins with an inductive exposition of Luke's singular approach to composing a story about Jesus, examining its use of Mark, clues to its social setting, and its distinctive literary strategies. Recognizing that many readers approach Luke for theological and religious reasons, while many others do not, a chapter on 'Spirit' addresses Luke's presentation of the God of Israel, how the Gospel ties salvation to the person of Jesus, and how the problems of sin and evil find their resolution in the kingdom of God and in community of those who follow Jesus. A chapter on 'Practice' examines the Gospel's vision for human community. While many readers find a revolutionary message in which women, the poor, Gentiles and sinners find themselves included and blessed in Luke's Gospel, this volume calls attention to inconsistencies and tensions within the narrative. Luke does speak toward inclusion, Carey argues, but not in a revolutionary way. Could it be that the Gospel promises more than it delivers? Carey suggests that Luke speaks to people of relative privilege, challenging them toward mercy and inclusion rather than toward fundamental social change. An Epilogue reflects upon contemporary readers of Luke, most of whom enjoy privilege in their own right, and how they may respond to Luke's story.

Matthew An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Elaine M. Wainwright
ISBN : 9781350008816
Genre : Religion
File Size : 42. 79 MB
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Recent decades have seen significant shifts in biblical scholarship opening up a range of ways of engaging the biblical narrative - both methodologically (the tools and techniques for engaging the text) and hermeneutically (the perspectives that inform an interpreter's approach to the text and to the interpretative task). It is these shifts that give shape to this introduction and study guide, so that students encounter not only the text of Matthew itself but also its rich lode of recent interpretation. Among aspects of 1st-century life brought to the fore by current social-scientific methodology are kinship, the honor and shame culture, and masculinity. Gender is another interpretative lens that has characterized the study of the Gospel of Matthew in recent decades and the Guide provides pathways through this rich literature. The guide to Matthew concludes with the most recent turn of the hermeneutical lens, namely an ecological perspective on what is perhaps the best-known text in Matthew, the Beatitudes. This final chapter is an example of how we can enter an old and familiar text like the Gospel of Matthew from yet another new critical direction.

Philippians An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Joseph A. Marchal
ISBN : 9781350008779
Genre : Religion
File Size : 30. 95 MB
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Relatively brief and seemingly unassuming, Philippians is frequently underestimated by its readers and users. This guide shows that what lies within this letter is much more complicated and dynamic than many expect. After surveying the major historical problems and the methods scholars use to arrive at competing solutions, Marchal focuses on the letter's famous hymn of Christ-a rare glimpse into a tradition created by the community in Philippi, even earlier than Paul's letter. Given its impact and potential, the hymn deserves sustained attention, including its connections to slavery and other modes of social power. Turning to the letter as a whole, Marchal asks how this letter fits with types of argumentation in Greco-Roman culture, moving then into a detailed sketch of the rhetorical patterns in the letter, from unity and sameness to hierarchy and modeling. Feminist and empire-critical approaches are presented alongside more traditional assumptions and ideas throughout, signaling how choices in approach and starting points have historically affected the scholarly visions and communal uses for Philippians. In the final chapter the letter is put to a series of atypical uses, as the insights of queer theories are brought into surprising interaction with the arguments in the letter. Tarrying over unmentionable ideas and provocative moments that readers typically race past, this chapter takes the reader from the hierarchical heights of a cosmic Christ to the depths of excrement being emptied from the same body, from the arguments of waste to revealing asides about human waste and feminine lack. The performative power and possibilities of Paul's letters has never been stranger nor more subversive of the too often destructive and dehumanizing uses of biblical images, ideas and arguments.

Jeremiah An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Mary E. Mills
ISBN : 9780567671073
Genre : Religion
File Size : 62. 18 MB
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This guide provides a concise introduction to the ways the book of Jeremiah has been interpreted by scholars, and to new possibilities of interpretation still open to readers. Outlining approaches the reader encountering the book may best adopt, Mary E. Mills moves into the reception of the prophetic book in the modern period. The role of historical criticism has been fundamental but she shows how it should be supplemented by recent explorations into the rhetorical structures and devices by which the book communicates its messages. Historically oriented scholars drew upon the book as a record of the words and career of a prophet in monarchical Judah. Literary investigation, on the other hand, focuses on the mood and tone of the literary work. Both interpretative strands acknowledge the persistence of a mood of terror and fragmentation within Jeremiah, the result of its origins in a period of great political upheaval. Examination of the poetic devices a society uses to process its social and cultural trauma leads the reader to a deeper appreciation of the variety of sources and genres found in Jeremiah. This study guide provides reading tools which readers can then develop at their own pace.

Mark An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Abraham Smith
ISBN : 9781350008892
Genre : Religion
File Size : 75. 61 MB
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This Guide reads the Gospel of Mark as a 1st-century CE story about Jesus, for his followers, and against tyranny or the abusive use of power. First, the book shows students how the Gospel uses the form of a traditional laudatory biography (a 'Life') to reshape the memory of the shame-ridden trials and suffering of Jesus. Such a biography portrayed Jesus' descent (as a son of God), his deeds, and his heroic death, dispelling any notion that the teacher Jesus was a charlatan or huckster. Second, Smith demonstrates how the Gospel devotes a great deal of space to Jesus' training of his disciples - as he calls, commissions, and corrects them in preparation for the difficult moments of their journey. Third, Smith highlights the Gospel's special characterizations of Jesus - as a prophetic envoy, a man of authority, and a philosophical hero - contrasting Jesus' use of power with the abusive use of power by Rome's representatives (Herod Antipas and Pilate).

Numbers An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Eryl W. Davies
ISBN : 9780567671035
Genre : Religion
File Size : 57. 43 MB
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Davies outlines the composition and date of Numbers, and the various attempts that have been made to establish a coherent and meaningful structure in its arrangement. Davies also shows how the application of reader-response criticism, feminist criticism and postcolonial criticism have contributed to our understanding of selected passages in the book. Addressing theological issues, Davies considers three themes that occupy much of the content of Numbers, namely; land, purity and holiness, and rebellion. The concluding chapter considers the contentious issue of the historicity of the book of Numbers in the light of recent discussions concerning the historical value of the Old Testament. Davies shows how some of the issues Numbers raises – war, disease, survival, hunger, race relations – are among the perennial problems faced by nations across the centuries and across cultures. While individual passages within Numbers may reflect a questionable sense of morality, Davies demonstrates that the book, when viewed in its totality, encompasses a number of important theological themes which recur throughout the Old Testament: the interplay of forgiveness and judgment, and of sin and punishment, and the need to trust in the power of God rather than human might.

James An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Margaret Aymer
ISBN : 9781350008847
Genre : Religion
File Size : 52. 25 MB
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In this guide Margaret Aymer introduces the letter of James, countering arguments that it is of limited theological value and significance for early Christianity. Aymer focuses on James' theology of God's divine singularity and immutability, and of God's relationship to the community as father and benefactor. These are theological foundations for its emphasis on community actions of belief, humility and mutual care. Aymer introduces and examines the letter's stand against empire, not least in regard to wealth. Divine power is envisioned as an alternative power to that of the Romans, though in some respects it can seem equally brutal. Aymer concludes by focusing on those addressed by James's homily, the exiles in diaspora. Engaging the psychology of migration, she unpacks the migrant strategy underlying James's call to living 'unstained'. Finally, Aymer encourages student to ask what it might mean now for twenty-first-century people to take seriously a separatist migrant discourse not only as an interesting ancient writing but as a scripture, a lens through which its readers can glimpse the possibilities for how lives are to be lived, and how contemporary worlds can be interpreted and engaged?

Job An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Katharine J. Dell
ISBN : 9780567670953
Genre : Religion
File Size : 54. 44 MB
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In the light of dramatic new interpretative approaches to the Bible this guide to Job follows not only a range of new approaches to the text but also addresses the traditional historical questions and other topical issues. Dell particularly highlights the problem of genre in understanding Job. She shows how problematic the term 'wisdom' is for this unique book, and argues that its radical sentiments earn it, rather, the title of 'parody'. Of all the biblical books it comes closest to tragedy, raising profound questions about its nature and place in the biblical canon. Job's relationship to its ancient Near Eastern counterparts, notably in ancient Mesopotamia, are also closely examined and key theological themes that characterize the book are explored. Finally different approaches - feminist, liberationist, ecological and psychological - are outlined so as to illuminate and inform our own personal readings and generate ever fresh understandings of this enigmatic text.

Romans An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Sze-kar Wan
ISBN : 9780567675040
Genre : Religion
File Size : 78. 87 MB
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Sze-kar Wan examines the social and political ramifications of Paul's last and longest letter. By taking seriously Paul's faithfulness to his ancestral tradition, Wan argues that Paul is engaged in ethnic construction by incorporating non-Jews into Ideal Israel. With its claim of universality and the cosmic Son of God installed as king, Ideal Israel stands in pointed opposition to the Roman Empire. Wan presents the Letter to the Romans as Paul's extended argument to his Gentile audience in defence of Ideal Israel and their place in it, without ignoring such prominent themes as good news, faith and belief, eschatology, and the collection for the poor. By also including a reading of Romans 13 as resistance against absolute authority, at variance with historical interpretations that defended American slavery and German Nazism, Wan gives readers a new perspective on a defiant message that can be marshalled to resist oppressive regimes.

John An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Francisco Lozada Jr
ISBN : 9780567674883
Genre : Religion
File Size : 40. 91 MB
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This study guide introduces gospel of John, also known as the Fourth Gospel, from an ideological perspective. First, Lozada deals with the key historical questions about how we come to understand John's historical identity. Lozada explores debates around how scholars construct a picture of who, where, when, and why John was written helping readers to recognize how scholars construct an historical identity for John. Second, Lozada introduces literary questions related to John such as its structure, plot, and narrative development, showing readers on how an ideological reading is constructed. Finally Lozada devotes three chapters to key ideological themes in the gospel related to otherness, such as the portrayal of women, the Samaritan woman, and “the Jews.”

Colossians An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Janice Capel Anderson
ISBN : 9780567674630
Genre : Religion
File Size : 26. 42 MB
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This guide introduces readers to key issues in the interpretation and reception of Colossians. Anderson first explores the issue of Pauline authorship. She challenges readers to reflect on why the question of authorship has dominated scholarship as well as why and how interpreters create “stories” about the letter. Second, Anderson examines rhetoric and context. She asks readers to consider how the letter constructs and seeks to persuade its addressees past and present. She surveys several pictures of the first audience and “opponents.” Finally, Anderson delves into the functions of the Colossian household code, its reception, and the ethics of interpretation.

Hebrews An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Amy L. B. Peeler
ISBN : 9780567674777
Genre : Religion
File Size : 77. 26 MB
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This volume offers a compact introduction to one of the most daunting texts in the New Testament. The Letter to the Hebrews has inspired many readers with its encomium to faith, troubled others with its hard sayings on the impossibility of a second repentance, and perplexed still others with its exegetical assumptions and operations drawn from a cultural matrix that is largely alien to modern sensibilities. Long thought to be Paul, the anonymous author of Hebrews exhibits points of continuity with the apostle and other New Testament writers in the letter's (or sermon's) vision of life in the light of the crucified Messiah, but one also finds distinctive perspectives in such areas as Christology, eschatology, and atonement. Gray and Peeler survey the salient historical, social, and rhetorical factors to be considered in the interpretation of this document, as well as its theological, liturgical, and cultural legacy. They invite readers to enter the world of one of the boldest Christian thinkers of the first century.

Philemon An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Robert Seesengood
ISBN : 9780567674968
Genre : Religion
File Size : 51. 44 MB
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This guide explores and summarizes scholarship on Philemon, acquainting beginning students with what has been said about Philemon, and equipping them to understand the larger debates and conversations that surround it. It explores how different initial scholarly assumptions result in different interpretations and "meanings;" these meanings always have ethical implications. Reading Philemon challenges us to rethink the process of commentary and the communities interpretation creates. Though only one chapter long, Paul's Letter to Philemon has generated a remarkable amount of commentary and scholarship over the centuries, figuring in debates over textual reconstruction, the formation of biblical canon, the culture of ancient Rome, Greek language and its translation, and the role of the Bible in Western politics and economics. The focus of this short letter is labor, love and captivity. Tradition since Chrysostom has argued the letter is an appeal to Philemon on behalf of a fugitive slave Onesimus, now a convert to Christianity. Yet this interpretation depends upon several assumptions and reconstructions. Other equally plausible contexts could be -- and have been -- argued.

Ezra Nehemiah An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer
ISBN : 9780567675002
Genre : Religion
File Size : 35. 34 MB
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This guide to Ezra and Nehemiah showcases the latest developments and most up-to-date scholarship on these important texts. Ezra and Nehemiah tell the story of the people in Yehud in the 6th and the 5th centuries BCE. This was a time of economic hardship. The people living in and around Jerusalem were scratching out a living in a land that had been devastated by war. It was also a time of soul searching. Having lost their political autonomy and national identity, the people in Yehud had to find new ways of understanding and shaping their identity. Ezra and Nehemiah provide glimpses of these issues by way of an assortment of narratives, lists, letters, and other types of records. The readers encounter different voices and different opinions. Lena-Sofia Tiemeyer provides an overview of the various texts and the topics, concerns, and disputes that they reflect. The guide also zooms in on select key issues pertaining to the development of the text, its historical background(s), the quest for identity, and its afterlife in Jewish and Christian traditions.

2 Corinthians An Introduction And Study Guide

Author : Jay Twomey
ISBN : 9780567671202
Genre : Religion
File Size : 24. 96 MB
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This guide considers the historical contexts, the literary forms, the social and rhetorical backgrounds, the politics, the theologies, and the reception of 2 Corinthians. Each chapter surveys recent scholarly approaches to the text, focussing especially on critical perspectives that mesh with our contemporary concerns about gender, identity, race and class. 2 Corinthians becomes, in the process, less the work of a single 1st-century writer than a set of fraught, even fractured negotiations between competing interests and impulses, conducted in Paul's voice. The last chapter brings the letter into conversation with Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story 'The Minister's Black Veil' in order to shift the terms of the critical discussion from what Paul meant to how Paul means in later cultural moments. Twomey introduces students to the way 2 Corinthians offers a fascinating but fragmentary glimpse into Paul's continuing ties with the Corinthian community. At the same time, Twomey shows how the letter is the site of many new critical challenges to traditional readings of Paul and early Christianity. In contrast to 1 Corinthians, this 2 Corinthians largely eschews the debates and discussions, the interests and concerns of Paul's correspondents. Instead we find Paul engaged in a multi-pronged defence of his ministry in and beyond Corinth. Over the course of thirteen chapters he runs the gamut of the emotions, rhetorically, from tears to joy to biting anger, while struggling to keep his relationship with (some say, his control over) the community intact.

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