Archives For Biblical Studies


[easyazon_image align=”left” height=”333″ identifier=”080287567X” locale=”US” src=”” tag=”douloschristo-20″ width=”222″]Discerning Wisdom
Beyond the Good Life

A Feature Review of

A Life that is Good:
The Message of Proverbs in a World Wanting Wisdom
Glenn Pemberton

Paperback: Eerdmans, 2018
Buy Now:
[ [easyazon_link identifier=”080287567X” locale=”US” tag=”douloschristo-20″]Amazon[/easyazon_link] ]

Reviewed by Bob Cornwall

*** This review originally appeared 
on the reviewer’s website.
It is reprinted here with permission.
Browse his website for other excellent reviews!


In his first letter to the Corinthian church, Paul told his readers the foolishness of God is wiser than human wisdom. It is easy to mistake Paul as an advocate of Christian anti-intellectualism, but that would not be true. He values wisdom, just not the kind that devalues the power of the cross. His comments about wisdom, however, do raise questions of the purpose and value of wisdom, especially words of wisdom that are found in Scripture. It’s interesting that the Letter of James, which is often contrasted with the words of Paul, is understood by many to be a book of wisdom. No biblical book is linked to wisdom than the Book of Proverbs. If you’ve spent time with this biblical wisdom book, you will know that it can give you pause. There are sayings found within its pages that seem harsh and judgmental. There are words that connect wealth and goodness that also seem out of place in the real world. Then there are the words directed at women, which are often unflattering (to put it mildly). The question for us then is whether it offers a word of wisdom for today.

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***NOTE***: Our next issue will be released on
Monday June 14, and not Friday June 11.

We’re Giving Away Over $250 of Free books This Summer!!!

Summer is right around the corner, the perfect time to catch up on reading some great books.  And we here at the ERB want to jump start your summer reading by giving you five books (of your choice)!

Invite your friends (or yourself) to a FREE email subscription to The Englewood Review, and you and any friends who activate their subscription will be entered to win five free books from the list at the bottom of this page [You may need to click the “Read the rest of this entry…” link] !

The books we are giving away are titles that we have reviewed over the last few years, or ones that slipped through the cracks and never got reviewed.

On June 15, we will pick 5 winners.  The first name drawn will get to choose 5 books, the 2nd person drawn will get to choose 5 from the remaining books and so on through the 5th place winner, who will get to pick 5 titles from the remaining 11.


In our continuing effort to fund the publication and free distribution of The Englewood Review, we are going to be collaborating more intentionally with Christian Book Distributors. Primarily, we will be offering you the opportunity to buy bargain books from CBD that we think of are interest. Buying books this way is a win / win / win proposition. You get great books for a great price, CBD gets the sale and we get an excellent referral fee from CBD.

This week’s bargain books on the theme
St. Paul (Click to learn more/purchase):

432118: We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation We Preach Not Ourselves: Paul on Proclamation

By Michael P. Knowles / Brazos Press

$2.99 – Save 89%!!!

Holding up Paul as a model for contemporary pastors and seminarians, Knowles sheds light on the apostle’s theology of preaching in this careful examination of 2 Corinthians 1:1–6:13. Paul’s hallmark themes of Christ crucified and resurrected reflected his own cross-centered vision; informed and shaped his message; and led to the spiritual transformation of his hearers.

24531: Either Gentile or Jew: Paul"s Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity Either Gentile or Jew: Paul’s Unfolding Theology of Inclusivity

By Eung Chun Park / Westminster John Knox Press

$2.99 – Save 90%!!!

In this book, Eung Chun Park reconstructs a focused and coherent narrative of the last two decades of the life of Paul as it revolved around gentile mission. The result is a detailed and thorough analysis of the Pauline letters that shows how Paul’s theology changed over the course of his life as a result of his struggle to defend his gospel against those who advocated a different kind of gospel.The book traces the stories of the two gospels in early Christianity in Paul’s time (i.e., the gospel of the circumcision and the gospel of the uncircumcision) as they unfolded through such landmark events as the Apostolic Council in Jerusalem, the Antioch Incident, the Galatian Incident, the Corinthian Incident, and Paul’s last visit to Jerusalem.

2234X: Paul and the Stoics Paul and the Stoics

By Troels Engberg-Pedersen / Westminster John Knox Press

$4.99 – Save 88% !!!

(PUBWestminster/John Knox)The most in-depth treatment of this topic ever done! Going through Paul’s major epistles, Engberg-Pedersen makes clear how much Paul was indebted to Stoic philosophy both for his theology and his ethics. The bold, original research has all the markings of a landmark publication. 448 pages, softcover.

5101X: The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation The Heavenly Trumpet: John Chrysostom and the Art of Pauline Interpretation

By Margaret M. Mitchell / Westminster John Knox Press

$4.99 – Save 89% !!!

Arguing that all Pauline interpretation depends significantly upon the ways in which readers formulate their own images of the apostle, Margaret M. Mitchell posits that John Chrysostom, the most profilic interpreter of the Pauline epistles in the early church, exemplifies this phenomenon. Mitchell brings together Chrysostom’s copious portraits of Paul – of his body, his soul, and his life circumstances – and for the first time analyzes them as complex rhetorical compositions built open well-known conventions of Greco-Roman rhetoric. Two appendixes offer a fresh translation of Chrysostom’s seven homilies de laudibus sancti Pauli and a catalog of color plates of artistic representation that graphically represent the author/exegete dynamic this study explores.


Hearing the Stories of the Women of the Bible
in Their Own Contexts

A Review of
Women in the World of the Earliest Christians:
Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life
by Lynn Cohick.

Reviewed by Chase Roden.

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians:
Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life.
Lynn Cohick.

Paperback: Baker, 2010.
Buy now:  [ ]

WOMEN IN THE WORLD OF THE EARLIEST CHRISTIANS - CohickThink of the Samaritan woman at the well from John 4 — the one who has had five husbands and who is, at the time of meeting Jesus, living with a man who is not her husband.  What is your mental image of her?  If you’re like many Bible-readers, you may think of her as a “loose woman.”  Some interpreters have even called her an outcast in her community, forced to go to the well by herself because no reputable woman would want to be seen with her.  This characterization is dead wrong, argues Lynn Cohick in Women in the World of the Earliest Christians.

As any responsible Biblical interpreter knows, it is frighteningly easy to read our own culture and values into the Bible, even with extensive practice.  The best way to combat this eisegetical tendency is to learn the true historical background of scripture, and Cohick nobly takes on the task, focusing specifically on painting a picture of the everyday life of women in the time and setting of the early church.  In doing so, she reveals a world vastly different from what most modern readers will expect.

Although the voice of women in antiquity has often been hushed to the faintest whisper, Cohick presents a mix of original research and adept synthesis of current academic work on a wide-ranging variety of topics to dig deep into historical sources to uncover echoes of these women’s stories.  Her sources are wide-ranging and often clever; she works with not only the traditional mainstays of historians such as epigraphs, civic inscriptions, marriage contracts, and contemporary accounts, but also pays close attention to small details in surprising sources, often with great reward.  For instance, when examining Jewish marriage customs, Cohick examines the way that key terms are translated from the Hebrew Bible into Septuagint Greek; specifically, she notes that the Hebrew word mohar, for “bride price” (money or valuables paid by the groom’s family to the bride’s family) is translated into Septuagint Greek as pherne or “dowry.”  This detail could easily be passed over, but Cohick notes that it represents a major change of custom from the time and setting of the composition of the Hebrew sources to that of the Septuagint audience.

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A Brief Review of

Navigating Paul: An Introduction to Key Theological Concepts.
Jouette M. Bassler.

Paperback: Westminster John Knox Press, 2007.
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Reviewed by John Schaaf.

In Navigating Paul: An Introduction to Key Theological Concepts, Jouette M. Bassler, former editor of Journal of Biblical Literature, brings together a collection of essays to navigate some of the currents of the Pauline letters in such a manner so as each chapter stands on its own. Bassler writes in a fashion that is valuable to both the seasoned scholar and the novice by uniting a great deal of scholarship to provide what can easily be termed an extended glossary on some of Paul’s key theological views.

In chapter one, originally published in Interpretation 57.1 (2003): 24-32, Bassler begins by examining Paul’s view of grace. Affirming modern scholarship, Bassler makes it clear at the beginning of the chapter that grace was not central to Paul’s thought alone but to all forms of first century Judaism. Bassler continues the chapter by exploring the question of how Paul’s viewpoint was unique in the midst of a swarm of conflicting viewpoints. The chapter finishes with a discussion of what “his most polemical grace-language” was directed toward (1). Continue Reading…


A Brief Review of
Divine Presence Amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua
By Walter Brueggemann.


Reviewed by Chris Smith


I picked up Walter Brueggemann’s new little book Divine Presence Amid Violence: Contextualizing the Book of Joshua, because I was interested in his interpretation of Joshua 11 – the book’s key passage – and specifically how he dealt with the question of God’s role in Israel’s brutal conquering of the land of Hazor.  What came as a pleasant surprise, however, is that although questions about God and violence are central to the text, this book is just as much about the “contextualizing” and questions of revelation and how we read Scripture.  As Brueggemann emphasizes in his introduction (and as he has developed elsewhere), his hermeneutic approach is rooted in an epistemology that is both local and contextual. The first two chapters address questions of interpretation and revelation respectively and I found this section of the book to be a wonderfully clear and concise summary of the challenges of biblical interpretation in the present.  The remainder of the book continues to explore issues of interpretation, but with the Joshua 11 passage in mind.  Brueggemann explores the domination of the Canaanite people, and the resistance to which God leads the Israelites, concluding that even in our time and place in which we are seated on the side of oppressive power, Joshua stands as a reminder “from the other side” (as it were) that empires and other communities of domination “have no warrant for arms and control, but that this God is in inscrutable ways is aligned against the horses and chariots, working through the hardness of heart, until the whole enterprise collapses” (64).


Divine Presence Amid Violence:
Contextualizing the Book of Joshua.
Walter Brueggemann.

Paperback: Cascade Books, 2009.
Buy now:  [ Doulos Christou Books $13 ]  [ Amazon ]