Here are some excellent new theology books * that will be released in March 2021 :
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Dehumanization has led to serious misinterpretation of the Gospels. On the one hand, Christians have often made Jesus so much more than human that it seemed inappropriate to ask about the influence other human beings had on him, male or female. On the other hand, women have been treated as less than fully human, their names omitted from stories and their voices and influence on Jesus neglected. When we ask the question this book does, what Jesus learned from women, puzzling questions that have frustrated readers of the Gospels throughout history suddenly find solutions. Weaving cutting edge biblical scholarship together with an element of historical fiction and a knack for writing for a general audience, James McGrath makes the stories of women in the New Testament come alive, and sheds fresh light on the figure of Jesus as well. This book is a must read for scholars, students, and anyone else interested in Jesus and/or in the role of ancient women in the context of their times.
Laura Salah Nasrallah
Archaeology and the Letters of Paul illuminates the social, political, economic, and religious lives of those to whom the apostle Paul wrote. Roman Ephesos provides evidence of slave traders and the regulation of slaves; it is a likely setting for household of Philemon, to whom a letter about the slave Onesimus is addressed. In Galatia, an inscription seeks to restrain the demands of travelling Roman officials, illuminating how the apostolic travels of Paul, Cephas, and others disrupted communities. At Philippi, a list of donations from the cult of Silvanus demonstrates the benefactions of a community that, like those in Christ, sought to share abundance in the midst of economic limitations. In Corinth, a landscape of grief extends from monuments to the bones of the dead, and provides a context in which to understand Corinthian practices of baptism on behalf of the dead and the provocative idea that one could live “as if not” mourning or rejoicing. Rome and the Letter to the Romans are the grounds for an investigation of ideas of time and race not only in the first century, when we find an Egyptian obelisk inserted as a timepiece into the mausoleum complex of Augustus, but also of a new Rome under Mussolini that claimed the continuity of Roman racial identity from antiquity to his time and sought to excise Jews. Thessalonike and the early Christian literature associated with the city demonstrates what is done out of love for Paul-invention of letters, legends, and cult in his name. The book articulates a method for bringing together biblical texts with archaeological remains. This method reconstructs the lives of the many adelphoi brothers and sisters whom Paul and his co-writers address. Its project is informed by feminist historiography and gains inspiration from thinkers such as Claudia Rankine, Judith Butler, Giorgio Agamben, Wendy Brown, and Katie Lofton.
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C. Christopher Smith is the founding editor of The Englewood Review of Books. He is also author of a number of books, including most recently How the Body of Christ Talks: Recovering the Practice of Conversation in the Church (Brazos Press, 2019). Connect with him online at: C-Christopher-Smith.com