Baker Academic

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Fall/Winter 2017-18 Eerdmans Catalogue

Today I flipped leisurely through the most recent Eerdmans catalogue. As far as activities go it ranks somewhere between baseball pregame radio and a crossword puzzle. The catalogue marks the season and suggests a harvest of ideas. In this case, these are seeds of book proposals planted years ago. Here are just a few offerings from the Eerdmans' soil.

Early Jewish Literature: An Anthology (2 vols). Editors: Brad Embry, Ronald Herms, and Archie T. Wright.
Description: Early Jewish Literature: An Anthology offers more than seventy selections from Second Temple-era Jewish literature, each introduced and translated by a leading scholar in the field. Organized by genre, this two-volume anthology presents both complete works and substantial excerpts of longer works, giving readers a solid introduction to the major works of the era—the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Old Testament Pseudepigrapha, the writings of Josephus and Philo of Alexandria, and the Septuagint (Apocrypha). 
The substantive introduction to each selection includes these elements: narrative description; author/provenance; date/occasion; text, language, sources, and transmission; theology; and reception during the Second Temple period. Additional student aids include a list of further readings on each selection, a section of maps, a glossary of biographical names, and a glossary of terms. With contributors and translators including such noted scholars as James Charlesworth, Sidnie White Crawford, James D. G. Dunn, Peter W. Flint, and James VanderKam, this anthology will be an essential resource for all students of early Jewish literature and emerging Christian traditions.

Paul and the Person: Reframing Paul's Anthropology. Author: Susan Grove Eastman.
Description: In this book Susan Grove Eastman presents a fresh and innovative exploration of Paul's participatory theology in conversation with both ancient and contemporary conceptions of the self. Juxtaposing Paul, ancient philosophers, and modern theorists of the person, Eastman opens up a conversation that illuminates Paul's thought in new ways and brings his voice into current debates about personhood.
Eastman devotes close attention to the Pauline letters within their first-century context, particularly the Greco-Roman fascination with questions of performance and identity. At the same time, she draws out connections to recent trends in psychology and neurobiology in order to situate Paul's insights in deep dialogue with contemporary understandings of human identity.

Dying and the Virtues. Author: Matthew Levering.
When death begins to strip away nearly everything that belongs to us, we discover that we need the virtues more than ever. We especially need to cultivate those virtues that can carry us through to the full and final fruition of our earthly journey. 
In this book Matthew Levering investigates nine such virtues—love, hope, faith, penitence, gratitude, solidarity, humility, surrender, and courage—that dying persons need in order to prepare themselves for the end of life. Retrieving and engaging scriptural, theological, and contemporary resources ranging from the book of Job to present-day medical science, Levering journeys through the various stages and challenges of the dying process, beginning with the fear of annihilation and continuing through repentance and gratitude, suffering and hope, before arriving finally at the courage needed to say goodbye to one's familiar world.
I'm looking forward to getting my hands on these items, each for different reasons. The Embry, Herms, Wright anthology is a must own. The introductory material and glossaries alone make these volumes worth their cost. NB: I can imagine nothing more relevant to the student of Jesus and Early Christianity than exposure to the literature circulating in (circa) the first-century. The Eastman book on Paul is intriguing. Listen to John Barclay's praise from the foreword: "She has traveled far, into philosophy (ancient and modern), neuroscience, and experimental psychology--mostly territory unknown to biblical scholars--and she has returned in triumph...." The Levering book tackles that ultimate topic of the human condition. Also it was conceived by Matthew Levering who is known for thinking and writing like Matthew Levering.

There are a number of other interesting books in this catalogue. These are just the first three on my 2018 reading list.


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