Books: Won, New, Found, and Grievously Missing (Part I)

A new (civil) year has dawned, my gentle snowflakes, and since this blog is written by a bookish nerd for those of like proclivities, no better way to mark the occasion occurs to me than to recapitulate in this, the first post of the year, some of the book happenings of the year just past. So, without further ado, I give you a summary relation of these momentous events.

I. Books Won

This is, I must admit, a wholly new category for me: as far as I can recall, I had never won books at any contest or drawing before that noble gentleman, Mr Shaun Tabatt, saw fit to award me with prizes on days 7 and 9 of his “Bible Geek Gone Wild’s 12 Days Before Christmas Giveaway.” Dear Mr Tabatt (who surely is a living saint) promptly shipped the promised loot, which was delivered to my door on New Year’s Eve by an unusually cheerful postman. The good cheer immediately spread to the inner sanctum of my humble abode as I unpacked the following titles:

  • Allen Ross and John N. Oswalt, Genesis. Exodus (Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, volume 1). Carol Stream: Tyndale, 2008.
  • Paul Barnett, The Birth of Christianity: The First Twenty Years (After Jesus, volume 1). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2003.
  • Bo Giertz, To Live with Christ. St Louis: Concordia, 2008.

Many thanks to Shaun (and to the publishers) for these books! Barnett’s excellent little book I read almost in a single sitting, and I shall pick it up again before long to give it a more meticulous read, which it well deserves. I have sampled several “hard” and otherwise well-known passages from Genesis and Exodus in the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary, and while there is much more to say about this volume, for now I am glad to report this: here is a commentary that, without ignoring the more salient issues of translation and exegesis, refreshingly focuses on providing a responsible exposition of the biblical text. If all volumes of the Cornerstone Biblical Commentary are like this one (and I, for one, am eager to see volume 11, which features commentaries on St Matthew and St Mark by David Turner and Darrell Bock), I can only predict that this new series will become a favorite of responsible preachers and teachers everywhere. As for Giertz’s admirable (and voluminous!) confessional devotional, while I myself have little use for it, I will shortly be passing it along to someone who I’m certain will put it to good use.

Of course, I must also mention that I did not, in fact, win Trevin Wax’s “Kingdom People Christmas Giveaway” (nor did Robert Jiménez, who, as we saw, was also allowed to win). As I have noted elsewhere, this is not a failure of the assurances given me by some of today’s leading Bible prophecy scholars, but as I have noted elsewhere, an obvious result of Nick Norelli’s defiant unbelief and greed. For shame!

II. New Books

On account of the troubled economic times and my recent transoceanic move, the past year did not see a significant increase in the holdings of my personal library (in fact, these were relatively diminished through my selling a number of volumes for which I had little use). This does not mean, however, that those additions that were made are themselves insignificant—quite the contrary! Allow me to start by listing the following five volumes, which I obtained yesterday in that blessed haven of remaindered books, my local Bargain Books:

  • Kenneth L. Barker (ed.), TNIV Study Bible, Personal Size. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2006.
  • Colin Gunton, Act & Being: Towards a Theology of the Divine Attributes. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2002.
  • Jacob Neusner (ed.), Faith Renewed: The Judaic Affirmation Beyond the Holocaust. Macon: Mercer, 1994.
  • Matthew C. Williams, Two Gospels from One: A Comprehensive Text-Critical Analysis of the Synoptic Gospels. Grand Rapids: Kregel, 2006.
  • John Howard Yoder, The Politics of Jesus (Second Edition). Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994.

And due to it being their yearly 50% off sale, I was able to purchase all of the above for a mere $20 USD! Yoder replaces my strangely missing copy of the same book (see below), but the other books are new to me. Earlier acquisitions include Ben Witherington’s Letters And Homilies for Hellenized Christians: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on Titus, 1-2 Timothy And 1-3 John (Downers Grove: IVP, 2006); Mother Cassiana’s Come, Follow Me: Orthodox Monasticism in Moldavia (Minneapolis: Light and Life, 1991); Elder Cleopa’s On the Christian Mysteries (The Truth of Our Faith, vol. 2; Thessalonica: Uncut Mountain, 2006); and Constantine Cavarnos’ distressing Orthodox Christian Terminology (Belmont: Institute for Byzantine and Modern Greek Studies, 1994). Also noteworthy are my purchases of a copy of the HCSB for only $5 (which copy, sadly, I had to leave behind in Puerto Rico), and of a copy of the TNIV soon after my arrival in Michigan (which, in contrast with my earlier “TNIV Quest,” I was able to accomplish simply by driving down to the local Borders).

I was also the object of the kindness of family, friends, and even strangers in 2008: I was given copies of Father John Behr’s The Way to Nicea (The Formation of Christian Theology, vol. 1; Crestwood: SVS, 2001) and the new St Tikhon’s Divine Liturgy book (South Canaan: STS, 2008); for my 30th birthday, I was given copies of D. A. Carson and G. K. Beale (eds.), Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2007); John L. Thompson, Reading the Bible with the Dead (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007); and Frances Young, Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture (Peabody: Hendrickson, 2002). The illustrious Mr Kevin P. Edgecomb magnanimously sent along copies of both the infamous Orthodox Study Bible and Charles Thomson’s delightful translation of the Septuagint. My dear friend Nick Norelli sent me review copies of A Reader’s Greek New Testament, Second Edition (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2007); William D. and Robert H. Mounce’s Greek-English Interlinear New Testament, NASB/NIV (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 2008); and John Barton’s The Nature of Biblical Criticism (Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2007). And last but not least, my friend and former co-worker Louis McBride gave me a copy of Chrys Caragounis’ superb(ly annoying) The Development of Greek and the New Testament (Grand Rapids: Baker: 2006). For all of these I express once again my gratitude.


9 responses to “Books: Won, New, Found, and Grievously Missing (Part I)

  1. You must admit that even with all its faults (which are very much there), Caragounis’ book does indeed have some helpful discussions.


  2. I was interested in your characterisation of Cavarnos’s book as ‘distressing’. I thought it more cute than anything else.


  3. Mike> I do admit it, but that doesn't make the book any less annoying! ;-)

    Aaron> What is distressing is that there are people who believe just as does on this subject!!!


  4. Mike> 'Orthodox Christian Terminology' is an attempt to create standards for spelling and lexical choice for Orthodox writings and translations in English. Some of it I thought rather sensible, while much of it could be characterised as idiosyncratic, even eccentric. In general, it is extremely Hellenophiliac.


  5. Twas YOUR greed that cost me my Genesis-Exodus Cornerstone Biblical Commentary! But congrats on all the other books.


  6. Nick> \/\/hatever! You know I deserved that commentary. But anyway, thanks! ;-)

    Mike> Aaron describes Cavarnos' book rather well. I hope that by "Hellenophiliac" he means "infuriating and maddening"(which is, of course, what any sensible person would mean by such a word!).


  7. I’d like to see your take on Yoder. I found I had a love hate relationship with that text. He lets you in on his presuppositions about scripture but then has to spend the whole book defending them. That’s why I’ll leave the bible scholar stuff up to you my son, I’ll stick to the modern theological work. BTW your mother is doing fine.


  8. Greetings in the New Year, Dad! Sorry I couldn’t make it home for the holidays. I’m glad to hear that Mom is well. Has my sister warmed up to the idea of having and older brother yet? ;-)

    I first read The Politics of Jesus back in 1998 or so. I was dazzled by Yoder in those days (but in an entirely non-Hauerwasian way, for the latter I have never been able to stomach), and while I have outgrown my original devotion, I still find Yoder fascinating. A year ago I went as far as to suggest that, if I ever had to teach systematic theology (!), I would use his Preface to Theology to structure the course! I haven’t read PoJ in some years, however, but intend to do so sometime in this new year. Who knows–maybe I’ll publicly “take on” Yoder as you suggest!


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