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Archive for the ‘Book Review’ Category

Do return here as I will be updating this page… this is just a draft. Any other resources then please tell me.

Postgraduate Trinity students are available to access a wide range of journal articles online in PDF format. To do this it is first neccessary to have registered at Bristol University Library (Arts and Social Sciences) and to have received a username and password. Once this has been done the easiest way to get things going is to change the proxy settings on your internet connection. This can be done for you automatically by clicking here. Once this has been done return to the bristol university library webpage and you should be asked to put in your username and password.  Your computer is now setup to access online journals. There are a number of ways to find appropriate journal articles. Some students use J STore. Alternatively you can just go straight to journal websites if you know what you are looking for. ie. Journal for the Study of the New Testament. Once articles have been downloaded they can be printed off. On my Apple Mac I use the free pdf software called Skim which allows you to take notes on PDFs and highlight the text.

Of the making of bibliographies there is no end. Thanks to bibliography software this task becomes signifcantly easier and less time consuming. Some people us the old favourite called EndNote which is great but is expensive. I use the free piece of software called Zotero.

Zotero requires that you have installed  firefox web browser. I reccomend downloading the beta version of zotero as this allows you to sync your library on mulitiple machines and means that if your computer breaks your zotero library is safe.  I highly reccomend this free piece of software. I would advise though that it better to import bibliography details from academic libraries (such as Oxford) rather than through amazon or google books.

Google Books and Google Scholar are powerful and growing websites  which can be searched. They are often my first port of call when lookign for books and articles in my research area.  If a book is quoted I often type the quote into google books and i can read the surrounding context of the citation.

There are a number of different options of Bible programs for the scholar. Some people prefer a free online Bible which works within your web browser. However, the best option is to download bible software onto your machine. This will allow you to use the program when not online. E-Sword is a free bible program which is pretty good (considering it is free) for general english bible searches and using it like a high speed exhaustive concordance. However, the best option (except it costs money) is to go with either Accordance (for Mac only I think), BibleWorks or Logos. Detailed review of these products can be found here. I use Logos and Trinity Students are able to receive a  significant discount by going through this link .  You can add books at a later stage and it is possible to buy such delights as Word Bib Commentaries, Anchor Bible Dictionary, Karl Barth’s Church Dogmatics, IVP Dictionaries.  It can be expensive (depending on what you get) but they do have a payment plan which can spread the payment over several months for only a few extra pounds. Please see me if you would like advise, a demo or anything else.

For those with a mac I do recommend taking a look at Scrivener

Here are a few random websites which I visit. Some are better than others….

I don’t use Word but use OpenOffice and NeoOffice instead. They are free.

Free Don Carson and John Piper Books

N.T Wright Articles,Videos and Mp3

Wayne Grudem offers an mp3 course through his systematic theology.

Spotify. If you like to listen to music but don’t have money to buy CDs.

For free theology and biblical studies lectures in Mp3 format try here, here and here.

Student Discount on a Mac

Free PDF version of decent English translation of the Septuagint

New Testament Gateway

For those interested in New Perspective on Paul

Free commentary by Don Garlington on Galatians

For those interested in Reformational Philosophy

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The latest issue of Mars Hill MP3 journal is now online.  I highly recommend it for those interested in some of the current discussions surrounding worldview and culture from some of todays leading christian thinkers. The contributions of Smith and Hunter are particularly significant given the influence of their recent books .

MARS HILL AUDIO Journal
Volume 101
January/February 2010
Part 1
James Davison Hunter, on how the most prominent strategies of Christian cultural engagement are based on a misunderstanding about how cultures work

Paul Spears, on why Christian scholars need to understand their disciplines in ways that depart from conventional understanding

Steven Loomis, on why education needs to attend more carefully to nonquantifiable aspects of human experience

Part 2
James K. A. Smith, on how education always involves the formation of affections, and how the form of Christian education should imitate patterns of formation evident in historic Christian liturgy

Thomas Long, on how funeral practices have the capacity to convey an understanding of the meaning of discipleship and death

William Cavanaugh, on the distinctly modern definition of “religion,” and how the conventional account of the “Wars of Religion” misrepresents the facts in the interest of consolidating state power

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Edward Adams in the recently published monograph The Stars Will Fall From Heaven’, with N.T Wright in his critical sights, has produced an excellent resource in attempting to bring under scholarly focus a variety of texts which refer to ‘cosmic catastrophes’. After detailed interaction with may texts he reaches the conclusion ‘that the created universe is destined to be dissolved is clearly expressed in the Old testament….. Jewish apocalyptic and related writings.’

Edward Adams has an article in the latest issue of the Expository Times which explores the relationship between his eschatology and how to treat the environment.  Here is the blurb.

Does Awaiting ‘New Heavens and a New Earth’ (2 Pet 3.13) Mean Abandoning the Environment?

Edward AdamsKing’s College London,

This article assesses the environmental implications of the hope of a new heaven/s and new earth as we find it expressed in 2 Peter 3.5-13 and Revelation 21.1-22.5. Both texts present the environmentally problematic scenario in which the present creation is dissolved prior to the establishment of the new created order. It is argued, though, that the hope for a new cosmic creation in these passages is not wholly lacking in environmental appeal. ‘Waiting for’ the new heaven/s and earth does not mean abdicating moral responsibility and is not incompaible with pro-environmental action.

Key Words: environment • eschatology • new creation • 2 Peter • Revelation

The Expository Times, Vol. 121, No. 4, 168-175 (2010)
DOI: 10.1177/0014524609354742

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Thanks Steve for the link

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I have battled my way in the last few weeks half-way through this important study by Douglas Campbell. This book offers a serious challenge to justification by faith, whether one takes a ‘Lutheran’ of Wrightian New Perspective.  It offers a new paradigm rather than a new perspective.

I was pleased to see hear that a recent discussion of this book at SBL is available to listen to. It involves a discussion of this book from Gorman, Moo and Torrance with questions from Hays and Wright. Here is the link Thanks to Andy Rowell for making this audio available to those who couldn’t make SBL.

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The award winning Encyclopedia Judaica is available online for free

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The latest volume of Themelios is out which contains a review of N.T Wright’s Justification:Paul’s Vision and God’s Plan by a man called David Mathis from a place called Bethlehem Baptist Church. I thought that sounded familiar so I googled his name and discovered that he is the executive pastoral assistant to John Piper.

That is pretty weird….

Given the seriousness of this interchange between Wright and Piper you might have thought that they may have asked a reviewer who didn’t work for Piper. As it turns out, and there is no surprise here, it is quite a negative review. I do wonder if Piper may have had a hand in it….

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The Death of Jesus in the Gospel of Mark

The purpose of my last few months of research has been to explore, within the narrative of the gospel of Mark, the link between Jesus’ death and the Temple.  This link is clearly to be seen at the surface level of the passion narratives where the  Temple and the  cross are fused together in the closing stages of the Markan narrative. For instance, Jesus at his trial, which leads directly to his execution, is  falsely accused of saying that he would destroy the Temple sanctuary ( ναὸν) and replace it with another (14:58). This accusation is repeated during the crucifixion  in the form of mockery  (15:29) and at the point of death the link between Jesus’ death and the Temple is made explicit, ‘for a single instant…. we [the reader] are transplanted from Golgotha to the Temple area, and then back to Golgotha’ when the veil of the Temple was torn (ἐσχίσθη)  in two (15:38).

The attached paper (click on title above)  seeks to explore these themes.

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Today I had the pleasure of sharing a few insights on mission and worldview to the members of the ‘College Green’ pastoral group at Trinity College.. This group has pioneered and developed a chaplaincy which seeks to serve and bear witness to the young people who gather outside of Bristol Cathedral. Further information can be found here. The session today was intended to provide a theoretical/theological/philosophical basis for using worldviews in evangelism. On a practical level we will be using a modified version of the UCCF worldview questionnaire to engage in discussion.

If any church or group would like me to come and lead an interactive workshop on  ‘Worldview and Mission’ then I would be more than happy to assist. There would be no charge for any group in the Bristol area and for anyone else, within reason,  I would only ask that traveling expenses be covered. If interested then just leave a comment on this post. I can get references for those who want to know that I am kosher and can communicate effectively. I have previously discussed this material at West Yorkshire School of Christian Studies, local churches and a ‘Exploring Vocations’ retreat.

The following is primarily aimed as a resource bank for the pastoral group.

My presentation can be found using the following link.

I mentioned 2 books in my presentation.

Walsh and Middleton, Transforming Vision which introduces the reader to a Christian worldview. This book, if i remember rightly, takes a look at the worldview questions.

Where are you? Who are you? What is the problem? What is the solution? Where are we going? It will be worth checking out my  mate, Mark Roques’ website who has a great page on the worldview questions and sketches out a number of answers from different worldviews.  Also check out his podcasts.

I also recommended N.T Wright’s ‘New Testament and the People of God’ which provided the story, symbols, q+a, praxis part of my presentation. This book is great and will greatly assist you in hermeneutics and study of the New Testament. It is meaty and is not directly related to mission or evangelism. If this is your first year of theological training it may be best to leave on hold for a while. I think that it would be great to try and sit down and sketch out the worldviews of some of the young people you have met. What is their praxis? symbol? story? answers to worldview questions.

If you are interested in the Christian metanarrative and a holistic understanding of mission then check out some of the audio lectures by Micheal Goheen.

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Jake Belder, via his blog, introduced me to the book ‘Who gets to narrate the world?’ by Robert E. Webber. My copy arrived today and I have ploughed through the first few chapters.  So far, so good. Webber encourages us to look at the comprehensive biblical narrative which is desperately needed as Christians face real problems, both internal and external, in the 21st century.

However, I was surprised, given this book calls us to move away from a reductionistic understanding of God’s story and mission to find the following,

The overriding theme of this book is to respond to these challenges by understanding and practising the fullness of God’s narrative. Whether you are a pastor, a youth worker, a worship leader, an evangelist, a teacher or active layperson in the church, the effect of restoring God’s narrative is manifold. (page 19)

Why, please tell me, does a book which is against reductionism, have as its target audience people who work in a church? Surely the call of the gospel is to people working in all spheres of life. I have taken the liberty of re-writing the above paragraph and would be happy for Robert to use it in in any future editions of the book.

The overriding theme of this book is to respond to these challenges by understanding and practising the fullness of God’s narrative. Whether you are a pastor, baker, butcher, scientist, artist, teacher, economist, lawyer, candlestick maker,  the effect of restoring God’s narrative is manifold.

If this potential new edition contains the above paragraph I would only ask that a glossy picture of myself be included on the back cover. This would have the added advantage of increasing sales…..

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