Archives for August 2015

The Weekly Hit List: August 28, 2015

Cover ArtJonathan Grant’s Divine Sex was reviewed at Christianity Today.

By providing such a thoughtful, well-rounded, and compelling account of our society’s view of sex, Grant provides the resources we need to challenge, deconstruct, and ultimately subvert it. After all, if our vision of sexuality gives rise to a parade of horribles—a hypersexualized culture, sexual dissatisfaction, rampant porn use, unhappier marriages, and young men who deny, with a straight face, that sex has any mystery—then why would we keep it?

Peter Leithart, author of Traces of the Trinity, was interviewed at Books at a Glance.

The Father is in the Son but never becomes the Son; the Son is in the Father, but never becomes Father. That is part of the beauty and mystery, the fascination, of the Trinity: That three Persons are utterly united and yet utterly distinct.

Quick Hits:

Matthew Skinner wrote On Why (Some) People Don’t Give Money to Their Church for The Huffington Post, which drew from his forthcoming Intrusive God, Disruptive Gospel.



Lectionary Reflection for the Fourteen Sunday after Pentecost

Cover ArtThis excerpt comes from Song of Songs (BTCB) by Paul J. Griffiths, commenting on Song of Songs 2:8-13:

If the lover is the Lord and his beloved his Israel-church, then there are rich possibilities for thinking about additional meanings for these phrases.

The Lord’s partial or full invisibility to us is one: he is there and can see us, but we cannot see him.

The Lord may seem to choose to conceal himself from us: he “stands behind our wall” (a word that occurs only here in the Song). But this is a barrier we have erected, and its presence here may suggest that it is our actions rather than the Lord’s that separate us from him.

We have enclosed ourselves by sin in a place in which the Lord’s voice  can be heard, yes, but where he cannot be seen. There are, however, openings even in this wall, openings that let in the Lord’s light. Through those openings he approaches more closely to us, and through them he speaks to us.

On this reading, scripture itself, and especially the words of the Song under discussion, serve as just such openings: in reading or hearing the Song we are looked at by the Lord as our lover through the windows and latticework of scripture.

A conceit, it may seem, but a nice one. The Song here performs what it figures: an opening to the “voice”—and proleptically the vision and the touch—of the Lord.


©2011 by Paul J. Griffiths. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

Now Available – the Fall 2015 Catalog

Academic Catalog

Our Fall 2015 Academic Catalog is now available online.

  • Bible & Interpretation (pages 1-15) PDF
  • Theological, Historical & Ethical Studies (pages 16-27) PDF
  • Intercultural Studies (pages 28-31), Practical Theology, Spirituality & Formation (pages 32-43) and Also of Interest (pages 44-50) PDF
  • Complete List, Indexes, Policies, and Order Form (pages 51-123) PDF

Click here to search by academic discipline.


The Weekly Hit List: August 21, 2015

Cover ArtLearning for the Love of God, by Donald Opitz and Derek Melleby, was reviewed at Bob on Books.

“Having worked in the collegiate ministry world for many years, I welcome this book. It is too easy for our ministries to overlook the academic aspect of the discipleship of our students….A great gift to students headed off to college


Quick Hits:

J. Todd Billings, author of Rejoicing in Lament, asked Why do Cancer Patients Hide Side Effects?

Jonathan Storment, at Jesus Creed, wrestled with the question “Did Gandhi do Kingdom work?” in light of Scot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy.

Lectionary Reflection for the Thirteenth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings8:[1, 6, 10-11], 22-30, 41-43:

One key moment in the dedication ceremony occurs when Solomon transfers the ark from the fortress of Zion to the temple mount. During David’s reign, the palace and the tent for the ark are both in this portion of the city, but in 1 Kgs. 8, the Zion system of worship is incorporated, with the Mosaic tabernacle (8:4), into the temple (Leithart 2003a). Solomon reunites the divided worship of Israel into a single location.

Starting from 1 Sam. 4, the story of the ark is a story of death and resurrection: the “body” of the tabernacle is divided and then reunited, and this points to the ultimate tabernacle of God in the flesh of Jesus, who is torn on the cross before he is raised and ascends to the “house” of his Father in heaven. The emphasis on the ark and the tablets of the law inside demonstrates the continuity between the order of Solomon and the Mosaic covenant (l)r#y ynb-M( hwhy trk r#)) (1 Kgs. 8:9).

The temple becomes an architectural emblem of the nation and the individual with the Torah of Yahweh written on his or her heart. Once the ark is in the temple, Yahweh descends in a cloud and consecrates the temple as his holy place. The temple is the place of Yahweh’s enthronement, again pointing to the human temple at the center of the Father’s kingdom.

Though highlighted in the dedication, the ark hereafter disappears from 1–2 Kings and is not even listed among the furniture seized by Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kgs. 25) or among the furnishings brought back from exile. It is apparently lost at some point in Israel’s history, since Pompey found the most holy place empty when he came to the temple. The understated treatment of the ark in 1–2 Kings seems to indicate that its role is already envisioned to be temporary.

If its loss is a tragic mistake, one would expect some mention of the tragedy, but there is none. The ark serves as the transportable throne of Yahweh until he takes his rest in the temple, but once there the temple itself is seen as the “throne” of Yahweh. Jeremiah makes this point in Jer. 3:11–18, where he refers to the days after the exile when the ark will be forgotten. Instead of the ark serving as Yahweh’s throne, the entire city of Jerusalem will become a throne.


©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

The Weekly Hit List: August 14, 2015

Cover ArtScot McKnight’s Kingdom Conspiracy was reviewed by Steve McAlpine at The Gospel Coalition Australia.

“If one line sums up Scot McKnight’s latest, and by some accounts most controversial, book Kingdom Conspiracy: Returning to the Radical Mission of the Local Church, it would be this:

Everything can be kingdom. And when everything is kingdom, nothing will be. (cue outraged cries)

I warmed to this book quickly. McKnight rides to the rescue of that once-incredible damsel in distress, the western church, riven as she is by assaults from without and doubts from within and gives her credibility back.”

Quick Hits:

Wesley Hill, author of Spiritual Friendship, was interviewed at Key Life.

 At Theologues, Alvin Rapien discussed politics and religion, and drew from Paul’s New Moment by John Milbank, Slavoj Zizek, and Creston Davis.

Chuck McKnight recommended Ron Sider’s Nonviolent Action in his post How Should Christians Respond to Violence? at the Faithlife Blog.

Lectionary Reflection for the Twelfth Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 1 & 2 Kings (BTCB) by Peter J. Leithart, commenting on 1 Kings 2:10-12; 3:3-14:

In large part, the historical discussions miss the point of biblical wisdom. Augustine assumes something like a Platonic epistemological dualism of sensible and intelligible that rests on the metaphysical dualism between the world of forms and the world of experience, while Thomas’s conception, though preferable in many ways, remains too intellectualist to capture the biblical conception.

In Scripture, wisdom is often more closely associated with the skill of the woodcutter than with the ecstasies of the mystic. The Hebrew word for wisdom (hmkx) often means “artistic skill” (Exod. 28:3; 31:3; 35:31; 1 Kgs. 7:14), and even where the reference is not directly to art, the esthetic and practical dimension is not left behind.

A furniture maker displays wisdom in craftsmanship, not only by knowing “causes” but by excellence in the sheer physical activity of the craft. A musician displays wisdom in making music, a parent in training and guiding children. There is a craft or art to these endeavors, and overall Proverbs is a book of instruction concerning skillful living, teaching how to construct a life that is attractive, fitting, and beautiful.

Jesus, the incarnate wisdom, is wisdom in just this sense, the one who embodies, as Nicolas of Cusa said, the art of the Father, the craftsman who shapes the raw and ruined matter of this world into the kingdom of God, the teacher who instructs his disciples how to build well (Matt. 7:24–27).

First Kings 3 is one of the great biblical treatments of wisdom and sets wisdom firmly in this practical—and in this case political—context.


©2006 by Peter J. Leithart. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.

An Interview with Jonathan Grant, author of Divine Sex

Cover ArtJonathan Grant, author of Divine Sex: A Compelling Vision for Christian Relationships in a Hypersexualized Age, was recently interviewed at Life Lessons.

You can listen below.






Lectionary Reflection for the Eleventh Sunday after Pentecost

This excerpt comes from 2 Samuel (BTCB) by Robert Barron, commenting on 2 Samuel 18:5-9, 15, 31-33:

Cover Art

Absalom, we are told, happens to encounter some servants of David. Though this sounds a bit odd, the reader must remember that the fog of war had definitely descended on this particular wooded battlefield, and the rebel king probably was as disoriented as his troops. As would have been appropriate for a high-status figure, Absalom is mounted on a mule, and the animal, perhaps in a panic, scoots under a large oak. Before he can react, Absalom finds himself caught by the hair in the tangle of the tree’s branches.

The bizarre, almost comical, image of the young man suspended between heaven and earth is, as Robert Alter comments, a wonderfully apt summary of this entire section of 2 Samuel (Alter 1999: 304). Who could miss the irony in the fact that Absalom’s hair, which had been the very focus of his narcissistic pride, would become the means of his undoing?

On the biblical reading, happiness flows not from self-preoccupation but rather from a forgetting of self and a surrendering to the purposes of God. Also, the royal animal running off and leaving his rider suspended is a particularly apt symbol for the unseating, the dethroning, of Absalom. Like his former counselor Ahithophel, Absalom ends his life strung up, undone by his own errant machinations.

Of course, the church fathers cannot overlook the thematic rhyming of this episode with the Gospel accounts of the death of Judas, another betrayer from the inner circle of the king who ends in a bad way. Cassiodorus’s comment is typical: “When Absalom was cruelly attacking his father David, the speed of his mule caused him to collide with a thick oak tree, and the branches wound round his neck so that he was suspended high in the air. This was a prefiguration of the Lord’s betrayer. Just as Judas ended his life in the knot of a noose, so also David’s persecutor breathed his last through the pressure on his throat.”

©2015 by Robert Barron. Published by Brazos Press. Unauthorized use of this material without express written permission is strictly prohibited.