Wednesday, December 16, 2009

In Store Now - The Faith of Jesus Christ

If you are at all interested in Pauline studies you won't want to miss the book. The Faith of Jesus Christ: Exegetical, Biblical, and Theological Studies is a compilation of essays on the very controversial "Pistis Christou" debate. At this point some of you are saying, "The what debate?" Glad you asked.

Pistis is the Greek word for faith and Christou is the genitive form of the word for Christ. The debate centers around how this particular genitive should be translated: as an objective genitive which would be "faith in Christ" or as a subjective genitive which would be the "faithfulness of Christ." It may seem like a small matter but the debate has been raging for well over thirty years and the implications can be massive. Indeed, in the introduction Michael Bird says the interpretation of this phrase "affects a whole constellation of issues about the nature of salvation, the person and work of Christ, the contents of faith, the character of the church, and even Bible translations." (3) The book is edited by Michael F. Bird and Preston M. Sprinkle and it is loaded with some of the best scholarship from both sides of the debate. Here's how the catalog describes them:

University of Durham luminary James D.G. Dunn authors an erudite foreword; and editor Michael Bird introduces the problems and prospects for a New Testament conversation on the topic. Debbie Hunn, Stanley E. Porter, and Andrew W. Pitts contribute essays about the background of the pistis christou discussion. Douglas A. Campbell, R. Barry Matlock, Paul Foster, and Richard Bell clarify Pauline texts in contention. Mark A. Seifrid, Francis Watson, Preston M. Sprinkle, and Ardel B. Caneday explore Pauline exegesis, hermeneutics, and theology. The witness of the wider New Testament is covered by Peter G. Bolt, Willis H. Salier, Bruce A. Lowe, and David deSilva. Finally, Mark W. Elliott and Benjamin Myers offer historical and theological reflections from the church fathers, Karl Barth, and others.
To be clear this is not an introductory level book. Some knowledge of Greek is required and the discussions can get fairly complicated quickly. But for those who take the time and effort to make their way through their labor will not be in vain.
It is a paperback with 350 pages and sells for $24.95. It comes from Hendrickson Publishers. Michael Bird is Tutor in New Testament at Highland Theological Seminary, Scotland. His blog is Euangelion. Preston Sprinkle is Associate Professor of New Testament at Eternity Bible College, California. Some of you may not know but Eternity Bible College was founded in 2004 by Francis Chan, author of Crazy Love.

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