A pair of books for your consideration

These came in the mail recently from Blackwell Publishing. I’ve only briefly scanned them, but I like what I see; and on that basis alone I’ll make a recomendation. (I’m not going to bother with a scad of fancy links; if you can find my little blog in all of cyberspace then you are surely adept enough to find these online).

David M. Gunn. Judges. Blackwell Bible Commentaries Series, 2005. 329 pages. softcover.

This is a history of interpretation, get this, on the entire book of Judges, pericope by pericope rather than a traditional commentary. Assuming you’ve done your Hebrew exegesis, you’ll want to engage Dunn. This book could well by itself form the heart of a intruiging class on Judges/hermeneutics/Western history. After a brief introduction Gunn takes the reader through the major stories thusly: synopsis of the text followed by a survey of how the text has been engaged and interpreted by 1) ancient and medieval commentators and 2) Early modern and modern ones. Laws a mercy (tip of the hat to Brad Denton) what a study! From the back cover: “The commentary traces the reception of Judges through the ages, not only by scholars and theologians, but also by preachers, teachers, politicians, poets, essaysists, and srtists. it shows how ideology and the social location of readers have shaped the way the book has been read, disclosing a long history of debate over the roles of women and the use of force, as well as Christian prejudice against Jews and “Orientals.” In this way, it offers a window onto the wider use of the Bible in the Western world.”

I’m again teaching Judges, Ruth and Samuel this fall. While there’s no way my students can get their noggins around Dunn, I ‘ll be reading him closely the first six-weeks or so of the new semester. More on the series at http://www.bbibcomm.net

Tony Bennett, Lawrence Grossberg, and Meaghan Morris. New Keywords, A Revised Vocabulary of Culture and Society. 2005. 427 pages. softcover.

This one will help me get a handle on the language of culture vis-a-vis some summer studies in Postmodern theologies. (What did you do on your summer vacation? I studied postmodernism; I will now deconstruct you. I’d write an essay about it, but it would be nonsensical). Anyhow, this is a collection of “142 signed entries – from art, commodity, and fundamentalism to utopia, virtual, the West, and youth – that capture the practices, institutions, and debates of contemporary culture and society.” (another back-cover blurb).

I doubt I’ll be reading it all, but it looks like a fine starting point.

What’re you reading?

Grace and peace.


2 thoughts on “A pair of books for your consideration

  1. Pastor,

    Thanks for the recommendations. Let us know how the Judges book goes – sounds fascinating.

    I’m reading mostly novels this summer – Atonement, The Red Tent, Gilead. Also read a book by a Unitarian chaplain called _Finding Your Religion_. It had some good stories across the different world religions, though I had issues with it’s fundamental conception of religious development.


  2. If you’re teaching Samuel you will want to get (and you may already have) a copy of Mary J. Evans’ fabulous THE MESSAGE OF SAMUEL in The Bible Speaks Today Series (IVP). She does a fascinating job of reminding the reader that Samuel was a story book and meant to be read as a story. And yet, she maintains her sound, biblical scholarship. Highly recommended.

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