Loving one’s neighbor in JETS

As I mentioned earlier, the current issue of the Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society (60.2) contains Henry Kelly’s essay on “Love of Neighbor as Great Commandment in the Time of Jesus: Grasping at Straws in the Hebrew Scriptures” (265–81). According to the abstract,

One’s “neighbor,” generously interpreted to include everyone else in the world, even personal and impersonal enemies, looms large in the NT, especially in the form of the second great commandment, and in various expressions of the Golden Rule. The NT also contains expansive claims that neighbors have a similar importance in the OT. The main basis that commentators cite for these claims is a half-verse in the middle of Leviticus (“You shall love your neighbor as yourself,” 19:18b), as fully justifying these claims, supported by other isolated verses, notably, Exod 23:45, on rescuing the ass of one’s enemy. Relying on these verses has the appearance of grasping at straws in order to justify the words of Jesus, but it seems clear that in the time of Jesus they had indeed been searched out and elevated to new significance. John Meier has recently argued that it was Jesus himself who gave the Levitical neighbor his high standing, but because the Gospels present the notion as already known, this article suggests that it had achieved a consensus status by this time.

For JETS subscribers, the essay doesn’t currently seem to appear on the current issue’s webpage, but doubtless that absence will be remedied at some point in the near future.

Loving one’s neighbor in JBL and elsewhere

The most recent issue of the Journal of Biblical Literature carries Matthew Goldstone’s essay “Rebuke, Lending, and Love: An Early Exegetical Tradition on Leviticus 19:17–18” (307–21). According to the abstract,

In this article I posit the presence of an early Jewish exegesis of Lev 19:17–18 preserved in the Tannaitic midrash known as Sifra, which is inverted and amplified in Did. 1:3–5, Q 6:27–35, Luke 6:27–35, and Matt 5:38–44. Identifying shared terminology and a sequence of themes in these passages, I argue that these commonalities testify to the existence of a shared exegetical tradition. By analyzing the later rabbinic material I delineate the contours of this Second Temple period interpretation and augment our understanding of the construction of these early Christian pericopae. In commenting on Lev 19:17, Sifra articulates three permissible modes of rebuke: cursing, hitting, and slapping. In its gloss on the subsequent verse, Sifra exemplifies the biblical injunction against vengeance and bearing a grudge through the case of lending and borrowing from one’s neighbor. The Didache, Matthew, and Luke invert the first interpretation by presenting Jesus as recommending a passive response to being cursed or slapped, and they amplify the second interpretation by commanding one to give and lend freely to all who ask. The similar juxtaposition of these two ideas and the shared terminology between Sifra and these New Testament period texts suggest a common source. By reading these early Christian sources in light of this later rabbinic work I advance our understanding of the formation of these well-known passages and illustrate the advantages of cautiously employing rabbinic material for reading earlier Christian works.

In addition, I hadn’t been aware of it, but Goldstone’s n37 refers to John Piper’s SNTSMS publication of a revised version of his dissertation. This volume was republished by Crossway with an additional preface in 2012. As tends to be the case with a very few exceptions, this latest edition of the volume is available as a free PDF via the DesiringGod website.

The Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society‘s current issue has an essay on the command to love one’s neighbor that I haven’t yet read but looks quite interesting too.

Free Richards, O’Brien with discount on Bailey @Logos

For April, Logos Bible Software’s “free book of the month” and discounted companion focus on Scripture in its cultural contexts.

Richards and O'Brien, The free text is Randolph Richards and Brandon O’Brien’s Misreading Scripture with Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible (IVP, 2012). According to the book’s blub:

Brandon O’Brien and E. Randolph Richards shed light on the ways Western readers often misunderstand the cultural dynamics of the Bible. They identify nine key areas where modern Westerners have significantly different assumptions about what is going on in a text than what the context actually suggests. Drawing on their own cross-cultural experience in global missions, the authors show how greater understanding of cultural differences in language, time, and social mores allow us to see the Bible in fresh and unexpected ways.

Bailey, The companion reduced-price text for $1.99 is Kenneth Bailey’s Jesus through Middle Eastern Eyes: Cultural Studies in the Gospels (IVP, 2008). According to it’s blurb:

Beginning with Jesus’ birth, Ken Bailey leads you on a kaleidoscopic study of Jesus throughout the four Gospels. Bailey examines the life and ministry of Jesus with attention to the Lord’s Prayer, the Beatitudes, Jesus’ relationship to women, and especially Jesus’ parables.

Even if you’re not otherwise a Logos user, you can get Logos 7 basic for free also and add these digital resources to your virtual research library.

Wright, “Following Jesus” for free

N. T. Wright, This month, Logos Bible Software’s free book is N. T. Wright’s Following Jesus: Biblical Reflections on Christian Discipleship (SPCK, 1994). The book falls into two parts:

Part one outlines the essential messages of six major New Testament books—Hebrews, Colossians, Matthew, John, Mark, and Revelation. Part two examines six key New Testament themes—resurrection, rebirth, temptation, hell, heaven, and new life—and considers their significance for the lives of present-day disciples.

The companion volume for $1.99 is Wright’s Who Was Jesus? (SPCK, 1991).

HT: LogosTalk

TC 21

The newest volume of TC has been released, containing eight book reviews and the following articles:

  • Gregory R. Lanier, “A Case for the Assimilation of Matthew 21:44 to the Lukan “Crushing Stone” (20:18), with Special Reference to 104”
  • Aron Pinker, “A New Attempt to Interpret Job 30:24”
  • Georg Gäbel, The Import of the Versions for the History of the Greek Text: Some Observations from the ECM of Acts
  • Katie Marcar, “The Quotations of Isaiah in 1 Peter: A Text-Critical Analysis”

HT: New Articles and Reviews in the TC Journal — Evangelical Textual Criticism

Review of Biblical Literature Newsletter (May 7, 2015)

The latest reviews from the Review of Biblical Literature include: