Synopses & Reviews
The question of Christianitys relation to the other religions of the world is more pertinent and difficult today than ever before. While Christianitys historical failure to appreciate or actively engage Judaism is notorious, Christianitys even more shoddy record with respect to pagan” religions is less understood. Christians have inherited a virtually unanimous theological tradition that thinks of paganism in terms of demonic possession, and of Christian missions as a rescue operation that saves pagans from inherently evil practices.
In undertaking this fresh inquiry into early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism, Luke Timothy Johnson begins with a broad definition of religion as a way of life organized around convictions and experiences concerning ultimate power. In the tradition of William Jamess Variety of Religious Experience, he identifies four distinct ways of being religious: religion as participation in benefits, as moral transformation, as transcending the world, and as stabilizing the world. Using these criteria as the basis for his exploration of Christianity and paganism, Johnson finds multiple points of similarity in religious sensibility.
Christianitys failure to adequately come to grips with its first pagan neighbors, Johnson asserts, inhibits any effort to engage positively with adherents of various world religions. This thoughtful and passionate study should help break down the walls between Christianity and other religious traditions.
"Both well-written and exhaustive, this impressive work will fascinate readers with New Testament truths about Gods unyielding covenant with his chosen, fallible people."David Noel Freedman
-- Emily Wilkinson - Washington Times
"Scott Hahn opens new vistas, chases down old haunts, and leads us to a fuller, deeper, and more penetrating understanding of covenant. Until we get covenant right, we simply dont understand the Bible. When I think of the word covenant, I think of Kinship by Covenant. When I have any questions about covenant, this is the first book I will turn to for ever and a day."Scot McKnight, North Park University -- David Noel Freedman
“At last Scott Hahns Kinship by Covenant
is published! Maintaining a masterful command of the data on biblical and ancient near eastern covenants, the work exposes how, for over a century, biblical scholarship lost sight of the covenant as a kinship-forging ritual. Richly documented, theologically profound, the book will prove an invaluable resource in Old and New Testament study.” Gregory Yuri Glazov, Seton Hall University, Immaculate Conception Seminary
-- Scot McKnight
'\"Kinship by Covenant is thoroughly researched and lucidly argued. Those with a serious interest in a biblical theology of covenants will not want to miss Hahns contribution.\"--Brandon D. Crowe, Westminster Theological Journal -- Gregory Glazov'
“Luke Johnson, a contrarian of the most constructive kind, defying all the usual categories, looks at the age-old story of Christianitys ‘triumph over ‘paganism and turns it topsy turvy. A provocative and deeply humane book, to be savored and argued with.”Wayne A. Meeks, author of First Urban Christians
-- Macy Halford - New Yorker, Book Bench Blog
“Seeking to overturn an attitude towards Greco-Roman religion epitomized in Tertullians famous rejection of Athens, Johnson demonstrates four ways of being religious that were common to Greeks, Romans, Jews, and early Christians. The work is important not only for the study of ancient religion, but for inter-faith dialogue today.”Gregory E. Sterling, University of Notre Dame
-- Wayne A. Meeks
“A remarkable synthesis that challenges reigning assumptions about early Christianitys relationship to the Graeco-Roman world, this book proposes new analytical categories to advance and enliven the ongoing ‘Christ and culture debate.”Carl R. Holladay, Emory University
-- Gregory E. Sterling
“In this important, well-documented, and challenging book, Johnson shows forcefully how demonizing and deprecating other religions has not served early Christianity well in the past, obscured its development, and has left a pernicious legacy.”Frederick E. Brenk, Pontifical Biblical Institute, Rome
-- Carl R. Holladay
"In [Johnsons] thoughtful, judicious and provocative new book. . . . [his] careful and compelling approach avoids both the apologetic and the antagonistic tones that. . . conversations about early Christianiry and Hellenistic religions often rake."Publishers Weekly -- Frederick E. Brenk
'“One of those rare books that is at once an excellent reference work and a great read . . . it promises to change the way most of us understand early Christianity.”--Timothy Beal, Christian Century
-- Publishers Weekly'
While the canonical scriptures were produced over many centuries and represent a diverse library of texts, they are unified by stories of divine covenants and their implications for Gods people. In this deeply researched and thoughtful book, Scott Hahn shows how covenant, as an overarching theme, makes possible a coherent reading of the diverse traditions found within the canonical scriptures.
Biblical covenants, though varied in form and content, all serve the purpose of extending sacred bonds of kinship, Hahn explains. Specifically, divine covenants form and shape a father-son bond between God and the chosen people. Biblical narratives turn on that fact, and biblical theology depends upon it. With meticulous attention to detail, the author demonstrates how divine sonship represents a covenant relationship with God that has been consistent throughout salvation history. A canonical reading of this divine plan reveals an illuminating pattern of promise and fulfillment in both the Old and New Testaments. Gods saving mercies are based upon his sworn commitments, which he keeps even when his people break the covenant.
For well over two centuries the question of the composition of the Pentateuch has been among the most central and hotly debated issues in the field of biblical studies. In this book, Joel Baden presents a fresh and comprehensive argument for the Documentary Hypothesis. Critically engaging both older and more recent scholarship, he fundamentally revises and reorients the classical model of the formation of the Pentateuch. Interweaving historical and methodological chapters with detailed textual case studies, Baden provides a critical introduction to the history of Pentateuchal scholarship, discussions on the most pressing issues in the current debate, and a practical model for the study of the biblical text.
About the Author
Scott Hahn is Pope Benedict XVI Chair of Biblical Theology, St. Vincent Seminary, and professor of scripture and theology, Franciscan University of Steubenville. He is also founder and president of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology. Among his many best-selling books is The Lambs Supper: The Mass as Heaven on Earth. He lives in Steubenville, OH.