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Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
Commentary on the New Testament Use of the Old Testament
by G. K. Beale
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $36.18
59 used & new from $33.15

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reference Work, August 17, 2008
I agree with the consensus here. COMMENTARY ON THE NEW TESTAMENT USE OF THE OLD TESTAMENT is magnificent work. In 1200 pages (double columns) the contributors discuss all the citations and probable allusions to the OT. When helpful, Qumran material, intertestamental literature, Rabbinic literature and other material is referenced as well.

My only quibble is that the introduction could have been a bit longer and discussed some of the broader issues of the NT's use of the OT. However, many of these issues are addressed throughout the various commentaries.


The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution (Politically Incorrect Guides) (Politically Incorrect Guides (Paperback))
by Kevin R. C. Gutzman
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.72
118 used & new from $1.55

10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Essential Reading For All Americans, August 17, 2008
When I studied constitutional law in law school, we studied what the Supreme Court said about the Constitution. I recall that our constitutional law text began its discussion of the First Amendment using an excerpt from Justice Hugo Black's opinion in the 1947 case of Everson v. Board of Education. What is vitally important in the study of any "text" - the historical background - was missing from my law school education.

Kevin Gutzman (an historian and attorney) provides the needed background in this outstanding book. As Gutzman shows in detail, while the Constitution did increase the power of the federal government as the expense of the states, the states still remained sovereign. In fact three states (Maryland, Virginia and Rhode Island) ratified the Constitution with the proviso that they were reserving the right to withdraw from the union if they saw fit. The Southern states did have the right to secede.

The Constitution is (or at least was) a states' rights document.

Two things changed this. First, Justice John Marshall interpreted the Constitution in a way beneficial to Supreme Court and federal power. Second, the Supreme Court gradually held that the Fourteenth Amendment "incorporated" the provisions of the Bill of Rights, making them binding on the states. Prof. Gutzman's attack on these two pillars of Court supremacy is quite persuasive.

In the Constitutional scheme as understood by Prof. Gutzman, the states retain almost complete power to regulate the economy, personal morality, and religion. This leads to some (by today's standards) unusual conclusions. While Prof. Gutzman rejects the "right to privacy" underlying such decisions Roe v. Wade, he also believes that the Supreme Court's decision in Pierce v. Society of Sisters (which struck down an Oregon law requiring nearly all children to attend public schools) an impermissible extension of judicial power over a purely state matter. This is a consistent state's rights view not held by any "conservatives" on the Supreme Court.

This is a vital work, which should be required reading for all law students and all Americans. I also recommend WHO KILLED THE CONSTITUTION? by Prof. Gutzman and Prof. Thomas Woods.
Comment Comments (2) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Sep 7, 2008 2:19 PM PDT


The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
The Historical Reliability of the Gospels
by Craig Blomberg
Edition: Paperback
Price: $14.64
68 used & new from $9.82

5 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Gospels As History, August 16, 2008
This new edition of Craig Blomberg's THE HISTORICAL RELIABILITY OF THE GOSPELS should be an essential addition to anyone's New Testament library.

This book serves almost as an introduction to the study of the Gospels. Blomberg discusses form criticism, redaction criticism and other methods used for gospel interpretation. He also provides generally sensible harmonizations of apparently divergent accounts which avoid some of the overzealous attempts of harmonization of the past. Blomberg persuasively argues that reading the Gospels in light of ancient standards of biography and history leads to the conclusion that they contain reliable accounts of Jesus' life. (Contrary to what someone else said, Blomberg does not argue for "camcorder exactness," but instead contends that ancient history allowed for summaries, reordering and a certain amount "creative interpretation" of source material).

Along the way, Blomberg discusses miracles, the evidence for Jesus outside the Gospels (both inside and outside the New Testament), and textual criticism, among other topics.

Blomberg is a prolific New Testament scholar. Among his other books, I particularly recommend INTERPRETING THE PARABLES.


Socialism (Political Systems of the World)
Socialism (Political Systems of the World)
by Thomas Fleming
Edition: Library Binding
19 used & new from $5.81

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Rise and Continuation of Socialism, August 16, 2008
In this relatively brief but informative book, Thomas Fleming traces the history of socialism from its early days until modern times. Fleming focuses on socialism in three countries (Germany, the United Kingdom and Sweden), but doesn't ignore it elsewhere.

Socialism is varied movement. Some socialists seek complete nationalization of all business, others the advancement of the welfare state, and still others seem more concerned with transforming the traditional family.

When all is said and done, socialism remains a difficult movement to understand linked more by "family resemblances" than any consistent ideology. Mussolini's Italy combined socialist economics with nationalistic ideology. The Green Movement combines socialist economics with environmentalism and antinationalistic ideology (except when it is fighting "globalism"). One of the more interesting varieties of socialism (which Fleming doesn't discuss) is Singapore's People's Action Party which embraces a kind of authoritarian tough love and regularly garners over 60% of the popular vote and was even an inspiration for Margaret Thatcher's housing policies.

Conservatives and libertarians may protest the expansion of the state but, as Fleming notes, a centralized state and global economy almost makes a small amount of socialism inevitable.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Jul 16, 2012 1:15 AM PDT


Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush
Who Killed the Constitution?: The Fate of American Liberty from World War I to George W. Bush
by Kevin R. C. Gutzman
Edition: Hardcover
68 used & new from $0.01

4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Constitution Was, August 16, 2008
In WHO KILLED THE CONSTITUTION?, historian Thomas Woods and legal scholar (and historian) Kevin Gutzman show just how little the Supreme Court's interpretation of the Constitution is based on the actual history of text of that document. And it isn't just the Supreme Court. The presidency has claimed ever greater powers over military and foreign policy contrary to the Constitution, often with the tacit consent of Congress.

According to the Constitution, the federal government has limited and specifically enumerated powers. The Constitution restrains the federal government while granting extensive powers to the states to regulate religion, the economy and personal morality. The Supreme Court has granted to itself the authority to upset this balance and even eclipse Congress in lawmaking. (Just recently the Supreme Court claimed that it alone was competent to determine what the maximum penalty for child rapists should be.)

Profs. Woods and Gutzman discuss twelve examples of Supreme Court and presidential overreaching. One case concerns the First Amendment. As everyone knows (thanks, in part, to "former" KKK justice Hugo Black), the First Amendment created a "wall of separation" between church and state preventing virtually any government support of religion. In fact, the First Amendment doesn't mention any "wall of separation" and applies only to Congress. States could, and did, have established or quasi-established churches for decades after the passage of the First Amendment. (In my one quibble with the book, I think the authors should have mentioned that there is a lively debate on whether the Fourteenth Amendment was intended to apply the Bill of Rights to the states.)

I also recommend Dr. Gutzman's THE POLITICALLY INCORRECT GUIDE TO THE CONSTITUTION.


Anthem (Centennial Edition)
Anthem (Centennial Edition)
by Ayn Rand
Edition: Paperback
Price: $15.85
180 used & new from $0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The Sacred Word, July 26, 2008
ANTHEM is my favorite work of Rand's fiction. Written after WE THE LIVING, ANTHEM is a "distopyian" novella describing life in a thoroughly egalitarian society in which people have lost even a sense of personal identity. It was first published in England in 1938. Rand produced a revised version in 1946, deleting a fair amount of religious-sounding and Nietzschean language.

I think Rand was a better polemicist than fiction writer. She had a tendency to harangue her readers, which is tolerable in a twenty-page essay, but becomes almost unbearable in THE FOUNTAINHEAD and ATLAS SHRUGGED. ANTHEM, however, is concise and to the point. In many places it is beautifully written.

If you get the book, make sure you get the centennial edition, which contains both versions.


The Christology of Jesus
The Christology of Jesus
by Ben Witherington
Edition: Paperback
Price: $22.75
47 used & new from $7.21

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Witherington At His Best, July 16, 2008
Ben Witherington is one of the most important New Testament scholars of our time. He is well on his way (or perhaps already completed) his goal of writing "socio-rhetorical" commentaries on all the books of the NT. Perhaps because his word processor is so productive, some of his more recent books have a rather unfinished feel.

Witherington's approach is moderately conservative. He embraces many of the assumptions of centrist NT scholars, but reaches more conservative conclusions.

His earlier study THE CHRISTOLOGY OF JESUS is one of my favorite Witherington books. What just did Jesus think of himself and his mission? As against the trend to make Jesus a cynic or a prophet, Witherington shows that Jesus' opinion of himself was considerably higher. Time and again the Gospels show Jesus saying and doing things that are inconsistent with being merely a prophet or religious reformer. With great skill Witherington demonstrates that much of this material likely goes back to Jesus himself.

Traditionalists might be unhappy that Witherington makes minimal use of John's gospel and hedges a bit on Christ's consciousness of his own divinity, but these don't detract from the value of this work.


Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
by Joel B. Green
Edition: Hardcover
82 used & new from $3.14

5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Reference Work, June 22, 2008
This is the first IVP dictionary of the New Testament, of which there are now four. As with the other works, the general approach is moderately conservative to conservative, with authors such as Ben Witherington on the moderate side to Harold Hoehner on the conservative side. There are a few contributors who are more liberal, including Dale Allison (who believes that Jesus was mistaken on the end of the world, a view he doesn't express here) and James Dunn.

Anyone who is studying the New Testament should have this book and its companions in his library.


Essays on Ayn Rand's Anthem
Essays on Ayn Rand's Anthem
by Robert Mayhew
Edition: Hardcover

4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Recommended, With Reservations, May 4, 2008
Robert Mayhew, a professor of philosophy at Seton Hall University, has edited three collections of essays about Ayn Rand's novels. Prof. Mayhew is associated with Leonard Peikoff's Ayn Rand Institute, which advocates Rand's philosophy (known as "Objectivism") in its most consistent, some would say dogmatic, form.

ANTHEM is my favorite work of Rand's fiction. Written after WE THE LIVING, ANTHEM is a "distopyian" novella describing life in a thoroughly egalitarian society in which people have lost even a sense of personal identity. It was first published in England in 1938. Rand produced a revised version in 1946.

This collection contains essays about the writing of ANTHEM, its background, its critical reception, its one adaption for radio, and philosophical issues raised by the book. As with Prof. Mayhew's collection on WE THE LIVING, the essays concerning the writing of the book and its reception are most interesting. In particular, Shoshana Milgram's essays are outstanding. She shows, for example, that it is likely that Orwell read ANTHEM and that it influenced 1984.

This book does display something of a cultic atmosphere. It is beyond annoying that certain authors constantly refer to Rand as "Ayn Rand." There is also the common Objectivist tendency to downplay the Nietzschean elements in Rand's early thought (which even pops up in later works). For example, Prof. Darryl Wright discusses Rand's notes for a never written novel entitled THE HIDDEN STREET. Although Prof. Wright discusses the protagonist Danny Renahan, he fails to tell his reader that this character was modeled after a child kidnapper and multiple murderer, William Hickman. ("The best and strongest expression of a real man's psychology I have ever heard" Rand said of this creep.)

With a few reservations, I can recommend this book.
Comment Comment (1) | Permalink | Most recent comment: Dec 6, 2008 12:19 PM PST


Dictionary of New Testament Background (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
Dictionary of New Testament Background (The IVP Bible Dictionary Series)
by Craig A. Evans
Edition: Hardcover
Price: $43.10
43 used & new from $22.90

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Valuable Compendium, April 20, 2008
Like the other three volumes in this series (Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, Dictionary of Paul and His Letters, Dictionary of the Later New Testament), Dictionary of New Testament Background is an excellent compendium of generally moderate to conservative scholarship on just about every major topic touching on the New Testament. The articles do a good job integrating the material with the New Testament. For example, the article "Circuses and Games" has a valuable discussion of Paul's use of athletic metaphors.

This work is 1300 pages and so is an excellent value for the money. (The bibliography for each article tends to be a bit lengthy. I don't imagine the typical reader will have access to many of the books and articles cited.)


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