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The Passions Of The Matriarchs
The Passions Of The Matriarchs
by Shera Aranoff Tuchman
Edition: Hardcover
25 used & new from $24.95

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Supplement for Studies of Genesis, November 28, 2014
The text of the book of Genesis often tells us just enough to raise lots of questions about what is happening in the "white space" between the lines. These questions have been answered in various ways hrough the centuries by astute commentators who have read the text closely and made the most of the clues it contains.

This book lays out the rich Jewish traditions surrounding the matriarchs of Genesis---Sarah, Rebekah, Leah, and Rachel---in loving detail. It makes a wonderful addition to studies of Genesis. The authors have consulted a wide range of sources, from the Talmud and Genesis Rabbah to medieval and modern commentators. The book closes with a helpful glossary identifying who and what these different sources are.

Among the questions discussed are: (1) How did Sarah find out that Isaac was to be offered as a sacrifice, and how did she react? (2) What were the motivations of all the people involved in the complex story of how a bride was found for Isaac? (3) How did Rebekah's handmaid happen to be with Jacob and his family when she died? (4) Why did Rachel steal her father's household idols? (5) Why was Rachel buried on the road to Bethlehem rather than at Machpela? (6) What were the background and nature of Reuben's transgression with Bilhah?


Profiler (Fang Mu Eastern Crimes Series Book 1)
Profiler (Fang Mu Eastern Crimes Series Book 1)
Price: $5.99

5.0 out of 5 stars The Boy with the Dragon Cigarettes, November 8, 2014
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The profiling skills of criminology graduate student Fang Mu are well known to local police, who consult him on puzzling cases. When Fang Mu leads the police to a vampire-like serial killer who drinks the blood of his victims, the entire student body of his university learns of his prowess as a detective. Then murders begin occurring on campus. The crime scenes are carefully staged, and the clever killer seems to be striking closer and closer to Fang Mu. Can he catch the murderer before he becomes the next victim?

In addition to the mystery, this novel offers the reader a glimpse of Chinese customs and university life. (Notes provided by the translator are also helpful.) One detail that is immediately noticeable is the amount of smoking that the characters do. The difficulty of the case might be measured by the number of cigarettes smoked in the course of the investigation.


New American Commentary Vol. 21B: Zechariah
New American Commentary Vol. 21B: Zechariah
Price: $14.99

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Judicious and Thorough, September 28, 2014
I used this commentary in preparing for a ten-session study of Zechariah with a Bible study group, and I was very pleased with it.

The commentary begins with a 60-page introduction covering the historical background of the book, its unity and structure, its use of Old Testament books and use in New Testament books, and key theological themes.

As the previous reviewer has noted, the author interacts with a number of other Zechariah commentators, including Baldwin, Barker, Boda, Cohen, Conrad, Floyd, McComiskey, Merrill, Meyers and Meyers, Mitchel, Petersen, Smith, Sweeney, and Unger.

Klein carefully discusses difficult passages, giving thorough coverage to a variety of views. For example, there are interesting discussions of (a) the meaning of "after glory" in 2:8; (b) the symbolism of the "stone" in 3:9;
(c) the symbolism of the woman in the basket in 5:7-8;(d) the identity of the delegation that came to Jerusalem in 7:2-3; (e) the meaning of "massa" in 9:1 and 12:1; (f) the interpretation of Zech 11; (g) the identity of the "pierced one" in 12:10.

There is extensive discussion of the Hebrew text of Zechariah, including the "prophetic perfect" tense that Klein has explored in his own research.

Footnotes point to fascinating references covering issues like (a) Zechariah's possible martyrdom (Matt 23:35); (b) Jewish traditions about the "walls of fire" in 2:5; (c) Augustine's interpretation of 2:8 in _The City of God_;(d) how the lampstand in Chap 4 might have looked; (e) the interpretation of the two "sons of oil" (4:14) in the Dead Sea Scrolls; (f) the range of Christian interpretations of Zech 14.

This commentary is devotional as well as academic. Many sections end with reference to appropriate hymns. I recommend this commentary enthusiastically.


Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Mastering the Old Testament) (Vol 21)
Micah, Nahum, Habakkuk, Zephaniah, Haggai, Zechariah, Malachi (Mastering the Old Testament) (Vol 21)
by Walter C. Kaiser
Edition: Paperback
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5.0 out of 5 stars Quite Appropriate for this Series, September 27, 2014
In this Christian commentary on the last 7 Minor Prophets, Dr. Walter Kaiser organizes his remarks on each book as a series of sermons. As a result, the main thrust and applications of the books are highlighted.

In support of this format, Kaiser's outlines pay careful attention to each book's literary structure. For example, the section on Micah references two monographs on the structure of the book.

Helpful historical and archaeological background information is included, and there is good coverage of messianic prophecies, as one would expect from the the author of _The Messiah in the Old Testamant_. As elsewhere, Kaiser takes a premillennial stance, pointing out the support for his position in chapters like Zechariah 10, which predicts a future regathering of Israel in a prophecy given years after the initial return of Jewish exiles from Babylon.

Kaiser has written extensively on how to interpret and preach from the prophets, and this commentary reflects his expertise in this area.


An Elegant Solution
An Elegant Solution
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Euler at 18, September 5, 2014
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This unusual historical novel is set in Basel, Switzerland, in 1725 and is narrated by the 18-year-old Leonhard Euler.

Leonhard, who was then a student in Basel, would go on to become one of the greatest mathematicians of all time, known for both the tremendous quantity and great originality of his work. Paul Robertson's portrayal of Euler includes several qualities of character consistent with the young man's later success, including diligence and self-discipline; an active imagination; and a passion for mathematics fueled by the conviction that his work glorified his Creator.

As Malcolm Gladwell might point out, the success of an "outlier" like Euler also can be partially explained by the exceptional opportunities available to him, especially the chance to work under Johann Bernoulli during the time when the techniques and applications of calculus were being developed. The Bernoulli family, which was brilliant but divided by rivalry and jealousy, is also a major part of Euler's life and Robertson's story.

As the story begins, Johann's sons Daniel and Nicolaus come back home to Basel for a visit, and Euler finds himself in the middle of the family's strife. Shortly after their arrival a local man is murdered, and the body is found in a trunk that seems to have connections to the Bernoullis. While studying the mathematical and physical laws of the universe, Euler also searches for the truth about the murder, an investigation involving the complex dynamics of the Bernoulli family and the power structure of the local university.

Highlights of the novel include Robertson's depiction of Euler and the Bernoullis and his rich descriptions of Basel and its university life and politics. Those interested in the history of mathematics or the relationship between mathematics and faith should find this book especially compelling.


According to Their Deeds
According to Their Deeds
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars A Novel of Puns and Principles, August 18, 2014
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Charles and Dorothy Beale have a strong marriage and a successful rare book store in Alexandria, Virginia. Their love for each other and for books enriches their lives.

One thing they lack is a child. (Their only son is dead.) Perhaps partly to fill that gap, they reach out to a young man who had robbed Charles at knifepoint, agreeing to supervise the young man's probation.

After Derek Bastien, one of their best customers, is murdered, Charles takes some further risks that threaten their peaceful existence. Charles learns that Bastien was a collector of other people's secrets as well as a collector of antiques, and he begins investigating those secrets. His inquiry starts slowly but then builds momentum, leading to more excitement than Charles could have anticipated.

I loved the author's portrayal of Charles and Dorothy's marriage and business, which included lots of stimulating and witty conversation. Their love and faith make them appealing protagonists.


The Advocate
The Advocate
Price: $9.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Imagining Theophilus, August 8, 2014
This review is from: The Advocate (Kindle Edition)
The New Testament book of Acts ends on a cliffhanger, with the apostle Paul under house arrest awaiting trial before the Emperor Nero. Why does Acts end so abruptly? One possibility, discussed by lawyer John Mauck in his book "Paul on Trial", is that Acts was written as a sort of legal brief to make Paul's case at his trial. In this scenario Theophilus, the one to whom Acts is addressed, may have served as Paul's advocate.

"The Advocate" starts with Mauck's scenario and imagines the life story of Theophilus, a prominent first-century Roman advocate whose dedication to justice leads him to risk his own life in taking on high-profile clients in controversial cases. The trajectory of his life leads him ultimately to act in Paul's defense and to consider the apostle's message.

The story of Christianity's beginnings is a compelling one, providing material for many historical novels. "The Advocate" is one of my favorites. As a lawyer, pastor, and writer of legal thrillers, Randy Singer is an ideal candidate for author of a novel on the trial of Paul and the Neronian persecution. (This a great complement to books like Paul Maier's "The Flames of Rome.") Singer does a great job, for example, of portraying the political implications of the message of Jesus and Paul.

One small historical quibble: Singer perpetuates the popular misconception that Saul of Tarsus "changed his name" to Paul after his Damascus Road experience. But overall, I think Singer gets the history right and makes it come to life for a twenty-first century audience.


Final Judgment (Lou Mason Thrillers Book 5)
Final Judgment (Lou Mason Thrillers Book 5)
Price: $4.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Pros and Cons, May 26, 2014
"Your sins will find you out," the prophet Moses once said. Seventy-three-year-old Avery Fish, a devout disciple of Moses and a lifelong con artist, knows this is true. The FBI has finally caught up with him.

Avery's lawyer Lou Mason is less familiar with Moses, but he has been dreading the time when a crime he committed to help a friend will come back to haunt him. Now that time has arrived, and Lou must decide what to do to help his client and set things right. Lou is a real pro, but he is caught in the middle of a complex maze of con games, and it is not at all clear who is conning whom.

This novel picks up shortly after the events of "Deadlocked", the previous Lou Mason book. The big issues remaining at the end of that book--the future of Lou's relationship with Abby Lieberman and his struggle to come to terms with what he has learned about his parents' death--factor into the decisions he makes in this one. Lou Mason fans will enjoy this fifth book in the series.


Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Jeeves and Wooster Book 16)
Jeeves and the Wedding Bells (Jeeves and Wooster Book 16)
Offered by Macmillan
Price: $9.99

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Worthy Tribute to the Master, May 14, 2014
The curriculum vitae of Bertie Wooster is unimpressive. He is not a great athlete, a scholar, or a captain of industry. Bertie does possess some admirable qualities, however. He will do almost anything to help a friend, even undergo considerable personal embarrassment and humiliation. He also has had the good sense to hire Jeeves and to follow the butler's sage advice.

In this new novel, Bertie and Jeeves switch roles as part of a complex plan to help Bertie's friend Woody Beeching,
The results are often hilarious, but as usual, Jeeves can be counted on to orchestrate a satisfactory conclusion for all concerned.

Jeeves and Wooster are two of P.G. Wodehouse's most memorable characters, and this tribute novel is a worthy addition to the series.


The Eagle Heist (A Beauford Sloan Mystery)
The Eagle Heist (A Beauford Sloan Mystery)
Price: $3.99

5.0 out of 5 stars Hiring Sloan Was the Right Thing to Do, March 28, 2014
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When an armored truck with a $20 million cargo disappears in Washington, D.C., the authorities have few clues to go on. Some cash and the body of Cleve Costello, one of the Eagle Security employees on the truck, are all the evidence they have.

Looking for closure, Cleve's mother Rosa decides to hire a private investigator: Beauford Sloan, a retired Charlottesville police lieutenant. Sloan, a widower who lives on a family farm in Virginia with horses, cats, and a dog, brings his 40-plus years of experience to the case, and within a few days locates the armored truck. After that someone tries hard to get him off the case, but Sloan is not easily deterred. With persistence and grandfatherly wisdom, he brings the investigation to a satisfying conclusion.


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