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About Ben Witherington
Witherington has also taught at Ashland Theological Seminary, Vanderbilt University, Duke Divinity School and Gordon-Conwell. A popular lecturer, Witherington has presented seminars for churches, colleges and biblical meetings not only in the United States but also in England, Estonia, Russia, Europe, South Africa, Zimbabwe and Australia. He has also led tours to Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Jordan, and Egypt.
Witherington has written over thirty books, including The Jesus Quest and The Paul Quest, both of which were selected as top biblical studies works by Christianity Today. He also writes for many church and scholarly publications, and is a frequent contributor to the Beliefnet website.
Along with many interviews on radio networks across the country, Witherington has been seen on the History Channel, NBC, ABC, CBS, CNN, The Discovery Channel, A&E, and the PAX Network.
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Ben Witherington III attempts to reenchant our reading of Paul in this creative reconstruction of ancient Corinth. Following a fictitious Corinthian man named Nicanor through an eventful week of business dealings and conflict, you will encounter life at various levels of Roman society--eventually meeting Paul himself and gaining entrance into the Christian community there. The result is an unforgettable introduction to life in a major center of the New Testament world. Numerous full-page text boxes expand on a variety of aspects of life and culture as we encounter them in the narrative.
There is no doubting the legacy of Protestant Reformers and their successors. Luther, Calvin, and Wesley not only spawned specific denominational traditions, but their writings have been instrumental in forging a broadly embraced evangelical theology as well. Ben Witherington wrestles with some of the big ideas of these major traditional theological systems (sin, God’s sovereignty, prophecy, grace, and the Holy Spirit), asking tough questions about their biblical foundations. Advocating a return to Protestantism’s sola scriptura roots, Witherington argues that evangelicalism sometimes wrongly assumes a biblical warrant for some of its more popular beliefs.
Witherington pushes the reader to engage the larger story and plot of the Bible in order to understand the crucial theological elements of Protestant belief. The Problem with Evangelical Theology casts today’s evangelical belief and practice—be it Calvinistic, Wesleyan, Dispensational, or Pentecostal—in the light of its scriptural origins. Witherington offers a comprehensive description of evangelical theology while concurrently providing an insistent corrective to its departures from both tradition and text.
What does it mean to say that God is love, light, life, and spirit? In Who God Is, world-renowned New Testament scholar Ben Witherington III explores the nature and character of the God of the Bible by focusing specifically on the nouns used to describe who God is. This rich exploration has its foundation in a deep reading of the biblical text. Reflecting on these descriptions of God gives us a fresh understanding of the beauty and uniqueness of the character of our God.
Witherington's distinctive socio-rhetorical approach helps unearth insights that would otherwise remain hidden using only form criticism, epistolary categories, and traditional criticism. Witherington details Thessalonica's place as the "metropolis" of Macedonia, and he carefully unpacks the social situation of Paul and his recipients. Scholars will appreciate the careful analysis and rhetorical insights contained here, while Witherington's clear prose and sensitivity to Paul's ideas make this work ideal for all who desire a useful, readable commentary on 1 and 2 Thessalonians.
Many people assume that becoming a serious student of the Bible merely requires diligent study of English Bible translations, but biblical scholarship is much more complex. Is There a Doctor in the House? demonstrates what it takes to be a responsible Bible teacher, a well-published Bible scholar, or even a good student of the Bible: exacting knowledge of biblical languages and the languages in which most Bible scholarship is done; a love for history and archaeology; a sensitivity for literature and literary genres; and an understanding of theology, ethics, and ancient religions and philosophies. In one sense, every Bible scholar has to be a general practitioner—the foundation of biblical scholarship must be both broad and well built. Through the course of this book, Witherington invites would-be Bible experts to pursue excellence for the sake of the Bible’s world-altering message. From students considering a Ph.D. to lay Bible teachers, Is There a Doctor in the House? promises to be an informative, engaging, and often humorous resource.
In the field of Pauline studies, much has changed over the last twenty years. Since Ben Witherington III first published his influential book The Paul Quest, monumental works have appeared from scholars such as James D. G. Dunn, N. T. Wright, E. P. Sanders, and John Barclay. The New Perspective is no longer new, and the flurry of publications continues across a range of specialized studies. Those interested in exploring trends and issues related to Paul may find themselves in need of a map.
With Voices and Views on Paul, Ben Witherington and Jason Myers have teamed up to provide a reliable guide to the major terrain of Pauline scholarship. Through a distinctive combination of survey and evaluation, they explain and analyze the thought of recent major Pauline interpreters and track developments over the past two decades. They conclude with an assessment of how these studies have advanced our understanding of Paul and where further work is needed.
Voices and Views on Paul offers a helpful service to students, pastors, and anyone seeking to keep up with this dynamic field as scholars continue to wrestle with Paul and his work.
In addition to the usual features of these commentaries, Witherington offers an innovative way of looking at Colossians, Ephesians, and Philemon as interrelated documents written at different levels of moral discourse. Colossians is first-order moral discourse (the opening gambit), Ephesians is second-order moral discourse (what one says after the opening salvo to the same audience), and Philemon is third-order moral discourse (what one says to a personal friend or intimate). Witherington successfully analyzes these documents as examples of Asiatic rhetoric, explaining the differences in style from earlier Pauline documents. He further shows that Paul is deliberately engaging in the transformation of existing social institutions.
As always, Witherington's work is scholarly and engaging. With detailed "Closer Look" sections, The Letters to Philemon, the Colossians, and the Ephesians is perfect for the libraries of clergy, biblical scholars, and seminaries.
Skeptical of the trend among many biblical scholars to analyze Paul's short, affectionate letter to the Philippians in light of Greco-Roman letter-writing conventions, Ben Witherington instead looks at Philippians as a masterful piece of long-distance oratory an extension of Paul's oral speech, dictated to a scribe and meant to be read aloud to its recipients. Witherington examines Philippians in light of Greco-Roman rhetorical conventions, identifying Paul's purpose, highlighting his main points and his persuasive strategies, and considering how his original audience would have heard and received Paul's message.
Written when the fledging Christian faith was experiencing a major crisis during the Jewish war, Mark provides us with the first window on how the life and teachings of Jesus were presented to a largely non-Jewish audience.
According to Witherington, the structure of Mark demonstrates that this Gospel is biographically focused on the identity of Jesus and the importance of knowing who he is--the Christ, the Son of God. This finding reveals that Christology stood at the heart of the earliest Christians' faith. It also shows how important it was to these earliest Christians to persuade others about the nature of Jesus, both as a historical figure and as the Savior of the world.
In this first of three volumes, Witherington extends his innovative socio-rhetorical analysis of New Testament books to the latter-Pauline and non-Pauline corpora, placing each text within its socioreligious milieu and illuminating the particular issues that confronted each congregation as well as the rhetorical strategies employed by each author in addressing those issues.
Throughout, Witherington shows his thorough knowledge of recent literature on these texts and focuses his attention on the unique insights brought about through socio-rhetorical analysis that either reinforce or correct those gleaned from other approaches. Strikingly, based on his rhetorical analysis of the Pastorals, he makes the case for Luke as Paul's amanuensis for these letters. He also makes a strenuous argument against New Testament pseudepigrapha.
"Bridging the Horizons" sections point to the relevance of the text for believers today, making this volume of special value to pastors and general readers as well as to students and scholars.