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1 & 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) Paperback – May 17, 2016
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From the Inside Flap
Praise for the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible
"The Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible makes a most welcome contribution to the church, the academic world, and the general public at large. By enlisting a wide range of Protestant, Catholic, and Orthodox theologians who differ on much, but who agree on the truth of the Nicene Creed, the series also represents ecumenical activity of the very best kind. It is always a daunting challenge to expound the church's sacred book both simply and deeply, but this impressive line-up of authors is very well situated for the attempt."--Mark A. Noll, University of Notre Dame
"Preachers and teachers in particular, but thoughtful Christians more generally, have long lamented the slide of biblical scholarship into hyper-specialized critical studies of ancient texts in remote historical context. It is no wonder, therefore, that the Brazos Theological Commentary is being so warmly welcomed. The outstanding array of authors, beginning with Jaroslav Pelikan's splendid commentary on the Acts of the Apostles, are, at long last, reclaiming the Bible as the book of the living community of faith that is the church."--Richard John Neuhaus, editor in chief, First Things
"What a splendid idea! Many preachers have been longing for more commentaries that are not only exegetical but theological in the best sense: arising out of the conviction that God, through his Word, still speaks in our time. For those of us who take our copies of Martin Luther's Galatians and Karl Barth's Romans from the shelves on a regular basis, this new series in that tradition promises renewed vigor for preaching, and therefore for the one, holy, catholic, and apostolic church in our time."--Fleming Rutledge, author of The Bible and The New York Times and The Seven Last Words from the Cross
"This new series places the accent on 'theological' and reflects current interpretive ferment marked by growing resistance to the historical-critical project. With a focus on the theological tradition, this series holds the promise of asking interpretive questions that are deeply grounded in the primal claims of faith. The rich promise of the series is indicated by the stature and erudition of the commentators."--Walter Brueggemann, Columbia Theological Seminary
"The Brazos Theological Commentary exists to provide an accessible authority so that the preacher's application will be a ready bandage for all the hurts of life. We who serve the pulpit want a commentary we can understand, and those who hear us expect us to give them a usable word. The Brazos Commentary is just the right level of light to make illuminating the word the joy it was meant to be."--Calvin Miller, author of A Hunger for the Holy and Loving God Up Close
Projected volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible include:
John Behr (St. Vladimir's Orthodox Theological Seminary) on Exodus
Telford Work (Westmont College) on Deuteronomy
Stephen Fowl (Loyola College, Maryland) and Samuel Wells (Duke University) on Ruth & Esther
Ellen Charry (Princeton Theological Seminary) and Anne Astell (Purdue University) on Psalms
Paul Griffiths (University of Illinois at Chicago) on Song of Songs
Kevin Vanhoozer (Trinity Evangelical Divinity School) on Jeremiah
Robert Jenson (Center of Theological Inquiry) on Ezekiel
Stanley Hauerwas (Duke University) on Matthew
David Lyle Jeffrey (Baylor University) on Luke
Bernd Wannenwetsch (Oxford University) on 1 & 2 Corinthians
Kathryn Greene-McCreight (Yale University Divinity School) on Galatians
John Webster (King's College, Aberdeen) on Ephesians
George Hunsinger (Princeton University) on Philippians
Christopher Seitz (University of St. Andrews) on Colossians
Douglas Farrow (McGill University) on 1 & 2 Thessalonians
David Hart (University of Virginia) on Hebrews
Timothy George (Beeson Divinity School, Samford University) on James
Geoffrey Wainwright (Duke University) on Revelation --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Back Cover
"Leithart's theological conclusions about the book of Kings are diverse and interesting. He demonstrates a breadth of reading and knowledge of theological matters and brings that knowledge to bear upon the book of Kings. . . . For the biblical scholar, this volume is a fitting reminder that the text should be read holistically and theologically. . . . For the pastor, Leithart's commentary provides a succinct summary of each chapter or section that is most helpful in preaching through the book. For the theologian, Leithart shows how even the book of Kings makes weighty theological statements based upon a text-imminent, Christian reading of the book. Moreover, for all, it is a delightful read."
--Randall L. McKinion, Review of Biblical Literature
"Both content and structure contribute to the value of the commentary for sermon preparation and lay use. Chief among the distinguishing features of Leithart's work is the way he travels from the text to multiple disciplines that benefit from the narrative theology described therein. . . . [Leithart's] aspiration of bringing the OT to the church as an ongoing source of revelation is refreshing. In a discipline felt by many to have become increasingly distant from the church, theology, and even exegesis, biblical studies is in need of 'reform.' Like Elijah, Leithart attempts to address the problem from within, rather than casting aspersions from a distance. For this, as well as for his engaging style and challenging observations, his contribution is welcome."
--Amber Warhurst, Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"Leithart's work [is] stimulating in its unabashedly theological interpretive stance. Such a starting point for the exegetical task inquires differently of the text and renders fresh applications and observations. The two disciplines of biblical and theological studies can only benefit from cross-disciplinary engagement and, certainly, Leithart demonstrates that both disciplines can be used critically and in service of the Church."
--Lissa M. Wray Beal, Toronto Journal of Theology
"[Leithart's] introduction, '1-2 Kings as Gospel,' is well worth reading and will be a great help in preparing to preach through these books, which are not often chosen for expository series. This commentary will be a great supplement to other tools when preaching in 1-2 Kings."
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Leithart's other concern is a dialogue between the text of scripture and the answers that philosophy provides. He frequently interacts with the ideas of Nietzche, Sartre, Aquinas, Plato, John-Paul II, Kant, and many others. By doing this, Leithart shows how 1-2 Kings is addressing not just the needs of our souls, but also answers many questions that the larger culture is asking. It's worthwhile to note that he spends far more time interacting with these sorts of texts than with other commentators on Kings.
I didn't notice much in the way of the Federal Vision theology which makes Leithart a lightning rod to many. He did approach the scripture consistently and unapologetically as the word of God. There is no discussion of redaction criticism and the like. He accepts the text as it is and interacts with it on multiple levels, always showing how the fundamental problems introduced by the text find their final resolution in Jesus. Each chapter usually has a few phrases of unpointed Hebrew, but it is always translated.
This probably would not be sufficient as a sole commentary on Kings, but I found it very good to read alongside the Scriptures as a devotional and expect it will be helpful for providing perspective on the passages when preaching the text.
While primarily theological, this commentary doesn't shy away from exegetical and interpretative insights. Instead, it's chock full of them. My only complaint is that I believe some sections should've been given a more thorough treatment. For example, Leithart's section on 1 Kings 19:1-21 seems a bit oversimplistic for such a hotly-debated chapter among Old Testament scholars. Surely much more theological reflection regarding its significance could have been provided as well. However, the section on 2 Kings 3:1-27, which contains one of the most perplexing episodes in all of Scripture, is incredibly insightful, and well worth the price of the commentary itself, I might add! Unfortunately, introductory topics, such as composition, date, historical background, and authorship, are strangely absent from this volume (and I assume all other existing and forthcoming volumes in the series). I guess this is what the series editors mean when they refer to these commentaries as readings 'in faith.' Scripture has been given to the Church and needs no defense for its veracity. However, I would argue that authorship and historical background frequently provide clues to a particular book's overall theological message. For this reason, I would definitely advise preachers and teachers to supplement this text with an exegetical commentary that provides a more detailed analysis of the text and addresses the aformentioned issues (The 1 & 2 Kings volume by Reformed Baptist, Paul R. House in the New American Commentary would be an excellent choice.). Leithart's comments in a few of the sections are simply too brief. Nevertheless, this is a strong commentary overall and a worthy acquisition for anyone wishing to better understand and apply the Old Testament to today. Since it accomplishes its theological goal on every level, I give it a five-star rating. It will serve preachers and teachers well, providing a goldmine of illustrations for sermons and lectures. If I were teaching an undergraduate course on 1 & 2 Kings, this would definitely be my first choice as the primary textbook. I hope that subsequent volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary are as informative as Leithart's 1 & 2 Kings. Highly recommended!!!!!
The series particularly noteworthy for its ecumenical approach and theological focus. The Brazos series is representative of the growing ecumenical trend in Christian scholarship wherein a range of perspectives (Protestant, Orthodox and Catholic) interact in a respectful manner that emphasises their many shared viewpoints. This is a refreshing change from the overly sectarianism approach that characterized many thinkers of the previous generation. In addition to its broad Christian approach these commentaries are also marked by a distinctive theological focus. In contrast to the modern critical approach which endeavours to distance itself from tradition, the Brazos series views Christian doctrine as an essential aspect of biblical exegesis. From my perspective this is an especially fruitful approach with historical books such as Kings, which, in the absence of a contextual lens can be a challenge for the modern reader.
While not a drawback per se, this is probably not the text for someone seeking a verse by verse micro analysis. While there is some discussion of textual and translation issues such analysis is limited. Overall, this is an excellent text from a knowledgeable and articulate commentator. I recommend it students of OT and look forward to reading other instalments in the Brazos series.
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Leithart employs intricate typologies to show Israel/Judah undergoes a death and resurrection in this narrative, pointing to the death and...Read more