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The Promise of His Appearing: An Exposition of Second Peter Paperback – December 12, 2004
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About the Author
Peter J. Leithart (PhD, Cambridge) is President of Theopolis Institute in Birmingham, Albama and an Adjunct Senior Fellow at New Saint Andrews College in Moscow, Idaho. He is the author of numerous books on theology and literature, including The Baptized Body, Against Christianity, Brightest Heaven of Invention, and Ascent to Love. He has also authored articles in journals such as Pro Ecclesia, Journal of Biblical Literature, Westminster Theological Journal, and First Things. Peter and his wife Noel have ten children and a fetching collection of grandchildren.
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I came to this book unconvinced of the thesis and am now 80% convinced. I clearly can see the preteristic theme of the book, but am worried where it will leave us. It seems like Peter Leithart may push preterism to far. Don't get me wrong, I am a huge Peter Leithart fan, and he is not and never will be a full preterist. But it seems like the interpretation of assigning almost everything to AD 70 leaves us with very little else left.
I am going to continue to think about and study the thesis of this book and may change the review.
7 Dec A.D. 2010
While he holds to the basic preterist position, he makes a few exciting mutations. Most partial preterists, when they get to this book, simply reassert that it took place in AD 70. Well and good, but that is not an argument. Leithart introduces what he calls "knock-out" arguments for partial preterism in 2 Peter. There are five of them. He sets the stage for saying that without a preterist understanding of 2 Peter, Peter's comments do not make sense.
Here is an example:
Peter says he wrote his letter (2 Peter) on the theme of the coming of Jesus, which he says was also a theme of his 1 letter (1 Peter). Since 1 Peter's teaching about the coming of Jesus highlights its imminence, 2 Peter must be dealing with the same looming event (14).
Btw, when all five arguments are seen together, they are quite compelling. Do not judge this argument standing alone.
Leithart also adds a Hebraic element to the interpretation. Peter's audience are dispersed Jews (and he quotes a plethora of passages showing how Peter's language directly mirrors exilic Jews in the OT). In short, AD 70 was not simply Rome destroying Jerusalem and that kind of conveniently looks like Matthew 24. No, it is a destruction of the Old Creation world. (Leithart then draws parallels showing how the temple symbolized the cosmos).
I really enjoyed it. Definite recommendation. However, it is not a key for sermon prep. It is more for eschatology than sermon, although it makes for good biblical theology.