Benjamin E. Reynolds, Loren T. Stuckenbruck – The Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition and the Shaping of the New Testament Thought

The lens through which the contributors to The Jewish Apocalyptic Tradition and the Shaping of the New Testament Thought study and explain New Testament books is a specific one. Whereas the popular meaning of apocalyptic is either ‘the end of the world is near’ or ‘secretive and mystic’, the eschatological exegesis is an element in this genre, and the literal meaning of apocalypse is a revelation. Exactly that is sought from each of the 26 books in the New Testament, borrowing from Second Temple Judaism, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and pseudepigraphic literature.

Eschatology is not necessarily a point of departure in apocalyptic writings and the revelation of heavenly mysteries. The book focuses on the disclosure of wisdom, the role of angels in the gospels, heavenly visions by e.g. Paul and John the Revelator, and the way the early church treated revelations and prophecies as part of their practices. Apocalyptic literature gives hope to the righteous by looking beyond death. God’s plans, natural phenomena, Christology, and pointing the way to get saved are some of the functions these revelations have. Knowledge of Greek is not mandatory, but certainly helpful studying the references. The book costs you 15+ hours of reading but will refresh your knowledge and understanding of the New Testament.

About the authors

Benjamin E. Reynolds is associate professor of New Testament at Tyndale University College in Toronto, Canada. He is author of The Apocalyptic Son of Man in the Gospel of John.

Loren T. Stuckenbruck is chair of New Testament and Second Temple Judaism at Evangelisch-Theologische Fakultät, Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität, Munich. His numerous works include Angel Veneration and Christology: A Study in Early Judaism and in the Christology of the Apocalypse of John and a commentary on 1 Enoch 91-108 in the Commentaries in Early Jewish Literature series.

I received a free review copy from Fortress Press through Edelweiss in exchange for my personal, unbiased review upon reading.

Vérité – Somewhere in Between

Na 3 EP’s, Echo (2014), Sentiment (2015) en Living (2016) kwam deze zomer het volledige debuutalbum Somewhere In Between van de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter VÉRITÉ (echte naam Kelsey Byrne) uit. Het lichtvoetig is de schurende opener When You’re Gone niet: “Sitting in depression. Always calling me irreverent. If I prayed the weight would lessen. But your mouth can do it better. Than some god who don’t speak. Fucking up my language. Mixing words but never fading. If you stay you’ll say you saved me.” In Phase Me Out zegt ze niet meer in liefde te geloven, hoe catchy de mid-tempo electropop ook klinkt. Muzikaal kunnen producers Liam Howe (Lana Del Rey en FKA Twigs), Tim Anderson (Solange), Peter Thomas (Selena Gomez), James Flannigan en drummer Zach Nicita intrigerende arrangementen maken. De laag erboven zijn “dissect fragments of my experience as a human and twist them in unusual ways. I like playing with the sentiment of human relationships, but the lyrics are more about my relationship with the world, and dealing with things like apathy and boredom”, aldus de artieste.

Dromerig als in Bout You, soulful in Better en opnieuw slim leentjebuur bij religieus getinte termen in Saint. “‘Cause I know I’m a sinner. But I could be a saint in your head. No I don’t got religion. But I’ll tip my hat to the dead.” De elctronica neemt de overhand in Solutions. Erg radiopotent klinkt Floor. Voor alle boekhoud(st)ers is (I’m in love with) Control een lijflied 😉 Tot slot neemt ze de Freedom of Falling in – net als diverse andere liedjes op het album – het spraakwaterval-Lana del Rey-achtige format. Al met al een kwalitatief hoogwaardig album, dat echter wel duidelijk een tijdstempel heeft. Benieuwd hoe ik dit over 10 jaar vind klinken.

12 manieren om je veters van je hardloopschoenen te strikken en blessures te voorkomen [infographic]

Robert Hutchison – Dawn of Christianity

Other than a chronological ordered Bible, The Dawn of Christianity draws heavily on recent archeological discoveries in retelling Jesus Christ’s life on Earth, and an initial couple of decennia of his Kingdom movement, that became Christianity. Hutchison is convinced of the facts backing up the facts the authors of the gospels, Acts, and the letters to the churches write about. To counter skeptics, the author shares a lot of support to bust myths like simple fishermen following Jesus barely able to express themselves in another language than their thick Galilean Aramaic accent, the crucifixion of Christ, the resurrection of the dead, and doubts of characters like Pontius Pilate and Paul.

Rendering from modern Bible translations the compelling storyline throughout the first twenty years of Jesus’ Kingdom movement really comes to life. Yes, the recent discoveries also turn the traditional understanding of Pilate questioning Jesus and the location of the Via Dolorosa obsolete. The book guides you along Jesus’ and his disciples’ wanderings across Israel, the locations of places were miracle works were done, and where Paul and Barnabas traveled. Up to the important decision to not hinder former pagans too much with Jewish Torah and customs once they became followers of the Way too, Christianity’s initial years are covered. A who is who in the early history of Christianity, and a timeline of important events, are included as an appendix. Dawn of Christianity is an important piece of work, helping both students of religious studies, Christians, and not Christians, to better understand the birth of the world’s #1 religion.

About the author

Robert J. Hutchinson is an award-winning writer and author who studied philosophy as an undergraduate, moved to Israel to learn Hebrew, and earned a graduate degree in New Testament. Hutchinson’s most recent book is “The Dawn of Christianity: How God Used Simple Fishermen, Soldiers and Prostitutes to Transform the World” (Nelson Books, 2017). It’s an attempt to retell the founding of Christianity, in a journalistic way, by taking advantage of recent discoveries in archaeology and New Testament studies that shed light on the first 20 years of the Jesus movement.

Hutchinson is also the author of “Searching for Jesus: New Discoveries in the Quest for Jesus of Nazareth” — an overview of recent archaeological finds and new developments in Biblical scholarship that are calling into question much of what skeptical scholars have assumed and asserted about Jesus over the past two centuries; “The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Bible,” which demonstrates how the ideas embedded in the ancient Biblical texts helped give rise to modern science, the development of democratic government, and the global recognition of human rights; “When in Rome: A Journal of Life in Vatican City,” a Book of the Month Club and Quality Paperback Book Club Selection about life in the Vatican; and “The Book of Vices: A Collection of Classic Immoral Tales,” a parody of William Bennett’s bestseller, The Book of Virtues.

An avid traveler, Hutchinson was once the managing editor of Hawaii Magazine and the Hawaii Bureau Chief for The Hollywood Reporter. He blogs regularly at www.RobertHutchinson.com

I received a free review copy from the publisher Zondervan through Booklookbloggers in exchange for my personal, unbiased opinion upon reading.

Mono Inc. – Together Till The End

Met dank aan Spotify die me de link legde tussen VNV Nation en Mono Inc. heb ik het nieuwe conceptalbum Together Till The End nu alweer een aantal malen kunnen beluisteren. Een mix van symfonische metal, synthrock en de glamrock dat je bijvoorbeeld van Duitse acts als Unheilig mag verwachten. Melancholie en verlangen naar vrijheid als tijdloze thema’s kenmerken de eerste tracks The Banks of Eden en het titelnummer. Het concept is een scheepvaartongeluk in 1722, de uitwerking zwaar aangezet met scheepshoorns, meeuwen en orkestraal drama. Zanger Martin Engler en drummer Katha Mia die samen vanuit Hamburg Mono Inc. vormen, hebben een unicum door voor Boatman Ronan Harris van VNV Nation te strikken voor een duet. Doet ‘ie anders nooit.

Deze oorwurm zal het live ook zeker goed doen. Out In The Fields is Delain achtige sympho metal. Geen overtuiging of geloof houdt een geweerkogel tegen. Vluchten kan niet meer. De golven spoelen door je speakers, terwijl een meerstemmige Engler je in close harmony meesleurt in The Tide. Een zeemanslied met accordeon. Na dit vaarwerl gaat het gas erop voor de in november 2016 als single uitgebrachte Children of the Dark, waar achter de microfoon Joachim Witt, Tilo Wolf (beiden van de Zwitserse band Lacrimosa dat 25 augustus zelf een nieuw album Testimonium uitbrengt) en Chris Harms (Lord Of The Lost) Engler komen versterken.

De piano komt uit de kast voor de intro van Forever and a Day. Gitaren en slagwerk dragen met de arpeggio’s uit de synths de mid-tempo rocksong. Zwaar aangezet is Across The Waves. En na al die ellende aangespoeld is er hoop. There Comes a Time (Back to Life), op vol tempo, dat wel. Cliché en donkergestemd, zo klinkt Rome Wasn’t Built In A Day. De publiek opzweper This Is My Life brengt je naar Eden (reprise).

De 2e schijf bevat een unplugged versie van Potter’s Field met operazanger Ronald Zeidler en een uitvoering van Across The Waves door Palast. Remixes van Forever and a Day, Children of the Dark, Across the Waves en This Is My Life, plus de originele versies (waarom?) van Boatman en Children of the Dark completeren de bonus.