Rev. 19:11-21 and Christ as the Eschatological Divine Warrior (Part III)

Part I: The Lion that is a Lamb (continued)

Before I continue with the Lamb-Lion juxtaposition, I should point out that the most credible source for the Lamb Christology of Revelation is the Passover lamb.[1] This should come as no surprise considering that Christ was often identified with the Passover lamb in early Christian tradition (John 19:33, 36; 1 Pet. 1:18-19), with an explicit connection made between the the Lamb and exodus traditions in Rev. 15:3. For an in-depth examination of the Lamb motif in Revelation, see Loren Johns, The Lamb Christology of the Apocalypse of John (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003). This study explores the religio-historical background of the image of the Lamb, the shape of its rhetorical force in Revelation, and emphasizes the stance of nonviolent resistance that this image conveys.

The introduction to the Lamb in Revelation 5 highlights the importance of understanding John’s strategy in the book’s composition. The Lamb’s entrance is prefaced by the declaration that “the Lion of the tribe of Judah, the Root of David, has conquered, so that he can open the scroll and its seven seals” (Rev. 5:5). The leonine and Davidic references are symbols taken from the Hebrew Bible (Gen. 49:9; Isa. 11:1, 10), signifying the traditional messianic expectations for a powerful political leader who would liberate Israel from oppression.

Yet this is where the key reversal in John’s thought occurs: “Then I saw … a Lamb standing as if it had been slaughtered” (Rev. 5:6). The appearance of being “slaughtered” no doubt refers to his crucifixion, with the “standing” of the Lamb being attributable to the belief that he was resurrected by God. In the switch from the Lion to the Lamb, the traditional understanding of power and victory have been overturned and redefined to faithful witness to God, even if it leads to death. Loren Johns says that the author of Revelation “sees in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ both the decisive victory over evil in history and the pattern for Christians’ nonviolent resistance to evil.”[2] Patricia McDonald likewise says that Christ’s victory “resulted not from an act of physical prowess (leonine or conventionally messianic) but from his crucifixion.”[3]

This peaceful Lamb Christology seemingly runs into a stumbling block in Rev. 19:11-21. This pericope contains what is possibly the book’s most comprehensive Christological announcement for it contains all the main ideas and images developed throughout Revelation. One of these themes is that of Christ as the Divine Warrior, a concept which is perhaps “the basic principle of composition in the Apocalypse.”[4] The concept of the Divine Warrior can be traced back to ancient Near Eastern motifs, being adopted in early Judaic thought and employing it in descriptions of Yahweh’s involvement in historical events as found in the Hebrew Bible, with the paradigmatic example being that of the exodus event (see Exo. 14:13-14).[5]

The Divine Warrior theme is also disclosed in Yahweh’s portrayal as one who liberates his people, punishes evil, and in his name Yahweh Sabaoth, “Lord of Hosts”, which suggests the persona of a warring deity. Another motif of the Divine Warrior in the Hebrew Bible is the slaying of the sea monster (see Job 41; Ps. 74:13-14; Isa. 27:1), and while this is not found in the passage under examination, it is found earlier in Revelation 12–13.

As I will attempt to show, the Divine Warrior motif in Rev. 19:11-21 carries on these themes, transforming them in such a way as to convey a distinctly Christian message. Tremper Longman helpfully explains this transformation by noting that a key difference between the warfare of the Hebrew Bible and that of Revelation is in how the triumph of Jesus is not achieved by killing in battle, but by himself being killed on the cross.[6] John reworks the Divine Warrior motif “so as to convey that in view of the historic mission of Jesus Messiah, God’s victory over antagonistic forces was no longer effected by inflicting violence but by suffering it.”[7]

 

Footnotes

[1] See Richard Bauckham, The Climax of Prophecy: Studies on the Book of Revelation (Edinburgh: T&T Clark, 1993), p. 184; G.R. Beasley-Murray, The Book of Revelation (The New Century Bible; Greenwood, SC: The Attic Press, 1974), pp. 124–26; Loren L. Johns, The Lamb Christology of the Apocalypse of John (Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2003), pp. 130–33.

[2] Johns, Lamb Christology, p. 20.

[3] Patricia M. McDonald, “Lion as Slain Lamb: On Reading Revelation Recursively,” Horizons, 23 (1996), pp. 29–47 (p. 37).

[4] Adela Yarbro Collins, Crisis and Catharsis: The Power of Apocalypse (Philadelphia, PA: Westminster, 1984), p. 130.

[5] For an in-depth study of the Divine Warrior motif in the Hebrew Bible, see P.D. Miller Jr., The Divine Warrior in Early Israel (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1973).

[6] Tremper Longman, “The Divine Warrior: The New Testament Use of an Old Testament Motif”, Westminster Theological Journal, 44 (1981), pp. 290–307.

[7] Neville, A Peaceable Hope, ch. 7 (Kindle location 4994).

Rev. 19:11-21 and Christ as the Eschatological Divine Warrior (Part II)

Part I: The Lion that is a Lamb

Scholars have become increasingly aware of the careful compositional nature of Revelation, with an increasing amount of studies demonstrating the meticulous nature of John’s work, highlighting various features of the book such as his use of chiasmus and inclusio. Richard Bauckham says that Revelation “is a literary work composed with astonishing care and skill”, and that John took his revelatory experiences and “transmuted them through what must have been a lengthy process of reflection and writing into a thoroughly literary creation” in order to “communicate the meaning of the revelation that had been given him.”[1]

One perspective on Revelation gaining ground is the idea that John wrote it with the purpose of providing an alternative symbolic universe for the readers. David Barr, to cite one example, describes Revelation as containing “radical symbolic inversion”, a term which describes how Revelation offers up a symbolic transformation of the world, with an overarching example that Barr provides being how “symbols of power are replaced by images of suffering.”[2]

An example of this inversion is in how Rev. 12:7-9 paints the picture of a climactic battle in heaven with the holy angels fighting against the dragon and his angels. Despite couching this in traditional language of the combat myth,[3] John’s understanding of this battle upturns such traditional language, for those who defeated the dragon “conquered him by the blood of the Lamb and by the word of their testimony, for they did not cling to life even in the face of death” (Rev. 12:11).

What is perhaps the key inversion in Revelation is the Lion-Lamb juxtaposition (Rev. 5:5-6). While most commentators and exegetes see the importance of the Lion-Lamb imagery for understanding the Christological content of Revelation, the exact relationship between the two figures is a matter of debate. An interpretation popular in evangelical and fundamentalist denominations—especially in North America—is to divide the images of Lion and Lamb dispensationally, that is, to apply the image of the Lamb to Christ’s first appearance which ended in his crucifixion and the Lion to his second appearance in the future where he shall smite the wicked.

The view that I take to, however, is that the image of Christ as the Lamb reinterprets and transforms other themes displayed in Revelation, including the image of Lion.[4] The image of the Lamb is not one that coexists with the Lion in some perpetual amiable juxtaposition, instead, the Lion is supplanted by the Lamb as depicting the true symbol of Christ’s victory. This point deserves to be underscored: Christ is not described by John as a Lion in the disguise of a Lamb, rather, he is a Lamb.[5]


Footnotes

[1] Richard J. Bauckham, The Theology of the Book of Revelation (New Testament Theology; Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1993), pp. 3-4.

[2] David L. Barr, “Doing Violence: Moral Issues in Reading John’s Apocalypse”, in David L. Barr (ed), Reading the Book of Revelation: A Resource for Students (Resources for Biblical Study, 44; ed. David L. Barr; Atlanta, GA: Society of Biblical Literature, 2003), pp. 97-108 (p. 101). For more on Barr’s idea of radical symbolic inversion, see David L. Barr, “The Apocalypse as a Symbolic Transformation of the World: A Literary Study”, Interpretation 38.1 (1984), pp. 39–50; David L. Barr, Tales of the End: A Narrative Commentary on the Book of Revelation (Santa Rosa, CA: Polebridge Press, 1998).

[3] See Adela Yarbro Collins, The Combat Myth in the Book of Revelation (Eugene, OR: Wipf and Stock, 1976).

[4] Cf. Eugene M. Boring, Revelation (Interpretation; Louisville, KY: Westminster John Knox, 1989), pp. 110–11.

[5] Cf. Mark Bredin, Jesus, Revolutionary of Peace: A Nonviolent Christology in the Book of Revelation (Waynesboro, GA: Paternoster Press, 2003), p. 30; David J. Neville. A Peaceable Hope: Contesting Violent Eschatology in New Testament Narratives (Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Academic, 2013), ch. 7 (Kindle location 4827) says that he “consider[s] the Lamb-image to be John’s central, controlling christological motif.”

Rev. 19:11-21 and Christ as the Eschatological Divine Warrior (Part I)

Violence is to be found at the core of the Christian religion. Not only did the figure at the very heart of the Christian faith meet his end through the violence of crucifixion, but the history of the religion he inspired is filled with violence, from Catholic-Protestant and Anglican-Puritan conflicts to the inquisitions and crusades. Moreover, the corpus of texts composed in response to the burgeoning faith-movement in Jesus is replete with violence, particularly threats of eschatological violence. While much could be written on the use of violence in the New Testament, whether it is violence within history (e.g. Acts 5:1-11) or at history’s end (e.g. 2 Thess. 1:6-10), this series of blog posts will examine Rev. 19:11-21, a pericope that is a key depiction of Christ carrying out eschatological violence in the New Testament.

The book of Revelation is a text which scandalizes the reader, provoking offense and even distress due to its violent metaphors and imagery.[1] Just the description of the destruction of the “whore of Babylon” alone should make one’s skin crawl, for her destroyers are said to “make her desolate and naked; they will devour her flesh and burn her up with fire” (Rev. 17:16). On top of that, you have Death and Hades carry out God’s will by killing a quarter of the world’s inhabitants by sword, famine, pestilence, and wild animals (Rev. 6:6-8). Bizarre and terrifying locusts torture those lacking the seal of God (Rev. 9:3-6). And God’s angels pour out his wrath upon the world, bringing terrible destruction upon all its inhabitants (Rev. 16:1-21). Those who read Revelation are indeed to fear “the wrath of the Lamb” (Rev. 6:16).

This series of blog posts will first look at John’s strategy of conveying his message through an inversion of traditional language and symbolism (specifically the Lion-Lamb juxtaposition), and then, with this inversion in mind, I will look at the illustration of Christ as the eschatological Divine Warrior in Rev. 19:11-21.

 

Footnotes

[1] For a detailed look at the recent trends in scholarship on Revelation, see Rebecca Skaggs and Thomas Doyle, “Violence in the Apocalypse of John”, Currents in Biblical Research 5.2 (2007), pp. 220–34. For discussions on the use of metaphor in Revelation, see Susan E. Hylen, “Metaphor Matters: Violence and Ethics in Revelation”, The Catholic Biblical Quarterly, 73 (2011), pp. 777–96; and Lynn R. Huber, Like a Bride Adorned: Reading Metaphor in John’s Apocalypse (Emory Studies in Early Christianity, 12; New York, NY: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2007), although she does not tackle the ethical consequences of metaphor use as Hylen does.

Quick Reviews: Ancient Israel’s History and Early Christianity in Contexts

ancientisraelhistoryTitle: Ancient Israel’s History: An Introduction to Issues and Sources

Editors: Bill Arnold and Richard Hess

Bibliographic info: 560 pp.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2014.

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With thanks to Baker Academic for the review copy.

The history of Israel is a contentious issue for many in biblical studies. Mainstream opinion on Israelite history doesn’t exactly lend much credence to the idea of the Hebrew Bible possessing a great deal of historical value. At one end of the spectrum, you have the minimalists, those who find next to nothing useful about the Hebrew Bible in terms of its reliability for providing a faithful historical account of Israelite origins. At the other end of the spectrum, you have a very conservative stream of Christian thought that sees the historicity of the Hebrew Bible as being practically perfect.

This is where Ancient Israel’s History comes in. It seeks to navigate between the two extremes by carefully and judiciously exploring the issues in Israelite history. Overall, the book avoids the dogmatic and naïve fideistic approach that will never admit the Hebrew Bible fudges the facts at times, and it also avoids the overly skeptical approach that presumes the Hebrew Bible is guilty until proven innocent.

After the obligatory preface and introduction, the chapters proceed as follows:

  1. The Genesis Narratives (Bill T. Arnold)
  2. The Exodus and Wilderness Narratives (James K. Hoffmeier)
  3. Covenant and Treaty in the Hebrew Bible and in the Ancient Near East (Samuel Greengus)
  4. Early Israel and Its Appearance in Canaan (Lawson G. Stone)
  5. The Judges and the Early Iron Age (Robert D. Miller II)
  6. The Story of Samuel, Saul, and David (Daniel Bodi)
  7. United Monarchy: Archaeology and Literary Sources (Steven M. Ortiz)
  8. The Biblical Prophets in Historiography (James K. Mead)
  9. Late Tenth- and Ninth-Century Issues: Ahab Underplayed? Jehoshaphat Overplayed? (Kyle Greenwood)
  10. Eighth-Century Issues: The World of Jeroboam II, the Fall of Samaria, and the Reign of Hezekiah (Sandra Richter)
  11. Judah in the Seventh Century: From the Aftermath of Sennacherib’s Invasion to the Beginning of Jehoiakim’s Rebellion (Brad E. Kelle)
  12. Sixth-Century Issues (Peter van der Veen)
  13. Fifth- and Fourth-Century Issues: Governorship and Priesthood in Jerusalem (André Lemaire)
  14. The Hellenistic Period (David A. deSilva)

EarlyChristianityContextsTitle: Early Christianity in Contexts: An Exploration across Cultures and Continent

Editor: William Tabbernee

Bibliographic info: 640 pp.

Publisher: Baker Academic, 2014.

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With thanks to Baker Academic for the review copy.

This volume explores the presence of Christianity in the early centuries within and beyond the borders of the Roman world. The studies included in this volume examine the latest archaeological evidence, including such things as inscriptions, mosaics, icons, and other artwork.

The chapters are arranged by geographical areas and they discuss various questions, including: When was Christianity introduced? How was Christian belief and practice shaped by the culture and thought specific to each area? How did Christianity influence local culture?

The chapters are as follows:

  1. The Roman Near East
  2. Beyond the Eastern Frontier
  3. The Caucasus
  4. Deep into Asia
  5. The World of the Nile
  6. Roman North Africa
  7. Asia Minor and Cyprus
  8. The Balkan Peninsula
  9. Italy and Environs
  10. The Western Provinces and Beyond

These chapters cover early Christianity in a variety of places, including: Palaestina, Syria, Arabia, Northern Mesopotamia, Persia, Georgia, Armenia, Central Asia, China, India, Egypt, Alexandria, Axum, Nubia, Roman North Africa, Carthage and Africa Proconsularis, Numidia, Mauretania, Tripolitania, Asia Minor, Cyprus, Achaea, the Greek Islands, Thracia, Eastern Illyricum, Constantinople, Rome, Central Italy, North Italy, Ravenna, South Italy and the Islands, Dalmatia, the Western Provinces, and beyond the Western borders.

Important note concerning the digital editions: the review copies I received were through the Netgalley program (and I was reading them on the Kindle Voyage). Unfortunately, the digital version of these books I received are very subpar as they contain a multitude of formatting problems, e.g., there are no table of contents, the footnotes appear in the body text, the transliterated Hebrew is real funky, section headings have no spaces between the words, etc. And as I understand it, the print edition of these books contain various illustrative items, such as maps, images, tables and sidebars. These do not seem to appear in the digital editions and the images that do appear are usually just an unintelligible gray blob. This is especially true for the volume on ancient Israel.

With that said, for the chapters that I did manage to more or less read, the essays are grounded in literary and historical research, contain the latest scholarship, and provide a good discussion on the current state of research. I don’t usually even bother to try and read digital review books that have such contemptible formatting, but these two volumes just looked too interesting to pass up.

Book Review: Jürgen Moltmann’s Ethics of Hope

HARVIE JKT(240x159)filmsTitle: Jürgen Moltmann’s Ethics of Hope: Eschatological Possibilities for Moral Action

Author: Timothy Harvie

Series: Ashgate New Critical Thinking in Religion, Theology and Biblical Studies

Bibliographic info: 238 pp.

Publisher: Ashgate, 2009.

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With thanks to Ashgate for the review copy!

This volume is a slightly revised version of the author’s doctoral dissertation completed at the University of Aberdeen. In this work, Timothy Harvie attempts to explore—what was at that time—an unfinished trajectory in Jürgen Moltmann’s theological project, that is, an ethics of hope. The author notes, however, that the title may be a bit “misleading” for this study is “not a piece of applied ethics engaging specific moral quandaries or the nature of Christian virtues”, but is rather “a piece of systematic theology … [that] attempt[s] to theologically describe the sphere of Christian moral action and the means by which this is enabled to take place.” Thus, “the primary task of this project is to develop an eschatological account of the sphere of human moral action in dialogue with Moltmann’s work.”

I mentioned at the beginning of the previous paragraph that an ethics of hope was an unfinished trajectory of thought in Moltmann’s work at that time. Since the publication of this study, however, Moltmann has remedied this by publishing his Ethik der Hoffnung in 2010 (Ethics of Hope, 2012).

This study is divided into two parts and seven chapters. Part I tackles the issue of doctrinal considerations and covers various important themes that arise when one focuses upon Moltmann’s theology that is centered on hope within its eschatological context. Throughout these chapters, Harvie is attempting to elucidate an eschatological ethic of hope that might be derived from Moltmann’s theology. The first chapter deals with the themes of hope and promise in Moltmann’s theology, the second chapter looks at hope and the kingdom of God, the third chapter discusses hope and the Spirit of God, and the fourth chapter is on hope in the Triune God. A key concept found in these chapters is in how Moltmann conceives of the divine promise as establishing an “interval of tension” that Harvie labels as a “between-space”, or Zwischenraum, between the time of promise and fulfillment. The grand example of this is divine promise found in the cross and resurrection of Christ for the future redemption of creation. This Zwischenraum contains an “Exodus community”, or Exodusgemeinde, that Christians may now participate in, in contradistinction to the world and in anticipation of the future fulfillment of the divine promise.

Part II then grapples with certain theological issues within the framework of eschatological hope that Harvie put forth in preceding chapters, specifically exploring how these “doctrinal insights alter an understanding of moral agency and action within the framework or Christian hope.” The three chapters in this part aim to glean what systematic theology might say in regards to time and space (chapter six), humanity (chapter seven), and the economy (chapter eight). This final chapter on the economy was quite interesting. In it, Harvie attempts to understand how Moltmann’s eschatological hope might inform Christian involvement in the world of international economics. Rather than attempting to offer up a complete and singular vision of global monetary exchange and what this might look like, Harvie instead puts forward some thoughts on the types of market engagement that are commensurate with the kingdom of God in vision of eschatological hope. Here is an example:

Christians living in high-income nations must recognize that notions of scarcity which drive domestic and global markets do not apply to their lived experience in a similar manner as is found in other nations. A reconceptualized understanding of what true scarcity is needs to be achieved through education regarding the divergences of world poverty and the desperate situations of those living in economically failing nation states. Such public awareness education can be conducted in ecclesial settings through sermons and homilies, or service groups organized by local parishes. Moving further, such awareness needs to be conjoined with how a perception of scarcity influences consumption levels. …

All in all, this was an appealing and absorbing examination of the ethical implications Moltmann’s theological project. For the uninitiated, Harvie provides a superb look at Moltmann’s theology in the first part of the study, specifically the roles of divine promise and eschatological hope. While I did enjoy reading the second part, I was hoping the author would have pushed the envelope further with his application of the framework he developed in the first part. Granted, this is no doubt easier said than done, but I think the boundaries could have been pushed more. If you’re into Moltmann or ethics from a modern Christian theological perspective, then I would heartily recommend this volume.

Quick Book Review: The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud

babyloniantalmudTitle: The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud

Author: David Halivni

Bibliographic info: 352 pp.

Publisher: Oxford University Press, 2013.

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The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud is an English translation of Halivni’s work relating to his Meqorot umesorot (Sources and Traditions) project. This project is a commentary (written in Hebrew) on the Babylonian Talmud which, so far, has been published in eight volumes from 1968-2012. The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud represents an in-depth account of Halivni’s source-critical approach in this project. Most academic research on the Talmud is actually written in Hebrew, with much of it never seeing the light of day in English. This fact alone makes this English translation of Halivni’s work a great step forward in Talmudic studies.

In a nutshell, here is what Halivni proposes concerning the Babylonian Talmud (the Talmud consists of the Gemara, completed ca. 500, and the Mishnah, completed ca. 200). It is typically thought that the Gemara was produced by the Amoraim and that the Mishnah was produced by the Tannaim (both being groups of rabbis). Halivni, however, disputes this chronology and presents a revised rabbinic timeline of the literary production of the Talmud. He believes that the Talmud was only made to look like it was written by the Amoraim, and that the unique style of the Gemara was, in fact, produced by the Stammaim during the 6th-8th centuries (rabbis who followed the Amoraim).

To argue his case, Halivni first puts forward his case for the Stammaim (“the anonymous ones”), who he sees as being a cohort of rabbis that is primarily responsible for the Gemara. Next, he discusses the editing of the Talmud, arguing against the typical belief that the Talmud went through a standardized editorial revision process (which he sees as being due to the contradictory Tannaitic and Amoraic sayings). Then Halivni hones in on the finer details of his proposed redactional process, and finishes by tackling the beginning of the Talmud’s written form (which involves a oral proto-Talmud that was retained by memorization by the Stammaim, some of whom cross-referenced thematically connected segments in the nascent Talmudic body by duplicating them in various redactional contexts).

The Formation of the Babylonian Talmud is an impressive volume and is also somewhat intimidating for the uninitiated like myself. I would say that this volume is more suited for those already familiar with Talmudic scholarship, rather than someone seeking an introductory volume.

Book Review: NIDNTTE

NIDNTTETitle: New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis Set

Editor: Moisés Silva

Bibliographic info: 3552 pp (5 vols).

Publisher: Zondervan, 2014.

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With thanks to Zondervan for the review copy.

The New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology and Exegesis (NIDNTTE) is a thorough revision of the original New International Dictionary of New Testament Theology (NIDNTT; ed. Colin Brown; Zondervan 1975-78), which itself was based on the German two-volume dictionary, Theologisches Begriffslexikon zum Neuen Testamentum (1970-71).

The NIDNTTE consists of five volumes (four dictionary volumes and an index volume) that contain about 800 entries, covering 3000 Greek words. As to be expected, nouns and adjectives are listed in the nominative case and verbs are in the first-person singular. The word entries contain useful statistical data on its usage, as well as exegetical and semantic information. There is a consistent format for each word entry. It begins with a discussion of the word in Greek literature (pre-classical to Roman times), followed by the same for Jewish literature (LXX, Pseudepigrapha, Philo, Josephus), and, finally, with the usage in the New Testament (with occasional references to non-canonical early Christian literature). Where possible, relevant Hebrew and Aramaic words are discussed including their usage in the Hebrew Bible, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and rabbinical texts. Each entry then closes with a bibliography listing other sources that can be consulted for further study (which, of course, have been updated from the original edition).

The first four volumes are the dictionary proper, with the fifth volume containing a handy set of indices, including scripture indices for the Old and New Testaments, indices for Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek words, and an index for Greek literature. There is also a  conversion chart for converting from Strong’s numbers to Goodrick-Kohlenberger.

As I mentioned earlier, this volume edited by Silva is an updated version of Brown’s original edition. The original edition had the drawback of being organized according to English words, whereas Silva’s new edition organizes the entries alphabetically by Greek words. A useful feature that organizing by English provides is that it groups together New Testament words that are semantically related to one another. This feature is retained in this new edition, however, by providing a list of various words related to particular concepts (the list is found at the beginning of each volume). An example is the concept of “love,” for which there are six Greek words that fall under this concept. This feature is quite useful and if you study each word listed under a concept, then you gain a greater appreciation for how the different words all contribute towards a particular concept.

There are various differences one will notice between the editions by Brown and Silva. One example is that due to the original edition being published in the 70s, some of the articles focus on issues dealing with Bultmann’s theological interpretations (this was a time when Bultmanns’s work was still being interacted with in NT studies). The examples I compared have the discussions on Bultmann noticeably shortened in Silva’s new edition.

There are other theological and exegetical dictionaries of the New Testament. A classic is Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament which, while still very useful, is a bit outdated at this point. Apart from being an up-to-date set, the NIDNTTE also has another useful feature that places it above Kittel’s TDNT, which is that each entry discusses the Greek word along with other words that are in its semantic field. That is quite a handy feature in my opinion. In fact, I think the whole method of organizing in Silva’s NIDNTTE is a step up from Kittel’s TDNT as it circumvents any confusion that may arise between lexicography and conceptual analysis.

The NIDNTTE will be a very useful tool for pastors and students of theology/biblical studies. This set is well-suited to help one understand the meaning of a Greek word in relation to its semantic field and to broader concepts. I imagine the NIDNTTE will become the standard New Testament theological dictionary.

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