The SBL Handbook of Style, 2nd ed. — Review

Society of Biblical Literature. The SBL Handbook of Style: For Biblical Studies and Related Disciplines. 2nd ed. Atlanta: Society of Biblical Literature, 2014. 351pp + xiv.

The SBL Handbook of Style has served as a normalizing standard for many biblical studies publications for over a decade and a half. This second edition will extend that tradition. The SBL Handbook contains many of the features a person would expect in a style manual: discussion of formatting, general style such as punctuation and numbers, and citation instructions and examples. Most of the discussion follows the traditional humanities course set by The Chicago Manual of Style,  16th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2010) and Kate Turabian’s A Manual for Writers of Research Papers, Theses, and Dissertations, 8th ed. (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 2013).

Where the work particularly stands out, however, is in its examples of particularly difficult citation examples from classical or church fathers series and in its many lists. Students and scholars alike often struggle to apply Chicago 16’s citation style to early Christian works and ancient Near Eastern texts and collections. The SBL Handbook provides several examples. Lists occupy the bulk of the work. These range from capitalization lists and publication information to abbreviations for church fathers and ancient Near Eastern text collections. One will also encounter several transliteration tables for languages relevant to biblical studies and the ancient Near East.

The second edition has updated and expanded many of the lists, provided more style-related information, and has expanded and changed some of the citation requirements. It serves as a thorough replacement to the first edition.

Summary: The 2nd edition of The SBL Handbook of Style will be in important addition to any library providing resources for or serving a patron-base interested in biblical studies, early Christianity, ancient Near Eastern culture and writing, and related fields. For some, it may serve as a full style manual. For others, the work will serve as an important tool tracking down interpretations for the occasionally-cryptic abbreviations found in many biblical studies and related publications. Highly recommended, this work will benefit college students, graduate students, and scholars alike.


Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers — Review

Wallace, Daniel B., Brittany C. Burnette, and Terri Darby Moore. A Reader’s Lexicon of the Apostolic Fathers. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2013. 250pp.

The most recent “reader’s lexicon” from Kregel Academic follows well the footsteps of their previous work: Burer, Michael H., and Jeffrey E. Miller. A New Reader’s Lexicon of the Greek New Testament. Grand Rapids: Kregel Academic, 2008. Here, though, the work serves as a bridge to the Greek text of the Apostolic Fathers. As a reader’s lexicon, entries are not arranged alphabetically [Read more…]

Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 2nd ed. — Review

Green, Joel B. Jeannine K. Brown, and Nicholas Perrin, eds. Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. Second Edition. Downers Grove: IVP Academic, 2013. 1088pp + xxxi.

Edited by Joel Green, a New Testament professor at Fuller Theological Seminary and well published author, this second edition of the dictionary is a welcome addition to the IVP Dictionary Series. Written primarily for students—undergraduates and graduates—and pastors, this dictionary addresses a broad range of subjects related to Jesus and Gospel studies from an evangelical [Read more…]

Another Take on Learning Greek

The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach ItWilliam Gardner Hale. The Art of Reading Latin: How to Teach It. Boston: Ginn & Co., 1887. 64pp. Free from Google Books.

“The attacks which have been made of late upon the study of Greek and to some extent upon the study of Latin have had at their backs the conviction that the results obtained are very much out of proportion to the years of labor spent upon these languages by the schoolboy and the college student.” (5)

So opens Hale’s work, and I suspect many still have the same concern today, over a century later.

A professor of Latin at Cornell University, Hale delivered the first portion of this book as “an address delivered before the Associated Academic Principles of the State of New York” (5). He is dissatisfied with both the method and the results of the (then) current model for language learning, and believes he has the solution. Hale has in mind the Latin and Greek of classical studies, but the jump into biblical studies is a small one. He chooses to focus specifically on [Read more…]

Jesus is the Son of God! But do we understand the title?

Jesus the Son of God, by D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson, Jesus the Son of God: A Christological Title Often Overlooked, Sometimes Misunderstood, and Currently Disputed. Wheaton: Crossway, 2012. 117pp. $15.99.

“Moreover, for some time I have been thinking through the hiatus between careful exegesis and doctrinal formulations. We need both, of course, but unless the latter are finally controlled by the former, and seen to be controlled by the former, both are weakened.” (11)

‘Son of God’ is a familiar and important title for Christians to apply to Jesus, but also one that typically contributes little to our understanding of who Jesus is. In Jesus the Son of God, Carson argues this christological title is a deep and rich metaphor that should not be flattened out in our theology or lost in translation. In doing so, Carson moves the reader from [Read more…]

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