March 20, 2009

Fell off the blogging planet . . .

Well, except for one little book review, I've been silent on my little blog for what seems like an eternity. But let me assure you, I haven't abandoned it. I've just been really busy. I just finished copyediting a book on early Judaism that included a lot of excerpts from the relevant texts (mostly OT, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Josephus, and Philo), which I greatly enjoyed. And I'm finishing up a huge typesetting project today: an intro textbook for the Hebrew Bible with a ton of images, which is taking way more time than I expected. But both have been great projects. I haven't stopped reading, but just haven't had time to blog. My twin boys (who are now almost 18 months old) have also keept me plenty busy, especially now that Lucas is walking and Paul is not far behind. So that's all to say I've got a few book reviews I need to get up here: Kevin Vanhoozer's Drama of Doctrine being the big one. Let me just say, what a great book. Vanhoozer is such a solid theologian, and this book was worth every second I spent on it. I've also got A. T. B. McGowan's book on the doctrine of Scripture to review.

I am also in the middle of some study on Paul, mostly for my own personal edification. I'm reading Walter Wangerin's novel Paul, for one narrative take on Paul's life. It has certainly been worthwile reading. I've also been reading various introductions on Paul's life and travels, as well as a number of the relevant articles in Dictionary of Paul and His Letters. My first big book on Paul is Eckhard Schnabel's Paul the Missionary, which I just started. So more to come on that book, and on Paul in general. There certainly is no shortage of books on Paul, and I've come across some really good ones.

Well, that's it for now, but more to come in the coming days and weeks. Thanks for sticking with me.

March 10, 2009

Ken Duncan, In the Footsteps of Paul

Thanks to Thomas Nelson for the review copy. In the Footsteps of Paul is a beautiful gift book that chronicles the life and ministry of Paul. The book is a mixture of photographs interspersed with quotations from Acts, brief reflections from Duncan, and quotations from well-known authors. Following the Acts narrative, the book weaves together the story of Paul's life both in word and picture. The images—mostly of landscapes and sites, but sprinkled with artifacts, and artwork—are of exceptional quality, and give life to the narrative. A number of the scenes are truly breath-taking, and make this book worthy of a place on a coffee table, in addition to its other merits as a worthwhile introduction to Paul's travels.

The carefully chosen excerpts from Acts and Duncan's brief comments help to narrate Paul's story, chronicling his movements around Palestine, Asia, and Europe, highlighting major events and important interactions. The narrative is also augmented by well-chosen quotations from biblical scholars such as Ben Witherington, N. T. Wright, and F. F. Bruce, and inspirational writers such as Henri Nouwen, Max Lucado, and Thomas Merton.

In all, the book is beautifully assembled and laid out. The pictures are stunning, and the text helps bring Paul's journeys to life. As Duncan says in his introduction, "I knew [following in Paul's footsteps] would challenge me in my own walk with God. . . . Paul was all in for Jesus." Through words and images, Duncan helps us to see Paul the person, a follower of Christ, dedicated to the mission God laid before him. While I would look elsewhere for a more rigorous introduction to Paul's life and thought, this book makes for a great primer on Paul, and a worthy visual companion to other studies, at times instructing and at times challenging us to follow.