writing things down…

Archive for Books

Will Willimon on Politics in Biblical Preaching

Yesterday I posted a quote from Will Campbell on Patriotism in my Facebook Notes. What I should have done is posted it here in katagrapho, since whatever I post on this blog shows up in my Facebook Notes. I won’t repeat the Campbell quote. You can follow the previous link to read it.

From now on I will put interesting quotes and excerpts from books I am editing here. That way the handful of blog readers can see them, as well as the handful of Facebook friends.

In addition to Campbell’s Crashing the Idols, I am also working with Will Willimon’s Preaching Master Class, the next volume in the Art for Faith’s Sake Series that we publish in partnership with Fuller‘s Brehm Center. As I was reading the chapter, “How Unbiblical ‘Biblical Preaching’ Can Be,” I came across these bits that resonated with my immersion into Will Campbell’s writing.

Previously, we mainline, liberal Protestants were the ones who were so bent on mixing religion and politics. Now it’s the Religious Right, but it’s essentially the same project. It’s a politicized project that is tough for biblical preachers; once they get infatuated with politics, they don’t stay biblical for long.

Let’s face it, the Bible is downright nasty toward folk in power, particularly if they work for the government…

The New Testament has virtually nothing to say to folk who enjoy a powerful majority, but everything to say to those who are a persecuted minority. I find little scriptural help for how to run a multi-million-dollar political action group, but lots of verses about what to do when you are in jail.

Two further things:

1. There is much in Willimon’s book that these folks could stand to read as they try to do everything “biblically” in the shadow of the Capitol building. (HT: Halden)

2. It should go without saying that this blog, my Facebook content, and most other material I place online are all my personal ruminations, opinions, gripes, etc. It should also go without saying that the thing I spend most of my day doing—i.e., acquiring, editing, proofing books—would have an impact on my ruminations, opinions, gripes, etc. None of it, however, is meant to represent the position of my employer, Wipf and Stock Publishers.


PhD: Don’t Do it!

It is nearly a year old, but the following Chronicle piece should be read by anyone working on or considering a PhD in the Humanities (that would include theology, biblical studies, and the like):

Graduate School in the Humanities: Just Don’t Go – Advice – The Chronicle of Higher Education.

Instead of a PhD consider the dignity and elegance of a hands-on trade.

Apocalyptic Accounts of Paul

Given the recent discussions of the apocalyptic perspective of Paul, I found interesting the following sentence by Stephen Fowl in Paul, Philosophy, and the Theopolitical Vision (ed. Douglas Harink), a forthcoming volume in our Theopolitical Visions series that I am currently working on.

These apocalyptic accounts of Paul are a persistent reminder that both scholars and Christians have a tendency to domesticate Paul and his writings, gathering supposed conceptual and religious antecedents to central Pauline terminology so that he appears to be little more than a small tremor on the theological terrain, something you can feel, but which does not bring down buildings (Fowl, “A Very Particular Universalism”).

Ten Awful Truths About Book Publishing

All authors, potential authors, editors, and publishers MUST READ THIS! Seriously, you MUST. I can’t emphasize it enough. It’s just two pages, will probably take you about 5 minutes, and will give you a helpful perspective on publishing, especially those authors of you who expect your books to fly off the shelves.

Ten Awful Truths About Book Publishing by Steve Piersanti 6-09 Update.

Gems from proofreading

I’ve been in the throes of book projects that we are trying to get readied for AAR, ETS, and SBL. Earlier this week I completed a proofread of a collection of essays from Will Campbell, edited by Richard Goode. I grew to love Campbell more than I had. There were gems aplenty in the manuscript, but I didn’t note any of them because I was afraid I would be overrun. Needless to say, I highly recommend the book, Writings on Reconciliation and Resistance. It will be available by AAR.

Another book that I am currently proofreading and which should make it to AAR is from the folks at The Other Journal. It also happens to be the book with my most favorite title of the season, “God Is Dead” and I Don’t Feel So Good Myself: Theological Engagements with the New Atheism. It is a wonderful collection of essays, interviews, poetry, and art. Currently I am in the middle of an essay by Merold Westphal, “Atheism for Lent.” All of the contributions up to this point have been fascinating, but I was particularly struck by this sentence:

Taking the Lord’s name in vain is not just a matter of swearing: we violate this commandment whenever we put our theistic, even our specifically Christian, beliefs and practices in the service of our own interests insofar as they have not been fully brought into conformity with God’s will.

This book, too, should make it to AAR. If you are in Montreal, go by the Wipf and Stock booth (#514) and check these books out, and while your at it browse the many other wonderful books we’ve published this past year. Unfortunately I will not be making it to AAR this year.

If you are going to be in New Orleans for ETS and/or SBL, find your way to our booth, browse the books, and say hello. I’ll be there. If I have time, I’ll treat you to a coffee (or chicory!).

Genesis as a graphic comic book

In general, Crumb’s tendency is to simplify Alter and bring the text closer to the vernacular. But being literal is not the same as being impartial or withholding interpretation. The language of Genesis is extremely terse and suggestive, opening itself up to countless retellings. Crumb’s personal views are bodied forth in his drawings, which frequently undermine or question the text. The words alone tell us nothing about how Dinah reacted to the murder of her sexual assailant (and would-be husband), Shechem, but a heartrending panel by Crumb suggests the possibility that the vengeance was far greater than anything she wanted.

word made fresh – bookforum.com / in print.

Obligatory Post – Announcing NIV Bible 2011

It seems to me that one simply cannot call oneself a biblioblogger if one does not post something about the announcement of the NIV 2011. So, here’s my obligatory post, since I still fancy this as a biblioblog of sorts.

Here’s the link to the appropriate website: NIV Bible 2011 – New International Version updated.

But, to really call oneself a biblioblogger, one must also comment on this announcement. So here are two quick takes:

1. I like the TNIV. I’ll have to wait and see if the NIV2011 caves to the exclusivists who view the inclusive language of the TNIV as somehow a marring of God’s Word. I hope they don’t cave, but the whole language of “mistakes” makes me doubtful.

2. I think the CBT is comprised of good biblical scholars, even if right-leaning to a fault some times. But, my suspicion of corporate behemoths (i.e., Zondervan –> Harper Collins –> News Corporation) makes me wonder if there is not something else behind this decision. Even the working name, “NIV 2011,” smacks of underhanded marketing strategy. Soon enough we will all be needing to “upgrade” to the latest version of the NIV. There will be alpha and beta versions that you can buy in advance of the official release. The new version will be more stable and better able to resist viruses. Sometime down the road, in an effort to appear more creative, the numbers behind NIV will disappear or become secondary to the release names. We could have NIV Vista or NIV Snow Leopard.