Early in 1965 the second volume of G. W. Bromiley’s English translation of Kittel’s Theological Dictionary of the New Testament appeared (Eerdmans). This volume covers the letters Delta to Eta, and with its publication the enterprise is about one-fourth completed. From the house of Brockhaus in Wuppertal, Germany, comes the first installment of a lexicon of New Testament concepts rather than words: Theologisches Begriffslexikon zum Neuen Testament, edited by L. Coenen and others. This is not designed on such a massive scale as Kittel, and greater concessions are made to the non-specialist student; for example, Greek words are given in transliteration as well as in Greek type, and Hebrew words are given in transliteration only. But it is a work of first-class scholarship and promises to be a further valuable aid to New Testament study.

At the lower end of the Greek scale we welcome J. W. Wenham’s Elements of New Testament Greek and Key to the Elements of New Testament Greek (Cambridge University). Many generations of theological students in the English-speaking world (especially on the eastern side of the Atlantic) will recognize these titles, but hitherto they have associated them with the name of H. P. V. Nunn. In revising Nunn’s work for a new edition, Wenham found himself making so many radical changes that it was judged better that the two handbooks appear under his own name. Another elementary introduction to the same subject that has stood the test of thirty-five years has been reissued as a paperback: W. E. Vine’s New Testament Greek Grammar: A Course of Self-Help (Oliphants).

With the appearance of Gospels and Acts, Donald Guthrie has completed his trilogy on New Testament Introduction (Inter-Varsity; Tyndale). Teachers of New Testament, from university to Bible college level, will find this trilogy the right work to recommend to students who desire a survey of the main trends of contemporary research. While Dr. Guthrie’s own conclusions are uniformly conservative, his account of other men’s work is admirably objective. Guthrie is one of the contributors to a symposium on The Authorship and Integrity of the New Testament (SPCK “Theological Collections”); his essay deals with the development of the idea of canonical pseudepigrapha in the New Testament. Among other contributions is one defending the unity of Second Corinthians, by A. M. G. Stephenson, and one viewing the same document as a collection of several letters, by G. Bornkamm. The New Testament in Historical and Contemporary Perspective (Blackwell, Oxford), a volume in memory of G. H. C. Macgregor, contains eleven essays by his former pupils and colleagues and was edited by H. Anderson and W. Barclay.

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To Hutchinson’s “University Library” R. M. Grant has contributed a readable little book on The Formation of the New Testament (also published by Harper and Row), which deals, not (like the Old Testament volume in the same series) with special introduction, but with the growth of the canon. The same scholar has given us a new edition of his Short History of the Interpretation of the Bible (Macmillan; A. and C. Black). A. T. Hanson’s Jesus Christ in the Old Testament (SPCK) is a study of the New Testament writers’ interpretation of the Old Testament, in which he argues that their normative approach is not that of typology but of what he calls “real presence”—the view that Jesus was personally active in the great events of Old Testament history. God in the New Testament, by A. W. Argyle (Lippincott; Hodder and Stoughton), a volume in the “Knowing Christianity” series, is an introduction to New Testament theology for the layman. Jesus, Paul and Judaism, by L. Goppelt (Nelson), subtitled “An Introduction to New Testament Theology,” approaches the subject from a historical point of view, and in particular examines the rise and progress of Christianity in the light of its relation to Judaism. But the finest contribution to New Testament theology in 1965 has, in my opinion, been Leon Morris’s The Cross in the New Testament (Eerdmans; Paternoster), which goes far towards doing for the present day what James Denney’s The Death of Christ did two generations ago. Mission in the New Testament, by F. Hahn (Allenson; SCM), the latest addition to “Studies in Biblical Theology,” deals with the New Testament understanding of the Church’s mission to the world. The Central Message of the New Testament, by J. Jeremias (Scribners; SCM), deals with four crucial themes: “Abba,” the sacrificial death, justification by faith, and the revealing Word. For Hodder and Stoughton’s “Christian’s Guide” paperbacks, Alan Cole has written A Christian’s Guide to the New Testament. Miss O. J. Lace has edited Understanding the New Testament, an introductory volume to the “Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible”; in addition to contributions by Miss Lace, it includes chapters on the New Testament canon and text by C. F. D. Moule and J. N. Birdsall respectively.

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New Testament Times, by M. C. Tenney (Eerdmans), is a well-written and well-illustrated history of the three centuries between the Maccabaean and Bar-kokhba revolts within which the rise of Christianity took place. An even more detailed account (unillustrated) is F. V. Filson’s New Testament History (Westminster; SCM); in his introduction the writer raises the important question of how far the committed Christian can approach the history of Christian origins with scholarly objectivity. One phase of New Testament history is dealt with by E. M. Blaiklock in Cities of the New Testament (Pickering and Inglis).

William Neil, editor of the “Knowing Christianity” series, has himself contributed to it The Life and Teaching of Jesus (Lippincott; Hodder and Stoughton). J. F. Peter’s Finding the Historical Jesus (Collins) criticizes the extreme skepticism with which the quest is widely approached today and helps to restore the true balance between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith. The English translation of H. E. Tödt’s The Son of Man in the Synoptic Tradition (Westminster; SCM) takes account of work done in this field after the publication of the German original, particularly A. J. B. Higgins’s work, reviewed in last year’s survey. Ernst Lohmeyer’s The Lord’s Prayer, which was first published in Germany in 1952, six years after the author’s presumed death in Russia, has now appeared in an English translation, with a foreword by R. Gregor Smith (Collins).

The veteran Augustin Cardinal Bea has written a short work on The Study of the Synoptic Gospels (Harper and Row; Chapman) that shows how much a thing of the past is the tension between Catholic exegesis and biblical scholarship. Much of what he says about “new approaches and outlooks” will find a responsive echo in the minds of conservative Protestants who read his book.

An important full-length study of The Gospel of Mark from a new point of view has been given us by J. Bowman; it is published in Brill’s “Studia Post-Biblica” and interprets the Gospel as a “new Christian Jewish Passover Haggadah.” For the new “Cambridge Bible Commentary on the New English Bible,” the volume on The Gospel According to Mark has been written by C. F. D. Moule; though this series is intended to be elementary, the more advanced student will read this volume with profit. The Temptation and the Passion, by E. Best (Cambridge University), is a study in Mark’s soteriology published in the new monograph series of the Society for New Testament Studies. E. J. Tinsley has written on The Gospel According to Luke for the “Cambridge Bible Commentary,” and A. M. Hunter on The Gospel According to John. Professor Tinsley sees the rejection of Christ as the theme of Luke’s Gospel; Professor Hunter takes account of the increased respect for historical tradition in John’s Gospel and of the implications of the Qumran discoveries for its study. The World of St. John, by E. Earle Ellis (Abingdon), introduces the Johannine Gospel and Epistles to readers of “Bible Guides.”

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The latest volume in the new translation of Calvin’s New Testament commentaries is The Acts of the Apostles, 1–13, finely turned into English by J. W. Fraser and W. J. G. McDonald (Oliver and Boyd). A welcome reprint is that missionary classic in its own right, The Acts of the Apostles, by Thomas Walker (of Tinnevelly), with a new introduction by Wilbur M. Smith (Moody). A major contribution to the criticism of Acts is The Semitisms of Acts, by M. Wilcox (Oxford), a book which carries this important aspect of the study of Acts well beyond the point to which other scholars had previously brought it.

Paul and James, by W. Schmithals (Allenson; SCM), argues that Paul’s chief opponents were not Judaizers as commonly understood but Jews and Jewish Christians of Gnostic outlook. The central message of Romans and Galatians is expounded by B. S. Mackay in The Freedom of the Christian (Abingdon, “Bible Guides” series). The latest title in “Scottish Journal of Theology Occasional Papers” is A Commentary on Romans 12–13, by C. E. B. Cranfield (Oliver and Boyd); in the preface to this study we are told that Cranfield has undertaken to write a full-scale commentary on Romans (to replace Sanday and Headlam’s) for the new series of the “International Critical Commentary.” That a new series of the ICC is on its way is exciting news. In the present study, Romans 12 and 13 are expounded in greater detail and with greater attention to the work of previous commentators from patristic times to our own day than will be possible in the ICC volume.

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Two major works of introduction to First Corinthians are The Origin of I Corinthians, by John C. Hurd, Jr. (Seabury; SPCK), and A Companion to I Corinthians, by G. Deluz (Darton, Longman and Todd). Hurd’s volume (which shows the influence of his teacher, C. H. Buck, Jr.) is of quite exceptional importance; would that we had something comparable on the even more complicated question of the origin of Second Corinthians! The commentary on I and II Corinthians in the “Cambridge Bible Commentary” has been written by Margaret E. Thrall and is marked throughout by her accurate but unobtrusive scholarship. Readers of an earlier work by Dr. Thrall will recognize the development of her thinking on the exegesis of the opening verses of Second Corinthians 5.

The volume on Galatians in the “Tyndale New Testament Commentaries,” which was to have been written by the late N. B. Stonehouse, has now been written by A. Cole (Tyndale Press). Dr. Cole describes this epistle as spiritual dynamite that cannot be handled without risk of explosions; he shows its relevance to present-day controversies, not only in regard to the way of salvation, but also as a passionate appeal for intercommunion and mutual recognition of ministries.

The Epistles to Timothy and Titus were given a fresh look in the Manson Memorial Lecture for 1964, The Problem of the Pastoral Epistles: A Reappraisal, by C. F. D. Moule (Rylands Library, Manchester). Professor Moule finds himself driven to a theory of free composition (in the case of First Timothy, very free composition) during the Apostle’s lifetime by his amanuensis, identified as Luke, who wrote the three epistles “at Paul’s behest, and, in part (but only in part), at Paul’s dictation.”

To the “Bible Guides” series W. Barclay has contributed Epistle to the Hebrews (Abingdon). He quotes his late chief and predecessor G. H. C. Macgregor as saying that either you found this epistle “one of the supreme books of the New Testament, or you found that it had little to say to you at all.” While Macgregor belonged to the latter category, Dr. Barclay belongs to the former: “for me,” he says, “the Letter to the Hebrews was always one of the great products of the Christian faith, and the longer I studied it the more I loved it, and the greater it seemed to me.” He therefore expounds it con amore. The General Epistles in the same series are treated by G. R. Beasley-Murray; his exposition of the message of James is particularly helpful. In the “Cambridge Bible Commentary,” R. R. Williams, Bishop of Leicester, writes on The Letters of John and James. While John’s first epistle is chiefly concerned to refute Gnostic teaching, in the course of his refutation the writer “throws out many terse summaries of important Christian truths”; it is for these, rather than for a refutation of Gnosticism, that Christians have read this letter for nineteen centuries and continue to read it. But that First John is valuable today for more than just its “terse summaries” is shown by R. E. O. White, who has given us a devotional and homiletical commentary on the epistle under the up-to-date title, An Open Letter to Evangelicals (Eerdmans; Paternoster). The commentary proper is followed by a series of “contemporary reflections” in which the message of the epistle is applied to such areas of evangelical concern as authority, spiritual experience, ethics, ecumenicity, and the Cross.

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The editors of the “Cambridge Bible Commentary” wisely entrusted the volume on The Revelation of John to T. F. Glasson, who has for long made a special study of New Testament apocalyptic. While this book cannot be understood apart from the situation that called it forth, yet, when it has been understood in the light of that situation, the permanent validity of its essential message can be better appreciated. Dr. Glasson suggests that John in the Revelation follows a framework too similar to Ezekiel’s for us to put down the similarity to coincidence; he has, in addition, been greatly influenced by Ezekiel’s language. A fresh and independent study of Revelation is The Lamb and the Book, by G. R. Crow (Gospel Literature Service, Bombay); it is generally futurist (thus “the things which must be hereafter” are “things that come to pass after the professing church has reached its full development”), but does not follow too closely any one futurist school of interpretation. An important French study, Le Christ dans l’Apocalypse, by J. Comblin (Desclée, Paris), examines against their appropriate backgrounds the various figures under which Christ is portrayed in the Revelation.


Firm-winged, the gulls, this shining afternoon

Glide past my window. Glide alone, in threes.

Glide without effort. Curve and turn and rise.

Enthralled, I watch. No strain, no struggle in

Firm-sinewed wings; no crashes in mid-air.

No suicidal anguish pulls apart

The rhythm of their wing-beats. For such flight

Gull wings were made. Gull wing-bones.

Feathers, too.

So ought the soul to be; it, too, was made

To soar in upper regions undismayed,

Yet hobbles, hobbles, hobbles over stones,

Wing-broken, feathers draggled. Thing of groans.


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