Now I realize I am years late to this “new” tool, but after my recent interaction with Google books I decided to mention its usefullness.  So here is my brief tale and plug for Google books.  I had heard many times about the greatness of google books from fellow bloggers such at Pat McCullough and Brandon Wason; however, I never used it because I figured how useful can a limited preview really be?  Over the last three weeks or so I’ve found out the answer is: extermely useful.  I’ve been putting together my syallbus for next quarter, examining the historical context of the earliest Christian documents, and obviously much of the course strays far from Pauline studies.  Thus, I needed to pore through many books, which neither I nor the UCLA library possess.  Rather than request 100+ books, I started browsing Google books.  Much to my surprise most of the books I needed were on the site and even more astonishing I could access nearly every page I needed.  Thus, this tool saved me hours of driving to libraries and the pain of waiting on piles of books.  At first I couldn’t believe that this tool was legal.  I could’t understand why publishers would allow a website to freely post massive amounts of their books.  However, since I bought 10 books from my time on Google books, I quickly realized the benefit for publishers.  So to conclude my long winded tale, Google books is a useful tool indeed!


I’ll be teaching a course this winter focusing on the various themes in 1 Corinthians. In the process the students will read all of Paul’s letters. I will be assigning a few commentaries on 1 Corinthians which they can choose from. At the moment I am considering Thiselton, Fitzmyer, Garland, and Collins. Fee’s NIV commentary does not make the cut due to its miniscule introduction. Additionally, I will assign the students some variant of the NRSV.

This is where I could use some advice. I am currently considering having the students read the entries on each of Paul’s letters from the Anchor Bible Dictionary. These entries provide the students with the type of information I want them to have. However, I would prefer either assigning a study bible which contains detailed introductions or a textbook which focuses on issues such as the purpose and historical background of each of the letters. I have looked at the Harper Collins Study Bible and the Oxford annotated Bible and both have too short of an introduction.

Does anyone have any suggestions for me?

I am not going to create a post everytime I change the picture of the book recommendation, but I figure that I should for the first couple of new recommendations.  Today’s recommendation is Paul and the Rhetoric of Reconciliation by Margaret M. Mitchell.  In this work Mitchell examines 1 Corinthians through the lens of deliberative rhetoric.  For anyone looking for a model of how one can implement the formal aspects of rhetorical criticism into their research, look no further.  If nothing else her five “mandates for rhetorical criticism” are quite useful.  I find her second rule to be the most useful: “Actual speeches and letters from antiquity must be consulted along with the rhetorical handbooks through the investigation.”

Well this seems to be the week for new feature added to my blog.  The newest feature added is my book recommendations which can be found in the top right corner above my blogroll.  Every few days I will change the book that appears there.  I will be choosing books that I have found to be important for my own work and/or Pauline studies more generally.  The first book is Richard Hays, Echoes of Scripture in the Letters of Paul.  His work on intertexuality is groundbreaking and is a must read for all Pauline scholars.


Yesterday I received three books that I’m quite excited about which come from the library of the late, great, Krister Stendahl.  I’m not sure how many others share my fondness for acquiring important works from the libraries of important scholars but  I quite enjoy opening a book and seeing that it belonged to one of the greats who came before me.  The first book I received is Bultmann’s classic Das Evangelium des Johannes.   I did not own this important work in German until now.  I was hoping Stendahl had made some notes in the work, but alas it is clean as can be.  The second book is a somewhat mangled copy of Dibelius’ commentary on 1-2 Thessalonians and Philippians in German.  The cover, signed by Stendahl, is torn off the book.  Therefore, it may be time to contact the world famous book repairman Brandon Wason and rebind this work before I lose the cover or any other pages.  Finally, I acquired Ernst Fuchs, Zur Frage Nach Dem Historischen Jesus.  One of these books is for a friend and I sure hope he enjoys it as I would be thrilled to keep all three!  I’m curious if anyone else out there shares my affinity for acquiring books from the libraries of the pillars who came before us.