Two features have marked the majority of additions to the New Testament bookshelf in 1969. There have been volumes that fall into the category of resource material. These are usually large surveys that are intended not to be read for pleasure but to be consulted for information whenever the reader wishes to verify a fact, a date, or a precise point of exegesis. Then there are ground-breaking studies that send the reader off in a new direction, expose some neglected vein of gospel truth, or give a sharp knock to “assured results” of traditional or critical confidence. The past year has brought an interesting group of studies in this category.
But first to the reference works. Pride of place once again goes to the English version of Kittel’s Dictionary. Volume six offers a thousand pages of closely packed information on all manner of New Testament themes, both strictly theological and unlikely non-theological. Under the former head are long, authoritative essays on peira/peirasmos, meaning “trial, temptation”; pisteuo, “I believe”; pleres/pleroma, translated “full, fullness”; pneuma, rendered “spirit,” both human and divine; and prophetes, which one hardly need explain except to say that Israel’s prophetic movement gets as much attention as in any Old Testament wordbook. Among the less theological themes we find such ordinary words as the verbs “to do” (both poieo and prasso) and the nouns “war” (polemos, an article that has a timely message for a year of violent revolution and antiwar demonstrations) and “foot” (pous). Some terms quite obviously cry out for inclusion, such as “circumcision” (peritome) and “shepherd” (poimen), while others hold surprises for the curious. We think of the amount of theological significance Jeremias ...1
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