Best Books in 2013
Christmas is only a couple weeks away, which means it’s time once again for the best books in Bible and theology published this year. The list is inevitably subjective, and in many cases unsurprising, as certain books commend themselves by their self-evident quality and the scholarly stature of their authors. Needless to say, listing a book doesn’t mean I endorse all of its contents (in some cases, I haven’t even read the entire book yet!). With this in mind, then, are my top 10 books of 2013:
1. William Baird, History of New Testament Research, vol. 3: From C. H. Dodd to Hans Dieter Betz (Fortress): the long-awaited final volume in Baird’s trilogy on the history of New Testament interpretation. Now my list of readings for the history of interpretation seminar is complete!
2. Joel B. Green, gen. ed., Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels, 2nd edition (InterVarsity): a thorough revision of the first of IVP’s “black dictionaries,” a veritable goldmine of information for serious students of the Gospels and Jesus. (Disclaimer: I wrote several entries in this dictionary, insufficient reason NOT to include this in my top 10!)
3. N. T. Wright, Paul and the Faithfulness of God and Pauline Perspectives: Essays on Paul, 1978–2013, 3 vols. (Fortress): over 2,000 pages of cutting-edge Pauline scholarship from one of the most creative, challenging, and provocative New Testament scholars of our time.
4. Thomas Schreiner, The King in His Beauty: A Biblical Theology of the Old and New Testaments (Baker): following his Pauline and New Testament theology, Schreiner provides an accessible and coherent account of the biblical story in its entirety, a wonderful achievement.
5. Michael Bird, Evangelical Theology: A Biblical and Systematic Introduction (Zondervan): I’ve only had a chance to skim the contents of this volume, but at a first glance, it looks excellent. Bird sets out to write a distinctly evangelical theology, and even finds room to flash his inimitable sense of humor throughout the book.
6. James Hoffmeier and Dennis Magary, eds., Do Historical Matters Matter to Faith? (Crossway): A very important collection of essays by leading scholars in the field on a very important topic, the historical reliability of Scripture, with contributions by Averbeck, Chisholm, Millard, Yarbrough, Blomberg, Bock, Schnabel, and others.
7. Steven Cowan and Terry Wilder, eds., In Defense of the Bible (B&H): A comparable volume of stellar quality, with contributions by Geivett, Blount, Quarles, Melick, Wegner, Wallace, Wilder, Sharp, Kaiser, Barnett, Huffman, Flanagan and Copan, Hamilton, Dembski, Blaising, Bock, and Cowan.
8. Jason DeRouchie, ed., What the Old Testament Authors Really Cared About (Kregel): a beautifully produced volume that provides the Old Testament counterpart to the earlier New Testament volume. This is an edited volume including contributions by well over a dozen fine scholars, blended well into an Old Testament introduction.
9. Stanley Porter and Gregory Fewster, Paul and Pseudepigraphy (Brill): in my work on a biblical-theological commentary on the letters to Timothy and Titus, I have found this volume to be a very helpful compendium of current research on the question of pseudonymity. The work includes contributions by Baum, Porter, Pitts, and others.
10. David Trobisch, A User’s Guide to the Nestle-Aland 28 Greek New Testament (SBL): a nice little volume helping students making the most of the Nestle-Aland 28th edition of the Greek New Testament, including discussions of key manuscripts, nomina sacra, as well as exercises and learning aids.
For those interested in my own scholarly work, I’ve been grateful to welcome a new edition of Encountering John (Baker) and The Holman Apologetics Commentary on the Bible: The Gospels and Acts (B&H, contributed John). Imminent is the publication of The Final Days of Jesus (Crossway).