13. Ephesians, Colossians & Philemonby

Journal for the Study of the New Testament


Religious studies


Journal for the Study of the New Testament 2014, Vol. 36(5) 98 –99 © The Author(s) 2014

Reprints and permissions: sagepub.co.uk/journalsPermissions.nav

DOI: 10.1177/0142064X14536318 jsnt.sagepub.com 13. Ephesians, Colossians & Philemon

Colossians and Philemon: A Handbook on the Greek Text

Constantine R. Campbell

BHGNT; Waco, TX: Baylor, 2013, 978-1-60258-292-7, $29.95, xxix + 114 pb

Martin Culy (general editor) identifies the hope that the series handbooks will enhance understanding of the Greek text and ‘be used to further equip the saints for the work of ministry, and fan into flame a love for the Greek New Testament among a new generation of students and scholars’ (p. xiii). The handbook assumes readers have studied intermediate Greek and is a ‘prequel’, by engaging in-depth with the Greek before using commentaries. The series introduction (including ‘deponency’), preface and introduction (including ‘verbal aspect’) set this handbook in context. Translations precede the biblical text before the Greek is analysed. There is a glossary, bibliography and indexes.

The Baylor Handbook on the Greek New Testament is a valuable series deserving wide usage (classroom/private study). Preliminary discussions helpfully set the scene before beginning Colossians. The Greek text is printed in bold, clearly distinguishing it from author comments (‘lexical, syntactic, and grammatical analysis’, p. xxi). Items of particular interest are covered more fully, interacting with scholarship. Sensibly, the series generally uses ‘traditional labels’, e.g., from Daniel Wallace (Greek Grammar beyond the Basics), except for verb tenses, while explaining new labels and interacting with scholarship.

However, this handbook assumes familiarity with the Greek vocabulary of both letters.

Although words are frequently parsed, there are usually no English equivalents provided for Greek words and no Greek–English dictionary. For readers unfamiliar with the letters’ vocabulary (and those who have simply forgotten!) this is a disadvantage requiring accessing a lexicon. Nevertheless, Campbell’s valuable work meets the series intention.

Robert S. Dutch

Ephesians: A Commentary

Stephen E. Fowl

NTL; Louisville, KY: WJK, 2012, 978-0-664-23944-2, $40.00, xvii + 249 pb

Following a short preface, list of abbreviations and select bibliography, Fowl’s 30-page introduction briefly presents the argument of Ephesians and gives an outline of the letter plus a review of Ephesus and Paul in Acts, before correlating all other introductory at RUTGERS UNIV on April 12, 2015jnt.sagepub.comDownloaded from

Booklist 13. Ephesians, Colossians & Philemon 99 matters (except the recipients and occasion of Ephesians) within a 20-page discussion on the question of authorship. Thus the letter’s vocabulary and style, its use of the OT or its relationship to Colossians, its eschatology or themes, its place relative to Pauline theology or chronology and even the historical question of authorship itself are treated as distinct issues which have a cumulative bearing, nonetheless, on the complex and fraught question of authorship. Beginning with the greeting, the commentary proper then covers Ephesians in 15 sub-sections: each gives a brief introduction, translates the relevant portion of text (with accompanying notes) and provides an explanation. Two indexes list ancient sources and subjects and authors respectively.

This addition to the New Testament Library series is by a Pauline specialist whose 2005 commentary on Philippians has been widely appreciated. Fowl has also contributed significantly to recent debates on the theological interpretation of scripture. The qualities involved come together in this work. While honestly confessing not to know whether

Paul did or did not write Ephesians (pp. 27-28), Fowl sees little difference whether Paul or a close follower wrote the letter: he wrestles with its interpretative challenges as they arise, arguing that it represents not a Pauline compendium but an occasional letter whose concerns are nevertheless of a largely general nature.

Gordon Campbell

Picturing Paul in Empire: Imperial Image, Text and Persuasion in Colossians, Ephesians and the Pastoral Epistles

Harry O. Maier

London: Bloomsbury T&T Clark, 2013, 978-0-56705-995-6, £19.99, xxiv + 257 pb

Reading Paul in his imperial context has become a well-worked furrow in recent scholarship. In this book, however, the author breaks new and fertile ground. In part, this is through his focus upon deutero-Pauline texts, as he explores ways in which a later generation adopted and adapted memories and pictures of the apostle, negotiating their own space in their imperial environment. In part, the originality lies in Maier’s methodological sophistication, drawing upon a range of theoretical approaches and models to unveil some of the ways in which these texts deploy imagery and language that reflect and engage with the visual culture of the Roman Empire. Maier illustrates how the writers of

Colossians, Ephesians and the Pastoral Epistles deploy, in different ways and to different purposes, motifs of triumph, pacification and divinization found in Roman coinage, statuary and architecture.

This is a rich, subtle and hugely rewarding work. Insights from postcolonial theory, especially Homi Bhabha’s work on mimicry and hybridity, enable Maier to move beyond a simplistic view of Paul and his followers as being either ‘for’ or ‘against’ the Roman

Empire. A far more nuanced picture emerges of some of the differing ways in which

Christians in the late first and early second century appropriated the imagery, language and ideology of their environment. The supporting illustrations in the book add greatly to the pleasure and knowledge which readers will gain from this valuable study.

John White at RUTGERS UNIV on April 12, 2015jnt.sagepub.comDownloaded from