"Come Out, My People!": God's Call out of Empire in the Bible and Beyond, by Wes Howard-Brook. Howard-Brook creates a lively conversation between contemporary struggles over the demands of empire and biblical struggles with the various empires that sought to control Israel across its history. Refreshing and original, clear and inspiring, the book expands horizons for interpreting biblical books and passages. This sizable tome includes questions for both beginners and advanced readers.

Grounded in the Living Word: The Old Testament and Pastoral Care Practices, by Denise Dombkowski Hopkins and Michael S. Koppel. The uniqueness of this book is that it shows how to connect contemporary faith challenges with biblical stories in ways that honor the integrity of each. It provides a responsible road map for using the Bible in pastoral care and personal growth that takes biblical scholarship into account. The writers use anecdotes of people's struggles to converse with biblical texts and offer a set of practices for personal biblical spirituality.

The Bible and the Environment: Towards a Critical Ecological Biblical Theology, by David G. Horrell. Horrell challenges those who blame the Bible and Christians for the environmental crisis, as well as those who insist on one true meaning of the Bible. He seeks an environmental theology rooted in biblical texts from Genesis to the New Testament and respects both the varied approaches of readers and the multiple meanings of biblical texts.

Genesis for Everyone (Part 2: Chapters 17-50), by John Goldingay. With clarity, power and insight, Goldingay makes connections between Genesis and the joys and struggles of life. Often writing autobiographically and sometimes telling the stories of family and friends, he shows how the second part of Genesis reaches into the lives of people of faith.

Moses and Multiculturalism, by Barbara Johnson. In a literary rather than a theological study, Johnson explores the figure of Moses as he appears in major works of Western culture. Her book serves contemporary theological reflection by showing how Moses is not only a major nationalist figure for Israel but also an icon of multiculturalism, a symbol of Judaism and a universal figure of Christianity. From the Bible to Freud to the movies, Moses' story is of one "who functions well in a world to which . . . he does not belong," like immigrants and refugees and other displaced and dislocated people today.

Joshua (The Two Horizons Old Testament Commentary), by J. Gordon McConville and Stephen Williams. Co-written by a biblical scholar and a theologian, this book offers a commentary on the text followed by theological reflections on God, violence, history, covenant, miraculous events in relation to science and God's fulfillment of promises. It can serve as a resource for preaching and is a solid, accessible text for Bible study.

Justice Rising: The Emerging Biblical Vision, by John Heagle. Thematic more than exegetical, this book confronts problems of biblical violence and proposes a biblical theology of peacemaking. With topics like "avenging blood," "carrying the pain of others" and "protecting the vulnerable," Heagle delves into both the Old and the New Testament to construct a faithful biblical theology. Interacting with contemporary questions, Heagle's writing is lively and urgent in ways that will help both preachers and theological beginners.

Disruptive Grace: Reflections on God, Scripture, and the Church, by Walter Brueggemann; edited by Carolyn Sharp. Bruegge­mann's writing is never more inspiring than when spoken, and these reflections gathered from decades of public speaking do not disappoint. Sharp organizes Bruegge­mann's speeches canonically according to Torah, Prophets and Writings, although his work generally ranges outside these boundaries.

The Bible: The Basics, by John Barton. This is a book for serious study of modern critical scholarship about the whole Bible. An eminent British scholar, Barton discusses the nature of the Bible, the many types of biblical interpretation, and the benefits of knowing genres of literature, religious themes and the texts' relation to history.

Soundings in the Theology of Psalms: Perspectives and Methods in Contemporary Scholarship, edited by Rolf A. Jacobson. This collection of essays on the theology of the Psalms, despite its cumbersome subtitle, is concerned with the practice of the Psalms in the life of faith. The writing by several contemporary interpreters is clear and provocative. Together they urge churches to embrace this biblical book that Luther called "a little Bible."

Wrestling the Word: The Hebrew Scriptures and the Christian Believer, by Carolyn J. Sharp. Anyone seeking to overcome the perceived gap between critical studies of the Old Testament and the life of faith will find this book to be a most helpful resource. Sharp looks favorably on the exuberant proliferation of interpretations these days. Taking note of the documentary hypothesis, narrative criticism, feminist and womanist interpretations and postcolonial readings, she challenges notions of one truth and looks for God's face in the interplay of many truths.

Kathleen M. O'Connor

Kathleen M. O'Connor teaches Old Testament at Columbia Theological Seminary in Decatur, Georgia.

All articles »