Invasion of the Dead: Preaching Resurrection, by Brian K. Blount. Our reluctance to engage apocalyptic eschatology renders the gospel moralistic and largely unable to speak about death. That’s a tragic failure of theological creativity for a people navigating a culture that is fixated on death and doomsday scenarios. With incisive and enlivening tours through Revelation, Paul, and Mark, Blount calls preachers to hold resurrection as the center of Christian proclamation—not resurrection as life restored and thus a retort to death, but as life achieved through death and thus a dismantling of death itself. In resurrection we encounter a God who loves the world and its population too much to leave them prey to destructive forces.
Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation’s Warning, by David A. deSilva. With a new Left Behind film on the horizon, this accessible volume can be a timely and useful resource to those who don’t know what to make of the last book in the Bible. Neither a commentary nor a guidebook, it prepares readers to engage Revelation with one eye on its historical context and another on the things that may inhibit the church’s faithful witness today. Chapters explain the Roman propaganda machine, Revelation’s pointed criticism of Rome’s imperialistic excesses, the pastoral and prophetic dimensions of the letters to the seven churches, popular ways of misinterpreting Revelation, and Revelation’s depiction of God’s power and resolve to establish peace.
Sense and Stigma in the Gospels: Depictions of Sensory-Disabled Characters, by Louise J. Lawrence. It’s one thing to understand from a historical perspective why biblical writings employ language about blindness, deafness, and polluted or malodorous conditions as metaphors for spiritual ignorance or deficiency. But how can our interpretation of texts, especially those that involve culturally marginalized characters interacting with Jesus in the Gospels, go beyond merely reifying the problematic and condescending premises at the roots of those metaphors? Lawrence introduces insights from sensory anthropology and discovers in these characters agency and personhood that challenge our presumptions about what or who is normal.