Two New Books in the Works

In the next few months, two new books will be released from my editorial purgatory and see the light of day.

In October/November, my Ecclesiastes commentary will be available. This is one of the earlier Old Testament volumes in Eerdman’s Two Horizons series, the focus of which is theological interaction with biblical texts, not the safe, boring, technical things that biblical scholars like me typically gravitate to like: “Did you know this Hebrew word occurs 17 times in this book and only one other time in the whole BIble? Wow!! Why aren’t you excited like me?” Or, “Watch me take this very common Hebrew word and interpet it in an utterly unique way because what I wrote in the previous paragraph depends on it.”

Things like that.

The commentary is divided into two parts roughly equal in length.

(1) Interaction with the Hebrew text (complete with transliterations and without getting stuffy about it).

(2) Interacting with the theology of Ecclesiasties.

The second half is made up of three parts. I first give an overview of the theological content of Ecclesiastes, then Ecclesiastes in the context of the Old and New Testament, and finally the significance of Ecclesiastes for theology and praxis today.

Those of you who know me well will not be surprised that in the theological section I apply a Christotelic hermeneutic. Also, for the truly geekified among you, I do not see Qohelet’s words as corrected by the epilogue but affirmed as wise–though not the final word. I also see Qohelet as a suffering Christ figure. (Yes, you heard me right.)

The second book, The Evolution of Adam (Brazos) should be out by January 1, although I have a fleet of lawyers trying to “encourage” the publisher to have it out in time to satisfy your gift-giving holiday needs.

For those familiar with my blogging on BioLogos, some of this book will be familiar–though I go into much greater detail than I could in blog posts and bring much more into the discussion.

The book is divided into two parts. Part one focuses on Genesis, and my general point is that the creation stories are part of Israel’s literature of national and religious self-definition. In other words, they are not prepared to give the type of (historical and scientific) information we ask for today when speaking of “human origins.”  To seek such information is to misread Genesis, and so attempts to align science and Genesis get us off on the foot altogether by not taking the biblical text on its own terms.

Part two focuses on Paul’s use of the Adam story in Romans 5. Paul’s reading of the Adam story, despite superficial appearances, is hardly straightforward, and appreciating the theological subtly and depth of Paul’s words requires much more of us than simply opening an English Bible, reading a few verses, and drawing conclusions. I go on and on about this for a lot of pages, because this is a far more pressing problem for most Christian readers than Genesis.

The audience for the commentary is seminarians, pastors, and scholars. For The Evolution of Adam, the intended audience is similar to that of Inspiration and Incarnation: lay readers looking for different approaches to old problems. In fact, The Evolution of Adam applies the approach of Inspiration and Incarnation to a specific and pressing issue: in view of evolution, what does it mean to read the Bible well? So think of EOA as I&I part two.

As time gets closer, I will blog more about these books, provide a table of contents, and maybe…if you’re nice…post some small excerpts to get you to read the books–or at least buy them.


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  • http://ancienthebrewgrammar.wordpress.com/ robertholmstedt

    “not the safe, boring, technical things that biblical scholars like me typically gravitate to like: “Did you know this Hebrew word occurs 17 times in this book and only one other time in the whole BIble? Wow!! Why aren’t you excited like me?” Or, “Watch me take this very common Hebrew word and interpret it in an utterly unique way because what I wrote in the previous paragraph depends on it.”
    Ouch. I suppose that means that you won’t bother reading the Qoheleth volume that we are preparing for the Baylor Handbook series (when it comes out). Horrible, stuffy grammar! 

    Or, are you simply saying that while *you* might read it, this kind of work has no use (not even trickle-down) for the serious Bible reader? Again, I say, “ouch.” 

    Of course, I’m deliberately giving you few options. ;-)  

    Congratulations on your books coming out!

    • Anonymous

      Tongue is firmly pressed in cheek, Robert :-)

  • Doug Green

    A Christotelic reading of Ecclesiastes with Qohelet as a suffering Christ figure! I hope the commentary will have an article length section that summarizes your approach. If it does, I’ll probably make that section assigned reading for the students in the Poetry and Wisdom course at your old seminary. 

    • Anonymous

      I buried it in a footnote.

      Just kidding. Not sure if it is all contained in one place, though a lot if my points are.

      • Doug Green

        At the very least I am counting on the commentary to seriously improve my virtuallly non-existent lectures on Qohelet. Or maybe I should just invite you in for a guest lecture.

        On second thoughts … 

    • Anonymous

      I buried it in a footnote.

      Just kidding. Not sure if it is all contained in one place, though a lot if my points are.

  • Doug Green

    A Christotelic reading of Ecclesiastes with Qohelet as a suffering Christ figure! I hope the commentary will have an article length section that summarizes your approach. If it does, I’ll probably make that section assigned reading for the students in the Poetry and Wisdom course at your old seminary. 

  • Jordan

    Anxiously awaiting your book about Adam, Pete! Hopefully I can add it to my Xmas list. ;)

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