woensdag 6 februari 2013

Review of: Charles H. Talbert, Ephesians and Colossians (PAIDEIA), Baker, 2007; in: Interpretation

Charles H. Talbert, Ephesians and Colossians (PAIDEIA), Baker, 2007.

Review in: Interpretation 2009 63: 199
Review door: Thomas B. Slater
Gevonden op: http://int.sagepub.com/content/63/2/199.1.full.pdf+html

Ephesians and Colossians
by Charles H. Talbert
Paideia Commentaries on the New Testament. Baker, Grand Rapids, 2007.
296 pp. $24.99. ISBN 978-0-8010-3128-1.

THIS IS THE FIRST OF eighteen projected commentaries in a series edited by Charles Talbert and Mikeal Parsons. The target audience is advanced undergraduate and seminary students. An examination of Talberts comments on Eph 5:22-6:9 provides a good example of how the commentary works as a whole. Talbert identifies this pericope as a household code. First, he discusses its Greco-Roman origins and its use by Jewish writers. Second, Talbert concludes that the codes are an example of Christian concord and, as such, they cohere completely with the theme of ethnic unity (Eph 2:11-22) that dominates the first three chapters. Furthermore, the codes are not a model for a Christian family but "an organizational chart for a family business" so that the estate runs smoothly (p. 150). For Roman society, concord in the home led to concord in the state which led to pax Romana in the empire.

Moreover, Talbert argues that Gal 3:27-28 affirmed an egalitarian ethos in the worshiping community, not in the home and the wider community. The Ephesians passage shapes Christian identity by asserting, on the one hand, that Christians adhere to the same relational values as non-Christians, while, on the other hand, affirming that they do so out of their Christian devotion. The codes would enable Christian growth by preventing divisions and making the community operate more cohesively and effectively. They might also make Christianity more appealing to outsiders. Finally, Talbert concludes that the codes, like most Pauline ethics, provide an indication of Christian identity formation modeled after Christ and are not casuistic law written in stone (pp. 136-57).

This book is outstanding. It should appeal to its target audience and be a useful resource in the classroom. Talbert's knowledge of Greco-Roman culture is extensive, and his grasp of Second Temple Judaism is good. However, the book is not flawless. For example, many believe that Ephesians used Colossians as its primary template. Some would argue that Eph 5:21 is a transition between 5:15-20 and 5:22-6:9 and is a part of the household codes. Finally, Talbert states that the limit to eschatological suffering in Jewish apocalypses is temporal, not numerical. First Enoch 47: 4, Ezra 4:33-37,2 Bar. 23:4-5, and Rev 6:9-11 would argue against him. Still, I found this a very helpful commentary.


Geen opmerkingen:

Een reactie posten