Item description for 1 & 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Peter J. Leithart...
Overview Description: 1 & 2 Kings is the second volume in the forty-volume Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and follows Jaroslav Pelikan's volume on Acts, winner of a 2006 Catholic Press Association Book Award. It is the first Old Testament commentary in the series. This commentary, like each in the series, is designed to serve the church--through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth--and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.
Publishers Description "1 and 2 Kings" is the second volume in the forty-volume Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible and follows Jaroslav Pelikan's volume on Acts. It is the first Old Testament commentary in the series. This commentary, like each in the series, is designed to serve the church--through aid in preaching, teaching, study groups, and so forth--and demonstrate the continuing intellectual and practical viability of theological interpretation of the Bible.
Citations And Professional Reviews 1 & 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible) by Peter J. Leithart has been reviewed by professional book reviewers and journalists at the following establishments -
Books & Culture - 09/01/2010 page 10
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Studio: Brazos Press
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.2" Width: 6.32" Height: 1.09" Weight: 1.24 lbs.
Release Date Nov 1, 2006
Publisher Baker Publishing Group
Series Brazos Theological Commentary
Series Number 2
ISBN 1587431254 ISBN13 9781587431258
Availability 0 units.
More About Peter J. Leithart
Peter J. Leithart is President of the Theopolis Institute, Birmingham, Alabama, USA.
Reviews - What do customers think about 1 & 2 Kings (Brazos Theological Commentary on the Bible)?
Actually a political theology using commentary as a foil Jun 7, 2008
Death and Resurrection.
Leithart employs intricate typologies to show Israel/Judah undergoes a death and resurrection in this narrative, pointing to the death and Resurrection of One who will be the New Israel.
Whether people like it or not, and granted that it can be overdone, typology is becoming the norm in biblical studies in all traditions (post Liberal, Reformed, and Catholic). And so it is common to see how, for example, David typifies Christ. However, there are intra-textual types as well, showing how later Israelite kings are antitypes of David and Solomon.
Pros of the Book: The writing is typical Leithart: masterful. Leithart has also successfully interacted with the best of modern biblical, theological, and ethical scholarship. He is the most underappreciated Reformed writer. His interactions with Aquinas O'Donovan, and Milbank provided for stimulating ethical reflections and the book leaves us hanging with the hope for a renewed Christendom. I mean, really, if anyone can successfully interact and dialogue with John Milbank and Oliver O'Donovan, they automatically deserve our respect.
Cons: This book cannot easily be translated into aids for sermon prep. He doesn't do verse by verse exposition, but rather "text by text." While that is more faithful to the "flow of the passage," most congregations do not let you preach from two or three chapters at a time
Satisfying Jan 26, 2008
I tackled 1 & 2 Kings with Leithart's commentary in hand. The commentary allowed me to appreciate the design in this finely crafted piece of scripture. It walked me through the many perplexing and difficult passages. Leithart has an eye for patterns and textual echoes. At times the parallels he draws feel forced but most often he draws your attention to profound insights. I just closed the book a few hours ago. I paused and didn't move for some time after, I was filled with a very rare satisfaction.
the politics of god and man Dec 12, 2007
Peter Leithart's study of 1 & 2 Kings is the third installment in Brazos's projected forty-volume series of theological commentaries on the Bible. Jaroslav Pelikan led the series with a masterful study of the book of Acts (2005), Matthew Levering explored Ezra and Nehemiah (2007), and Stanley Hauerwas of Duke University tackled the gospel of Matthew (2007). With a PhD from Cambridge and extensive pastoral experience at Trinity Reformed Church in Idaho, Leithart made me feel like I was enjoying the best of academic scholarship, linguistic analysis, literary insights, historical reflections, and thoughtful applications to contemporary Christian discipleship.
1 & 2 Kings begins with Solomon's ascension to power and ends with Judah's banishment to Babylon, which means that Leithart makes a panoramic sweep of roughly 400 years of salvation history in Israel. For him this story of the politics of God and the politics of humanity is not merely historical, prophetic, or sapiental (as a type of wisdom literature), which it is, but rather and especially it is a "gospel text" that has practical applications to our ecclesial experiences today. There is the inseparable interplay between a king's private life and his public office. Idolatry, of course, looms large in these stories, especially the "guns, gold, and girls" of Solomon. The partition of Israel and Judah is redolent with applications for post-Reformation divisions in the church and the nature of genuine ecumenicity. There's the prominent role of "outsiders" like the Gentile Naaman among the "insider" elect Israel. The providence of God over the history of humanity is a major theme in this "court history" of Israel's kings.
Guiding Leithart's interpretation of Israel's history is his strongly and unapologetically Reformed doctrine of God. Yahweh is no "great marshmallow in the sky. He is not a God who plays softball. Nor is he the god of the philosophers, a gorgeous but impotent force in heaven. He is a warrior who fights to win, and deception is part of his art of holy war" (164). He is a God, says Leithart, of enmity and enemies (146-151), of violence and vengeance (157), and not merely by way of accommodation to human sinfulness or passive permission in the divine will. In contrast to Wink, Leithart endorses violence as not only a necessary evil but as a "redemptive" and "positive good" (41). He wants to avoid any "Marcionite" (or Anabaptist) tendency toward a discontinuity between the Old and New Testaments that would privilege the Jesus story over the gore of 1 & 2 Kings. He repeatedly insists that God is not arbitrary but instead a God of boundless love and grace. I found this combination a hard sell, and I suspect that other readers might too. Why not read 1 & 2 Kings as understandably and necessarily primitive stories? Why elevate historical description to theological prescription? In the end, in Leithart's interpretation Yahweh is a "boundary-transgressing" (131) God of surprises in more ways than one.
Provocative, explorative and still devotional Oct 24, 2007
If this is an example of what the new Brazos Theological Commentaries will be like then I look forward to an amazing collection. While Leithart examines the text primarily through a narrative/literary lens, he provides a wide-ranging exploration of philosophical, theological, cultural and liturigcal thoughts as well.
His observations and comments provoke me to revisit the text. Pay more attention to the text, and think more about the text. For me, this provocation makes the reading the commentary a profoundly devotional experience. Not devotional in simply a subjective experience, but rather in being challenged afresh with Francis Schaeffer's question, "How should we then live?"
Reading 1 & 2 Kings as wisdom literature, Leithart explores wisdom in questions of creativity, election, redemption, decision-making, leadership, prayer, and more. In a Christian publishing culture saturated with either popular texts that repeat simplistic themes over and over and over or scholarly texts that expend intellectual energy debating fine points of minutiae on page after page after page, Leithart's commentary stands out as one of those rare jewels that provokes the mind while convicting the heart and challenging the body to act.
Excellent Theological Reading Of Old Testament Narrative!!!!! Nov 15, 2006
Peter Leithart's 1 & 2 King's is required reading for anyone wishing to understand the theological underpinnings of these two books. It divides the entire text of both books into sections. While Leithart explores certain themes, he does not treat the books piecemeal the way Pelikan does Acts in the series' first installment. The end result is a more complete, user-friendly commentary. I certainly hope that Leithart's format is used for subsequent volumes in the series. Its greatest strength is its Christological interpretations. The introduction to reading 1 & 2 Kings from a Christian perspective which begins this commentary is excellent, setting the tone for the rest of the book. It doesn't leave readers stranded in the Old Testament era, but helps them better understand what 1 & 2 Kings means in light of Christ by relating each section to the New Testament. This commentary will appeal particularly to Reformed Christians, since it serves as an excellent exercise in redemptive-historical interpretation and covenant theology, which are two mainstays within that tradition. Leithart's excursions into theology, Church history, literature, typology, and even some current trends within the Church today provide excellent guidance for those who struggle with how to preach or teach these sometimes difficult texts. While the Brazos Theological Commentary is ecumenical in its intention, its editors do not force contributors to hide their theological convictions to the point where volumes in the series have no substance, which is very commendable on their part. Leithart's commentary is written unabashedly from a Reformed perspective, discussing doctrinal disagreements with Roman Catholicism in a friendly tone that seeks genuine reconciliation between the two camps rather than division.
While primarily theological, this commentary doesn't shy away from exegetical and interpretative insights. Instead, it's chock full of them. My only complaint is that I believe some sections should've been given a more thorough treatment. For example, Leithart's section on 1 Kings 19:1-21 seems a bit oversimplistic for such a hotly-debated chapter among Old Testament scholars. Surely much more theological reflection regarding its significance could have been provided as well. However, the section on 2 Kings 3:1-27, which contains one of the most perplexing episodes in all of Scripture, is incredibly insightful, and well worth the price of the commentary itself, I might add! Unfortunately, introductory topics, such as composition, date, historical background, and authorship, are strangely absent from this volume (and I assume all other existing and forthcoming volumes in the series). I guess this is what the series editors mean when they refer to these commentaries as readings 'in faith.' Scripture has been given to the Church and needs no defense for its veracity. However, I would argue that authorship and historical background frequently provide clues to a particular book's overall theological message. For this reason, I would definitely advise preachers and teachers to supplement this text with an exegetical commentary that provides a more detailed analysis of the text and addresses the aformentioned issues (The 1 & 2 Kings volume by Reformed Baptist, Paul R. House in the New American Commentary would be an excellent choice.). Leithart's comments in a few of the sections are simply too brief. Nevertheless, this is a strong commentary overall and a worthy acquisition for anyone wishing to better understand and apply the Old Testament to today. Since it accomplishes its theological goal on every level, I give it a five-star rating. It will serve preachers and teachers well, providing a goldmine of illustrations for sermons and lectures. If I were teaching an undergraduate course on 1 & 2 Kings, this would definitely be my first choice as the primary textbook. I hope that subsequent volumes in the Brazos Theological Commentary are as informative as Leithart's 1 & 2 Kings. Highly recommended!!!!!