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Book Review: ''Love Your Enemies,''


John P. Meier Interpretation 1982 36: 208 DOI: 10.1177/002096438203600218 The online version of this article can be found at: http://int.sagepub.com/content/36/2/208.2.citation

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material in each chapter are a helpful feature. The ordinary reader will enjoy paging through this volume simply for the sake of the pictures with which each chapter is lavishly illustrated (156 in all). These include pictures of fruit, blossoms, trees, churches, mosques, coins, inscriptions, aerial and panoramic views of Jerusalem, its hills, valleys, walls, and gates. ROBERT H. BOYD

Luther Theological Seminary The Synoptic Gospels: An Introduction, by KE~TH F. NICKLE. John Knox Press, Atlanta, 1980. 198 pp. $6.95 (paper).
KEITH NICKLE DESCRIBES his little volume as a "prelude" or "preface" to Gospel study, a work designed to share with the nonspecialist the results of technical scholarly inquiry: text-, literary-, form -, redaction-, and tradition criticism. It does not explain these methodologies in a manner familiar to readers of the series Studies in Biblical Scholarship; rather, it eschews methodological intricacies to concentrate on their findings in order to disclose the motives and concerns which prompted the Evangelists to compose narrative versions of the ministry and death ofJesus. The author accomplishes this goal in five chapters: three devoted to each of the Synoptics; an introductory chapter explaining in a highly lucid way the nature of the traditions, their oral forms and functions; and a final chapter reflecting on such questions as the theological diversity of the Gospels, the quest of the historical Jesus, and the nature and authority of the canon. Questions of compositional techniques, purpose, Gospel inter-rela-

tionships, special characteristics, identity of the authors, and others, make up the chapters on each of the Synoptics. Although it is easy to wish that a few more paragraphs of elucidation could have been added here and there concerning the story being told by the Synoptic writers, the overall impression is that Nickle has indeed provided us with a book long needed for college courses, for work with laity, and perhaps even as a supplementary text for first -level seminarians. He writes with the welcomed clarity of a man who knows his field well and who is accustomed to explaining his material to students unfamiliar with the New Testament as the scholar sees it. RICHARD NEVINS SOULEN

The School of Theology, Virginia Union University "Love Your Enemies," by JOHN PIPER. SNTS MONOGRAPH SERIES 38. Cambridge University Press, New York, 1979.273 pp. $24.50.
PIPER SETS OUT to examine the relationship between the command to love enemies as found in the Synoptics (Matt. 5:38-48; Luke 6:27-36) and similar commands in the paraenesis of the epistles (Rom. 12:14, 17-20; I Thess. 5:15; I Peter 3:9; I Cor. 4: 12). Piper holds that both Synoptic tradition and the paraenetic material rest upon Jesus' own command. While the paraenetic tradition drew upon both Old Testament and Jewish Hellenistic sources, these sources were taken over to serve Christian purposes and were altered accordingly. The kernel of the paraenesis remained Jesus' command to love enemies, though it was interpreted, paraphrased, and applied in

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various ways. The reason why the command to love enemies in the epistles differs from that of the Gospels is that the paraenetic tradition and the gospel tradition formed two distinct streams in the early church. The gospel tradition aims at witnessing to Jesus' sayings precisely as the preaching of the earthly Jesus, calling people to repentance in view of the coming Kingdom. The paraenetic tradition witnesses to the instructions on behavior which the exalted Lord gives to his church. Piper then goes on to examine the meaning of Jesus' love command in three spheres: in the earthly ministry, in the early paraenetic traditions as preserved in the epistles, and in the gospel tradition as employed by Matthew and Luke. In each stage he tries to specify the motivation and the content of the command. Piper's work is a dissertation written at a German university; unfortunately, it reads like one. At times the exegesis is well done; at other times an appeal to some favorite authority (e.g., L. Goppelt, C. H. Dodd) cuts short the debate. Piper is not afraid to go beyond exegesis to face larger theological issues. On the whole, this is an advantage, though some broader theological questions disturb the flow of the main argument and yet remain too large to be treated adequately. Piper's own viewpoint is definitely conservative. He will raise a few exegetical eyebrows with such statements as, "To be sure these chapters [of Luke] bear the mark of the evangelist and his contemporary concerns, nevertheless his concern with the way it was in jesus' lifetime is just as unmistakable." Piper might distinguish more carefully between the "earthly Jesus" proclaimed by the Gospels and the "historical Jesus" examined by modern

critical scholarship. Despite some questionable positions, he does argue his case carefully and deserves a hearing. JOHN P. MEIER

St. Joseph's Seminary, Yonkers Reading Paul Today: An Introduction to the Man and His Letters, by HUBERT
RICHARDS. John Knox Press, Atlanta, 1980. 152 pp. $4.95 (paper). TREATING THE PAULINE LETTERS individually (e.g., Philemon and Phil.) and in clusters (Thess., Cor., Gal. and Rom., Col. and Eph., and Tim. and Titus), Richards attempts to summarize the apostle's message in context. Using a breezy style devoid of technical language or critical reference and large blocks of paraphrased primary material, the author has succeeded in writing a book on Paul that any non-specialist could read and understand. Although the book makes no effort to be scholarly, the author is aware of the scholarly dialogue on the letters. He treats the letters as conversations; he is sensitive to the importance of the form of the letter, and he knows the importance of seeing the letter in context. At other points, however, the author's views seem out of touch with modern critical scholarship on Paul. He assumes development in the apostle's thought from a feverish apocalypticism (I Thess.) to a mature theological concern with the present (Col. and Eph.). All of the Pauline corpus is ascribed to Paul outright, or with only very minor reservations (Eph. and the Pastorals). The chronology of the letters and the kerygma of Paul are tied to Acts. In his interpretation of Galatians and Romans, Bauer's hypothesis is implicitly

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