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Preaching the Gospels without Blaming the Jews: A Lectionary Commentary [Hardcover]

Our Price $ 34.00  
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Item Number 154486  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   261
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 9.3" Width: 6.42" Height: 0.99"
Weight:   1.34 lbs.
Binding  Hardcover
Release Date   Aug 1, 2004
Publisher   Westminster John Knox Press
ISBN  0664227635  
EAN  9780664227630  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
Allen and Williamson provide a commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary gospel readings, demonstrating how the lections are continuous with the theology, values and practices of Judaism and also identifying and reflecting on points at which the lections caricature Jewish people, practices, and institutions.

Publishers Description

Ronald Allen and Clark Williamson provide a commentary on the Revised Common Lectionary Gospel readings, demonstrating how the lections are continuous with the theology, values, and practices of Judaism and also identifying and reflecting on points at which the lections caricature Jewish people, practices, and institutions.

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More About Ronald J. Allen & Clark M. Williamson

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Ronald J. Allen is Nettie Sweeney and Hugh Th. Miller Professor of Preaching and New Testament at Christian Theological Seminary in Indianapolis. He is author of many books, including Patterns of Preaching and Interpreting the Gospel, and coauthor of One Gospel, Many Ears and Listening to Listeners, all from Chalice Press.

Ronald J. Allen currently resides in the state of Indiana. Ronald J. Allen was born in 1949.

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
New wineskins...  Aug 16, 2004
I can hear the average preacher now -- 'Oh no, not another commentary!' There are dozens (if not hundreds) of commentaries on every text in the Bible, on topics, in particular contexts, and with particular interpretative frameworks and agendas to promote. There is a staggering array available to modern preachers that can be bewildering at times -- just how much study can one do and reasonably assimilate each week (and still perform the other pastoral duties required of the typical preacher)?

Never fear! This is one of the more user-friendly commentaries I have ever come across for preachers. It really is designed with this intention in mind -- scholars with find it interesting if not entirely rigourous; general readers may also find this interesting, to see what their preachers each week are dealing with in terms of issues (or, indeed, what they are not dealing with...).

This is a commentary with an agenda and a context. The agenda is to reduce the not-always-latent tendency toward supersessionism in North American pulpits. This might require some explanation -- supersessionism is a 'big word' not many have encountered. Supersessionism in this context refers to the tendency of looking at Judaism and the Jews of the pre-Christian times as simple prelude and precursors to Christianity -- that the only 'value' of Judaism and studying, tolerating, etc. Jewish texts and ideas is as it relates to (and leads to) Christian texts and ideas. Authors Allen and Williamson (each friends of mine, if truth in advertising is to be maintained) hold that Judaism has an inherent value all its own, as a covenant from God that has not been broken or altered, but indeed is maintained and should be recognised by current and future Christian communities, the power of which often resides in the preaching.

Allen and Williamson give a brief introduction -- they introduce the writings of the New (Second) Testament in ways perhaps unrealised by most. Paul, for example, is often characterised as one who rails against 'the Jews'; we are told that Paul is a Pharisee (by Paul himself, no less), but it is often overlooked that Paul himself never has a disparaging or discouraging word about the Pharisees. By the following generation (when the gospels were written) there were many negative references to Pharisees, but these did not come from Paul himself, and are more likely representative of an internal debate and division among Christians (which at that time would have included many self-identified Jews who did not see Judaism and Christianity as contradictory or mutually exclusive affiliations). In this introduction, Allen and Williamson also discuss the two sets of oral tradition, various ways of reading (and misreading) the text, and ways the churches can look at overall context to recast the lectionary in ways that are not judgemental toward Jews.

The actual commentary section follows the Revised Common Lectionary, followed (more or less) by many churches in ecumenical agreement. Allen and Williamson are both academic and ordained professionals within the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ) -- however, this is a commentary that will have broad appeal. Just as the CC(DoC) church is one the most committed institutions to ecumenical intention, so too are Allen and Williamson dedicated to this broad approach, preferring to see that which draws us together over that which pulls us apart.

The commentary, as I mentioned above, is user friendly. It is not footnote-heavy, jargon-laden, or obtuse and academic as many commentaries can tend to be. This is not a commentary written to impress other scholars, but intended for regular use by 'regular' preachers. To this end, the commentary on each of the Sunday lectionary pieces (three years in the cycle, each concentrating on a synoptic gospel, with John spread throughout in various places) as well as some special days (Ash Wednesday, Pentecost, etc.) is but one to one-and-one-half pages long. Each commentary can be read in a five to ten minute span; for the regular preacher concerned with time, this is a real god-send. Best to read this commentary in advance of others, as it will inform the information of the others. It works most of its power through persuasion and gentle direction (a very process oriented approach, indeed). It is likely repeat familiar information, and provide new ways of thinking at the same time.

The commentary is tied to the lectionary, but not to any particular year or sequence. The preacher or reader interested could pick up the volume at any point (just as I have done) and begin reading and use from the particular Sunday now, and go forward for three years. At the end of this time, preaching (or, for the non-preaching reader, listening) will be transformed.

This has become one of my new favourite books, and while I have read most of the text already, it is meant to be used in small pieces over the course of a three-year lectionary cycle, and I can already tell it will be companion for years to come.


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