Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous
TrinJ 24:1 (Spring 03) p. 123
Richard N. Longenecker, ed. Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans. 2001. xiii + 292 pp. $28.00.
Into God’s Presence: Prayer in the New Testament, edited by Richard N. Longenecker, is the fifth volume in the McMaster New Testament Studies series. This series, intended for a wide audience—ministers, students, and “intelligent” laypeople—is meant to address NT themes relevant for today’s Christian. This present volume is offered as “a more responsible exegetical treatment of prayer in the New Testament” (p. ix).
Section one, “The Setting,” contains background essays by Christopher R. Seitz, David E. Aune, Asher Finkel, and Eileen M. Schuller. Seitz (“Prayer in the Old Testament or Hebrew Bible”) demonstrates that the OT is by no means a mere “anteroom” to the issue at hand. Rather, he argues that biblical prayer—including that of the NT—is rooted in the human response to the revelation of the divine name. Aune (“Prayer in the Greco-Roman World”) studies the phenomenon of prayer from a history-of-religions perspective. After surveying relevant Greco-Roman prayer forms, he notes several contrasts between these and Judeo-Christian attitudes on prayer. Finkel (“Prayer in Jewish Life of the First Century as Background to Early Christianity”) describes the role of prayer in the practical piety of the period with special emphasis upon the Jewish avodah. His work tellingly highlights the Jewish nature of NT prayers. Schuller (“Prayer in the Dead Sea Scrolls”) investigates several examples of Qumranian prayers in what turns out to be a very broad survey of prayer life in the Dead Sea community.
Section two, “Jesus and the Gospels,” features essays by Stephen Farris, I. Howard Marshall, N. T. Wright, and Andrew T. Lincoln. Farris (“The Canticles of Luke’s Infancy Narrative: The Appropriation of the Biblical Tradition”) examines the hymns attributed to Mary, Zechariah, and Simeon in Luke 1–2. Working from a form-critical perspective, he suggests that they are best understood as “a window into the piety of the earliest Christians” (p. 102). In addition, he provides a literary analysis of the OT echoes found in these hymns. Marshall (“Jesus—Example and Teacher of Prayer in the Synoptic Gospels”) isolates and studies occurrences of the words associated with praying, asking, blessing, and thanking in the Synoptic Gospels. Assuming Markan priority and the use of “Q” by Matthew and Luke, he highlights the Lukan redactional emphasis upon prayer. Wright (“The Lord’s Prayer as Paradigm for Christian Prayer”) provides two lenses through which to read the Lord’s Prayer: (1) an invitation to share in J...
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