Almost One Year Later

In May last year Both Here and There was published by Wipf and Stock. A dear friend, John, read it and provided a positive review. So far, no other reviews have been published, but a Presbyterian journal has agreed to a review in their winter issue. I would love to hear from any readers who actually read the whole book, not just the introduction. Or even hear from those who read the introduction only. By the way, 53 intrepid souls bought Both Here and There before February.

Near the end of Both Here and There I let it be known that another book containing an interpretation of Luke’s journey narrative, Luke 9:51–19:46, is being planned. Currently I am writing it, and possibly it will be published next year, possibly by a traditional publisher of theology books.

Both Here and There: more Q&A

The 40% discount for Both Here and There expires at the end of July. Time to order!

What background equips you for writing this book? When I came back to graduate school, I was pleased to find that the Bible study skills that I learned in InterVarsity Christian Fellowship and in seminary served well for analysis of Russian novels and short stories. Additionally, skills that I then learned from my literature professors applied well to study of the Bible.

What literary-critical practices did they nurture in you? All of my mentors and examples, I would say, were Structuralists in practice if not in philosophy. As I read scripture I ask what meaning does the author intend and what evidence in the text exposes that intention. Of course my distance in time and culture from ancient authors, my personal and cultural biases and blind spots, all limit and redirect (and sometimes supplement) any analytical skills, but my highest love is the given text and its author.


Both Here and There: more Q&A

What readers did you have in mind as you wrote the book? Scholars? I wrote this book for pastors preparing sermons in Luke’s Gospel, for Bible teachers preparing lessons on Luke, and for anyone who loves to do intensive Bible study.

How did your interest in Luke’s literary forms get started?  In 1984 a friend loaned me a study on Luke that pointed out some evidence for a large chiastic form in certain chapters of the Gospel. To delineate the sections of the literary form, the study’s author applied methods that, from my point of view, amounted to cheating. He said that we need to resupply some missing text and remove some existing text in order for the structure to “work.” That was unacceptable because Luke was a better author than these implied failures, and because the ancient text of the Third Gospel was more stable than these proposed shortcomings make it out to be. But the evidence for a large chiastic form of some kind was certainly there, and I set out on a lifetime project to delineate, describe, and interpret the chiastic form that comes to light in the canonical text of Luke.

This Much for That Much

Both Here and There is available at Amazon and at Wipf & Stock.

Wipf & Stock, with discount “THERE”:  $15

Amazon books:  $23.75

Amazon Kindle ebook:  $9.99

What is your book, Both Here and There, about? The book is about the Gospel of Luke in the New Testament. Especially, it’s about the way Luke organized portions of his account of Jesus of Nazareth. In four lengthy sections of narrative, Luke grouped episodes about Jesus in an ABCDCBA fashion, or chiastic fashion, to overlay the day-to-day story with lengthy discourses. In these discourses, or teaching units, Luke points to theological truths about Jesus and about following Jesus as his disciples. My book’s subtitle gives another name for these literary structures in the Gospel: concentric parallelism.

What does the title, Both Here and There, mean? It has a double meaning. First, for non-academic readers of the book, the title prepares readers to pause over evident similarities of one Lukan episode (Here) with another episode (There), to pause to study the similar texts, instead of just letting the impression of repetition lie unattended in the back of one’s mind. Evident similarities make up one of Luke’s signals that two texts may be part a unified teaching unit. Second, Both Here and There announces to academic readers who may be familiar with well-known chiastic evidence in certain chapters of Luke (Here) that I claim evidence for chiastic structuring in three other previously unspecified long portions of Luke (There).

Both Here and There: Studies in Concentric Parallelism in the Gospel of Luke

“Christian traditions that emphasize short devotional and liturgical scripture readings as the basis for one’s spiritual walk seem to suggest that one should drink the wine of the word in small glassfuls. Reading short epistle paragraphs or narrative episodes for liturgy, devotion, or as sermon texts, feeds our souls, connects us with a community of similar readers and with a tradition, perhaps an ancient tradition, but it may divert us from what biblical authors intend to teach through extended discourses.”

Update for February, 2017

I am pleased to announce that my book manuscript on concentric parallelisms in the Gospel of Luke has been accepted for publication! The publisher’s lengthy process of editing begins shortly, with possible production sometime in 2018. I will, of course, keep you posted. At this point I have no detailed information about the coming book.

Update for May, 2016.

Writing is humming right along this spring, all thanks to God. I am currently finishing up Section J and ready to turn to J-prime. Only K, K’, L, L’, M, M’, N and N’ to go before crafting a conclusion and an introduction. Before trying to self-publish, I’ll put the work up on a site where potential publishers can consider aspiring manuscripts.

There is much joy along with this hard work. One of the recurring joys is that cumulative observations in the biblical texts, in both Luke and in portions of the Old Testament, affirm that I am in the right comparative place in the text and pursuing a hermeneutic that is theologically productive.