I have been trying to resist this temptation - visiting Canaanland's Midnight Sale that began this evening. But an SMS from another fellow bibliophile and partner-in-crime, Pearlie, sparked off the strong urge within me that I find futile to resist. Pearlie asked my opinion whether it was worthwhile for her to purchase a couple of books she has picked (Hah... I wonder who is ever going to pay me commission for doing all this recommendation...). A few minutes later, she sent me another SMS, saying she had picked up 8 books.
That's it! I knew resistance was futile. So I headed to Canaanland immediately to check out for myself the goodies on sale. But I must admit, I practised a bit more "retraint" compared to Pearlie. I managed to pick up ONLY 2 books.
The first book, Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2006) is one that I have trying to get hold of for sometime. Having personally met and interacted with Markus Bockmuehl, I have very high respect for him. At a time of deep disagreements about the nature and purpose of academic biblical studies, Bockmuehl advocates the recovery of a plural but common conversation on the subject of what the New Testament is about. This book begins with an assessment of current New Testament studies, identifying both persistent challenges and some promising proposals. Subsequent chapters explore two such proposals. First, ground for common conversation lies in taking seriously the readers and readings the text implies. Second, Bockmuehl explores the text’s early effective history by a study of apostolic memory in the early church. This is a very engaging and inspiring book, and I look forward to reading it with great detail later on, and I know I will definitely learn much from Bockmuehl.
The second book that I picked up is Picturing Christian Witness: New Testament Images of Disciples in Mission (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2006) by missiologist Stanley Skreslet. In this book, Skreslet searches for new, more holistic images of mission from Scripture. Undertaking a novel exegetical study of mission in the New Testament, he highlights five actions that depict the witness of Jesus’ first followers: announcing good news, sharing Christ with friends, interpreting the gospel, shepherding, and building/planting. After carefully examining key biblical passages, Skreslet draws out the implications of these five images for the theology of mission and lets each image take shape visually through an array of Western and non-Western art, an area that I personally find intriguing. This is one of the reasons I purchased this book. Without doubt, Picturing Christian Witness will provoke readers to imagine what mission will look like when actively embodied by contemporary disciples of Jesus.
The temptation and quest of a bibliophile during the midnight sale, encouraged by partner-in-crime, left me poorer in my pocket and, hopefully, richer in my understanding of the current New Testament scholarship that may be beneficial to the students in the seminary.