David S. du Toit, (ed.), Bedrängnis und Identität Studien zu Situation, Kommunikation und Theologie des 1.

Petrusbriefes (Berlin: Walter De Gruyter), 2013.
Essays found in this collection honor the work of Leonhard Goppelt. The table of contents is online and can be viewed in its entirety herehttp://www.degruyter.com/view/supplement/9783110302318_Inhaltsverzeichnis.pdf While all of the essays are well written, those by Seland, Vouga, and Horrell stand out as especially engaging and extremely well presented. Seland is especially interested, in his, to analyze how scholars have understood the intended audience of 1 Peter- especially taking to task the view of Ben Witherington III, of which he says … I do not believe that Witherington’s arguments can bear the burden of evidence he loads upon them (p. 53). And Seland’s conclusion is wisely cautiousWe have not solved the problem. We do not know if the first readers were of Jewish or Gentile background. Probably the readers comprised both. That’s probably also all we will get to know (p. 55). We end, then, where we begin- in spite of various scholarly assertions that the first readers were either one or the other. This kind of measured scholarship is a fitting tribute to Goppelt who himself was a careful, skeptical (in the positive sense of that word), insightful commentator. The certainty so common

in too much biblical scholarship is something which the scholars of Goppelt’s generation eschewed- because they knew that many of their conclusions were unsupported by hard facts. This made them humble. Humility is, alas, sorely lacking in much contemporary scholarship (and all one need do is read NT Wright’s treatment of Jesus to see that lack of humility operative in spades). Vouga makes many useful remarks in his contribution to the collection, in which he discusses Chrsitology and Soteriology in 1 Peter. Before launching into his topic he reminds readers that Texte können nicht ohne Rezeptionsgeschichte überliefert werden – auch wenn diese Rezeption lange negativ geblieben ist, weil Texte zufällig neu entdeckt werden, die nicht weitergegeben worden waren (p. 205). He then describes the doctrines mentioned above as they’ve been understood through various stages of the Church’s history. As a collection, this volume stands out for its comprehensiveness and for its professionalism. Students of 1 Peter will find here much that is useful and nothing that is immaterial or extraneous. No rabbits are chased and no words unnecessarily included. The editor has, I think, done a masterful job of keeping the essays focused and the authors on task. This book doesn’t require any scholarly commendation—as it commends itself.

Jim West Quartz Hill School of Theology

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