Book Awards Received by A New Heaven and a New Earth

I recently posted about a book award that A New Heaven and a New Earth (Baker Academic, 2014) received from a Canadian organization for Christian writers—the World Guild Award—for best book in the Biblical Studies Category.

But it had previously received a number of other awards from various organizations and websites. This is further affirmation, like icing on the cake.

In roughly chronological order, here are the awards I’m aware of:

Hearts and Minds Bookstore: Best Book of Biblical Studies for 2014. I’ve always appreciated Byron Borger, bookseller extraordinaire, who founded this bookstore back in the days of brick and mortar. Glad to see he has added a significant web presence, and that he resources many major Christian conferences with booktables that are an education in themselves.

Englewood Review of Books: Best Theology Book of 2014. I don’t known too much about these folks, except that they’re based in Englewood Christian Church, Indianapolis (and they take inspiration from Shane Claiborne).

Jesus Creed: 2014 Books of the Year—Theology Category (1 of 2 books). I have got to know Scot McKnight, who runs this website, through a recent conference and our email correspondence. This award comes from nominations by the five bloggers who post at Jesus Creed (Scot McKnight, RJS, John Frye, Jonathan Storment, and Dave Moore).

Nijay Gupta: Best Book Written by a Jamaican-Canadian Living in the USA (2014). I love this one! This is a pretty exclusive category, invented simply because of my friendship with Nijay, who has been reviewing books in biblical studies on his website for many years.

Christian Retailing’s Best Awards (2015)—Finalist in “Eschatology Book” Category (1 of 3 books shortlisted). I don’t know much about this group, or when exactly they will be choosing the winning book.

 I’m grateful to God for these signs of affirmation, but even more grateful for the folks who have benefited from the book and have written to let me know.

A New Heaven and a New Earth just won the Word Guild Award for best Biblical Studies Book of 2014

Writing my eschatology book A New Heaven and a New Earth (Baker Academic, 2014) has been a labor of love. Like all my books, I’ve put my heart and soul into it. So seeing the book in print, and hearing of its impact on people’s thinking and lives, has been a great encouragement.

Best Biblical Studies Book—Word Guild Book Awards

To top it off, I just found out that A New Heaven and a New Earth won the World Guild Award for best book of 2014 in the Biblical Studies Category. I knew the book had been shortlisted (1 of 3) for the award by the World Guild (the primer Christian organization for Canadian writers). They had their annual Gala in Toronto tonight (June 13, 2015) and announced winners in various categories.

Best Overall Book—Word Guild Book Awards

The winner for general Academic book was Leonard Hjalmarson for No Home Like Place (The Urban Loft, 2014). Len also won the Grace Irwin prize for best overall book—quite an honor (or should I say honour).

I met Len in 2013 when he roomed with me to attend the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association (CETA) meeting in Victoria, BC. He presented a beautiful paper entitled “Recovering the Practice of Place: A Theology of Place,” which was based on the book he was writing.

I’m honoured to be in such company.

For some other awards the book has received, see my follow-up post.

A Psalm Against David: Why David Didn’t Write Psalm 51

I’m scheduled to present a paper at the Institute for Biblical Research (IBR), a sort of evangelical version of the Society of Biblical Literature (SBL), at their annual meeting in Atlanta, on November 20, 2015. It happens just before the start of the SBL.

The paper is called “A Psalm against David? A Canonical Reading of Psalm 51 as a Critique of David’s Inadequate Repentance in 2 Samuel 12.

The paper is an attempt to read Psalm 51 carefully in light of the superscription, which links it to David’s confrontation by the prophet Nathan in 2 Samuel 12 over his adultery with Bathsheba.

The trouble is that a close reading of the psalm just doesn’t fit with the narrative, at multiple levels. So, what is an evangelical, orthodox Christian to do with that?

Since psalms superscriptions are not original to the psalms, but inserted by later editors (I give evidence for this in the paper), I propose that we take the superscription to Psalm 51 as a (divinely inspired) lectionary suggestion for reading the psalm together with the 2 Samuel narrative.

The result of doing this, I argue, is that the psalm ends up being a critique of David’s superficial “repentance” in 2 Samuel 12. My paper, therefore, challenges the naive, idealistic reading of the figure of David often found in the evangelical church (but then anyone who reads 1-2 Samuel with their eyes open would be disabused of this ideal picture anyway).

The paper is, most fundamentally, my attempt to take the authority of Scripture seriously (regarding both Psalm 51 and 2 Samuel 12 as divinely inspired), with eyes wide open to the complexity of this divinely inspired Scripture.

I tested out a short version of the paper at the recent meeting of the Canadian Evangelical Theological Association in Ottawa, and got good discussion there.

The research group of the IBR in which I’ll be presenting the paper (called Biblical Theology, Hermeneutics, and the Theological Disciplines) has posted my draft of a longer, fuller version of the paper so that anyone can read it and send comments to me. I’ll then have a chance to revise the paper in light of the comments, and it will be re-posted in late October, prior to the conference.

The paper will be published (probably in 2016) in a volume of essays coming from the IBR research group, tentatively entitled Explorations in Interdisciplinary Reading: Theological, Exegetical, and Reception-Historical Perspectives, ed. Robbie Castleman, Darian Lockett, and Stephen Presley (Eugene, OR: Pickwick).

I invite you to read the paper and post your comments or questions here.