book review

The Death of Jesus in Early Chrisianity by John T Carroll and Joel B Green

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Occasionally in seminary, I came across a piece of assigned reading that I absolutely loved. Wait-what am I talking about. I loved almost every book that came across my grubby little hands. It’s seminary.  I blame my love for theology for the reasons I had to crate (literally) mountains of books to our new house. **fist in the air**

Anyways, I thought my “Book Bank” would give me the opportunity to share some of those books.  This book is from one of my last classes called “The Cross in the New Testament.” It was a class where we studied the death and crucifixion of Jesus, its meaning in the new testament texts and how Jesus’ death works in the Christian belief.  If that wasn’t enough already, we were given some amazing material to read by amazing scholars.

The Death of Jesus in Early Christianity is very well organized. Discussions are laid out in almost neat little stacks so one is able to read chapters separately from one another without feeling obligated to go in order.  The book is sectioned into 3 parts, dealing with the death of Jesus itself in the text, early Christians thoughts on the matters, and finally biblical/theological issues.  In addition, the authors ask several questions in the text. They will ask one questions, then follow it with another questions that builds on the first. Almost using questions to build their arguments and main points-less the times they bluntly state their obvious position.  They also do go through each gospel in the first part, then through the epistles and early interpretations of the Jesus moment.  It’s a beautiful combination of such a tragic event alongside what many considering the most important event of the modern area.

Book rating? 4 stars–mostly because the repetitive questioning and the organization gets overboard at times, but nothing to be scared of.

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Divergent by Veronica Roth (No Spoilers)

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Occasionally, for my book reviews I think I will search back into “completed” section of my bookshelf.  There are several good books I have read over the years with interesting story plots and much deeper than cover indicates meanings that I personally EVERYONE should read.  Yes, I will try & include books I normall would not choose…that might happened more when school starts or when I finally get back to the book group at church. (which I also recommend to anyone who reads…join a book group!)

Anyways, I was recommended this book from a friend at work.  I was reading through the Hunger Games books when she said if I liked those I should check out this new author.  So I picked up a copy.  And I could not put it down.  If  you like Hunger Games, enjoyed reading the Giver as a kid, honestly this is a book for you, at any age.

The book tells the story about a young girl coming of age. Yet, in her society, everyone is divided into factions and when they reach the appropriate age, you are placed in the faction that you will live in the rest of your life.  Each faction handles different aspects of society and you conform to that group’s duties.  Even if it is different from the group you grew up in.  Honestly, because I don’t want to reveal too much about the book, I will leave the plot summary to that.

In regards to the writing–it is fantastic.  Roth writes with clarity and definition–that you can picture exactly what she is trying to describe in every scene.  The book flows very well, jumps right into the story from the beginning and doesn’t leave you begging for interaction by the last chapter.  I do saw, it is part of the trilogy, so when you finish, you want to pick up the next book, for sure.

Overall: 5 stars, but must be a fiction reader and let your imagination take you where Roth writers!

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The Language Instinct by Steven Pinker

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Pages: 525 (everything… so more like under 500 reading) published in 1994 originally. Keep this in mind as some of the technology has advanced massively. Maybe for the 20th anniversary there will be an update with that.

Moving into more linguistic books, this is probably the next most important book that someone should read if studying Linguistics.  It is another topic at the cutting edge of linguistic study.  Pinker believes that language is a human instinct.  He travels into each aspect of linguistics starting with.Syntax and and moving through etymology.  He also indicates that there are some basic inheritant understandings that help define why we park on driveways and drive on parkways.  It is a jam-packed book filled with stories about how language is crated and adapted over time–something unique to explore and to understand. Pinker also includes chapters about phonetics, how speech with works with language and what is known up to the time of publishing about how the brain, language and speech all work together.

The book is a little daunting.  It is not meant for the “lay” reader  and definitely directed towards adults. In fact, I would consider it more for a classroom, as there are sets of text that are more formatted for such structure than for “casual” reading.  (of course your definition of causal reading may include university level text books, who knows?)  There is SOO much material to go through, all related just lots of information.  It would be comparable to get a history and development of AIDS research because its extensive, involves a lot of everyday “unnoticed” actions as well as very medically detailed descriptions.  However, in no way is the topic depressing or disappointing–its interesting to think of how different accents even provide rules and guidelines of how to say “ride’ and “write.”

Overall, 4 stars. Unique material, plenty of information, easy to understand but still an overwhelming amount of details.