Monday, May 8, 2017

Stephen Chapman’s 1 Samuel as Christian Scripture (Eerdmans) has been named Reference Book of the Year for 2016 by the Academy of Parish Clergy (APC).

At an awards ceremony during the APC’s annual meeting in Detroit, Henry Coates, chair of the Awards Committee, praised Chapman’s achievement for its theological insights, unique format, and beautiful prose. The commentary, said Coates, could revitalize Christian preaching on the Samuel narrative and belonged in every pastor’s library. Especially noteworthy was Chapman’s effort to offer an explicitly Christian reading of Samuel that also engaged and affirmed Jewish tradition, he said. Chapman expressed his deep gratitude for the award and the work of the APC, relating how he had written his commentary especially for pastors, as well as for scholars and students, adding that he hoped to see greater use of the Old Testament within contemporary church life.

In a published review of the book, Benjamin J. M. Johnson of Oxford University writes: “If, as a preacher, you thought that preaching Old Testament narrative had little to offer, read this book and think again. If, as a theologian, you thought a book like 1 Samuel lacked any theological depth, read this book and think again. If, as a biblical scholar or student, you thought there was a major gap between a historically sensitive reading of this ancient text and contemporary faith, read this book and think again. I know of no better example of a theologically astute and literarily insightful reading of an Old Testament narrative text.”

Stephen B. Chapman is associate professor of Old Testament at Duke Divinity School and director of Graduate Studies in Religion at Duke University. In 2016 he also published The Cambridge Companion to the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament, co-edited with Marvin Sweeney.