Seventeen essays explore how the biblical Miriam, Mary the mother of Jesus, Mary of Bethany, and Mary Magdalene were portrayed in the early Christian era, also touching on Jewish and Muslim interpretations.
In Breaking the Marriage Idol, Kutter Calloway describes how the modern church has become distracted by pagan norms for sexual expression and marriage, and why this contributes to our idealization of marriage and the marginalization of unmarried persons. Arguing that the church has bought in to the Hollywood notion that marriage is the antidote to sexual promiscuity, Callaway calls the church to provide new stories to refute this superficial formula. He offers vision for how the church can become a place where love for the other is the pinnacle, and both unmarried and married persons lead and follow side by side, representing the best expression of God's intent for his people.
Pure examines the harmful effects of evangelical Christianity's purity culture with particular emphasis on the long-lasting and outward-rippling effects of shame. Of particular interest to CBE's audience, the book details the ways in which purity culture cooperates with patriarchy and harms women.
Craig Keener's 1-2 Corinthians is a wonderfully engaging and easily read commentary on Paul's letters to the Corinthians. It is tightly packed with documented information from ancient sources on the historical/social/cultural setting of Corinth in Paul's time. This information enables the reader to understand more clearly the intentions behind Paul's letters to the Corinthians, underlining how the cultural emphasis on rhetoric in Paul's time shaped his writings.
Alan Johnson's work on 1 Corinthians is particularly engaging. His reference notes and bibliography provide an entry into further study if desired, all while maintaining an appealing readable style. He deftly bridges the two horizons of the Greco-Roman culture and American culture.