Saturday, July 11, 2009
Deliver Us from Evil
Richard H. Bell. Deliver Us from Evil: Interpreting the Redemption from the Power of Satan in New Testament Theology, WUNT, 216. Tübingen: Mohr Siebeck, 2007. Pp. xxiii + 439. ISBN 3-16-149452-9. $197.50 cloth.
Here is the introduction to a review that I wrote that is to be published in an upcoming issue of a journal. You can listen to a podcast of Richard discussing the contents of this monograph, by clicking here.
Richard H. Bell’s work contributes to the field of New Testament Theology by providing a densely argued case that deliverance from Satan includes Jesus’ exorcisms as well as his death and resurrection. The focus of this monograph is on “interpreting the redemption from Satan in New Testament theology” (p. 2 emphasis original). After analyzing the New Testament data on this topic, Bell provides a framework for the way this material can be considered true.
The first chapter briefly discusses the history of interpretation of the doctrine of the devil. Next, Bell surveys both Jewish and Christian texts to explain the way each of these traditions understood the work of Satan. The last half of the chapter argues for the necessity of myth to understand the work of Christ with regard to the defeat of the devil (p. 65).
The second chapter discusses Jesus’ exorcisms found in the gospels and argues that the line between “healing” and “exorcism” is quite fluid (p. 71). Bell then provides arguments for their historicity (p. 77). The significance of Jesus’ healing and nature miracles are presented as evidence of the presence of the “eschatological age” which supported the claims for “Jesus’ messiahship” (pp. 97, 107)...
Richard Bell teaches at the University of Nottingham; UK.