Filled with the Spirit

John R. Levison, Filled with the Spirit, (2009) William B. Eerdmans Publishing Company, Grand Rapids, MI.

This review is totally inadequate for a book of this stature, but I am writing it now because a year ago when I decided to continue blogging one thing I said I would not do any longer is blog through a book. For one reason or another I tried to go against my own policy with John R. Levison’s Filled with the Spirit. This was a mistake on my part because this book is too dense for such an endeavor.

Others with more time may be able to do such a thing. Sadly, I find that the reading I do for each class has caused me to crawl through Levison’s book to the point that I almost forget what the last chapter covered. So rather than “review” this book (because honestly, I have not finished it and I do not know when I will) I want to say a few things about why I think this book is valuable and why I want to give more attention to it at a time when I can do so.

First, it is one of the best books on Pneumatology that I have read and I didn’t even make it very far. There are many books on the Holy Spirit but this one takes on the task of following the development of Pneumatology from early Israelite literature all the way through the early Christian period.

Second, it connects aspects of Pneumatology from one testament to another (with other Jewish literature included). One thing that I appreciated about this book is that as I read through some of the early chapters it causes me to reimagine Pauline and Johannine Pneumatologies in light of the developments the Levison chronicles.

Third, it does a fine job of critically addressing relevant texts without being anachronistic. In other words, Levison attempts to read early Israelite and Jewish understandings of the “spirit” without dragging later interpretations into the mix until it is time. This is a difficult task but he does a descent job at it.

So let me get the “reviewing” off my chest. If you want a real (and a good) review you can read the one Jim West did a while back (linked here). Instead, as I come across relevant sections, when I pick the book back up in the future, I will make sure to share those.