John R. (Jack) Levison has written two wonderful books on the holy Spirit in recent years. Filled with the Spirit (Eerdmans, 2009) piqued my interest in the pneumatology of the Hebrew Bible and early Judaism. Fresh Air: The Holy Spirit for an Inspired Life (Paraclete Press, 2012) caused me to revisit a variety of passages from Scripture to see if my pneumatology factored in the diversity of the biblical witness and whether or not I was living what I believed about the Spirit. This October another book from Jack comes our way via Eerdmans titled Inspired: The Holy Spirit and the Life of the Mind. This is the blurb from Amazon.com:
Early Jews and Christians understood the Holy Spirit in a very different way than most Christians understand it today. They understood the spirit of God as something given to all flesh as part of creation — a spirit no less divine or holy than the spirit one might receive through charismatic endowments.
In this book John Levison works to recover that early conception of the Holy Spirit and to embrace the belief that the power of God’s spirit pulses in every breath we take. Levison sums up historical and biblical arguments and discusses implications for the church today. “The gift of the spirit is not a moment’s work,” Levison says. “The gift of the spirit is steady and continuous — something worth knowing in the struggles that have the potential to shatter life into meaningless shards.”
I hope you’ll keep this book in mind as you create your reading list for Fall and Winter. Jack’s greatest gift to me as an author has been how his writings force me to re-exegete passages I thought I knew. It is easy to assume that all pneumatology is Pauline pneumatology (I find that Paul provides a unique contribution to pneumatology that assumes there is a sense in which humans lack something of the Spirit that is restored to those who come to Christ, but that doesn’t mean every canonical author speaks of the Spirit this way), but I have found that this isn’t so, and often the pneumatology of the Hebrew Bible can shift our paradigms quite a bit providing us with a broader understanding of the divine Spirit’s connection to the human spirit.
I’ve asked Jack if I could review this book and it appears that I will receive a copy from Eerdmans, so expect a review from me in November or December. In the meantime, if you haven’t read Jack’s other two books, I highly recommend them and I recommend adding this forthcoming book to your wish list as well.