Jesus the Bridegroom on Pre-Order from Logos

Logos BridegroomHere is some good news on my book, Jesus, the Bridegroom. It will be available in the Logos Library as a part of a two-book bundle. The “Wipf & Stock Eschatology Bundle” is on pre-order along with Jonathan Menn’s Biblical Eschatology. Menn is the  director of Equipping Church Leaders-East Africa, and his book runs over 600 pages! I guess I am the junior partner in this bundle at 300 pages. I hope that once my book is published in the Logos library it will become available separately, but it is exciting to see it on the Logos site.

Jesus the Bridegroom has been reviewed in a couple of places. I posted a notice of Peter J. Leithart’s review at  First Things a bit earlier. Don K. Preston reviewed the book at Amazon, saying he loves “the research that went into this. While Dr. Long’s emphasis is on ‘source’ and my focus is on theology, Nonetheless, I did find this book to be very helpful.I particularly appreciated the linguistic studies, showing the marital language that is used in some texts (e.g. especially Isaiah 4-5) that I had never seen before, and I truly appreciated it. His inter-textual notations were also fruitful. Long’s conclusion that Jesus drew together several strands of Jewish thought, and conflated those strands into a harmonious message, thus, suggesting that Jesus stood well within the framework of a Jewish prophet, is very good”

The book is available through Amazon and the Wipf & Stock website and retails for $33 (Amazon and Wipf & Stock sell it for discounted price). The Kindle version is only $9.99 and claims to have real page numbers, but I cannot see them reading the book with the Kindle App on an iPad. Still, the book looks great in Kindle. If you live in the Grand Rapids area, I have a few copies in my office if you want to get one directly from me.  If you do get the book, leave a nice review on Amazon, I would appreciate that.

Obviously I would love for you to buy a copy, but that is not always possible. Here’s how you can help get the word out for me:

What is the book about? The full title of the book is Jesus the Bridegroom: The Origin of the Eschatological Feast as a Wedding Banquet in the Synoptic Gospels. The book is an edited version of my dissertation. As I was working on my dissertation, people would ask what I was writing on. I usually said “an intertextual study on messianic banquet imagery in the Synoptic Gospels.” After a moment of awkward silence, I clarified: “Jesus said the Kingdom of Heaven is like a Wedding Banquet – what’s up with that?”

The book attempts to study the marriage metaphor / motif in the teaching of Jesus. There are a few places in the Synoptic Gospels where Jesus describes the Kingdom of Heaven as a Wedding Banquet, Matt 22:1-14 and 25:1-13 are the most obvious texts. But there are a few places where Jesus describes himself as a bridegroom, and a marriage metaphor appears in a number of other places. My proposal is that Jesus combined the metaphor of an eschatological banquet with the common Old Testament marriage metaphor and described his ministry as an ongoing wedding banquet to which all Israel is now invited. The long period in the wilderness is over and it is time for Israel to return to her Bridegroom.

00_PICKWICK_TemplateIn order to make this case, I apply what might be called an intertextual method to traditions or set of metaphors. The “text” in this intertextual study is the Hebrew Bible, but that text was heard by Jesus’ original listeners rather than read. They knew the metaphors because they heard them taught in their homes and synagogues. Jesus used these metaphors because they were current, but by combining them to describe himself, he created a new image of the eschatological age as a wedding banquet.

I first examine the eschatological “victory banquet” motif in the Hebrew Bible, starting with Isa 25:6-8 (ch. 3), the use of the Wilderness Tradition in Isaiah 40-55 (ch. 4), and the Marriage Metaphor in Hosea, Isaiah and Jeremiah (ch. 5).  I trace the development of these three themes through the Second Temple Period in chapter 6, and finally apply that database to the sayings of Jesus in chapter 7.

There are a few things that you will not find in this book. First, I did not cover John’s gospel, although there is much there that can be described as “wedding motif.” My reason for this omission are simple-the dissertation was already too long to include another major section on John’s Gospel! Second, there is nothing in this book on the application of the Bridegroom metaphor to the church. I wanted a study of Jesus’ use of the metaphor, not the (much) later theological development of that metaphor. Again, the reason for this is simply that I was writing a New Testament dissertation, doing “biblical theology” rather than “systematic theology.” I wanted to focus on the teaching of Jesus and the origin of the wedding banquet metaphor.

I would really like to hear feedback from anyone who reads the book – feel free to send me an email to continue the discussion. Thanks!

10 thoughts on “Jesus the Bridegroom on Pre-Order from Logos

  1. Would you mind expounding on the definition of eschatological feasts? I am not sure I fully comprehend what is meant by the eschatological feast.

    As I see them feast are tied to harvest the first fruits being Passover, Unleavened Bread, and First Fruit, which were fulfilled at death and resurrection of Jesus followed by indwelling of Holy Spirit at feast of Weeks or as known by Pentecost. The birth of church under the Holy Spirit.

    Then the final harvest feasts are Trumpets, Day of Atonement, and Booths/Tabernacles, which are unfulfilled (unless Jesus was born on Day of Atonement, which is my belief based upon jubilee). These feasts are the eschatological feast as I see them.

    However, based upon your statements I think you are only talking about feast of Tabernacles/Booths.

    Is this correct understanding?


    • First, I use the term “eschatological feast” (singular) not feats (plural). I am not explicitly referring to Booths in the book, although that is the best example for the point I was trying to make.

      I try to use “eschatological feast” for texts describing the beginning of the new age in the Hebrew Bible or Second Temple literature as a feast or banquet of some kind. Isa 25:6-8 was my primary example in my book, but there are several others (including Psalm 23, preparing a table in the presence of my enemies and anointing my head with oil, inaugurating a time of peace,etc.)

      I try to use “messianic banquet” for texts describing the age as a meal hosted by a messiah, 1QSa is the best Second Temple text, but there are a handful of others. I include the banquet parables in Matthew 22 and Luke 14 here, as well as Jesus’ table fellowship (he is hosting a “messianic banquet”).

      I did not work on the Jewish feasts all that much, that was simply not the focus of my study. I argued that Jesus was calling his people out of the wilderness at the end of the exile in anticipation of the coming new age. I worked on eschatological banquet texts where the intersected with wilderness tradition and marriage metaphor, then argued that Jesus was picking up all three threads to describe his ministry in terms of the end of the exile.

      You are right, if anything Booths is my main focus. Since the Passover celebrates liberation of God’s people and the beginning of the wilderness and Booths celebrates the wilderness period, the turn up in my study, but Day of Atonement and Firstfruits do not.

      Thanks for the comment!

  2. Dr. Long, I appreciate your book. I particularly enjoyed the linguistic studies in the Tanakh, demonstrating the marital connections (e.g. Isaiah 5 and the Vineyard). My main caveat is your claim that Paul does not incorporate this motif and certainly not in his eschatology. I do disagree with this. I believe Tom Holland (Romans: The Divine Marriage) demonstrates that the Wedding is a dominant motif in Paul’s eschatological view.
    I have been developing the concept of the Messianic Wedding Banquet for years. I wrote a book “We Shall Meet Him In The Air, the Wedding of the King of kings,” in which I develop this motif a good bit. I would be glad to send you a copy and would welcome your comments about it.
    Don K. Preston (D. Div.)
    Founder and President of Preterist Research Institute.

    • Thanks for the comment Don. I have found it somewhat interesting that a minor suggestion about Pauline Theology in my conclusion has generated more discussion than anything else in the book (not that anything in the book has generated much discussion!) My committee was somewhat taken back by that as well, although there was a denominational commitment to “church as bride” language. Since the other 250 pages of the book are not about Paul’s view at all, it was surprising to me that the dissertation wanted to discuss the point rather tenaciously. In fact, the most tense moment in my defense came up as a result of this point! But they did not require me to remove it, probably since it was such a minor suggestion and I am not a part of their denomination.

      I have read a little of Tom Holland (Contours of Pauline Theology) and his name keeps coming up in this context. I browsed the Romans book first at the W&S table at ETS and again the local bookstore. I will buy it and give it a good read, but on the surface, I just cannot see anything like a wedding as “a dominant motif in Paul’s eschatological view.” I hear people saying it is dominant frequently, but there are other far more important metaphors for the church in the Pauline literature than the wedding metaphor. Where it clearly appears, eschatology is not really the issue, purity of the church is. That is just the way I see it right now, perhaps I can be convinced.

      • Thanks much for your prompt response! Let me clarify what I mean by dominant theme. Perhaps I was unclear. Paul’s focus, certainly in Romans, is the “salvation of Israel.” What I see here is the inextricable relationship between the Second Exodus motif, return from exile, resurrection and “remarriage” as promised most graphically and explicitly, in Hosea / Isaiah. As I view it, to speak of Israel’s salvation is to speak of the Wedding.
        When Paul discusses his resurrection doctrine in 1 Corinthians 15, he cites, as you know, Isaiah 25, which as you document so well, is a Messianic Wedding Banquet text. And I would argue the same in Hosea’s promise, where Israel was “slain” (5:15f; 6:5-6), and divorced (2:1-2). But the promise was that YHVH would raise her from the dead and remarry her. I see these as the motifs that are lying at the root, and the source– of Paul’s resurrection doctrine. I do not see him radically redefining that remarriage / Banquet motif. It is all inter-related.
        As to the eschatological element, the salvation of Israel– her remarriage– would be at the coming of the Lord out of Zion, and at “the end” in 1 Corinthians 15. That is why I see the link between Wedding / Banquet / eschatology.
        Hope that clarifies what I was trying to say.
        (I am currently working on a MSS on the Sabbath, and a good bit of my discussion is focused on the fulfillment of Sabbath typology through the return from Exile, the Messianic Temple, the Wedding, etc.– when Israel would enjoy her true Sabbath in Messiah– and the world would be invited into those blessings).

      • Thank you for the clarification. I plan on picking up Holland’s book, it is “in stock” at my local book seller and I have power-browsed it several times.

        I guess what I am guarding against in my thinking is a kind of implicit replacement theology, where Church has replaced Israel as the true Bride. I do not think that is what you are doing, but it is the sort of thing you find in the more mystical variants of the wedding metaphor in medieval Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy.

        I also find some of the sloppy “marriage theology” in popular worship songs a bit too romantic, based more on human love affairs than actual scripture. But I really am asking too much if I want good theology in popular praise and worship lyrics!

      • Well, your last comment is certainly spot on, lamentably!
        Believe me, I am no proponent of Replacement Theology, in the traditional sense especially. I see the Wedding as the fulfillment of Hosea / Isaiah in which YHVH promised to remarry Israel (the righteous remnant) and make the New (Marriage) Covenant with both houses (Jeremiah 31).

        This is what I see taking place in Rev. 7, 14, 19. To me, it is all about YHVH being faithful to His Covenant promises to Israel– not to the church divorced (bit of pun) from her. I once held to that view, but could not defend it.

        What I see missing in so many discussions is that before YHVH — in Christ– could remarry both houses, is that Judah had to be divorced just as the northern tribes were. Then, all Israel could be transformed into the spiritual body of Christ, under the New Marriage Covenant.

        I see this restoration from exile / the remarriage / New Covenant motif running throughout Paul, very strong in Romans 9-11, in fact, the entire NT corpus.
        This is just a fascinating topic, and I would love to have the opportunity to sit down over coffee with you and investigate in more in-depth sometime.

      • Dr. Long, a question: I notice that in your book, you do not discuss Isaiah 65. I personally see this as the Marriage Banquet text; “My servants shall eat…” It contains the motifs of renaming and a new people that you cite as marital in chapter 62, along with the new creation which to me has strong marital overtones. Was it merely space considerations that you omitted it, or am I missing something?

  3. You are right, Don, that I do not do much of anything with Isa 65. I mention it a few places in passing (page 160 and page 180, for example). In both cases, I consider the text an example of messianic banquet, but do not do any real work on the verses.

    The reason is simply that I delimited the study to not include Isa 56-66 (or the Psalms for that matter). I had originally planned a section on the Psalms, but that would have added 60+ pages to an already bloated dissertation. I did some on the missing banquet in the LXX version of Isa 25:6-8 as well, but my dissertation chair did not like my conclusions. At one point my adviser told me I had too much material as it was and to “stop researching.” Weird problem to have, really.

    I plan on re-working some of that material into journal articles.

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