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Naming The Powers: The Language Of Power In The New Testament (The Powers : Volume One) Paperback – 1 Jan 1959

4.0 out of 5 stars 4 customer reviews

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  • Naming The Powers: The Language Of Power In The New Testament (The Powers : Volume One)
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  • Unmasking the Powers (Powers, Vol 2): The Invisible Forces That Determine Human Existence
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  • Engaging the Powers: Discernment and Resistance in a World of Domination
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Product details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Augsburg Fortress; 1st edition (1 Jan. 1959)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 080061786X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0800617868
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.2 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 352,936 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

From the Back Cover

'The pages of this book represent the quest of a man intent on discerning the nature of structural evil in light of the biblical evidence. His experience of living for a time in Latin American and witnessing extensive social and political oppression appears to have moved him profoundly. The end result is a book that is a model of the attempt to integrate scholarship with faith.'--Clinton E. Arnold, Catalyst

About the Author

Dr. Walter Wink is Professor Emeritus of Biblical Interpretation at Auburn Theological Seminary in New York City. He received the Martin Luther King Jr. Peace Prize, awarded by the Fellowship of Reconciliation for 2006.


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Top Customer Reviews

Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
I read this one as the last of the three. It is the one that reads more like a text book, but I would use the word 'methodical' rather than 'repetitive'. Maybe it's practical use is not as immediately apparent as the next two, but it lays an important foundation, without which the next two would be weakened. For that reason, though, I would probably recommend reading them in the order I did: 2, 3, 1. Or even 3, 2, 1: if you are not comfortable with the practical implications of what he is saying, why bother with the theory?
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excellent scholarly acount of the New Testament language of powers, related also to extra-biblical literature of the period. Very helpful indeed in underswtanding what the NT is actually saying
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A complex subject but covered with clarity and great scholarship. This would be of considerable interest to anyone concerned with studying the Bible.
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This is one of the most tedious, repetitive and boring books I've ever read. Actually I didn't finish it, life is too short in my opinion to waste so much time ploughing through this. Sorry Mr Wink, I understand that its a recommended text for many theology courses, but as I wasn't studying for a formal academic qualification, I decided to quit reading it!

It is a pity, because I do think that this book would be more readable and interesting if it was severely edited, say reduce the word count by approximately 50-75%, as it does make a valuable contribution to the exploration of the subject of the "powers and principalities of this present darkness."
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.4 out of 5 stars 16 reviews
31 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Buy this book for the third section 9 Sept. 2004
By Tedd Steele - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
When I started this book I was disappointed, but I wasn't when I finished. The first section is a series of word studies on Greek words associated with the powers. The second section consists of expositions of troublesome passages dealing with spiritual powers. I found these sections useful, but rather dry. The third section was a surprise, which caused me to think more highly of the book. Wink takes the language of power in the New Testament and casts it in contemporary language. Now power is not seen as something that is out there in the heavens. It is not something that is primarily refering to disembodied ghouls that ought to give Christians nightmares. Instead, it is found in the material reality of bodies interacting in complex systems that can influence and control others. Wink sees that the language of the New Testament is profoundly true, yet at the same time myth. It is myth that represents an all too real situation. The great value I have found in the book is that it gives us a way to speak about power that makes it more than simply the sum of our social systems, yet is not "spiritual" in a way that gives postmodern thinkers fits. Wink makes it clear that evil is real and even gives some ways to confront it in our world.
36 of 38 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Three Best Books on Understanding Satan, Angels, and Demons 20 May 2011
By Jeremy Myers - Writing at RedeemingGod - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of the three best books on understanding Angels, Satan, and Demons. The other two best books on the subject are the other two books in "The Powers Trilogy" by Walter Wink. Read them all.

And then read them again.

If Wink is right, then pretty much everything we think we know about Satan, angels, and demons is completely wrong, everything we think we know about spiritual warfare is wrong, everything we think we know about the separation of church and state is wrong, and everything we think we know about sin and temptation is wrong.

I am going to do a three-part review, one for each book in the Trilogy. This review is on the first volume in the series: Naming the Powers.

Of the three books, this one is both the hardest to read and the most important. It is hard to read because it contains a lot of the Scriptural backgrounds and exegetical research for what is written about in the other two books. Some readers might find such content dry and difficult to wade through. However, since it deals with some of the primary Scriptures about Satan, angels, and demons, this book is the foundation for the other two. If you do not read this book, you may not understand where Wink is coming from in the other two.

So the book is hard to read, but is necessary if you fully want to grasp the argument that Wink makes.

And what is that argument? It is this: The Powers, which are referred to in many different ways throughout the Scriptures, are the spirituality of institutions, the "within" of corporate structures and systems, the inner essence of outer organizations of power (p. 5, 107).

Eh...What?

Exactly.

The idea requires much unpacking and explanation, but once understood, I think his definition fits quite well with our experience in life and with what we read in Scripture.

The bottom line is that every organization and institution--whether political, economic, or religious, from large corporations and entire nations to small country churches and individual households--have a "tenor" or a "way of doing things" that define, characterize, guide, and even justify the actions and attitudes of that particular structure. This spiritual dimension of a physical entity is "The Power" of that organization.

We cannot encounter these "spirits" apart from the physical entities in which they exist.

Think of it as the "mob spirit" or the "team spirit" or the "corporate spirit." All three of these organizations have very different "spirits," but none of them can be experienced apart from the group in which they exist.

This is not to say that these spirits do not exist. They do. They are very real. More real, in fact, than the disembodied, invisible, and undetectable spirits of much modern theology. To the contrary, these spirits are so real, they are incarnated within the organizations and institutions of everyday life. "The satanic is not an abstract force distributed equally throughout the cosmos like a gas. It is the concentrated inner spirituality of idolatrous human structures. And it is as real as they are" (p. 139).

There is great danger in this for the church. While we pride ourselves in being guided and controlled by the Holy Spirit, it may be another spirit which provides greater direction and control. Too often, in order to fight against the power-hungry and destructive spirit of oppression that governs many nations and corporations, the church has adopted the very same ideologies and methods that are used by the organization we fight against. When this occurs, whether we win or lose in the power struggle that follows, the end result is that we become just as evil as that which we fought against (p. 130). We have seen this time and time again in history. The victors become the oppressors, even when the victors are Christians.

So what is the way forward? How can we struggle against the principalities and powers without adopting their methods and goals? Well, that is the subject of the next two books in the series.
22 of 28 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Meticulous scholarship and inspirational interpretation 25 Feb. 2002
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book lists the various words that are used for power in the New Testament and evokes their meaning in the wide variety of contexts in which they are used. It really makes the language of the New Testament come alive. Throughout the book, Wink's warmth and humanity shine through. Speaking of conflict, he says 'I resolved never to embark on a conflict which would not end in my sitting down to a meal with my adversary.' Inspirational - strongly recommended.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The first of the series which changed how I see world systems and scripture 31 Dec. 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first 2/3 of this book is tremendous research that Walter did to back up his new way of interpreting scripture, the world systems that rule us and the unrecognized myth we live by
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Thoughtful writing which causes many thoughts when read 7 Dec. 2013
By Arthur David Digby - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Walter Wink simply tells it true. He addresses his material from the biblical world as it might have been understood in the original cultures, languages, and political situations of the day and then guides the progressive reader in reinterpreting ancient symbols and concepts in ways that reclaim them for us in the modern-post modern world.
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