I just received in the mail a copy of James McGrath's new book, The Only True God: Early Christian Monotheism in Its Jewish Context, sent to me from the University of Illinois Press.
Given that I have been reading and reviewing Bauckham's book on a very similar subject, I probably should give some time to this work as well.
I would like to thank James for keeping this book short! Something I am not very good about in my own writing. Text, notes, bibliography, and index are all only 155 pp. Only 104 pages of text! So, it looks like a much quicker read that Bauckham.
I'm sure most of you read McGrath's blog already and are quite up-to-date about this book. But I will just point out its general layout and leave reading and reviewing to a future time when I have more time.
His first chapter focuses on the issue of method and scholarly study of ancient Jewish and Christian perspectives on the divine. It seems at first glancing that he lays out a typology of monotheisms. I hope it will lay out something a bit more systematic than I have seen in my other readings.
The second chapter looks like it turns a bit more to the ancient Jewish sources themselves, looking at the issue of worship (monolatry?). His preface indicates that Hurtado's very extensive study came out when this volume was nearly finished, so it has more limited engagement with it than perhaps it should due to the vagaries of publication speed.
The next three chapters look to the conceptions of God in Paul (chapter 3), John (chapter 4) and Revelation (chapter 5), which are the authors preferred, one might note, by Bauckham as well. I get the sense that this book is a partial response to Bauckham?
The final chapter moves to the Two Powers Heresy and its role in the so-called Parting of the Ways. I have a feeling I will see a great deal of engagement here with my own advisor's, Alan Segal, work on Two Powers in Heaven and perhaps a bit on the recent fascination with the "parting of the ways" and whether or not this is a good model for late antique Jewish-Christian interactions. That is what I would expect, anyway, with my very limited first brush.
I hope to have fuller engagement with the book in the near future, but cannot predict when at the moment.