This perceptive and well-crafted book takes readers on a surprising journey through a breathtaking array of literary texts, encompassing the literature of Israel, Early Judaism, the Greco-Roman world, and the New Testament. John R. Levison's skill with ancient texts already demonstrated in his acclaimed The Spirit in First-Century Judaism is here extended to a myriad of other expressions of the Spirit in antiquity.
Filled with the Spirit has a uniquely comprehensive scope: it treats more ancient texts concerning the Spirit than any other book does. Levison's up-to-date scholarship incorporates the Dead Sea Scrolls and an expansive awareness of Early Judaism less influenced by the latent anti-Semitism present in earlier German scholarship. His fascinating fresh theses include delineating how the notion of filled with the Spirit, what it involved, and when it occurred underwent a significant historical change in the ancient world. Levison uncovers the intertwining strands of ecstasy versus inspired intellect, and he shows how the Spirit's filling was seen as applying both to individuals and to communities.
Though his meticulous scholarship makes Filled with the Spirit an extremely significant academic offering, Levison writes in a flowing, enjoyable literary style, with a clear narrative arc from the inbreathing of Adam to the isolated community encapsulated in 1 John.