Between sessions and catching up with people, one highlight of SBL-AAR is walking through the book exhibit, finding some jewels among a treasure trove of books, monographs, reference works, and commentaries. Many of my favorite publishers and university presses will be there in Atlanta, and they each offer a range of discounts, some as much as 40-50% off the sticker price. 
    I already having a working shopping list of purchases I have mind, divided between four groups: 1) must-buy (or the “Shut up and take my money (already)” books, 2) I-want-to-browse-it-first-before-I-give-you-the-dough books, 3) I-want-you-but-you’re-too-expensive-for-me-to-buy-without-risking-the-wrath-of-my-wife books, and 4) pleasant-but-unexpected-purchases or let’s-take-this-puppy-home book because it’s too good a deal to pass up. Of course, I don’t know what the 4th category of books will be until I roam the book exhibits and accidently stumble upon something I value. The 3rd category is a secret so I can give myself some wriggle room for a sneaky clandestine purchase from you-know-who. But I can comment on the 1st and 2nd categories in this and a subsequent post. So here are my tentative picks for category 1: 

    The must-buy books are Paul and the Gift by John Barclay, but to be honest, I already bought my copy because I could not wait. 

Published by Eerdmans

Richard Longenecker‘s long-awaited technical NIGTC on Romans was supposed to debut at Atlanta though all the online sellers seem to indicate that it will be a month or two later. Hopefully, Eerdmans will at least have a display copy at their table to peruse: 

Published by Eerdmans (may be available
in December? vs. Februrary)

Then there are E.P. SandersPaul: The Apostle’s Life, Letters, and Thought, which also might be debuting late and N.T. Wright‘s The Paul Debate: Critical Questions for Understanding the Apostle

Published by Fortress Press
Published by Baylor University Press

This last must-buy is not a book on Paul but nevertheless, a long, long awaited commentary on the Gospel of John from a premier Johannine scholar whose past work tells me that Marianne Meye Thompson‘s NTL Commentary on John will be the go-to-volume for the fourth gospel for a long time: 

Published by Westminster John Knox Press

Next post, the books I’m on the fence about and won’t buy until I get a glance at them first.