Introducing the New Testament: Its Literature and TheologyIntroducing the New Testament: Its Literature and Theology
Paul J. Achtemeier, Joel B. Green, Marianne Meye Thompson
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That the New Testament is literary is not a case for argument. Any piece of writing must be, in some way, seen as literary. The New Testament is also decidedly historical; even scholars who doubt the historical accuracy affirm that the New Testament is historical. Its events and descriptions are from the past, and they were written in the past. Therefore, to view the New Testament as both literary and historical is not only justified, it is required. Viewing the New Testament as literary and historical actually elevates the text to a new scholastic and academic level. However, to view it as simply or solely literary, or simply or solely historical, does it a great injustice, for it forgets (or ignores) the unique role that the New Testament (and the Old Testament) played (and continues to play) in the life of the Church.

That is why the authors of this book chose to look at all three aspects of the New Testament (literary, historical and scriptural). They feel that a combination of all three will make the New Testament come alive again in our time, and help it to regain its relevance. Therefore they look at each book of the New Testament with literary, historical and scriptural glasses, and provide an insightful look at the social, cultural and religious background that made the New Testament what it is.

The ultimate goal of this book is to make the message of the New Testament understandable and livable for contemporary readers. The authors explain the nature of the New Testament and how it came to be. They also look at the types of literature found there, and describe how to reach each type. Description of the content and message of each book is provided in a manner both insightful and inspirational. This book is accessible, easy-to-use, and jam-packed with information. It is destined to become a standard for all Christians as they look at the New Testament, whether they be scholars or laypeople.

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1.What Is the New Testament?1
1.1.The Literary Angle3
1.2.The Historical Angle6
1.3.The New Testament as the Church's Scripture9
2.The World of the New Testament15
2.1.The Many Worlds of the New Testament17
2.2.Environmental Conditions21
2.3.Institutional Contexts41
3.The Nature of the Gospels53
3.1.Jesus and the Gospels: Milestones53
3.2.What Is a "Gospel"?62
3.3.The Gospel Tradition67
3.4.Literary Forms in the Gospels74
3.5.Reading New Testament Narratives81
3.6.Epilogue: The Gospels and Acts as Scripture86
4.The Gospel According to Matthew89
4.1.The Plan of the Gospel of Matthew91
4.2.The Narrative of Matthew96
4.3.The Gospel of Matthew, the Jews,
and the Church
5.The Gospel According to Mark123
5.1.Narrating the Story of Jesus123
5.2.Jesus, the Disciples, and the Authorities in Mark125
5.3.Mark's Dramatic Narrative129
5.4.The Setting and Purpose of Mark's Gospel143
6.The Gospel According to Luke149
6.1.The Character of Luke's Gospel (and Acts)152
6.2.The Unity of Luke-Acts154
6.3.The Narrative of the Gospel of Luke156
6.4."He Has Lifted Up the Lowly"171
7.The Gospel According to John175
7.1.In the Beginning175
7.2.Jesus, Conflict, and Confession177
7.3.John's Narrative179
7.4.John and the Other Gospels197
7.5.The Setting and Purpose of the Gospel200
8.Jesus of Nazareth207
8.1.The Quest of the Historical Jesus207
8.2.The Beginning of Jesus' Public Ministry209
8.3.The Kingdom of God214
8.4.The Miracles of Jesus224
8.5.Jesus and the Messianic Task228
8.6.The Death of Jesus235
8.7.The Resurrection of Jesus241
9.The Acts of the Apostles245
9.1.Acts and the New Testament Canon245
9.2.The Book of Acts as "History"247
9.3.The Narrative Progression of the Mission in Acts249
9.4.The Speeches in Acts262
9.5.The Purpose of Acts265
9.6.The Authorship of Acts268
10.Letters in the New Testament271
10.1.Writing Materials and Delivery of Letters271
10.2.Development and Purpose of Letters274
10.3.Aramaic Letters275
10.4.Hellenistic Letters276
10.5.Letters in the New Testament278
11.Paul and His World283
11.1.The World283
11.2.The Life of Paul289
11.3.Paul's Intellectual World294
12.Paul's Letter to the Christians in Rome299
12.1.The Purpose of the Letter299
12.2.Where the Letter Was Written306
12.3.The Letter's Authority and Integrity306
12.4.The Theme of the Letter307
12.5.The Content of the Letter309
13.Paul and the Christians in Corinth327
13.1.Corinth as Paul Knew It327
13.2.The Corinthian Correspondence332
13.3.1 Corinthians334
13.4.2 Corinthians347
14.The Letter to the Galatians355
14.1.The Letter356
14.2.Some Problems372
15.The Letter to the Ephesians377
15.1.Some Questions378
16.Paul and the Christians at Philippi391
16.1.The Letter392
16.2.Some Questions399
17.Paul and the Christians at Colossae:
Colossians and Philemon
18.Paul's Letters to the Thessalonian Christians427
18.1.1 Thessalonians428
18.2.2 Thessalonians439
19.1 and 2 Timothy and Titus447
19.1.1 Timothy448
19.2.2 Timothy453
19.4.Some Questions461
20.1.The Origins of "The Epistle to the Hebrews"465
20.2.Use of the Old Testament473
20.3."In These Last Days, He Has Spoken
to Us through a Son"
20.4.Jesus, the Pioneer and Perfecter of Faith482
20.5.The Pilgrim People of God483
20.6."Such a Great High Priest"485
21.1."James, a Servant of God"492
21.2.James and Jewish Christianity495
21.3."To the Twelve Tribes in the Dispersion"497
21.4.The Genre of James499
21.5.James and Jesus502
21.6.Doers of the Word503
21.7.Hearing and Dowing, Faith and Works509
21.8.James within the Canon511
22.1 and 2 Peter, Jude513
22.1."Catholic" Epistles?513
22.2.1 Peter515
22.3.2 Peter527
23.1, 2, and 3 John535
23.1.The Setting of the Epistles of John535
23.2.The Conflict: Data from the Epistles536
23.3.Historical Parallels and the Shape of the
False Teaching
23.4.1 John542
23.5.2 John547
23.6.3 John551
24.1.The Genre of Revelation556
24.2.The Historical Context of the Book of Revelation565
24.3.The Revelation of Jesus Christ573
25.The Formation of the New Testament Canon589
25.1.Internal Forces Affecting the Shape of the Canon590
25.2.External Forces Affecting the Shape of the Canon593
25.3.The Growth of the New Testament Canon595
25.4.The Process of Canonical Selection598
25.5.Criteria of Canon Selection604
Index of Names and Subjects609