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.
Introducing the New Testament is an outstanding guide to the writings of the New Testament for readers ranging from Bible students to those approaching the Christian Scriptures for the first time. Written by three leading Bible specialists, this book discusses in a clear and balanced way the New Testament's literature, its message, and the issues raised by a careful reading of its pages. Wonderfully readable and well supplied with maps and photographs, this volume is both an ideal textbook for courses covering the New Testament and a superb introduction for general readers wanting authoritative, straight-forward instruction on the writings of the New Testament.
Unlike other New Testament introductions that are primarily concerned with historical-critical issues or with what scholars have said, this book gets directly to the business of explaining the New Testament's background, content, and theology. The authors do not presume that readers need to be familiar with scholarly debates about the New Testament, nor do they assume those debates have necessarily raised the most important issues. Instead, this book is aimed at putting the message of the Christian Scriptures back within the reach of general readers. Although informed by the current scholarship in the history, traditions, and literature of the New Testament, this book is primarily designed to induct readers of the New Testament into sensitive appreciation and serious awareness of its major figures and concerns.
After explaining the nature of the New Testament and the world in which it was written, the authors thoroughly discuss each of the twenty-seven books of the New Testament. The content and essential message of these ancient works are described in simple but dynamic language that reveals why they continue to inspire and challenge readers today. Separate chapters also explore the types of literature found in the New Testament, the life and teachings of Jesus, Paul's life and world, and the formation of the New Testament canon. In addition, numerous sidebars offer a wealth of fascinating and highly relevant background information that helps modern readers more fully grasp biblical themes. No other work on the New Testament is so accessible and enjoyable to use.
Marianne Meye Thompson is George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary, Pasadena, California, and an ordained minister of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Her previous books include commentaries on the Gospel of John and the J
Joel B. Green is professor of New Testament interpretation,associate dean for the Center of Advanced TheologicalStudies, and dean of the School of Theology at FullerTheological Seminary, Pasadena, California.