A moderate-critical historical and theological introduction to the New Testament particularly well-suited to students who maintain a vibrant faith and excitement for in-depth New Testament study.
It is not uncommon these days for New Testament introductions to ignore faith as a central role in reading, interpreting, and learning about the New Testament. Distinguished New Testament scholar Donald Hagner rejects such a notion and believes faith plays a central role-and indeed a primary instigator--for reading the New Testament properly.
But this does not mean that Hagner avoids the hardest questions. On the contrary, it means paying all the more attention. First, Hagner addresses interpretive approaches advocating for the legitimacy of the historical-critical approach in the context of faith, while rejecting the notion so common in "literary criticism" that history is unknowable and that we must find "our place in the story" or that the text only means what we take it to mean. Hagner's primary aim is to identify the status of questions in NT scholarship, and though he often provides his own answers he clearly acknowledges what is in dispute and what can and cannot be answered at this time.
For hanger the historical-critical interpretation is key, and the questions it raises-textual integrity, the synoptic problem, the "historical" Jesus, and a host of other issues are examined in detail. The book is divided into 8 parts that include introductory materials, the Gospels, Acts, Paul's undisputed letters, the disputed Pauline letters, Hebrews & the catholic epistles, Revelation, and text criticism. Finally, Hagner provides an extensive bibliography at every turn for further reading.
This is an excellent text for students in college or in the first years of seminary. It will amply prepare them for a full course of study in biblical literature while also helping so solidify their faith and understand Scripture as inspired. Advanced laity will also benefit from the discussions, and ministers will appreciate it as an excellent up-to-date reference.
This capstone work from widely respected senior evangelical scholar Donald Hagner offers a substantial introduction to the New Testament. Hagner deals with the New Testament both historically and theologically, employing the framework of salvation history. He treats the New Testament as a coherent body of texts and stresses the unity of the New Testament without neglecting its variety. Although the volume covers typical questions of introduction, such as author, date, background, and sources, it focuses primarily on understanding the theological content and meaning of the texts, putting students in a position to understand the origins of Christianity and its canonical writings.
Throughout, Hagner delivers balanced conclusions in conversation with classic and current scholarship. The book includes summary tables, diagrams, maps, and extensive bibliographies.
Donald A. Hagner (PhD, University of Manchester) is George Eldon Ladd Professor Emeritus of New Testament and senior professor of New Testament at Fuller Theological Seminary in Pasadena, California. He is the author of Encountering the Book of Hebrews, The Jewish Reclamation of Jesus, New Testament Exegesis and Research: A Guide for Seminarians, and commentaries on Matthew and Hebrews. He is also coeditor of the New International Greek Testament Commentary and an ordained minister in the Presbyterian Church (USA).
In The New Testament: A Historical and Theological Introduction, Donald Hagner graces us with a summation of his life's work. As clear as it is comprehensive, Hagner's prose moves effortlessly between the primary and secondary materials to provide a readable and carefully crafted New Testament introduction. Hagner navigates historical and theological issues with nuance, demonstrating once again his balanced approach to New Testament interpretation. A masterful piece of writing!
professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary
Don Hagner's introduction, reflecting a moderate critical approach, is the fruit of his seasoned and mature reflection on the New Testament. Literary studies of the Gospels are in vogue today, but Hagner rightly emphasizes as well the historical character of New Testament revelation, deftly holding together the literary, historical, and theological nature of the New Testament documents. Hagner does not restrict himself to typical introductory questions but also provides the reader with an abbreviated New Testament theology. Readers must not miss the outstanding bibliographies attached to each chapter. This book is filled with wisdom and is marked by clarity so that the goal stated at the outset of the book is reached. Here we find simplicity that is on the other side of complexity, a simplicity that only a wise veteran can provide.
-Thomas R. Schreiner,
James Buchanan Harrison Professor of New Testament Interpretation, Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
This is not just another 'who wrote, to whom, where, and why' introduction to the New Testament. It is as comprehensive a study of the New Testament writings in the context of Christianity's beginnings as one could wish for in a single volume, including astonishingly full and helpful bibliographies. Don Hagner's The New Testament is a showpiece of high-quality evangelical scholarship.
-James D. G. Dunn,
Emeritus Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University
Don Hagner's encyclopedic knowledge of the New Testament and of New Testament scholarship is put to excellent use in this detailed survey, from which seasoned scholars as well as beginners can learn much. Here is an introduction that takes seriously both the human authorship and the divine inspiration of Scripture and shows that the critical study of the former, particularly in regard to the Gospels, does not necessarily threaten the reality of the latter. The author's caution in refusing to go beyond probable solutions to many problems rather than boldly asserting dubious, speculative hypotheses is to be warmly welcomed, as is his overriding concern to bring out the theological message of the New Testament books understood against their Old Testament background.
-I. Howard Marshall,
professor emeritus of New Testament, University of Aberdeen
Hagner encapsulates a vast range of material in this book in a way that is accessible to students and engages most of the prominent intriguing debates in New Testament studies from the past hundred years. Not rigidly beholden to any one camp, this work is substantive, readable, balanced, informed, critical, and reverent.
professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
If one is looking for a reliable, thorough, theologically insightful, eminently honest, up-to-date handbook on the origins and contents of the New Testament writings and the problems attending their interpretation, this is it. Donald Hagner is a master teacher. He aligns his introduction around the kingdom of God as the integrating key and unveils the New Testament's continuing relevance in revealing God's solution to the universal human predicament.
-David E. Garland,
Charles J. and Eleanor McLerran Delancey Chair of the Dean and professor of Christian Scriptures, George W. Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University