Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine

Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine

Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine

Render to God: New Testament Understandings of the Divine

Synopsis

Neyrey here interprets eight key New Testament books, providing a fresh look at theologies in the early church and introducing readers to the diverse ways in which the New Testament writers "render to God the things that are God's." He begins with two Gospels, Mark and Matthew, and moves on to the Acts of the Apostles and three of Paul's letters (Romans, 1 Corinthians, and Galatians). He then examines the formal and precise ways in which Jesus is called God in the Gospel of John and concludes with a discussion of how Hebrews uses "eternity" as a fundamental concept for understanding God. Using a social-science methodology, he offers unique perspective on the biblical text.

Excerpt

I worship the God of our fathers … having a hope in God that
there will be a resurrection of both the just and the unjust.
—Acts 24:14–15

The genesis of this book goes back to the evening that Professor Nils A. Dahl delivered a lecture to the graduate faculty and students at the Yale Divinity School entitled, “The Neglected Factor in New Testament Study” (Dahl 1975). As earnestly as I desired to start writing then and there, I first had to learn my craft and my literature, which has taken thirty years. Seated with me at Dahl's lecture were classmates who indeed wrote their dissertations on the “neglected factor,” God: Jouette Bassler, Divine Impartiality: Paul and a Theological Axiom (1982); Halvor Moxnes, Theology in Conflict: Studies in Paul's Understanding of God in Romans (1980); and Stanley K. Stowers, The Diatribe and Paul's Letter to the Romans (1981). My own dissertation dealt with the debate over theodicy in the Greco-Roman world as the relevant background for the controversy in 2 Peter, “The Form and Background of the Polemic in 2 Peter” (cf. Neyrey 1980). But to my knowledge, none of us imagined that we were directly responding to Dahl's challenge.

Over the next several decades, various aspects of the “Neglected Factor” caught my attention, such as the background for theodicy debates in Acts 17 and 23–24 (1990a), the midrash for Ps 82:6 (“I said, 'You are gods'”) in . . .

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