The New Testament Story

The New Testament Story

The New Testament Story

The New Testament Story

Synopsis

This informative, clearly written book introduces the New Testament in two main ways: (1) it explains where the New Testament came from, and (2) it examines the New Testament writings themselves.

Ben Witherington first tells how and why the New Testament documents were written and collected and how they came to be known as the New Testament that we have today. He then discusses the main stories and major figures in the New Testament. Witherington looks particularly at the Gospels, examining how and why their stories differ and pointing out what these ancient biographies actually say about Jesus. He also surveys the ways that these stories were told and retold, explaining how this literary development has influenced Christian theology, ethics, and social thought.

At once scholarly and accessible -- it really is written in plain English -- Witheringtonbs guide to the origins and message of the New Testament is eminently suitable as a text for college and seminary students. With each chapter followed by a section called b Exercises and Questions for Study and Reflection, b "The New Testament Story" will also prove valuable to individual readers and ideal for church classes and group Bible studies.

Excerpt

The title of this book is deliberately enigmatic. It could of course refer to the stories within, or at least the major storyline of, the New Testament. On the other hand, it could refer to the story of the New Testament — how it came into existence, who wrote it, how the books were selected and canonized, and the like. I have decided that for this book to be a proper Introduction to the New Testament, it really needs to speak of both these matters. Too often, an introduction simply deals with the historical and literary nuts and bolts of authorship, date, structure, and audience of the various New Testament books without ever really getting down to the matter of the substance of the New Testament, its major story and stories. Thus, though this is an introduction in miniature, my aim is to try to do both less and more than a standard introduction offers.

In the recent canonical theology movement, while the focus is decidedly on content, especially theological and ethical content, the presuppositions behind the approach involve certain assumptions about the New Testament as canon, as Scripture, as Word. For example, treating the New Testament as Scripture is sometimes assumed to mean that we need not get really bogged down with the prehistory or historical substance and particulars of the text; we can just treat it as a resonant and inspiring literary artifact. This in turn leads to a certain sort of synthetic way of handling the text that all too often denudes it of its historical particularity in the

1. Precisely because it is intended to be a miniature guide, I am keeping notes to a
bare minimum in this study.

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