Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction

Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction


This new introduction incorporates:
  • a wide range of methods- literary, historical, psychological, theological, and social-scientific
  • critically perceptive introductions to each of the New Testament writings
  • a comprehensive survey of approaches to biblical studies, historical and cultural backgrounds, the historical Jesus, and the rise of the resurrection faith
  • attention to extracanonical materials
  • charts, maps, illustrations, reading suggestions, and more.


If necessity is indeed the mother of invention, then I can easily identify the driving force behind the production of this text. The necessity in this case arose early in my teaching career in the form of the conflicting expectations of two groups of students in my introductory course in New Testament at Curry College: those with explicitly religious interests and those with purely academic concerns. The dilemma posed by the legitimate demands of each led to a rather agonizing attempt on my part, now two decades in progress, to bridge the gap between them.

The first stage of this attempt involved the development of various classroom strategies, the success of which I must leave to those I taught during those years to judge. What I soon experienced, in any case, was the need for some help in implementing these strategies, some more explicit help, that is, from the reading material. So, on the theory that I was not alone in my agony, I eventually set out to write a text that could somehow provide the specific kind of assistance I wanted in such a task. Now it will fall to others to judge the success of this second stage.

The first persons I must thank for their help in bringing this text into existence are those students I encountered in my early years of teaching, whose honest conversation and bold suggestion led me to envision a project that otherwise would never have occurred to me. Close behind them are those later students who have helped me evaluate both the classroom strategies and the various forms of the manuscript as it has emerged, piece by piece, over the past several years and made its way into the course. More recently, a parttime teaching venture at Andover Newton Theological School has afforded me the opportunity to get the reactions of students at the seminary level.

Some other students, most of whom remain unknown to me, have participated in the process also. I am indebted both to them and to their professors . . .

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