Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology

Academic journal article Anglican Theological Review

An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology

Article excerpt

An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology. By M. Eugene Boring. Louisville, Ky.: Westminster John Knox Press, 2012. xxxiv + 720 pp. $50.00 (paper).

An Introduction to the New Testament is a welcome contribution to the discipline of New Testament scholarship, and represents the latest results of the academic study of New Testament writings with an eye on historical, literary, and theological dimensions. M. Eugene Boring, of Brite Divinity School at Texas Christian University, is the author of biblical studies such as The People's New Testament Commentary and commentaries on Mark, 1 Peter, and Revelation. In this introduction, Boring utilizes three principal methods to unpack the New Testament: (1) history, (2) literature, and (3) theology.

First, Boring employs the historical method so as to approach the New Testament books as fixed historical documents composed within the early Christian movement. In the first five chapters, the author expands his discussion of the church's role in writing, selecting, preserving, transmitting, translating, and interpreting the documents of the New Testament. Chapter 1, "What is the New Testament?" sets the stage for the unfolding discussion by expounding the terms "New" and "Testament" against the Jewish background of the Hebrew Tanak. Teachers and students will appreciate the clear diagram on page 6, "Formation of New Testament Literature," which lays out the chronological development of various kinds of Christian oral and written traditions. Chapter 2 on "The New Testament as the Church's Book" is particularly interesting, with its focus on the stages of writing and selecting the Christian writings. In turn, chapter 3 embarks on the church's preservation and transmission of the New Testament, and traces the development of textual criticism from manuscripts to electronic text. The next chapter, "LXX to NRSV: No Translation without Interpretation," explains the church's role in translating the New Testament to foreign languages. The concluding chapter on the New Testament as the church's book deals with the history of interpretation from early Jewish exegesis to contemporary historical scholarship.

Having introduced the reader to the core issues surrounding the New Testament studies, the next three chapters provide a thorough analysis of historical matters pertaining to Second Temple Judaism and the early Christian movement across the first-centuiy Mediterranean. Chapters 6-8 expose the reader to the Jewish history during the reign of the Greek and Roman empires, Palestinian Judaism, and the quest for the historical Jesus within Judaism. …

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