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Book The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)


The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions)

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction (Very Short Introductions).pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    Luke Timothy Johnson(Author)

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As part of the Christian Bible, the New Testament is at once widely influential and (especially among the young and the educated) increasingly unknown. Those who want to know the basics can find in this introduction the sort of information that locates these ancient writings in their historical and literary context. Those who want to learn why these compositions have had such impact can find here an appreciation for the religious experiences of the first Christians that forced them to reinterpret their Jewish and Greek heritage and reshape their symbolic world. In addition to providing the broad conceptual and factual framework for the New Testament ―- including the process by which distinct compositions became a sacred book ―- this introduction provides as well a more detailed examination of specific compositions that have had particularly strong influence, including Paul's letters to the Corinthians and Romans, the four Gospels, and the Book of Revelation.

ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.

Luke Timothy Johnson, a former Benedictine monk, received his Ph.D. in the New Testament from Yale in 1976.He has taught at Yale Divinity School and Indiana University, and is currently the Robert W. Woodruff Distinguished Professor of New Testament and ChristianOrigins at the Candler School of Theology, Emory University.

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Book details

  • PDF | 160 pages
  • Luke Timothy Johnson(Author)
  • OUP USA (22 April 2010)
  • English
  • 3
  • Religion & Spirituality

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Review Text

  • By R. S. Stanier on 30 November 2012

    As with others in the series, this tight volume packs a lot of knowledge and understanding into a relatively short book.It is divided into clear, useful chapter headings: some of these are overall questions, how the New Testament got put together, or what hermeneutics are applied to it; others are on individual sections: one on the Synoptic Gospels, one on Johannine literature, one on St Paul's letters etc..The challenge here is that there can be a blur between when we are reading Johnson's summary of received opinion, and when we are reading Johnson's own personal take on something. For example, he describes the Gospel of Mark as in its essence a piece of Apocalyptic literature, with a few stories and life incidents of Jesus thrown in: his argument comes from emphasisising the otherwise slightly out of place Mark 13, full of wild apocalyptic imagery. Now Johnson may be right, and his view is well-argued, but I would say that his take on it is well left of centre in terms of how scholars in general view Mark's Gospel. (Yes, Mark 13's apocalpytic imagery is important, but there is a human truth in the Passion story and a focus on the kingdom of God in most of it that doesn't square with the book being primarily apocalyptic.)When one picks up "A very short introduction", I believe one is looking more for scholarly consensus than an author's own hobbyhorses.That said, I may have slightly overstressed this aspect. Johnson is excellent at compressing information and argument into a tight format, and - when one is writing this concisely - inevitably one cannot be entirely evenhanded as otherwise the book would be tedious and overlong.He is very balanced in terms of commitment to faith: this can be read by believers and non-believers without alienating either and would be good for keen A-level students, undergraduates just starting the New Testament who need a bit of a basic overview, or just anyone with an interest. It might especially be good for someone who goes to church, listens to sermons but wants a little more learning to go with what they hear.Very good, but not perfect.

  • By Mr. T. E. Rochester on 7 May 2014

    This "Very Short Introduction" is written by Luke Timothy Johnson (LTJ), a former monk who is now a professor of New Testament studies, and does exactly what it says on the tin.The work is divided into 11 Chapters.Chapter 2 contextualises the NT in its contemporary setting, explaining the difference in belief and lifestyle of Jew and Gentile.Chapter 3 focusses on the resurrection, and whilst not suggesting exactly what happened, LTJ lets the reader know that *something* significant must have happened in order for the Christian faith to begin. That *something*, he claims, is that the disciples of Jesus came to believe he had risen from the dead, but he refrains from passing personal comment on that issue.Chapters 6-9 provide an overview of most of the documents of the NT, with only Jude and 1 + 2 Peter being passed over.Chapter 6 looks at the Synoptic Gospels, going through each in turn.Chapter 7 focusses on the life and works of Paul, and as a representation of his work provides a great mini-exegesis of his theology in 1 Corinthians and Romans.Chapter 8 "Two Hidden Treasures" provides an exegesis of James and Hebrews.Chapter 9 finishes this section looking at a Johannine school of thought as found in the Gospel of John, 1,2,3 John and Revelation, again, providing a mini-explanation of these works and their contexts.Chapter 10 discusses the creation and importance of the NT canon in brief detail. Readers should then be aware of CE Hill's "Who Chose the Gospels?" for more info on this one.Chapter 11 provides a neat summary of the continuing importance of the NT in contemporary society, despite the personal failings of Christians, and the ambiguities of the text that have led to oppression in Christ's name.Overall this book is a brilliant introduction, fair and balanced, that presents a broad scholarly consensus of the relevant issues involved, whilst retaining some individual perspectives. However, because of this "catch-all" approach, there are several things that both liberal and conservative historians and believers may find disagreement with.A liberal audience won't like (among other things): A. his suggestion that Paul made use of an amanuensis, so that the Pastoral Letters may indeed be genuine, B. his understanding that the "Gospel" of Thomas is most likely late 2nd century and C. that the canon of the NT represents the best and earliest of our documents about the initial phase of Christian history.A conservative audience probably has more things to take issue with, but hopefully by reading will learn the difference between accepted church tradition and the current position of NT scholarship. For example: A. he dates 2 Peter to the 2nd Century, B. suggests that Millenialism is a gross misreading of the genre of Revelation, C. calling the Holy Spirit an "energy field" several times, D. dating the Gospels 'late' EG 70AD or later, E. suggesting that Daniel was actually written c.167BC and not during the Babylonian exile.There is much of use in here, and it overall provides a fair introduction to key themes and topics of NT studies that both Christian and non-Christian, layman and scholar will find of use.

  • By farm boy on 18 April 2011

    Luke Johnson is an expert in this field and this book gives a wonderful short introduction that offers a very good insight into the circumstances in which each of the books of the New Testament were written. His other books go into greater depth and the next step up from this book would be Writings of the New Testament. This book is pleasingly written in a neutral and academic manner and so the average enquirer does not become burdened with 'religious language'. Key themes that emerge from the book are first that it was the experience of the risen Jesus that inspired the early church rather than any literate 'teaching'. Second that the early Christians used a wide range of 'books' to suit their needs and so we have the whole range included in the New Testament and there is no single 'early' or 'pure' teaching. The item that I find missing from his writing is an explanation of the strong anti semitism in the gospels; anti Pharasee writing is explained, as that party was reforming after the fall of Jerusalem, but not the later added virulent statements.

  • By Mr. S. J. Mckee on 18 October 2016

    This is a brilliant overview and an excellent addition to this brilliant series. Highly recommended to those wishing to understand more of the New Testament.

  • By Guest on 23 November 2016

    Bought this for my philosophy A Level. Seems pretty good, though the layout could have been more engaging.

  • By john randall on 10 November 2015

    A lot of ground covered in a small space. Well written and accessible.

  • By MGD on 22 March 2013

    I am doing the Catholicism course and this book was reallly interesting about the early church, I would recommend it to friends

  • By Guest on 11 June 2015

    A very concise overview of the new testament with many referenced examples shiwing a clear and deep understanding of the holy scriptures. I use it as a guide for reading and meditation. I thoruughly recommend it.

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