A moderate-critical historical and theological introduction to the New Testament particularly well-suited to students who maintain a vibrant faith and excitement for in-depth New Testament study.
It is not uncommon these days for New Testament introductions to ignore faith as a central role in reading, interpreting, and learning about the New Testament. Distinguished New Testament scholar Donald Hagner rejects such a notion and believes faith plays a central role-and indeed a primary instigator--for reading the New Testament properly.
But this does not mean that Hagner avoids the hardest questions. On the contrary, it means paying all the more attention. First, Hagner addresses interpretive approaches advocating for the legitimacy of the historical-critical approach in the context of faith, while rejecting the notion so common in "literary criticism" that history is unknowable and that we must find "our place in the story" or that the text only means what we take it to mean. Hagner's primary aim is to identify the status of questions in NT scholarship, and though he often provides his own answers he clearly acknowledges what is in dispute and what can and cannot be answered at this time.
For hanger the historical-critical interpretation is key, and the questions it raises-textual integrity, the synoptic problem, the "historical" Jesus, and a host of other issues are examined in detail. The book is divided into 8 parts that include introductory materials, the Gospels, Acts, Paul's undisputed letters, the disputed Pauline letters, Hebrews & the catholic epistles, Revelation, and text criticism. Finally, Hagner provides an extensive bibliography at every turn for further reading.
This is an excellent text for students in college or in the first years of seminary. It will amply prepare them for a full course of study in biblical literature while also helping so solidify their faith and understand Scripture as inspired. Advanced laity will also benefit from the discussions, and ministers will appreciate it as an excellent up-to-date reference.
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