True to his innovative form, Ben Witherington in his book, The Indelible Image has found another creative way to explicate a basic framework for theological study and expression. Seeking to write a Theology of the New Testament (framework), Witherington asks why it is that we try to understand elements of New Testament theology apart from history, ethics, and praxis. They are certainly not unrelated, and indeed feed into the very heart of one another.
Witherington believes that the globally focused New Testament Theology cannot be accomplished without including all of the components (ethics & praxis) that support it (explication). This assumption creates the focus of his New Testament Theology, The Indelible Image Witherington traces his theme throughout all of the New Testament and into the early Christian period, up to canonization. His efforts are an attempt to break from more traditional organizing rubrics, such as God, Christ, or even the Church and illuminate theological richness of the New Testament through its primary (at least in terms of space that is devoted to it) focus, how we behave, and how we show our love.
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Customer Reviews for The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought of the New Testament, Volume 1: The Individual Witnesses
Review 1 for The Indelible Image: The Theological and Ethical Thought of the New Testament, Volume 1: The Individual Witnesses
Date:January 12, 2010
Wesley Vander Lugt
Witherington sets out in the first of his two-volume project to investigate each individual New Testament witness through integrative theological and ethical analysis. In doing so, he seeks to correct a lamentable weakness of New Testament studies: the separation of theology and ethics, belief and behavior, into two different spheres, with ethics taking backseat to theology (23). In contrast to this bifurcation, Witherington demonstrates the organic relationship and blending of theology and ethics in each New Testament book, ultimately converging in Christology: the contemplation of and conformation to the indelible image of Christ (53-54).The Indelible Image is immense both in sheer size and quality of theological-ethical reflection on the New Testament. Written in clear, simple prose, the book reads like a commentary and may be best used for this purpose. A comprehensive Scripture index will guide the reader to find relevant passages, although sometimes the reader will be surprised by passages Witherington chooses to pass over (like John 10). Despite this suspicious selectivity, Witherington demonstrates a fitting balance between scholarly exegesis and practical reflection.Even though Witherington deals with each New Testament voice on its own, common themes continue to appear, most notably the interrelationship and interdependence of theology and ethics, at the heart of which is the person and work of Jesus Christ. These and other common themes among all New Testament writers prime the pump for the next volume of the Indelible Image series due out in April, focusing on the collective New Testament witness. You wont want to miss it! This first volume has left an indelible mark on our understanding of the theological and ethical thought world of the New Testament.