9780812695670

Can We Trust the New Testament? : Thoughts on the Reliability of Early Christian Testimony

by
  • ISBN13:

    9780812695670

  • ISBN10:

    0812695674

  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2003-11-26
  • Publisher: Open Court
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Summary

The earliest refernces to Peter reveal a pre-gospel Christianity which had not yet come to believe that Jesus had lived and died in the recent past as described in the gospels. What emerges from critical reading of the sources is that the real Peter and Paul were bitterly divided, but that later traditions tried to represent them as working harmoniously together, and presented Peter as companion of the newly-composed gospels. Peter began to be linked with Rome in the second century A.D., only much later does this legend become elaborated so that Peter is the sole founder of the church of Rome and thus the first pope.
In the final chapters, Professor Wells describes how leading church spokesmen have themselves accepted the non-historicity of much of the New Testament, and shows the varied conclusions for Christian faith they have drawn from this disturbing development.

Author Biography

G.A. Wells is Professor Emeritus of German in the University of London. He is the author of numerous books and articles on the origins of Christianity and on German intellectual history.

Table of Contents

Preface vii
Actual Historical order of Writing of New Testament Books xi
A Revolution in Christology
1(74)
The Earliest Evidence
1(42)
Jesus on Earth
1(11)
The Epistle to the Hebrews
12(5)
Jesus as a Heavenly Figure
17(7)
Man's Redemption and Justification: The Religion of Paul
24(19)
The Transition to the Gospels and to Later Writings
43(9)
Doing Without Jesus in the Second Century
52(6)
The Futile Appeal to Eyewitness Testimony
58(10)
The Believer's Predicament
68(7)
The Acts of the Apostles---A Historical Record?
75(40)
The Author and His Book
75(5)
Christianity and Judaism
80(3)
Eschatology and Relations with Rome
83(4)
Missionary Speeches. The Twelve Apostles and Paul
87(9)
Miracles and the Spread of Christianity
96(7)
The `We' Source and Paul's Travels
103(8)
The Crossing into Europe
103(2)
The Return to Jerusalem and the Money Collection
105(4)
The Final Voyage to Rome
109(2)
A Less Spectacular Beginning
111(2)
Addendum: Wedderburn on the `We' Passages
113(2)
Peter at Rome? The Literary Evidence
115(26)
Some Notable Silences
115(1)
1 and 2 Peter
116(6)
The Tradition Develops
122(3)
Ignatius and 1 Clement
125(11)
Topographical Support
136(1)
The Mythological Process at Work
137(4)
Reinterpreting Early Christian Testimony
141(38)
Radical Anglican Theology
141(26)
Don Cupitt and Hugh Dawes
141(9)
Anthony Freeman
150(7)
Richard Holloway and Mark Oakley
157(6)
Jonathan Blake
163(4)
Responses to Radical Theology
167(4)
From Dogma to Incoherence
171(8)
Conclusion: Poetry and Piety
179(8)
Epilogue: Some Recent New Testament Scholarship
187(12)
Burton Mack
187(3)
Rowan Williams
190(5)
Edward Norman
195(2)
The Shifting Balance
197(2)
Notes 199(18)
Bibliography 217(10)
Index of New Testament References 227(6)
General Index 233

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