The New Testament: A Student's Introduction

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  • Edition: 4th
  • Format: Paperback
  • Copyright: 2001-07-16
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Humanities/Social Sciences/Languages
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Stephen Harris's best-selling text is designed for students undertaking their first systematic study of the New Testament. The purpose of the text is twofold: to introduce readers to the content and major themes of each book of the New Testament and to familiarize them with the goals and methods of the most recent New Testament scholarship.

Table of Contents

Part I. An Invitation to the New Testament

1. An Overview of the New Testament

Key Topics/Themes / What Is the New Testament? / The New Testament and the Hebrew Bible / Testament and Covenant / The Septuagint / Language and Literature of the New Testament / Other Early Christian Literature / Scholarly Approaches to the New Testament

2. How the New Testament Was Formed and Handed Down to Us

Key Topics/Themes / Formation of the New Testament Canon / Transmitting the New Testament Texts / English Translations

3. The Two Worlds in Which Christianity Originated: Jewish and Greek

Key Topics/Themes / The One God, Yahweh / The Torah / The Divine Promises / The Jerusalem Temple / The World of Greek Thought and Culture / Greek Philosophy / Greco-Roman Religion / The Mystery Religions

4. The Troubled World Into Which Jesus Was Born

Key Topics/Themes / Alexander and His Successors / Antiochus's Persecution and the Maccabean Revolt / The Roman Emperors / The Jewish Revolt Against Rome

5. The Diverse World of First-Century Judaisms

Key Themes / First-Century Jewish Diversity / The Messiah: First-Century Expectations / Messianic Claimants Before and After Jesus

Part II. Contrasting Portraits of Jesus

6. The Gospels: Form and Purpose

Key Themes / The Gospels and Modern Scholarship / Assumptions and Approaches / The Synoptic Problem / The Gospel of John / Literary Analysis of the Gospels

7. Mark's Portrait of Jesus: The Hidden Messiah and Eschatological Judge

Key Themes / The Gospel According to Mark / Mark's Historical Setting / Mark as a Literary Narrative / Inaugurating the Kingdom: The Galilean Ministry / The Journey to Jerusalem: Jesus' Predestined Suffering / The Jerusalem Ministry: A Week of Sacred Time / Mark's Passion Narrative: Jesus' Trial and Crucifixion / Postlude: The Empty Tomb

8. Matthew's Portrait of Jesus: The Great Teacher

Key Themes / The Gospel According to Matthew / Relation to the Hebrew Bible / Authorship, Purpose, Sources, and Organization / Introduction to the Messiah: Infancy Narrative / The Beginning of Jesus: Proclamation / First Major Discourse: The Sermon on the Mount / First Narrative Section: Ten Miracles / Second Major Discourse: Instructions to the Twelve Apostles / Second Narrative Section: Questions and Controversies / Third Major Discourse: Parables on the Kingdom / Third Narrative Section: From the Rejection in Nazareth to the Transfiguration / Fourth Major Discourse: Instructions to the Church / Fourth Narrative Section: The Jerusalem Ministry / Fifth Major Discourse: Warnings of Final Judgment / Fifth and Final Narrative Section: The Passion Story and Resurrection

9. Luke's Portrait of Jesus: A Savior for "All Nations"

Key Themes / The Gospel According to Luke / The Author and His Sources / Infancy Narratives of the Baptist and Jesus / Jesus' Galilean Ministry and the "Lesser Interpolation" / Luke's Travel Narrative: Jesus' Teachings on the Journey to Jerusalem / The Jerusalem Ministry: Jesus' Challenge to the Holy City / The Final Conflict and Passion Story / Epilog: Postresurrection Appearances in the Vicinity of Jerusalem

10. John's Portrait of Jesus: Divine Wisdom Made Flesh

Key Themes / The Gospel According to John / Authorship / Hymn to the Word (Logos) / The Book of Signs / The Book of Glory / John's Interpretation of the Passion / Epilog: Postresurrection Appearances in Galilee

11. The Other Gospels: Additional Portraits of Jesus

Key Topics/Themes / The Gospel of Thomas / Secret Mark / The Gospel of Peter / Gospels about Jesus: Infancy and Childhood / Multiple Views of Jesus

12. The Continuing Quest for the Historical Jesus

Key Themes / Early Historical References to Jesus / A Survey of the Historical Search for the "Real" Jesus / Renewing the Quest / The Continuing Scholarly Debate / Some Criteria for Testing the Authenticity of Jesus: Word and Deeds / A Non-Apocalyptic Wisdom Teacher / Some General Agreements About the Historical Jesus / Jesus: Teaching About the Kingdom / Wisdom and the Kingdom of God


13. Acts of the Apostles

Key Themes / The Divine Plan of Humanity's Salvation / Prolog and Account of the Ascension / Founding the Jerusalem Church / The Work of Peter and the Apostles / Persecution of the Hellenist-Jewish Christians: The First Missions / Preparation for the Gentile Mission: The Recruitment of Paul and Cornelius / The First Missionary Journey of Barnabus and Paul: The Jerusalem Conference / Paul's Second Missionary Journey: Evangelizing Greece / Paul's Third Missionary Journey: Revisiting Asia Minor and Greece / Paul's Arrest in Jerusalem and Imprisonment in Caesarea / Paul's Journey to Rome and His Preaching to Roman Jews


14. Paul: Apostle to the Nations

Key Themes / Seeking the Historical Paul / The Historical Reliability of Acts / Paul's Experience of the Risen Jesus / Dating Paul¿s Career / Paul's Letters / Paul's Major Assumptions and Concerns

15. Unity, Freedom, and Christ's Return: Paul's Letters to Thessalonica and Corinth

Key Themes / First Letter to the Thessalonians / First Letter to the Corinthians / Second Letter to the Corinthians

16. Freedom from Law and Justification by Faith: Galatians and Romans

Key Themes / An Angry Letter to the "Stupid" Galatians / Letter to the Romans

17. Letters from Prison: Philippians and Philemon

Key Themes / Place of Origin / Letter to the Philippians / Letter to Philemon / Paul's Lasting Influence

18. Continuing the Pauline Tradition: 2 Thessalonians, Colossians, Ephesians, the Pastoral Epistles, 1 Clement, and the Epistle of Barnabas

Key Themes / The Problem of Pseudonymity / Second Letter to the Thessalonians / A Disputed Letter to the Colossians / Letter to the Ephesians / The Pastorals: Letters to Timothy and Titus / The Pastor's Contribution / The Epistle of Barnabus


19. General Letters on Faith and Behavior: Hebrews, the Catholic Epistles, and the Teaching (Didache) of the Twelve Apostles

Key Topics/Themes / Authors and Dates / The Book of Hebrews / James / 1 Peter / Letter of Jude / 2 Peter / Letters from the Johannine Community / The Didache (Teaching of the Twelve Apostles)

20. Continuing the Apocalyptic Hope: The Book of Revelation

Key Topics/Themes / Revelation and the Apocalyptic Tradition / Jesus' Letters to the Seven Churches / Visions in Heaven / Signs in Heaven: The Woman, the Dragon, the Beast, and the Seven Plagues / Other Hellenistic Jewish and Christian Apocalypses / The Apocalypse of Peter and the Shift from Cosmic to Personal Eschatology

21. The Judeo-Christian Bible and Subsequent History

The Evolution of the Hebrew Bible and the Christian Greek Scriptures / Constantine the Great / The Church and the Secular World / Shocks and Readjustments

At the end of each chapter:


Questions for Review

Questions for Discussion and Reflection

Terms and Concepts to Remember

Recommended Reading

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