Exploring the New Testament

A Guide to the Gospels and Acts

Exploring the Bible Series

2nd Edition, Volume 1

by David Wenham and Steve Walton

Exploring the New Testament
paperback
  • Length: 325 pages
  • Published: September 2016
  •  In stock
  • ISBN: 978-0-8308-5307-6
  • Item Code: 5307
  • Case Quantity: 14

Especially suited for introductory courses that focus on Jesus and the Gospels or the Gospels and Acts, Exploring the New Testament, Volume One introduces students to

  • Jewish and Greco-Roman background
  • literary genres and forms
  • debated issues such as authorship, date and setting
  • content and major themes of each book
  • conventional as well as new approaches to the study of the Gospels and Acts
  • the latest scholarship in the quest for the historical Jesus
  • the intersection of New Testament criticism with contemporary faith and culture

This revised edition features updated text and bibliographies, and incorporates new material gleaned from the experience of classroom use.

CONTENTS

List of Illustrations
How to Use This Book

A. Setting the Scene
1. The Historical Context of Jesus and the New Testament
From the Persian Period to the Jewish War
Sources of Information
Old and New Testaments
Jewish Sources
Greek and Roman Historians
Before the Romans
The Greeks
The Maccabees Versus the Seleucid Empire
The Hasmonean Dynasty
The Romans
The Herod Family
Pontius Pilate
After Pilate
Jesus' Context
Essay Topics
Further Reading
2. Judaism in First-Century Palestine
Five Key Marks of Second Temple Judaism
One True God
God Has Chosen Israel
God Has Provided a Way to Live
God Has Given the People a Land, Focused in the Temple
Hope for the Future
Parties and Groups Within First-Century Judaism
Pharisees
Sadducees
Essenes
The "Fourth Philosophy:" The Revolutionaries
Common Judaism
Further Reading

B. Approaching the Gospels
3. What Are the Gospels?
What Does "Gospel" Mean?
The Gospels As Like Other Ancient Literature
The Gospels As Unllike Other Ancient Literature
Truth in Both Views?
Why Were the Gospels Written?
What About Other Gospels?
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading
4. Where Did the Gospels Come From?
Luke 1:1-4
Using a Gospels Synopsis
Source Criticism
Form Criticism
Redaction Criticism
And Now?
Essay Topics
Further Reading
5. Understanding the Gospels Today
Tools for Interpreting the Gospels
Narrative Criticism
Social-scientific Approaches
Rhetorical Criticism
Reader-response Approaches
"Ideological" Approaches
Structuralism
Post-structuralism and Deconstruction
Reception history
An Approach to Exegesis of the Gospels
The Process of Study
Pull the Ideas Together
Presentation
Essay Topics
Further Reading
Methods of Interpretation: Parables, Miracles, Apocalyptic
The Parables of Jesus
The Miracles of Jesus
Apocalyptic Imagery
Essay Topics
Further Reading
The Historicity of the Gospels
A Subjective Issue?
What Sort of Documents?
What Sources of Information Did They Have?
Doubts About the Historicity of the Contents
Arguments for Historicity from the Contents
Essay Topics
Further Reading
Using the Gospels Today
What Are We To Make of Four Different Gospels?
What About Teaching and Using the Gospels Today?
Essay Topics
Further Reading

C. Understanding Jesus
6. The Quest for the Historical Jesus
Individuals and Movements
Rationalism and Herman Samuel Reimarus
H. G. Paulus and Miracles
David Strauss and Myth
The Liberal Lives of Jesus
Albert Schweitzer and the Eschatological Jesus
Rudolf Bultmann, Myth and Existentialism
The New Quest
The Jesus Seminar
The Third Quest
Other Modern Views of Jesus
Issues
Presuppositions and Subjectivity
Miracles
Sources
The Religious Context
Criteria and Method
History Matters
Essay Topics
Further Reading
7. The Life of Jesus in the Light of History
Birth and Beginnings
John the Baptist
Galilee
The Road to Jerusalem
Last Days in Jerusalem
Essay Topics
Further Reading
8. The Teaching and Aims of Jesus
Why Did Jesus Die?
Jesus' Arrival in Jerusalem
Jesus' Demonstration in the Temple
The Final Steps
Jesus' Perspective
Jesus and the Kingdom of God
God's Reign in the OT and Judaism
Jesus and the Kingdom
The Character of the Kingdom
Welcome for "Sinners"
The Kingdom of the Father
The Response Required
Jesus' Ethics and His View of the Torah
Jesus' Teaching About the Torah
Jesus' Criticisms of the Torah
Was Jesus Consistent?
Who Did Jesus Think He Was?
Jesus As Israel
Jesus, His Disciples and the Renewed Israel
The Aims of Jesus
Jesus As Messiah
Jesus As the Son of God
Jesus As the Son of Man
Summing Up: Jesus and the Purposes of Yahweh
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading

D. Getting into the Four Gospels
9. Mark
Structure
A Walk Through Mark
Some Key Themes
Christology
Discipleship
Background and Purpose
Authorship and Date
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading
10. Matthew
A Look into the Gospel
How the Gospel is Structured
Style
Theological Themes
Jesus Fulfills the OT Story
Jesus Fulfills the Law and Brings the Higher Righteousness
Practical Obedience and Judgment
Jesus Brings Good News to the World: Jesus, Gentiles and the Church
The Church
Kingdom and Christology
Sources of Matthew's Gospel
The Two Source Theory
Background and Purpose
Authorship and Date
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading
11. Luke
Luke-Acts: A Two-Volume Work
Structure
Journeying with Jesus in Luke's Gospel
Some Key Themes
Salvation
Salvation for All
The Holy Spirit
Prayer and Praise
Luke's Sources
Luke's Readers, Purpose and Authorship
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading
12. John
A Walk Through the Gospel
Style
Theological Themes
Jesus As Jewish Messiah
Jesus As Divine Son
Reasons for Believing: Signs and Witnesses
Is Jesus Human in John?
The Death of Jesus: How Does It Work?
Eternal Life
The Holy Spirit
Future Hope?
Believing
The Sources of the Gospel
Dislocations in the Text
A Signs Source
Theological Variation
The Synoptic Gospels
The Background and Purpose of John's Gospel
Possible Explanations of the Differences
Authorship and Date of the Gospel
In Favor of the Traditional Identification
Against the Traditional Identification
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading

E. The Acts of the Apostles
13. Acts
Acts as Luke's Volume Two
What Kind of Book Is Acts?
Style and Presentation
Parallelism
Prophecy and Fulfillment
Structure
A Reading of Acts
Setting the Scene
Mission in Jerusalem
Three Big Men
The Gospel Spreads in Syria-Palestine
Paul Begins to Travel; The Jerusalem Meeting
Paul's Second and Third Journeys
To Jerusalem and Then Rome
Acts and History
Titles and Geography
Time and Dates
A Chronological Outline of Acts
Acts and Galatians
Speeches
Acts and Theology: Some Major Themes
God
Jesus
The Holy Spirit
Mission and the Church
Luke's Readers and Purpose
Readers
Why Did Luke Write?
Authorship and Date
Who Is Luke?
When Did Luke Write?
Reading Acts Today
Some Issues for Today
Essay Topics
Further Reading

Glossary
Index

More

David Wenham (PhD, Manchester) is tutor in New Testament at Trinity College, Bristol, having previously spent many years at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, where he served as dean and vice principal. He is the author of Paul: Follower of Jesus or Founder of Christianity? and coauthor (with Steve Walton) of Exploring the New Testament: A Guide to the Gospels and Acts.

Steve Walton is senior lecturer in Greek and New Testament studies and director of research at London School of Theology. He previously taught New Testament at St. John's College, Nottingham, and Bedford College. An ordained Anglican minister, he has worked in parish ministry in Merseyside and with the Church Pastoral Aid Society as their Vocation and Ministry Adviser. He is the author of Leadership and Lifestyle (Cambridge University Press, 2000), a major study of Paul's Miletus speech and 1 Thessalonians and A Call to Live: Vocation for Everyone (SPCK/Triangle, 1994). Walton also chairs the Acts seminar of the British New Testament Conference and is a member of the steering group of the Book of Acts Section of the Society of Biblical Literature.

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