Ebooks

As ancient literature and a cornerstone of the Christian faith, the New Testament has exerted a powerful religious and cultural impact. But how much do we really know about its origins? Who were the people who actually wrote the sacred texts that became part of the Christian Bible? The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction authoritatively addresses these questions, offering a fresh perspective on the underpinnings of this profoundly influential collection of writings. In this concise, engaging book, noted New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson takes readers on a journey back to the time of the early Roman Empire, when the New Testament was written in ordinary Greek (koine) by the first Christians. The author explains how the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Revelation evolved into the canon of sacred writings for the Christian religion, and how they reflect a reinterpretation of the symbolic world and societal forces of first-century Greco-Roman and Jewish life. Equally important, readers will find both a positive and critical reading of the New Testament--one that looks beyond its theological orientation to reveal an often-surprising diversity of viewpoints. This one-of-a-kind introduction engages four distinct dimensions of the earliest Christian writings--anthropological, historical, religious, and literary--to provide readers with a broad conceptual and factual framework. In addition, the book takes an in-depth look at compositions that have proven to be particularly relevant over the centuries, including Paul's letters to the Corinthians and Romans and the Gospels of John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Ideal for general readers and students alike, this fascinating resource characterizes the writing of the New Testament not as an unknowable abstraction or the product of divine intervention, but as an act of human creativity by people whose real experiences, convictions, and narratives shaped modern Christianity.
As ancient literature and a cornerstone of the Christian faith, the New Testament has exerted a powerful religious and cultural impact. But how much do we really know about its origins? Who were the people who actually wrote the sacred texts that became part of the Christian Bible? The New Testament: A Very Short Introduction authoritatively addresses these questions, offering a fresh perspective on the underpinnings of this profoundly influential collection of writings. In this concise, engaging book, noted New Testament scholar Luke Timothy Johnson takes readers on a journey back to the time of the early Roman Empire, when the New Testament was written in ordinary Greek (koine) by the first Christians. The author explains how the Gospels, Acts of the Apostles, and Revelation evolved into the canon of sacred writings for the Christian religion, and how they reflect a reinterpretation of the symbolic world and societal forces of first-century Greco-Roman and Jewish life. Equally important, readers will find both a positive and critical reading of the New Testament--one that looks beyond its theological orientation to reveal an often-surprising diversity of viewpoints. This one-of-a-kind introduction engages four distinct dimensions of the earliest Christian writings--anthropological, historical, religious, and literary--to provide readers with a broad conceptual and factual framework. In addition, the book takes an in-depth look at compositions that have proven to be particularly relevant over the centuries, including Paul's letters to the Corinthians and Romans and the Gospels of John, Mark, Matthew, and Luke. Ideal for general readers and students alike, this fascinating resource characterizes the writing of the New Testament not as an unknowable abstraction or the product of divine intervention, but as an act of human creativity by people whose real experiences, convictions, and narratives shaped modern Christianity.
Luke Timothy Johnson begins his study of the practical issue of how decisions are made in the church by admitting to a bias: that there ought to be a connection between what the church claims to be, and how it does things. Because the church claims to be a community of faith, it does not reach decisions simply on the basis of good management policy, or the analysis of market trends, or efficiency, or even ideological consistency, but in response to God's activity in the world that presses upon us and urges us to decision.

Faced with how to respond to God's leading, the church decides what to do on the basis of two realities: Scripture and discernment. Because it calls the church into being Scripture is the fundamental authority in the church's life. Yet it is not enough for a congregation simply to turn to the Bible when a decision must be reached, for Scripture does not directly address all issues which face the church today, and those it does often reflect greatly differing historical and social contexts than our own.

Thus, added to the authority of Scripture in the church's decision making is a process of discernment, in which the members of the community--under the guidance of the Holy Spirit--recall how God has worked in their lives as individuals and as a community and discern together God's direction for the future. Johnson argues that this very pattern of decision making can be found in Scripture itself, notably in one of the central events of the book of Acts. Beginning with the conversion of Cornelius and culminating in the Apostolic Council of Acts 15, we see how a string of smaller narratives combine to tell the story of God's movement within their midst, and how this narrative became the basis for the reinterpretation of Scripture and the inclusion of Gentiles into the fellowship of the church.

Looking at a number of thorny issues facing the contemporary church, Johnson demonstrates how the interaction of Scripture and discernment can and must become the basis for how we respond to the decisions with which the church wrestles today.

Luke Johnson here issues a provocative call for a radically new direction in New Testament studies that can change the way we have viewed the entire phenomenon of early Christianity.

Johnson is convinced that the dominant ways of studying early Christianity tend to miss its specifically religious character, because of a disjunction between formal religion and "popular" religion. He proposes in this book, by means of three case studies -- baptism, glossolalia, and meals -- to show how a more holistic, phenomenological approach can be made. This makes possible the inclusion in the study of early Christianity the world of healings and religious power, of ecstasy and spirit -- in short, the religious experience of real persons.

It is this subtle yet real presence of religious experience that alters the discipline and practice of New Testament scholarship, as Johnson notes: "This is neither history in the strict sense of the term, nor is it theology. That's the whole point: we need a new way of looking in order to see what we can't otherwise see. If I have succeeded at least in whetting an appetite for getting at what these chapters try to get at, I am content, for what they try to get at is important."

Johnson concludes that there is still much to be learned about early Christianity as a religion, if we can find a way to get at the category of real experience. He maintains that early Christian texts reflect lives that are caught up by and defined by a power not in their control but controlled instead by the crucified and raised Messiah Jesus.

©2019 GoogleSite Terms of ServicePrivacyDevelopersArtistsAbout Google|Location: United StatesLanguage: English (United States)
By purchasing this item, you are transacting with Google Payments and agreeing to the Google Payments Terms of Service and Privacy Notice.