Request for recommendation: Technical and critical NT introduction

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David Knoll | Forum Activity | Posted: Sun, Dec 2 2018 8:37 AM

I am interested in reading a thorough and comprehensive critical introduction to the NT. The book should be written from a secular and academic point of view. It should be technical, and assume I already know Greek and something about Hellenistic culture. What scholarly resource would you recommend for me in Logos or as a hardcopy? 

many thanks,

David

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DAL | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 8:55 AM

Raymond E. Brown’s volume is excellent: https://www.logos.com/product/46698/an-introduction-to-the-new-testament

DAL

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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 8:59 AM

I find the request for a "secular… point of view" somewhat odd. It seems to me that a secular introduction to a non-secular book is likely to end up missing the point. But the best shortish critical introduction is probably Raymond Brown's (Brown is Catholic, but it's not a Catholic introduction, if that makes sense.)

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Denise | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 9:18 AM

My guess is you're wanting modernity, etc and its assumptions. Which largely anchor in the late 200s and early 300s.

My favorite of all time is Kirsopp Lake. A century ago, so he was at the cusp of conflicting new MSS's and what to do. But his mindset seems anchored in the apostolic fathers, and tracing to the monastic sources of the copying.

https://www.logos.com/product/24069/the-text-of-the-new-testament 

Now, specific to your request, Ehrman's New Testament  volumes are squarely centered. He's unforgiving, blunt, a scholar, and even if one violently disagrees, his volumes are heavily used in the universities, good or bad.

https://www.amazon.com/s/ref=nb_sb_noss?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=bart+ehrman+new+testament 


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Mark Barnes | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 9:42 AM

Denise:
Now, specific to your request, Ehrman's New Testament  volumes are squarely centered. He's unforgiving, blunt, a scholar, and even if one violently disagrees, his volumes are heavily used in the universities, good or bad.

But, he is perhaps over-enamoured by his own persona as the sceptics' poster boy.

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Josiah | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 9:56 AM

Introductions can only get so technical and academic.  If you want technical and academic you should go to journals and monographs, or commentaries like Anchor Yale (some volumes aren't even written by confessing Christians and it is not a requirement) or WBC (which is more confessional but has the best textual notes, especially OT, more thorough than the BHS apparatus...).  Also most dictionaries like AYBD have good introductions to each book of the Bible under the headings of those books.

It seems to me there are two main purposes to introductions.  One focuses on background -- archaeology, extra-biblical literature, history -- basically the things not in your Bible that might be related.  The style could be author's biased paraphrase, or an enumeration of scholarly conclusions with or without response.  Sometimes it is simply a bare bones survey with references to point readers to the sources to decide for themselves.

The other aims to provide a framework so people can organize the information within their heads, especially in preparation for more detailed inquiry, so this can best be stored referentially in memory (thus introduction).  This type of survey should pay special attention to the boundaries of ideas, where things are similar and where things differ.

I enjoyed Raymond Brown's aforementioned introduction because he makes clear his scope (content of the NT not background) and even includes a section on Inspiration/Revelation which is a good idea for any text that intends to introduce the content.  The chapters are not very long and his writing is engaging.  He addresses some critical issues, but it does not feel like that is his primary focus.

Although https://www.logos.com/product/46557/an-introduction-to-the-bible would be my framework recommendation.  While covering the whole Bible -- not just New Testament -- it does a good job of delineating the "top issues" with every book, so you can quickly distinguish them from each other (especially useful for exams in survey courses).

If you are more interested in background, however, I would recommend totally different resources.

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David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 1:46 PM

Josiah:
The style could be author's biased paraphrase, or an enumeration of scholarly conclusions with or without response.  Sometimes it is simply a bare bones survey with references to point readers to the sources to decide for themselves.

This suits me.

Posts 911
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 1:57 PM

Thank you everyone for your responses. I didn't want this to become a debate about the "right" way to read the NT. 

I will have a look at Brown which I actually already own on a different platform (not THAT one), and I will get hold of Ehrman's introduction, which I find extremely interesting. 

As king Josiah so wisely noted, to dive deeper I will naturally need recommendations for appropriate commentaries. I will ask again once I get there.

Again thank you all for your recommendations which have been really helpful.

David

Posts 406
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 2:02 PM

This one is not on Logos but it is on Kindle:

Introduction to the New Testament: Reference Edition by Carl R. Holladay

It's technical and critical, and very in depth. It's also not cheap. It's available in both print and Kindle. I prefer the Kindle edition because the print edition is paperback and a bit unwieldy for a book of its size. You may want to check it out from a seminary or university library first to see if it's what you're looking for.

If you want it to come to Logos you can vote for it on UserVoice here: https://suggestbooks.uservoice.com/forums/308269-book-suggestions/suggestions/18438250-introduction-to-the-new-testament-reference-editi

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Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Sun, Dec 2 2018 2:26 PM

Here's the NT intro they are using at the seminary I went to right now. My seminary was on the liberal side so usually the resources they use are fairly critical. I didn't use this one when I was there so I can't vouch for it myself.

It's not in Logos, but it is on Kindle, and much cheaper than the previous one I recommended.

An Introduction to the New Testament: History, Literature, Theology by M. Eugene Boring

However, based on your request I think Holladay is your best bet. I actually own that one and I know it's thorough, technical, and critical like you want. Holladay was my Greek Exegesis professor and he's great, a brilliant scholar so you can't go wrong. I just wanted to provide a cheaper option just in case you didn't want to drop $85 on an NT introduction.

EDIT: Upon sampling Boring's introduction I definitely recommend that you go with Holladay's introduction listed above. Boring's approach is not what you're looking for.

Posts 911
David Knoll | Forum Activity | Replied: Mon, Dec 3 2018 11:01 PM

Kiyah:

This one is not on Logos but it is on Kindle:

Introduction to the New Testament: Reference Edition by Carl R. Holladay

Thank you! I have found a previous edition and it looks promising. 

Posts 406
Kiyah | Forum Activity | Replied: Tue, Dec 4 2018 10:01 AM

David Knoll:

Kiyah:

This one is not on Logos but it is on Kindle:

Introduction to the New Testament: Reference Edition by Carl R. Holladay

Thank you! I have found a previous edition and it looks promising. 

Yes

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