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Review Of The Writings Of The New Testament

613 words - 3 pages

The Writings of the New Testament, by Luke Timothy Johnson is currently in it’s third edition, which is updated with study and reflection questions to help the reader delve deeper into the material through personal study. It is also accompanied by a companion website for teachers and students to be used in a classroom setting. The book is over five hundred pages long and has twenty-six chapters broken up into six parts: The Symbolic World of the New Testament, The Christian Experience, The Synoptic Tradition, Pauline Traditions, Other Canonical Witnesses, and The Johannine Traditions. The book is rounded out with a comprehensive glossary, index, abbreviations guide, and additional appendices.

Johnson’s work is not simply another commentary on the New Testament, nor could it be classified as just an introduction. Rather, it focuses more on the symbolism of the text and setting up various models to use in the interpretation of the important themes used throughout the New Testament as a whole. Johnson introduces several different models that can be used as a lense for the scriptures. These models include, anthropological, historical, literary, and religious. He lays out the requirement for a model as “one flexible enough to respect the variety of the individual writings, yet sufficiently definite to deal with them as parts of a coherent whole.” (4)

One of the qualities that sets this book apart from a standard commentary, is the question of “why.” While most commentaries take the events of the New Testament at face value and simply attempt to offer insight into the setting, background, or culture, Johnson digs deeper to look at the existential question of the New Testament. In his discussion of the synoptic gospels, he poses the question “why were such narratives written in the first place?” (140) Rather than...

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