Sorting by


Different Ways of Describing the Theology of the New Testament

To return to the current thread: I’ve been discussing why most scholars are not equipped, trained, or inclined to write books for a general audience, and that took me, naturally, to the field of scholarship in which I myself was principally trained, biblical studies.  My ultimate point is going be a somewhat ironic one, that precisely because my particular interests were in one of the most highly technical, obtuse, mind-numbingly detailed aspects of New Testament studies, this (strangely) made it *more* possible for me to write books for non-specialists.  The logic will not be obvious, but I’ll explain it. To get to that I’ve been talking about the two areas most of my peers and colleagues in my PhD program were principally interested in:  (1) the exegesis of the New Testament (the matter of interpreting the texts of the New Testament in order to see what they appear to have meant in their original context – not an easy task, given all the work required for it, including an understanding of the Greek language and [...]

Another Approach to New Testament Theology

There is another aspect of the study of New Testament theology to what I discussed in yesterday’s post.   That post was focused on how one “does theology” with the New Testament – that is, how one uses the New Testament texts in such a way as to inform, critique, call into question, authorize, and dialogue with the important intellectual and practical aspects of life as a Christian, both individually and in community.  That is the sort of thing theologians do who are interested in the sacred texts of Scripture, and it is something many of my friends who were doing PhD’s in New Testament studies were ultimately invested in, especially since most of them saw their graduate training in the field to be preparation for serving the Christian church. But there is another equally important aspect of New Testament theology that is more historical in its focus.  If you imagine a spectrum of disciplines with exegesis (the determination of what an author originally meant, to put it in its simplest terms) on one end, and [...]

Studying New Testament Theology

This thread has turned into an explanation of why most New Testament scholars – that is, professional researchers and teachers with a PhD in the field – are not well situated to write books for a general audience.   My reflections on that question – once I get around to it – are probably not what one would expect.  At least they seem ironic to me.  But before going there (in a later post), I should stress that what is true of NT scholars is true of virtually all scholars in virtually all fields of intellectual inquiry.  Most are not equipped (or inclined) to write books for their next door neighbor.  They are trained and interested in producing scholarship for other scholars, sometimes just for a small coterie of scholars who are specialists in their own narrowly focused field of intense research.  (I need to emphasize that I do not think this is a bad thing at *all*.  I think it is a very good thing.  Scholars are trained to advance scholarship.  We only need a [...]

Go to Top