This is a clear introduction to the New Testament that describes how the various writings were composed over a period of around a century. The text is accessible yet scholarly, addressing issues such as: how could a human figure come to be worshipped as a deity in a monotheistic culture?; what was going on in the society in which such extraordinary events happened? and how did the Gospels and letters come to be written and assume the importance they have? Theissen brings to life, not only the foundation document of Christianity, but also the way in which the Christian church came to be born. He explains who the authors of the various writings of the New Testament were, when they wrote and for whom, and why some early Christian writings were canonized as Holy Scripture and others were not.
Table of Contents
1. The 'New Testament' and its literary forms; 2. Jesus of Nazareth; 3. The Jesus tradition in the first generations: the logia source and the oral tradition of Jesus; The sources of the Gospels; Traditions of the itinerant charismatics: the logia source; Traditions of the local communities: passion and synoptic apocalypse; Popular traditions: the miracle stories; 4. Paul of Tarsus; 5. The beginnings of the letter literature in the first generation: the letters of Paul; I Thessalonians - a letter arising out of the situation The anti-Jewish letters: Galatians and Philippians; a) Galatians; b) Philippians; c) Philemon (excursus); The anti-enthusiastic letters: the letters to the Corinthians; a) Paul and the community in Corinth; b) I Corinthians; c) II Corinthians; The theological synthesis: Romans as Paul's Testament 6. The Synoptic Gospels and the Acts of the Aposties: the new literary form of the second and third generation; Mark; Matthew; Luke-Acts; Writing the Gospels and directing the community; 7. Pseudepigraphical letters: the continuation of the literature of the first generation; The origin of the pseudepigraphy of primitive Christianity; The deutero-Pauline letters; a) II Thessalonians; b) Colossians; c) Ephesians; d) The Pastoral Letters; The catholic letters; a) I Peter; b) James; c) Jude; d) II Peter; e) Hebrews; 8. Johannine writings: the link between Gospel and letter literature; The Gospel of John; The Johannine letters; a) I John; b) II and III John; The Apocalypse of John; 9. The way to the 'New Testament' as a literary unity; Select bibliography; Index