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Chalice Introduction to the New Testament [Paperback]

By Dennis E. Smith (Editor)
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Item description for Chalice Introduction to the New Testament by Dennis E. Smith...

Each contributor is a respected scholar in the subject of his or her essay; together they present a variety of methods and approaches to biblical interpretation that includes basic data, relevant social context, aspects of religious thought and institutions, literary features, organization, primary theological teachings, relevance for the church today, and a recommended bibliography. Essays are organized chronologically to best depict the development of early Christianity.

Publishers Description
Each contributor is a respected scholar in the subject of his or her essay; together they present a variety of methods and approaches to biblical interpretation that includes basic data, relevant social context, aspects of religious thought and institutions, literary features, organization, primary theological teachings, relevance for the church today, and a recommended bibliography. Essays are organized chronologically to best depict the development of early Christianity. Chapters and contributors are: The New Testament and Its World, Dennis E. Smith; The Early Paul: Galatians, 1 & 2 Thessalonians, Richard E. Sturm; Paul as Missionary/Pastor: Corinthian Correspondence, Philemon, Philippians, Rodney L. Parrott; Paul as Theologian: Romans, Dennis E. Smith; The Pauline Tradition: Colossians, Ephesians, Bonnie Thurston; Jesus and the Gospels, Dennis E. Smith; The Birth of Narrative Theology: The Gospel of Mark, M. Eugene Boring; A Jewish-Christian Gospel: The Gospel of Matthew, Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder and Dennis E. Smith; The Story of Jesus According to Luke: The Gospel of Luke, Ronald J. Allen; The Story of the Church According to Luke: The Acts of the Apostles, Ronald J. Allen; Word Becomes Flesh: The Gospel of John, Larry Paul Jones; The Domestication of Paul: The Pastoral Epistles, Bonnie B. Thurston; The Epistolary Tradition: The Letters of James, 1-2 Peter, 1-3 John, and Jude, Nancy Claire Pittman; An Exhortation to Faithfulness: Hebrews, Judith Hoch Wray; Consummation and Celebration: The Revelation of John, Judith Hoch Wray

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Item Specifications...

Studio: Christian Board of Publication
Pages   352
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.98" Width: 6.06" Height: 0.98"
Weight:   1.16 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 31, 2004
Publisher   Christian Board of Publication
ISBN  082720485X  
ISBN13  9780827204850  

Availability  61 units.
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More About Dennis E. Smith

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Dennis E. Smith is professor of New Testament, Phillips Theological Seminary, Tulsa, Oklahoma.

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Product Categories

1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament > Study
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Reference > New Testament

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Books > Church & Ministry > Church Life > Protestant Denominations

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Reviews - What do customers think about Chalice Introduction to the New Testament?

Not that I'm biased . . .  Jan 21, 2005
. . .but I should make a disclaimer at the outset that the editor of this book (Dennis Smith) was also the professor who used this book in my Intro to New Testament class. So I guess I am biased. That said, I did get a lot out of this book, and I enjoyed the wide range of authors and their perspectives in this text. This is clearly a more moderate-to-liberal text (which is fine by me), and very Disciples oriented. The index was easy to use and helpful in the writing of my papers during the semester. I liked the suggested readings at the end of the chapters; they were books I might actually read (and I did refer to some of them). This is a book I will use outside the classroom, when it comes time to preach and teach in a ministerial setting.
A good and useful introduction  Jan 5, 2005
True to the overall ecumenical spirit of the Christian Church (Disciples of Christ), this introduction to the New Testament, while written and edited by scholars affiliated with the CC(Doc), is broadly accessible and wide ranging in its approach to the scriptures of the New Testament. The scholars included in this volume bring long experience in teaching and church work to the task of understanding and explaining the different parts of the New Testament. According to the editor, Dennis Smith, this text is primarily meant to be of service to pastors, seminary students and instructors, and interested laypersons. While the language of the essays included here is not complicated or jargon-heavy, some basic familiarity with the biblical text is assumed.

This introduction is different from many, as most introductions to the New Testament (of which there are dozens, if not hundreds) are written by one author, or a small team of authors. There is merit in that approach - one gets a systematic and structured approach to all the texts in one package. The drawback with that approach, addressed here, is that the texts in the New Testament were not all written by the same person, and possibly by people who didn't know each other (or each other's writings). The diversity inherent in the text is lost when one scholarly voice addressed all of them according to her or his particular framework. Also, as Smith states in his preface, it is difficult in today's research environment for any one person to be equally adept at all the different texts. The Johannine literature, for example, is very different in many ways from the texts of Luke-Acts.

There are chapters for each of the gospels, as well as a general chapter by Smith on the idea of Jesus and the Gospels, in which Smith looks at issues of Jesus and the stories about him that cross the various gospels. This includes issues of sources, historical research, and the ways in which we evaluate the biblical texts today. The chapters on Luke and Acts, as stories of Jesus and the Church respectively, are both written by Ronald J. Allen, a professor and friend of mine from my seminary; these two books are written by the same author, and Allen has done research on these (his own book on preaching issues dealing with Luke-Acts is also worthwhile). M. Eugene Boring covers the gospel of Mark, looking at it as a narrative theological text. Stephanie Buckhanon Crowder and Dennis Smith collaborated on the chapter of Matthew, calling it a Jewish-Christian gospel. Larry Paul Jones contributed the chapter on John, looking at some of the differences with the synoptic gospels, as well as some of the paradoxes of John's Christology, and the relevance of the message today.

This is an important point about the book - each chapter concludes with a selection of works, not entitled 'Sources' or 'Bibliography', but rather 'Suggested Resources for the Pastor's Library'. This is meant to be a practical, useful book. While the chapters are organised along different lines, they all address key issues of origin (date, authorship, etc.), primary interpretations, and relevance for today's congregations and people. For example, the letters of Paul are addressed in five chapters (by Richard Sturm, Rodney Parrott, Dennis Smith, and Bonnie Thurston), and in each the authors address the primary issues contained in the letters not just for the original communities receiving the letters, but their continuing relevance (and occasional difficulties) for today's generation. One such issue is that of supercessionism often attributed to Paul's theology - Smith discusses the issue, bringing in texts from Paul's writings (particularly Romans) as well as theologians and biblical scholars such as Karl Barth and Krister Stendahl. Thurston sees great importance in the message of the pastoral epistles for today's world, with their claims for organisation and sound teaching, but also warns against the context of the epistles, being thoroughly grounded in the ancient world, being used as the same context for today.

The non-Pauline letters in the New Testament are addressed by Nancy Claire Pittman and Judith Hoch Wray, who also takes on the task of working with the Revelation to John. Pittman looks at the texts of James, Peter, John and Jude, exploring their contents and rhetorical devices, some of which seem strange to our modern sensibilities (there is rather more name-calling and hard-line sentiments here, hardly comfortable words), but which still have theological and spiritual merit in many ways. Wray looks at Hebrews not as a letter, but as one of the earliest homilies we have, investigating its structure and message. Wray addresses the issue of supercessionism in this text, too (one of the heavy themes of Hebrews), seeing it in the context of being an internal struggle no loner relevant for today's church. 'Christianity no longer needs to justify its existence apart from Judaism,' Wray states. Wray does see Hebrews as an example of excellence in preaching, with many lessons for current preachers in terms of style and broad appeal to diverse audiences. Wray's discussion of the Revelation to John is honest about the difficulties of dealing with apocalyptic and prophetic literature responsibly, leaving many questions of interpretation up to the reader.

The chapters in this book can be read in almost any order, and would be very useful for a parish-based course in the introduction to the New Testament in most any denomination. Each chapter averages only 25 pages or so, making it a book easy to complete in the course of a semester or season. There are good insights in each chapter, presented in open and non-dogmatic ways, allowing readers to gain understanding, and hopefully inspiration to do further reading and reflection.


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