UBS Reader’s Edition on Clearance

UBS Greek New Testament
United Bible Societies

In case anyone is still looking for a Christmas gift for themselves or another biblical studies nerd, the Westminster Bookstore now has a limited quantity of the UBS Greek New Testament: A Reader’s Edition on clearance at 55% off for $26.98. The edition’s most distinctive feature is its “on-page dictionary providing translations of all vocabulary items occurring 30 times or less in the New Testament at the bottom of each page”; a PDF of Matthew 1–3 is available from the product page.

Donnerstag Digest (December 2, 2010)

This week in the biblioblogosphere:

  • Bob Cargill notes that, on December 11, the National Geographic Channel will re-air its special on “Writing the Dead Sea Scrolls.”
  • Brian LePort hypertextually ponders Derridean non-extra-textuality and deconstruction, and he notes twenty-nine doctoral theses that the University of Durham has recently made available.
  • Michael Bird shows how to benefit most from the new SBL Greek New Testament and notes that the new Journal for the Study of Paul and His Letters now has its own blog.
  • Google Editions are poised to hit the e-book market later this month and allow fee-based full access to copyrighted titles. For some additional details and thoughts, see Blog Kindle and Google Books Help.

Library Addition (August 13, 2010)

Introduction to the New Testament
D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo

Thanks to the kind folks at Zondervan, I just received the second edition of D. A. Carson and Douglas Moo’s Introduction to the New Testament for use this fall. I had used the first edition (co-authored also with Leon Morris) when I took my initial New Testament Introduction course, so I will be interested (finally—this second edition has been available since 2005) to see firsthand what revisions have been made.

Judaism in Paul and Palestinian Judaism

E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders

The New Perspective on Paul has its beginnings in “the Sanders revolution” (Wright 18). Indeed, without Sanders’ considerable historical work, the movement would almost certainly not be the significant force it is today. Paul and Palestinian Judaism is Sanders’ most systematic presentation of the fruits of his extended historical survey of Judaism, and one can scarcely work long in Pauline studies without reckoning thoroughly with this work (cf. Carson, O’Brien, and Seifrid 4).1 The first two-thirds of the work surveys ancient Judaism and attempts to draw some conclusions about it, especially as these conclusions relate to the frequently-leveled charge that the Judaism of the period was systemically legalistic. That is, Sanders is interested to discern whether Palestinian Judaism, by its very nature, encouraged or even demanded legalism.

To build a case for his answer to this question, Paul and Palestinian Judaism provides Sanders’ examination of vast quantities of Jewish literature. Overall, Sanders thinks that this literature represents the covenant as preceding and necessitating the commandments, rather than portraying the covenant as being preceded by the commandments and merited by obedience to them. As such,

“[t]he all-pervasive view [of what constitutes the essence of Jewish religion and of how that religion ‘works’] can best be summarized as ‘covenantal nomism.’ Briefly put, covenantal nomism is the view that one’s place in God’s plan is established on the basis of the covenant and that the covenant requires as the proper response of man his obedience to its commandments, while providing means of atonement for transgression” (Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism 75; italics added).

Consequently, according to Sanders, covenant preceded commandment in ancient Judaism, and the commandments were obeyed so those already in the covenant might remain in the covenant (Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism 420). Thus, Sanders avers:

The frequent Christian charge against Judaism, it must be recalled, is not that some individual Jews misunderstood, misapplied and abused their religion, but that Judaism necessarily tends towards petty legalism, self-serving and self-deceiving casuistry, and a mixture of arrogance and lack of confidence in God. But the surviving Jewish literature is as free of these characteristics as any I have ever read. By consistently maintaining the basic framework of covenantal nomism, the gift and demand of God were kept in a healthy relationship with each other, the minutiae of the law were observed on the basis of the large principles of religion and because of commitment to God, and humility before God who chose and would ultimately redeem Israel was encouraged (Sanders, Paul and Palestinian Judaism 427; italics added).

For Sanders, then, Palestinian Judaism was not the legalistic religion that has frequently appeared in Protestant, New Testament scholarship.2 Instead, during the New Testament period, Judaism itself was grounded on the gracious act of God in choosing Israel to be his people.


1 Some of Sander’s other, significant works in this area include: Jesus and Judaism; Jewish and Christian Self-Definition; Judaism: Practice and Belief; and Paul, the Law, and the Jewish People.

2 For a brief overview of the effect Sanders thinks this understanding of Judaism should have on one’s interpretation of Paul, see his Paul: A Very Short Introduction.

In this post:

D. A. Carson, Peter O'Brien, and Mark Seifrid
D. A. Carson, Peter O’Brien, and Mark Seifrid
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders

E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders
E. P. Sanders

N. T. Wright
N. T. Wright

Identity of the New Testament Text

Wilbur Pickering’s updated defense of the majority text available online. Whatever one’s perspective on methods of textual criticism, Pickering’s analysis at least merits familiarity.

In concert with the theory of textual criticism that he outlines here, Pickering has also posted his own reconstruction of the New Testament according to the majority text. In these files, Pickering has included textual apparatuses that provide his statistical analyses for selected variants from these texts.

The Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861–1986: Summary

Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright
Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright

N. T. Wright’s revision of Stephen Neill’s, Interpretation of the New Testament, 1861–1986, attempts a concise, but significantly narratival, survey of various issues in New Testament scholarship during the period in question. To this end, Neill and Wright discuss: (i) the challenge to orthodoxy (1–34); (ii) the New Testament and its relationship to history (35–64); (iii) what the New Testament says and means (65–111); (iv) Jesus and His relationship to the Gospel (112–46); (v) Greeks and their relationship to Christians (147–204); (vi) “Re-enter[ing] Theology” (205–51); (vii) the theory of a gospel behind the Gospels (252–312); (viii) the Jewish background of the Gospel (313–59); and (ix) the relationship between history and theology (360–449).

While examining the challenge to orthodoxy, Neill and Wright concentrate on summarizing the noteworthy, continental contributions to New Testament interpretation from Enlightenment’s early days through the middle 1800s. “The New Testament and History” continues this examination, while giving special emphasis to the work of “the Cambridge three” of Lightfoot, Westcott, and Hort. Chapter three discusses developments and issues in textual criticism and exegesis. “Jesus and the Gospel” handles research on the synoptic tradition, especially as relates to the synoptic problem. “Greeks and Christians” mainly investigates the possibilities for and evidence of influence of Greek thought on the development of earliest Christianity. In the chapter titled, “Re-enter Theology,” Neill and Wright concentrate almost totally on Albert Schweitzer’s Quest of the Historical Jesus, Karl Barth’s dialectical theology, and Rudolf Bultmann’s attempt to discover the Christian kerygma—that is, the essence of the Christian faith. Further, Neill and Wright examine the possibility of a written source(s) that may stand behind the synoptic Gospels. The authors also investigate the help that Judaism might provide for interpreting the New Testament. In the final chapter, “History and Theology,” the book explores, in some detail, Ed Sanders’ work in reaction to, for example, the traditional Lutheran understanding of Paul. This chapter also encourages interpreters to exhibit a certain “historical humility” in their work and concludes by restating the relevance of New Testament studies.


In this post:

Stephen Neill and N. T. Wright