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A Short History of the New Testament

A Short History of the New Testament
Halvor Moxnes

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Description

Few documents in world history can match the inspirational impact of the New Testament. For all its variety - gospels, letters and visions - this first-century collection of texts keeps always at its centre the enigmatic figure of Joshua/Jesus: the Jewish prophet who gathered a group around him, proclaimed the imminent end of the world, but was made captive by the authorities of Rome only to suffer a shameful criminal's death on a cross. When his followers (including former persecutor Saul/Paul) became convinced that Jesus had defeated extinction, and had risen again to fresh life, the movement crossed over from Palestine to ignite the entire Graeco-Roman Mediterranean world. The author shows how the writings of this vibrant new faith came into being from oral transmission and then became the pillar of a great world religion. He explores their many varied usages in music, liturgy, art, language and literature. In discussing its textual origins, as well as its later reception, Moxnes shows above all how the New Testament has been employed both as a tool for liberation and as a means of power and control.

Author Info

Halvor Moxnes is Professor of New Testament Studies at the University of Oslo. His books include The Economy of the Kingdom: Social Conflict and Economic Relations in Luke's Gospel, Putting Jesus in his Place: A Radical Vision of Household and Kingdom, and Jesus and the Rise of Nationalism: The Nineteenth-Century Quest for the Historical Jesus (I.B.Tauris, 2012).

Review

'In his fresh and lively introduction to the New Testament, Halvor Moxnes covers a great deal of ground clearly, unpretentiously and with a lightly held erudition. His readers are introduced to the bread and butter issues but a good deal more besides - not least the changing landscape of interpretative engagement with the text. The New Testament is a small book which has had a huge impact, as Moxnes reminds us; but it is also one whose meaning and interpretation continue to be contested and debated as they have since the first century. Authoritatively, but not didactically, a master of the trade has helped show us why this might be the case and where the future may lie. This is a stimulating read, at once accessible and provocative.'
James Carleton Paget, Senior Lecturer in New Testament Studies, University of Cambridge, and Fellow and Tutor of Peterhouse

'Moxnes does an impressive job in conveying the nature and character of this enigmatic collection of texts, whose very title suggests that, like a will, it bequeaths something new as compared with the ‘old testament’ that preceded it. His book helps elucidate the contents, character and origins of the writings of ‘The New Testament’, their function in antiquity, their emerging authority, and the multitude of ways in which they have affected the lives of people through their interpretation and application. His thoughtful consideration of Galatians 3:28 in particular gives a rich flavour of the varieties of ways in which an influential Pauline text has been interpreted so diversely.' 
Christopher Rowland, Dean Ireland's Professor of the Exegesis of Holy Scripture, University of Oxford

'Halvor Moxnes has been an innovative leader in New Testament scholarship for many decades, and here he provides for the student and the general reader a wealth of rich insights, written in an accessible and arresting style. With brevity and clarity he introduces us to the contents and original contexts of the New Testament, but also, via well-chosen examples, to its powerful impact on culture and society over the centuries. Finally, he makes us aware of our own role, as readers, in making sense of this text, and the social and political contexts of all reading-methods, both scholarly and popular. Up-to-date and masterful in its understanding of the issues, this book does not shy away from the problematic legacy of the New Testament in Christian attitudes to Jews, women and subordinate social groups. Readers of many kinds will be grateful for such a sure-footed guide, and none can come away without wanting to participate themselves in the long and enthralling history of engagement with the New Testament.'
John M G Barclay, Lightfoot Professor of Divinity, Durham University

Bibliographic Info

Imprint: I.B.Tauris
Publisher: I.B.Tauris & Co. Ltd.
Series: I.B. Tauris Short Histories

Paperback
ISBN: 9781780766089
Publication Date: 29 Sep 2014
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 216
Width: 134
Illustrations: 40 bw integrated, 5 maps

Hardback
ISBN: 9781780766072
Publication Date: 29 Sep 2014
Number of Pages: 256
Height: 216
Width: 134
Illustrations: 40 bw integrated, 5 maps

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