Recommended NT Resources Part 3

Recommended NT Resources Part 3 November 27, 2014

(Cross-posted at Times&Seasons.) First, Amazon is offering 30% off any book you buy for the next two days. Great time to pick up that hardcover Jewish Study Bible,  Jewish Annotated New TestamentNRSV, or similar “expensive” hardcover you can’t get otherwise. Amazon link.

Short list.

This was really hard to put together, much more than my OT list. 

  1. New Bible translation. (See part 1). This is an absolute must. If you do nothing else, do this.
  2. Misreading Scripture Through Western Eyes: Removing Cultural Blinders to Better Understand the Bible
    • I’ve mentioned this one multiples times. It’s on my shortlist for the OT as well.
  3. Jesus Christ and the World of the New Testament (but see #4 as well)
    • Yes, the hardcopy is $40. But, it’s a coffee-table style book with lots of pictures, sidebars, and quality text. It’s the kind of thing you can read, but also interest your kids in.
  4. OR if you have some familiarity with NT scholarship, either Brown or Ehrman (listed in part 2) There are some tradeoffs.
    • Brown’s Intro is longer and older (potential negative), but he was a Catholic priest (positive, in my book).
    • Ehrman’s Intro is newer and arranged like a college textbook, with pictures, sidebars, etc. However, Ehrman’s loss of faith means he often pushes (I feel) the more cynical, non-traditional perspectives. I still find him valuable to read, but it’s not necessarily something that’s going to offer devotional or uplifting bits.
  5. Paul: A Very Short Introduction
    • This is a bit of a gamble, since I haven’t read it. How do I recommend it? On the reputation of the publisher (Oxford), the series, the length, the price, and the author. E.P. Sanders started a revolution in understanding Paul and Palestinian Judaism when he argued that our understanding of Judaism at the time of Jesus was more influenced by Luther’s conflation of Catholic indulgences/legalism with NT Judaism. Not everyone has accepted his arguments (and I am no expert), but they have really made an important impact.  If anyone could write a book at the sweet spot of accessibility, price, and content, Sanders would be it. Also, his other books tend to be fairly technical, so this is a good entry point.
  6. Something on history and culture, probably one of the three volumes below.

History

Gospels

Jesus and Judaism

That Jesus was Jewish is both obvious and not always well-known or understood, as is the idea that the Jewish schism which resulted in Christianity as a distinct religion led to both movements reacting against each other in formulating doctrine and ritual. Not too different from the RLDS/LDS schism in some ways.

Paul

Mormons tend to be very weak in Paul. Even with a modern translation, he can be very hard to understand. Plus, Protestants love Paul, so theological cooties and stuff. While the Gospels appear simpler (they’re not, so much), we really don’t read Paul in any kind of context or depth, very selectively, and that seriously weakens our missionary work and understanding of the gospel, I think.

  • NT Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective
    • N.T. Wright is an Anglican priest and NT scholar, who used to be the Bishop of Durham. I really like his stuff, and he’s been well-received in LDS circles. He writes both technically (usually as NT Wright) and more popular books (usually as Tom Wright), such as Simply Christian and Surprised by Hope.  All his books are here.
  • Wayment From Persecutor to Apostle: a Biography
    • An LDS biography.
  • Richard L. Anderson’s Understanding Paul is highly Mormonized and perhaps outdated, but does a really good job at what each of Paul’s letters is about, the issues in each church Paul set up, etc.
  • NT Wright’s commentary on Romans (together with Acts-1Corinthians in the New Interpreter’s Bible Series is quite good.)
  • BYU’s James Faulconer, modeling close slow reading, has some very good work on Romans 1, 5-8. The first part of this is available free from the Maxwell Institute.

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