Chapter 11 of Textbook Books of the New Testament: An Overview
The New Testament: - See Table 11.3, “Approximate Order of Composition of New Testament Books,” p. 357 in Textbook (see also Box 11.1, “Organization of the Hebrew and Christian-Greek Scriptures,” p. 344 in Textbook.
Introduction: • The NT consists of 27 books (see Table 11.3, p. 357); • The early Christians added these books to those of the Hebrew Scriptures (or Greek version of the Hebrew Scriptures) to form what is now called the Christian Bible (see pp. 9-11 of Textbook); • Thus, the Christian Bible consists of an Old and a New Testament/Covenant.
The New Testament may be arranged: • Four Gospels (story of Jesus); • Book of Acts - a theological account of the early Church (“Church history”); • Letters of Paul and other Church leaders ; and • Book of Hebrews, Catholic Epistles, and an Apocalypse/Revelation. • (see Textbook, p. 344, Box 11.1).
The Gospels: • The word Gospel derives from the Greek evangelion, meaning “Good News”; • It is a new literary category created by the early Christian community; • Gospel is a proclamation about the person of Jesus…; • Thus, in the NT there are four versions of the one Gospel/ “Good News”.
The Evangelists: • The authors …. are called “Evangelists”; • The Evangelists are believers in the person of Jesus of Nazareth; • They proclaim the “Good News” about the person of Jesus; • Their purpose is theological (John 20.31);
The Gospels (contd.): • The Gospels are not biographies …. (see John 20.30); • The Evangelists focus on Jesus’ adult ministry and passion - suffering and death; • They provide very little information about Jesus’ early life; • They emphasize his public career; • They declare, “God works through the person of Jesus”; • They stress the redemptive activity of Jesus;
The Evangelists: • The Evangelists proclaim Jesus as the Messiah/“Anointed One”/Christos (see Textbook, pp. 333-36); • Jesus for them is the universal Saviour; • For the Evangelists, God makes the divine will known through the person of Jesus (see Hebrews 1.1-3);
The Gospels: • Composed 40-65 years after the death of Jesus (see Table 11.2: “Major Events in the NT History”, pp. 348-49); • They are four different attempts ….to say what was important about the Christ/Messiah/Anointed One; • The Gospels are theological works.
Acts: • Composed by the same author who wrote “the Gospel according to Luke”; • It shows the same religious preoccupations; • It is not a “history” of the early Christian Church in the sense of present-day understanding of history; • It was written ca. 80-90 C.E. (see, Table 11.2, p. 349).
Letters of Paul: • See Tables 11.2 (pp. 348) and Box 14.4 (p. 466) for “A Tentative Sequence of Events in Paul’s Life” - chronology on Paul and his letters; • Paul’s letters are the earliest documents of the NT; • Written between 50 and 62 C.E.; • They are written to newly found Churches in Asia Minor, Greece, and Italy;
Other NT Works: • Letter to the Hebrews; • Revelation/Apocalypse; • General (Catholic) Epistles (James; 1 and 2 Peter; 1, 2, and 3 John; and Jude) • etc. (See Table 11.2, p. 349 in Textbook).
The Synoptic Gospels: • The first three accounts of the Gospel; • Matthew, Mark, and Luke; • Why called Synoptic? • How do they differ from the “Gospel according to John”?
The Synoptic Problem (see Fig. 11.2, p. 351 in Textbook): • The first three Gospels resemble each other closely; • What is the nature of their relationship? • Which gospel account is the source for the others? • Thus, questions of authorship, chronological priority, dates of composition, etc.
The Two-Document Theory: • Source Criticism (see Textbook, pp. 29, 351); • Recognition that Mark was the source for the chronological framework in Matthew and Luke; • A second source that Matthew and Luke used; • This source, a collection of Jesus’ sayings, is called Q (from the German term for source (quelle); • Sources M and L; • See Figure 11.2, p. 351 in Textbook;
How the Written Gospels Came to Be - From Oral Preaching to Written Gospels: • Four stages are generally recognized (see Box 11.3, “From Oral Kerygma to Written Gospel”…p. 352 in Textbook): • Stage I: The Exclusively Oral Traditions Stage (30-70 C.E.): • The stage of Jesus’ preaching; and • His earliest followers’ preaching about him; • A period of about 40 years 30-70 C.E.; • The Kerygma (proclamation about Jesus);
Stage I: The Oral Stage (contd.): • This done originally in Aramaic - in Galilee, Judea, and nearby regions (Decapolis); • The message then taken to Greek-speaking areas; to other ethnic groups; religions; • What happens when you bring a message orally from one region and/or culture and proclaim it orally in a different language in another region and/or culture? • To another ethnic group? • To another religious group? • Can this explain why Jesus’ sayings are reported differently in different accounts of the Gospel?
Stage I: The Oral Stage (contd.): • The importance of Form Criticism (see Textbook, p. 353); • The identification and study of pericopes, or the individual, orally transmitted building blocks from which the longer Gospel account is constructed (see Textbook, pp. 29, 353, and G-36); • See, for example, the Gospel according to Mark; • The sitz im leben, that is, the “life-setting” or social circumstances from which stories about Jesus originated and were orally transmitted by the Early Church;
Stage I: The Oral Stage (contd.): • Missionary tours of Paul and associates; • Establishing of new Gentile, Greek-speaking churches in Asia Minor and Greece (40-60 C.E.).
Stage II: Period of Earliest Written Documents (50-70 C.E.): • Brief compilations of Jesus’ sayings (ca. 50 C.E.); • e.g., See Mark 4 and Matthew 13; • Q, quelle; • Q must be reconstructed from passages in Matthew and Luke; • e.g., Matthew 5-7 (“Sermon on the Mount”) and Luke 6 (“Sermon on the Plain”); • What was Q originally? • How does it present Jesus?
Stage III: Period of Jewish Revolt against Rome and the appearance of The First Canonical Gospel (66-70 C.E.): • Redaction Criticism (see Textbook, p. 355): • The redactor’s/author-editor’s importance in assembling, rearranging, and reinterpreting his sources; • How do Matthew and Luke use their sources, e.g., Mark and Q? (See Luke 1.1-4) • Mark and the Gospel genre/literary category (66-70 C.E.); • the transformation of the oral kerygma into a narrative about Jesus’ public career;
Stage IV: Period of The Production of New, Enlarged Editions of Mark (80-90 C.E.): • Composition of Matthew (80-85 C.E.) and Luke (80-90 C.E.); • Matthew and Luke used Mark, Q, and individual sources, namely M and L respectively (see Figure 11.2, p. 351);
Stage V: Period of Production of New Gospels Promoting an Independent (Non-Synoptic) Tradition (90-100 C.E.): • Composition of The Gospel According to John; • Second edition of the Gospel of Thomas (a non-canonical account of the Gospel).
Four Distinctive Portraits Of Jesus: • Each Gospel account is a distinctive portrait of Jesus; • Each is a reflection of the author’s concept of Jesus’ theological meaning; • Why four portraits? • Due to historical processes? • e.g., Gospel according to Mark; • e.g., Gospel according to John;
Questions For Review: • Five on p. 358; • Question for discussion and reflection: p. 358.
The Gospel According to Mark: • (N.B.: read The Gospel According to Mark.) • Five main divisions: • Prelude to the public ministry (1.1-13); • The Galilean ministry (1.14-8.26); • Journey from Caesarea Philippi to Jerusalem (8.27-10-52); • The Jerusalem ministry (11.1-15.47); and • The postlude: the empty tomb (16.1-8).
The Gospel According To Mark (contd.): • The first author to put the oral traditions about Jesus into a written form that is called “Gospel”; • The account cites few of Jesus’ “sayings”; • It emphasizes Jesus’ actions;
The Gospel According to Mark (contd.): • Historical Setting: • Who is the author of this account of the Gospel? • Was the Gospel written for a group undergoing severe testing (see, e.g., 8.34-38; 10.38-40)? • Is it related in any way to Nero’s persecution of early Christians in Rome? • What was the author’s relationship to the apostle Peter (Acts 12.12-25)? • To Paul (Philem. 24; Col. 4.10)?
Historical Setting (contd.): • Some scholars favour a Roman setting while others a Syrian or Palestinian one; • The parousia in the account; • Eschatological concerns; • The title, “The Gospel According to Mark”; • Author of the work is anonymous.
The Leading Characters In Mark’s Account: • see Box 9.3, p. 367 in textbook.
Mark’s Attitude Towards Jesus’ Close Associates: • To Jesus’ family and acquaintances (3.21; 3.31-35; 6.2-3; 6.6); • To the disciples (3.13-19; 4.35-41; 9.9-10; 10.35-41; 14.30; 14.66-72); • Why this negative attitude on the part of Mark? • Is Mark’s negative attitude in this regard related to his wish to portray Jesus alone as the one who does God’s work and declares God’s will?
The Geographical Arrangement of Mark’s Account: • A north-south or geographical arrangement: • First half takes place in Galilee: • Climax of this section: the Messiah (8.27-29). • Second half (after Ch. 8) deals with Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem where he is rejected and crucified: • Climax of this section: the Son of God (15.39). • See Box 9.4, p. 369 in textbook.
Mark presents two different aspects of Jesus’ story: - 1) the presentation of Jesus in Galilee (a person of authority in word and deed); - 2) a helpless figure on the cross in Judea.
Five Main Divisions of Mark’s Account: • 1)Prelude to Jesus’ Public Ministry (1.1-13): • - No background provided; • - “Here begins the gospel of Jesus Christ, the Son of God” (1.1); • - Activity of John the Baptist (1.2-8); • - Jesus’ baptism (1.9-11); • - Jesus’ temptation (1.12-13).
2) The Galilean Ministry (1.14-8.26): - Mark’s eschatological urgency; - “The time has come, the kingdom of God is upon you; repent and believe the Gospel” (1.15); - The eschaton is about to take place; - A sense of urgency - the present tense used; - The author uses the word “immediately” to connect pericopes; - Jesus’ activity proclaims that history has reached its climactic moment;
2) The Galilean Ministry (1.14-8.26) (contd.): - Jesus as “Son of Man” (see Box 9.6, p. 375 in textbook); - Mark’s use of conflict stories; - Jesus as healer
. Jezreel Valley: To the West of the Sea of Galilee.
3) The Journey to Jerusalem: Jesus’ Predestined Suffering (8.27-10.52): - Ch. 8 as pivotal to Mark’s account; - Here Mark ties together several themes that deal with his vision of Jesus’ ministry; and - what Jesus requires of those who follow him; - Lack of understanding on the part of Jesus’ followers; - The hidden quality of Jesus’ Messiahship; - The necessity of suffering on the part of Jesus’ followers;
Ch. 8 (contd.): - Peter’s recognition of Jesus as the Messiah (8.29); - Jesus tells his disciples to keep this a secret; - Jesus’ reluctance to have news of his miracles spread abroad - the Messianic Secret; - the setting is Caesarea Philippi/Banias.