The New Testament is not just a book. It is a collection of 27 books, written between the year 51 A.D. and 150 A.D. These 27 books were treasured by various Christians and Christian communities, along with other writings, until a consensus was reached around the middle of the 4th century as to which writings were "scripture". from that point, the canon, or collection, which we call the New Testament was fixed. It is this fixed collection of 27 books that will be the focus of our attention in this study.
Our procedure will be fairly simple. We will, first of all, examine the authorship, date, and place of writing of each of the New Testament writings. Then we will undertake to understand the purpose of each of these books. This simple procedure will be followed for each of the books. But unlike other New Testament introductions, which discuss "The Life of Jesus" and then "The Early Church" and then "Paulís Writings" and then the "Catholic Epistles", we will follow the canonical order of these materials. We will look at Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, Acts, etc. until each book has been discussed. The student interested in the Historical Jesus is encouraged to take the course by that name. Likewi se if one is interesteiblical Studies, he or she is encouraged to take the course by that name offered by this institution.
After we discuss the general matters of authorship, date, etc., we will focus the bulk of our time on a discussion of the purpose of each writing. It is my firm conviction that once the student has in hand the authorís purpose for writing a text, he or she can interpret the whole using that simple key.
ASSIGNMENT: Read the Gospel of Matthew, and chapter 8 of Brownís Introduction.
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