Udo Schnelle’s Theology of the New Testament and Frank Thielman’s Theology of the New Testament: A Canonical and Synthetic Approach are two of the greatest theologies produced in the early twenty-first century. Despite both works sharing part of their name, the content and approach of each author differ from the other, providing for argumentation and conclusions that are unique and significant for modern theological studies. The structure of Schnelle’s book is first a discussion of his philosophy of how theology should be studied and then he moves through the development of Christian theology through Scripture chronologically. Thielman also starts his book with his views of theology as well, but the rest moves through each book of the New Testament in canonical order.
Category: Book Review
The book of Hebrews has been a great source of theological and pastoral direction for the Christian church since the first century. At the same time, it has been a contested book as the author is unknown, and the audience is still not fully understood. While many have attributed authorship to Paul, it is unlikely, and at best, the safest speculation is that the audience is a Hellenistic Judeo-Christian community.
The Letter to the Hebrews in Social-Scientific Perspective is deSilva’s attempt to gain further insight into this epistle by examining the authorship and audience based on the hints found in the text. He asserts the interpretation of this letter stands upon understanding the community to whom it was written and what precipitated such a response. These desired details are sparse, so deSilva posits that the missing information may be found in external sources.
Robert H. Stein’s Studying the Synoptic Gospels: Origin and Interpretation is an excellent work that is in its second edition, which provides an excellent introduction to the scholarship concerning the synoptic problem. It goes deep enough into the studies of the Synoptics to satisfy experienced theologians while remaining comprehensible to the uninitiated reader. The bulk of the book is focused upon Stein’s proposed solution that Matthew and Luke used Mark plus the hypothetical Q material to write their gospels.
The Q hypothesis is an attempt to give the reason for the literary similarities contained in the gospels of Mark, Matthew, and Luke. John Kloppenborg’s book, “Q, The Earliest Gospel,” addresses the mystery of the literary relationship of these gospels, presenting a number of hypotheses. Kloppenborg asserts that the best explanation for the literary dependence of the three gospels is that Mark and the theorized Q source were used as material for Matthew and Luke. This hypothesis assumes a Marcan priority and the existence of a lost document, called Q, that has been reconstructed with material found only in Matthew and Luke and not in Mark. Kloppenborg’s suggested explanation seems to leave God out of the explanation, relying solely on human action and chance alone to shape the development of the gospels and why the theorized Q source has not been found.