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Evolution of the Word: The New Testament in the Order the Books Were Written Hardcover – August 28, 2012
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“Borg, a prolific biblical scholar, guides the reader into understanding . . . the process by which the biblical material developed. . . . A good guide to the background and content of the New Testament.” (Library Journal)
“Marcus Borg has always been a great teacher. In his newest book Evolution of the Word, his teaching skills are obvious as he opens the New Testament, not only to its original, historical order, but also to insightful, refreshing and dramatic insights.” (John Shelby Spong, author of Re-Claiming the Bible for a Non-Religious World)
“Borg introduces each book of the New Testament and, for the first time in most churches, readers will be receiving these sacred texts in the order men and women received them nearly 2,000 years ago. . . Evolution of the Word will light up book discussion groups.” (Read the Spirit)
“Some may still remember confrontational front-page headlines decades ago pitting Borg and other university-based Bible scholars against Christian traditionalists. However, Borg now is embraced in mainline congregations coast to coast. . . . To put it simply: Marcus Borg has become a friend to growing congregations.” (Read the Spirit)
In Evolution of the Word, Borg has produced something of great usefulness. Reading the New Testament in the order suggested gives us a new perspective on biblical faith. …[It] tests and challenges our programmed ways of reading Scripture…. that can enrich our faith awareness. (The United Methodist Reporter)
From the Back Cover
Everyone knows the New Testament begins with the Gospel of Matthew, but how many know Matthew was actually one of the later books to be written? (It wasn't even the first Gospel!) But Evolution of the Word is not your typical New Testament.
Marcus J. Borg, esteemed Bible scholar and bestselling author, shakes up the order of the New Testament as we know it by putting the books in a completely new order—the order in which they were written. By doing so, Evolution of the Word allows us to read these documents in their historical context. For the first time, see how the core ideas of Christianity took shape and developed over time.
Borg surveys what we know of the Jewish community of Jesus followers who passed on their stories orally. Into this context emerges the apostle Paul, whose seven authentic letters become the first collected writings that would later become the New Testament. Borg offers helpful introductions for each book so that as we read through these biblical documents, spanning over a century in time, we see afresh what concerns and pressures shaped this movement as it evolved into a new religion.
In this groundbreaking format, Borg reveals how a radical and primitive apocalyptic Jewish faith slowly became more comfortable with the world, less Jewish, and more pre- occupied with maintaining power and control. Evolution of the Word promises to change forever how we think about this historic work.
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Top Customer Reviews
Those who seek to follow the way of Jesus will find their journey enriched by reading, pondering, and responding to Evolution of the Word. Whether Borg's historical approach is new and novel or the only known option and normative, actually reading the New Testament text as he presents it invites the reader to read the words as if reading them for the first time.
Also, do not imagine that scholars have some kind of universal agreement about when each of the N.T. books were written! Borg humbly admits there is no consensus, and in places, admits his opinion differs from the majority. In general, Borg dates many of the books just a little later than I do. For example, he follows the recent trendy dating of Luke/Acts well into the second century, while I remain unconvinced and still date these two books around 85-95. And, of course, we won't agree on Revelation, since in my own book I rely heavily on a historical-critical interpretation to place its date right around the year 80 CE, which differs from almost every New Testament scholar.
But while there's no exact consensus, that's not really the point. The point of Borg's book is to portray how Christianity evolved in its earliest years, as evidenced in the writings we have in our Bible. Indeed, the New Testament itself is an evolutionary outgrowth of the Old Testament. Quite a bit of the discussion centers on Paul, and on the letters written in his name, as this is where the most serious change occurs over the span of the New Testament ... issues like the role of women in the church and of how to regard Christian slaves like Philemon.
Overall, I enjoyed the book but found few surprises, and the reading went fast since I didn't take time to reread all of the scripture.
Borg hasn't come up with anything new here and his notes aren't exhaustive, so basically what you have is another printing of the New Testament. But reading the New Testament in chronological order ...I don't know, it kind of makes a profound difference...it emphasizes how the `Word of God' is a disparate collection of human documents ...makes you aware of historical context ...highlights how Jesus and his message have been interpreted over time, and suggests how that message may have changed from its origin.
I'm really enjoying this treatment so far.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This collection and order of scriptural writings shows the development of Christian thought through the eyes of the writers and in their historical context. Read morePublished 29 days ago by Robert A. Beach
Great New Testament. Has excellent informative commentary at the beginning of each book. Putting the books in order in which they were written is very revealing of the development... Read morePublished 2 months ago by Claire P
Outstanding presentation. Wealth of information through “more realistic” presentation of scripture. The material is presented coherently, in a manner that is understandable. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Amazon Customer