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An Introduction to the New Testament (Anchor Bible Reference Library) Hardcover – October 13, 1997

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Hardcover, October 13, 1997
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Editorial Reviews Review

From its earliest days as a renegade religion in the Roman Empire through its various schisms and splits to present-day disagreements between Eastern Orthodox followers, Roman Catholics, and hundreds of different Protestant denominations, Christianity has been a source of great controversy--most of it centered on the reading of Scripture. There are those Christian conservatives who view the Bible as the literal word of God and the events detailed therein as historical fact. Other, more liberal Christians see the Good Book primarily as literature, a metaphor for how people should live. Mine the pages of the Biblical Archeological Review and you'll find scientists trying to prove or disprove the historical reality of Old and New Testament events and structures--everything from the Ark of the Covenant to King David's palace. In An Introduction to the New Testament, author Raymond E. Brown, a Catholic priest, ignores the swirl of conflict surrounding the Bible as historical artifact, concentrating instead on the message it contains.

Father Brown analyzes each of the 27 books in the New Testament, devoting painstaking attention to sources, dates, and authorship, as well as commentary on the spiritual, historical, and thematic aspects. He believes that modern-day Bible readers can only interpret it within its historical context. An Introduction to the New Testament, read with a Bible in hand, can only enrich and deepen your understanding of that germinal religious text.

From Library Journal

During his career, Brown (emeritus, biblical studies, Union Theological Seminary, New York) has enlightened and challenged scholars. Here he brings his extensive knowledge to bear in a volume primarily for beginners, though it will serve equally well those who are not. Because of the intended audience, he has made certain choices about content and form. First, he focuses on the established 27-book New Testament canon based upon the "wide agreement about the twenty-seven works to be included in a normative or canonical collection." Second, he deemphasizes the prehistory of the documents (sources, editions, and so forth) and emphasizes the documents in their canonical form. He begins most chapters with a "General Analysis of the Message" and addresses issues such as authorship, date, and composition afterward. So, for example, readers are helped to understand the individual messages of Matthew, Mark, and Luke without getting bogged down in the "synoptic problem." Due to his emphasis on the finished form of the New Testament documents, even those who disagree with some of the author's critical judgments will benefit from this volume. Highly recommended for public and academic libraries.?Craig W. Beard, Univ. of Alabama at Birmingham Lib.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 928 pages
  • Publisher: Doubleday; 1 edition (October 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0385247672
  • ISBN-13: 978-0385247672
  • Product Dimensions: 6.5 x 2.1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (93 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #346,034 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Raymond E. Brown, S.S., taught for many years at Saint Mary's Seminary in Baltimore and was Professor of Biblical Studies at the Union Theological Seminary for two decades. He was the author of three books in the Anchor Bible series on the Gospels and Epistles of John and wrote the classic Anchor Bible Reference Library volumes The Birth of the Messiah, The Death of the Messiah, and An Introduction to the New Testament. He died in 1998.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

167 of 171 people found the following review helpful By Patrick Walsh on September 20, 2001
Format: Hardcover
Father Raymond Brown is, as always, impeccable in this "light" Introduction to the New Testament. He states in the opening section that this book is not for scholars. Somehow, I think this book has found its way onto the bookshelves of every pre-eminent NT scholar today. In spire of its heftiness, it is only an introduction to the NT.
It starts off with wonderful background material to NT times, examining contemporary thought, philosophy, and history. This helps the NT reader to understand the difficulties and issues which are being addressed by the author of a particular NT text.
After this background material Fr Brown insists that you actually read the specific book prior to reading his commentary and analyses of the text. If you do not do this, you will not be able to extract all of the information that Fr Brown is presenting to you. So I suggest one read the background material first, and then crack the Bible open to Mark and start reading along with Fr Brown, one text at a time. This will give you the most benefit for your effort.
It is important to make sure the material is fresh in your mimd. As time goes by, one tends to integrate the letters, gospels and parables into a working synthesis, and unless you know which version of a particular parable is being commented upon, the commantary and analysis will not be entirely useful.
I am enjoying this book immensely, and I encourage all serious Bible students, scholars or wanna-bes, to invest your time in this wonderful book.
One additional commanet: Father Brown is a Roman Catholic Priest. I have noticed that a lot of people have been making rather apologetic remarks for that fact on his behalf in these reviews. I am certain Father Brown , were alive today, sees no need for these apologies of faith. Father Brown, in my opinion, clearly demonstrates that the Catholic Church does not sacrifice reason in order to maintain faith.
Orent ut intelligent
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60 of 62 people found the following review helpful By Kerry Sullivan on November 23, 2001
Format: Hardcover
The late Raymond E. Brown was a tremendous scholar and a devout Christian. In all he did, Father Brown carefully applied the tools of critical scholarship while never apologizing for his faith. In a scholastic battlefield too often dominated by extremists on the left and the right, Father Brown was a breath of fresh air who drew fire from both sides.
This Introduction first provides helpful background information about the formation of the New Testament and the social and political world that produced it. Father Brown then carefully analyzes each book of the New Testament with consideration for issues such as who the author was, where the book was written, and who the author's initial audience was. More importantly, each book is then carefully analyzed in light of this information for the meaning it conveyed in the social and historical context in which it was written.
As another reviewer has said, you can't read this book beneficially without also reading the New Testament. But for searching, inquisitive readers who are willng to put in that effort, this book provides a truly informative, intellectually honest introduction to the greatest story ever told.
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72 of 79 people found the following review helpful By Charles E. Meadows on August 17, 2000
Format: Hardcover
another 5 stars for father brown (unfortunately posthumously). in this book, brown, a renowned 20th century catholic priest/scholar, tried to write a readable yet comprehensive intro to all facets of NT study. this volume treats all NT books, albeit briefly, giving the consensus of modern scholarship regarding authorship, purpose, date etc. as a note to conservative evangelicals (of which i am one), brown here is decidedly centrist in his stances. in accordance with modern catholic doctrine on biblical interpretation, brown lets history shape our understanding of the biblical message. for instance, brown would agree that such NT books as 2 Peter, Colossians, Ephesians, 1 & 2 Timothy etc, were not written by peter or paul. if you have read enough of brown's work, you know he IS a believer, and only occasionally his writings reflect it. i should say that whether one is liberal or conservative, brown was one of the best NT theologians ever. even as a conservative i can get alot from his work. so...... get this book! even if you don't agree with all of it, you will learn alot!
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30 of 31 people found the following review helpful By z on February 11, 1998
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
The author has done a great service for new readers of the New Testament. This book presents a balanced and informative introduction to the New Testament that is both scholary and extremely well written. There are adequate footnotes and bibliographical references for those who wish to explore a topic in greater detail. I read this book as I read the New Testament and I would recommend this approach to others. Father Brown is both knowledgable and enthusiastic about his subject matter and after reading this book so was I. Thank you Father Brown.
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33 of 35 people found the following review helpful By Timothy Kearney VINE VOICE on November 12, 2003
Format: Hardcover
In general, I believe that if a person is going to give a book as a gift, a gift certificate is a better option than actually buying the book, unless the person decides to send something to me from my wish list. At this time I have quite a few books I will probably never read that were given to me as gifts.Raymond Brown's AN INTRODUCTION TO THE NEW TESTAMENT is one exception to this rule of mine. I was given this book as a gift and I have used it over and over again.
For many years, Raymond Brown was one of the Roman Catholic Church's preeminent scripture scholars. As a matter of fact, he was one of the first biblical scholars taken seriously by non-Catholic scripture scholars. His primary area of expertise is John's Gospel, though he has written well received commentaries on Jesus' birth and death. This volume is a general introduction to the entire New Testament. It includes a section devoted to the major developments in New Testament study, commentaries on the books themselves, and concludes with information about the current quest for the historical Jesus. While the commentaries are general, any one volume commentary would be general, it does help a person studying scripture come up with new insights about a text as well as answer questions about troubling passages.
Perhaps what makes this volume so interesting is the number of places Brown includes information that might not ordinarily be found in a one volume commentary. This information can give the reader a new perspective on scripture and demonstrate once again that the Bible has spoken to people in the past, and still continues to speak to people today.
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