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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

Amazon.com 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 (97 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #146,386 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 172 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 63 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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27 of 28 people found the following review helpful By Dr. David Ritsema on April 14, 2005
Format: Hardcover
I was assigned Brown's introduction to the NT in my Ph.D. program in New Testament. I read the book thoroughly from cover to cover and wrote a 46 page outline of it. Several key features stuck out at me: (1) Brown recognizes only 5 undisputed letters of Paul, (2) He identifies Marcan source and Q along the lines of the Two-Source Hypothesis, (3) He write from a Roman Catholic perspective but fairly evaluates the evidence. Overall it is an excellent textbook which is very readable. I like the chapters which have a one page summary of an entire NT book--a very helpful feature.

David Ritsema
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37 of 40 people found the following review helpful By D. S. Heersink on April 9, 2002
Format: Hardcover
The Word of God as found in the Scriptures has never had a better exegete than Fr. Brown. He writes with academic authority, never arrogant and always humble, showing readers of all levels the polysemy that unfolds in the New Testament.
If one has room for only one commentary, let this be it. If not, this will become undoubtedly your favorite, leaving the rest in the back of the pack. Fr. Brown takes the awe and inspiring and make them awesome and inspirational.
I get goosebumps when I read him. Revelation never had a better voice.
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