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New Testament History and Literature (The Open Yale Courses Series)
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24 of 26 people found the following review helpful
on December 4, 2012
Format: Kindle Edition
I honestly can't believe i'm the first one to write a review.

So i want to first clarify what this is; Open Yale is a group of full lecture courses available for free on iTunes. They are meant to help educate those who cannot afford university. New Testament History and Literature is one of those lecture series. The book is adapted from the lectures, but the lecturer and author decided to make his book much more comprehensive than the lectures, which were done assuming the student had read class material before hand. That's why buy this book makes sense.

Now to the actual content.

This is, in terms of historical criticism, a center-left approach, if you will. In the lecture series, he follows a book by Bart Ehrman, The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings, and he doesn't take a much different approach, from the critical perspective at least.

The book covers far too much ground to go into in any depth in this interview. So i will sum it up thus; This book is an excellent, effective book for gaining an overview of what mainstream biblical studies considers the Bible, and early Christianity to be. It will perhaps shock fundamentalists (who would be more at home reading something like The New Testament and the People of God Volume 1 (Christian Origins and the Question of God)) and be far to meek and mild for rejectors of the historical Jesus ( Incredible Shrinking Son of Man: How Reliable Is the Gospel Tradition?). I will also mention, for those who want an overview of the historical Jesus debate from different perspectives from all along the conservative-liberal continuum, before deciding where they stand, that the bookThe Historical Jesus: Five Views is a book to that effect.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on April 20, 2013
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
After following Professor Martin's interesting lectures on video (an OpenYale course on the web), I assumed this book would be a transcription of those lectures. I was wrong: it is totally rewritten. Fortunately, it follows the lectures' sequence and succeeds in keeping the immediacy of the video lectures. Dale Martin's style and historical-critical approach (what the Bible and other Christian literature meant to the people at the time) make this book very readable. For those interested in the history of that crucial period of humanity -the hundred and fifty years after the birth of Jesus, when the mixture of Greek culture, Judaism, and the beginning of Christianity determined to a great length our Western culture- this is the book to read. (Bart Ehrman's 'The New Testament' has a similar orientation and is also very commendable.)
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Exactly like the iTunes course, which is excellent. Highly recommend for students of historical critical method of religious studies. Not for evangelicals.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on February 3, 2013
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Anyone truly interested in the background of the NT writings should read this book. Dale Martin has done excellent research on all the NT. I particularly enjoyed his analysis of "Revelation".
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on February 8, 2014
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
I bought this book after viewing the course online. There was so much information in the videos that I wanted to have it in print for future reference. It is strictly about the history of the Bible and its origins, and not about the meaning of scripture. Being familiar with the New Testament through the church liturgy, I was curious about the authors of the gospels - who they were and what their qualifications were to write what they did. The lectures and the book present information from Biblical scholars about the authorship of the gospels, as well as the relevance of the gospels to the times in which they were written. It was interesting to learn that there were many diverse beliefs about Jesus and his teaching for several centuries after his death and that, even today, not all Bibles contain the same books for the same reason.
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on March 8, 2015
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For me a totally new perspective on the New Testament; compulsive reading.
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on September 13, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
A must for anyone serious about understanding Christianity
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on December 3, 2014
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Excellent book based on excellent Yale youtube lectures.
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on March 16, 2015
Format: PaperbackVerified Purchase
Easy Read. Interesting.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on November 3, 2014
Format: Kindle EditionVerified Purchase
Eye opening. Clears up many questions.
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