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The Trial Narratives: Conflict, Power, and Identity in the New Testament Paperback – February 1, 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press (February 1, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664230326
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664230326
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 0.5 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,524,948 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Â"Skinner makes a compelling case for trial stories as the key to the intersection of story, theology, and politics in the New Testament. By including the trial narratives of Acts, as well as the Gospel stories of JesusÂ' trial, Skinner demonstrates the pivotal role played by stories of judgment and political power in the formation of Christian identity.Â" Gail R. OÂ'Day, Senior Associate Dean of Faculty and Academic Affairs and A.H. Shatford Professor of Preaching and New Testament, Candler School of Theology, Emory University

Â"Focusing on the trial narratives in the canonical gospels and book of Acts, and using a range of methods, Matthew Skinner deftly explores the issue of early Christian interactions with the sociopolitical structures of the Roman empire. What emerges is a complex depiction of ambiguous and precarious interactions marked by conflict, mutual judgment, assertions of various kinds of power, and constructed identities. Also emerging in this insightful study are some gospel challenges for engagement with contemporary so-cietal structures and political power.Â" Warren Carter, Professor of New Testament Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University, Fort Worth Texas

The clashing narratives, social worlds, and claims to authority in our own courtrooms are all too familiar. In this engaging study, Matthew Skinner takes us into the same drama in the Gospels and Acts. The Trial Narratives vividly reminds us that the "powers that be" are not all that powerful when viewed in the light of God's history, and we dare not trust either their claims to justice or our ownÂ" Beverly Roberts Gaventa, Helen H.P. Manson Professor of New Testament Literature and Exegesis, Princeton Theological Seminary

About the Author

Matthew L. Skinner is Associate Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary, St. Paul, Minnesota. He is the author of Locating Paul: Places of Custody as Narrative Settings in Acts 21-28 and a frequent contributor to the website

More About the Author

Matt Skinner is Associate Professor of New Testament at Luther Seminary in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

His research interests focus on the Gospels and the book of Acts, the cultural settings reflected in the New Testament, and the Bible's potential for shaping the theological imaginations of its readers.

In addition to his books, he has contributed to other resources for people interested in exploring the Bible's relevance for Christian faith and life, including The New Interpreter's Bible One Volume Commentary (Abingdon Press) and the Theological Bible Commentary (Westminster John Knox Press). Check out his contributions to the websites and

He blogs occasionally about the Bible and how to read it at

He frequently speaks and teaches in congregations and at conferences. For more information, visit

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

2 of 3 people found the following review helpful By R. J. Karris on January 9, 2011
Format: Paperback
The author narrows the scope of his study to narrative and the sociopolitical and thereby makes his study accessible. Excluding introductory matters, there are 160 pages of actual text with a total of 210 pages for the entire book. There are endnotes rather than footnotes. Most helpful are his chapters on the use of trials in Greco-Roman novels and on the trials in the Acts of the Apostles. At times I wished that he had said more about the contemporary implications of what the four Gospels and Acts have to say about the gospel's challenge to sociopolitical realities. At the same time I applaud the author for raising in a persistent way the question of the Gospel's stance towards the sociopolitical. I would highly recommend this insightful and very readable book to educated laity, seminarians, and clergy.
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