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Readings from the First-Century World (Encountering Biblical Studies) Paperback – December 15, 1998
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About the Author
Robert W. Yarbrough is professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary and has translated several major volumes. His Ph.D. is from the University of Aberdeen.
- Item Weight : 15.3 ounces
- Paperback : 224 pages
- ISBN-10 : 080102157X
- Product Dimensions : 7 x 0.51 x 9 inches
- ISBN-13 : 978-0801021572
- Publisher : Baker Publishing Group (December 15, 1998)
- Language: : English
- Best Sellers Rank: #251,885 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Elwell, Walter A. and Robert W. Yarbrough. Encountering Biblical Studies: Readings from the First-Century World. Grand Rapids: Baker, 1998
Biographical Sketch of the Authors
Walter A. Elwell (born April 29, 1937) is an evangelical theological academic. He was educated at Wheaton College where he earned his B.A. and M.A. He was awarded his Ph.D. in 1970 from the University of Edinburgh after spending time at the University of Chicago and University of Tübingen. He is most noted for his editorial output numbering several evangelical standard reference works. He taught at Wheaton College, Illinois from 1975 to 2003 before retirement and is now professor emeritus of Bible and Theology at Wheaton College. He also consulted for both the Evangelical Christian Publishers Association and the Evangelical Book Club. He is also a member of the Society of Biblical Literature, Institute for Biblical Research, Evangelical Theological Society, and Chicago Society of Biblical Research. He has taught Greek at North Park College in Chicago, Illinois and a professor of Bible at Belhaven College in Jackson, Mississippi.
Robert W. Yarbrough received his B.A. from the Southwest Baptist College. He has a M.A. in Theological Studies/New Testament from the Wheaton College Graduate School, and Ph.D. from the University of Aberdeen in Aberdeen, Scotland. He is professor of New Testament at Covenant Theological Seminary and has translated several major volumes. Dr. Yarbrough taught previously at Wheaton College, and Liberty University. He has been involved in theological education in Eastern Europe since 1990 and in Africa since 1995. He served on pastoral staffs in Montana, Missouri, North Carolina, and Illinois. Dr. Yarbrough is author of 1, 2, and 3 John (2008) in the Baker Exegetical Commentary Series, which he co-edits. Other books include The Salvation-Historical Fallacy? Reassessing the History of New Testament Theology; and The Gospel of John. With Walter Elwell he authored the widely used textbook Encountering the New Testament: A Historical and Theological Survey (2nd ed. 2005), which has been translated into numerous languages. At the popular level Dr. Yarbrough is author of The Kregel Pictorial Guide to the New Testament (2009).
Summary of the Contents
This is a book that contains collections of historical writings outside of the New Testament that contains information related or relevant to that which is provided in the New Testament, such as works by Tacitus, Josephus, Plutarch, the Old Testament Apocrypha, Philo, Suetonius, the Mishna and others that were contemporary to the composition of the New Testament, along with the authors’ own comments and annotations of each work. The purpose of the book is to move the reader of the New Testament from little or no knowledge of the ancient literature related to the New Testament to a basic understanding of some major authors and texts to enhance their understanding of what the New Testament says.
The book is divided into three parts: 1) Gospel and Jesus, which deals with the land, people, history, cultures, religious lives and ideas of the Jews, outside of the bible; 2) Acts and Paul, which breaks down into subsections with literature relevant to Acts, Romans to Galatians, and Ephesians to Philemon; and 3) General Epistles and Revelations.
Then it gives an exhaustive list of Bibliography cited in the book, of scholarly works, historical or contemporary to our age, plus a list of complete reading from the ancient texts in question, and an index with reference by Scripture and subject.
This book is a good anthology. The editors have taken pertinent selections, excerpts and often entire “chapters” from ancient writings and grouped them into subjects involving the New Testament. Each excerpt is given a number that is catalogued in the index at the back, and each is in chronological order with the verses of the New Testament. Hermeneutically we talk about the importance of historical, cultural, and linguistic context for correct interpretation of the Bible, and this book provides just that. For example, for seminary students who want to read for themselves historical documents about Jesus outside of the Gospels and Acts, the book breaks down part of those writings into “Jesus the doer of wonderful works,” “Jesus who was called Christ,” “Jerusalem fell on account of Jesus,” “Origen’s Reference to Josephus’ Antiquities,” “Jesus the Sorcerer and his disciples,” and “An Arabic version of Josephus’ Testimonium.”
Of those subsections, for instance, the last one records from Josephus, “…there was a wise man who was called Jesus. And his conduct was good and was known to be virtuous…Pilate condemned him to be crucified and to die. And those who had become his disciples did not abandon his discipleship. They report that he had appeared to them 3 days after his crucifixion and that he was alive; accordingly, he was perhaps the Messiah whom the prophets have recounted wonders (An Arabic version of Josephus’ Testimonials, #229, p124).” This serves a good response to the scholars who maintain that the historical Jesus did not resurrect, and that the church over the centuries developed the myth around Jesus’ Messiahship.
For my own purpose, since the course is about the Gospel and Acts, the majority of Part 2 and Part 3 were not quite as helpful. However, Part 1, Gospels and Jesus, and the beginning of Part 2, Acts and Paul, were beneficial to me, in terms of understanding the New Testament texts better. I was able to use some of the information provided in the Part 1 to fill the Roman and Jewish Leaders Chart, as assignment for the course of New Testament Survey 1: The book provided information that was not in our text book, the Dictionary of Jesus and the Gospels. It helped me understand more about Archelaus, Phillip, Antipas, Agrippa I, and Agrippa II.
This book achieves its goal of providing the primary source from which much research has been done. The authors acknowledge that the information provided is for freshmen and sophomores of undergraduate level, but I think graduate school students can benefit from it alike. It does not provided much commentary from the authors of those texts presented. Furthermore, it would be beneficial to have charts, maps, pictures of historical artifacts and scrolls. I bought this book by mistake, as I know now that there is a newer edition, 2005, with CD-ROM, that might contain those items.
guide for any bible student !