Reviews of

The State of New Testament Studies

In Baker Academic, Nathan Charles Ridlehoover, New Testament, Nijay K. GUPTA, Research Currents, Scot McKnight on January 16, 2020 at 4:00 pm

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2020.1.2 | Scot McKnight and Nijay K. Gupta, eds. The State of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2019. ISBN: 9780801098796.

Review by Charles Nathan Ridlehoover, Columbia International Seminary.

The State of New Testament Studies begins with the story of an aspiring academic (Gupta) entering seminary with the goal of learning the “world” of New Testament studies. As many will remember, the one-stop-shop for such an overview was the indispensable The Face of New Testament Studies. The beauty of the story is that the aspiring academic received the The Face of New Testament studies, was gripped by its contents, and now has had the occasion to revamp the original volume with one of the original editors (Scot McKnight). In what follows, Nijay K. Gupta and Scot McKnight explain the new face of NT studies, or in this case, the state of fifteen years of progress (and maybe even a bit of digression) in the field.

Toward Decentering the New Testament

In Cascade Books, Jonathan Rowlands, Minoritized Voices, Mitzi J. SMITH, New Testament, Yung Suk KIM on January 2, 2020 at 3:00 pm

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2020.1.1 | Mitzi J. Smith and Yung Suk Kim. Toward Decentering the New Testament: A Reintroduction. Eugene, OR: Cascade Books, 2018. ISBN: 978-1-5326-0465-2.

Review by Jonathan Rowlands, University of Nottingham.

Toward Decentering the New Testament is an introduction to the New Testament authored by Mitzi J. Smith—an African-American woman biblical scholar—and Yung Suk Kim—an Asian-American male biblical scholar. It is the first such introductory text authored by scholars from minoritized communities. Following a foreword by Michael Willett Newheart, the book begins with an introduction from the authors wherein their aims are clearly stated. Most significantly, they express their desire for this textbook to serve as “a step in the direction of creating an introductory text that focuses on an prioritizes diverse and nonwhite readers and contemporary issues that affect real flesh-and-blood minoritized readers and our sisters and brothers as allies” (p. 3). From this arise the two most distinctive aspects of this textbook. First is the prioritizing of minority readings of the New Testament but (crucially) not at the expense of, or as a replacement for dominant majority readings. Second is the concern to address contemporary issues facing minority readers of the New Testament.

The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity

In Canon, Eva MROCZEK, Hebrew Bible, Oxford University Press, Scribal culture, Second Temple, Shelby Bennet on December 11, 2019 at 11:56 pm

9780190279837

2019.12.17 | Eva Mroczek. The Literary Imagination in Jewish Antiquity. New York: Oxford University Press, 2016. pp xi+269. ISBN: 9780190886080.

Review by Shelby Bennett, Trinity Western University.

Eva Mroczek makes a powerful contribution to re-thinking a central concept in Judaism and Christianity: “canon.” She explores and challenges the role and purpose of those who composed sacred texts that fall both inside and outside the covers of modern biblical collections. The book places the reader in the Second Temple period’s literary culture and illuminates a world teeming with scripture, but without a Bible.

The first chapter introduces a dominant theme of the book: the impact of a post-printing press “book” culture on our understanding of the Jewish literary culture that produced the Old Testament and Hebrew Bible. Mroczek argues that anachronistic concepts of canon and “book” still shape biblical scholarship today despite awareness of the issue.