This introduction to the New Testament offers a global, pluralistic, and interdisciplinary approach. It brings the world of the reader, world issues that involve the use or interpretation of the New Testament, and the best scholarship in Bible, Art, History, Theology, and Ethics together in a readable format. While using basic historical-critical and literary-critical scholarship to introduce the timeframe, contents, themes, and peculiarities of the books of the New Testament, the chapters also focus on examples of how the New Testament has functioned in cultures during the past 2,000 years. Chapter titles include Cultural Heritage of the New Testament, The Unexpected News of Jesus, The Gospel of Mark: A Humble Community Anticipating a Hopeful Future, The Gospel of Matthew: A Traditional Community Facing Change, The Gospel of Luke: A Diverse Community Engaged in Social Reform, The Gospel of John: A Troubled Community in Search of Truth, and The Acts of the Apostles: Christianity—A World Religion. For individuals with interest—but little or no formal training—in the academic study of the bible.
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This new edition from Marla J. Selvidge retains the wide range of international perspectives on the New Testament, juxtaposing ancient texts with contemporary issues to offer students a distinctive, fresh approach to understanding the New Testament. Unlike other introductory texts, Selvidge incorporates not only historical and literary-critical approaches but also feminist interpretations often ignored in other texts. Selvidge demonstrates her commitment to have students appreciate "the New Testament as a timeless document" for all peoples.
New to this Edition
There must have been something in the coffee
In the previous volume, I set my standards high. I wanted to develop a text that would reflect the diversity of approaches and voices that have become part of an international dialogue about the New Testament. During the past thirty years of teaching the New Testament, I have changed, my students have changed, and so has the academy. But the amount of diverse material I added to the last volume proved to be too much for the average student to digest in one semester.
This volume continues my original goal of diversity. It incorporates not only historical and literary-critical research but also a host of feminist voices that are often ignored by other New Testament texts. New Testament introductions rarely discuss the effects of the New Testament on our culture and especially, how it has been used by people in both a negative and positive way. As professors, I think we have to recognize that many students in our classrooms have never read the New Testament, yet it influences them in myriad ways every day of their lives. We should address the New Testament honestly, without leaving an impression with students that the contents are neutral. While it is literature, the effect on world cultures has been and is profound. This volume does not leave the text timebound. It reaches out to whomever wants to read it with, hopefully, relevant words that continue to make the New Testament a timeless document.
Many people have contributed to the creation of this text. Without their encouragement and enthusiasm, this book would not exist. Many thanks to Anne Connole for reading the manuscript with a proofreader's eye. Thanks also must go to Ella Connole, Julie Kendall, and C.J. Peacock for all of the office support during the preparation of the second edition. The library at St. Paul School of Theology became my entry way to the world of scholarship. Thanks to Logan Wright for his help and kindness in loaning rare books to me. Thanks also to Terry McNeeley and Jeremy Butt for assistance in production.
Many reviewers suggested helpful remarks that have strengthened this volume. I appreciate all the thoughtful energy that went into their criticisms. Hopefully, they have helped to make this text more useful in the classroom. I am grateful to: Ira J. Jolivet, Jr., Pepperdine University; Mark D. Given, Southwest Missouri State University; and Susan Calef, Creighton University.
Once again I must thank my anchor, companion world traveler, and golf buddy, Thomas C. Hemling, Ph.D., whose confidence and love have made this task possible. We are all a product of those around us who have touched our lives. The revision of this textbook is dedicated to many of my beloved friends and relatives who shared their lives with me in an unselfish way, and who, sadly, have departed this life since the printing of the first edition.
Marla J. Selvidge, Ph.D.
Central Missouri State University
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