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Introduction to New Testament History and Literature (Open Yale Courses) (The Open Yale Courses) [Paperback]

Dale B. Martin

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Book Description

4 May 2012 The Open Yale Courses
In this engaging introduction to the New Testament, Professor Dale Martin presents an historical study of the origins of Christianity by analyzing the literature of the earliest Christian movements. Focusing mainly on the New Testament, he also considers non-Biblical Christian writings of the era. Martin begins by making a powerful case for the study of the New Testament. He next sets the Greco-Roman world in historical context and explains the place of Judaism within it. In the discussion of each New Testament book that follows, the author addresses theological themes, then emphasizes the significance of the writings as ancient literature and as sources for historical study. Throughout the volume, Martin introduces various early Christian groups and highlights the surprising variations among their versions of Christianity.

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About the Author

Dale B. Martin is Woolsey Professor of Religious Studies and chair of the Department of Religious Studies, Yale University. His previous books include The Corinthian Body and Slavery as Salvation: The Metaphor of Slavery in Pauline Christianity, both published by Yale University Press.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 5.0 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
20 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Introduction to Higher Criticism 4 Dec 2012
By Amazon Customer - Published on
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.
8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A very readable book 20 April 2013
By J. Rodriguez Cano - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified 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.)
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Love the class, love the book. 5 Mar 2013
By Amazon Customer - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Exactly like the iTunes course, which is excellent. Highly recommend for students of historical critical method of religious studies. Not for evangelicals.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Early Christian History 3 Feb 2013
By Paula Zurcher - Published on
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified 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".
5.0 out of 5 stars For Bible readers 8 Feb 2014
By ItsMe - Published on
Format:Paperback|Verified 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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