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The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament [Hardcover]

Andreas J Kostenberger , L Scott Kellum , Charles L Quarles

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 954 pages
  • Publisher: Broadman & Holman Publishers (1 Aug 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0805443657
  • ISBN-13: 978-0805443653
  • Product Dimensions: 25.4 x 18.3 x 4.6 cm
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,101,262 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Amazon.com: 4.5 out of 5 stars  29 reviews
16 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best 8 Aug 2010
By Daniel J. Doleys - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Andreas Koestenberger is professor of New Testament at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary and author of Father, Son and Spirit: The Trinity and John's Gospel, Heresy of Orthodoxy, A Theology of John's Gospel and Letters, John (BECNT), Salvation to the Ends of the Earth, and Encountering John. L. Scott Kellum is associate professor of New Testament and Greek at Southeastern Baptist Theological Seminary. Charles L. Quarles is professor of New Testament and Greek at Louisiana College.

I would like to thank Jim Baird of B&H for providing this review copy.

There are an abundance of New Testament introductions that are more than adequate for most NT students and teachers: Introduction to the New Testament (D.A. Carson, Doug Moo), New Testament Introduction (Donald Guthrie), Encountering the New Testament (Walter Elwell), New Testament History (F. F. Bruce), An Introduction To The New Testament (David deSilva) and many more. With this wealth of volumes is there a need for another? Well when it is as good as The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown, the answer is yes! Like most NT intros this volume follows a standard format of two chapters on background, a section on Jesus and the Gospels, a section on Acts and Paul, a section on the General Epistles and a concluding chapter on NT theology. In addition, it follows the basic outline in each chapter of describing the standard fare: author, date, provenance, audience, purpose, structure and a prose outline of the book with a discussion of important critical matters.

So if the structure is so much like other volumes where does The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown stand out? In its content. It is both comprehensive and simple. The amount of material covered in each chapter is astounding for the size of the book (895 pgs before the index). Only deSilva matches the depth of interaction with the text and issues in each NT book. This level of depth is able to be accomplished because of the simplicity of the style and format. This volume makes no attempt to do anything but get across the information necessary for introducing each book of the NT. Maps, charts and Sidebars are kept to a minimum, but appear at the exact right time. Many times I found my self thinking, "This point would be strengthened by a chart/section of additional information," only to find exactly what I desired on the next page. In addition, the style is very straight forward, not getting bogged down in trying to write on a lower reading level or attempting fanciful prose. The authors simply give you the information. In addition, the authors, while nearly always coming to the conservative evangelical viewpoint on critical and theological matters, never seem to have an axe to grind. This book is not meant to attack critical NT introductions, it simply lays out the options and argues for the authors' desired position. As an conservative evangelical I found myself agreeing with the authors the vast majority of the time. I did of course have disagreements here and there, but none more than is expected when one reads any work. Two additional pluses should be noted. The publisher chose a very simple Times font which I found very comforting in long reading sessions. In addition, the bibliographies at the end of each chapter are the best available in any any NT introduction. The authors do not simply give a few commentaries or monographs relating to the topic at hand, but list several dozen monographs, commentaries, journal and dictionary articles, essays and other works that deal with the most important topics in each chapter.

The one negative I would mention would be the proof editing. There were numerous spelling, grammatical and punctuation errors throughout the text. However, the review copy I received was very close to the publication date and may not reflect the final edit. Either way I am sure that the publisher will fix these errors for future printings, which I am sure there will be. In all The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown stands, with deSilva, at the top of the list of available NT introductions.
14 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars New Standard For Evangelical Introductions To The New Testament 26 Dec 2009
By Steve Jackson - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
THE CRADLE, THE CROSS, AND THE CROWN is an up to date evangelical introduction to the New Testament. Based on its scope and quality it may become the standard evangelical introduction to the NT for years to come.

No NT introduction can discuss everything a beginning student might need, but CCC comes pretty close. It includes historical background, textual matters, brief commentaries on the individual books, helpful charts and side bars on select topics. For, example section on Paul contains a life of Paul, a chronology of his life, a brief discussion on the "New Perspective," a review of his theology, and his relationship to Jesus.

The book's conclusions are consistently conservative, affirming the historicity and inerrancy of scripture and the traditional dating and authorship of the biblical books. The authors appear to be baptistic, pre-millennial, and non-dispensationalist.

For readers wanting a more mainstream introduction covering similar topics, I'd recommend Raymond Brown's.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Teacher's Dream 27 Oct 2011
By Nick Norelli - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
As I look at my bookcases I see no less than 5 proper New Testament introductions. In addition to these I have another 2 volumes in digital format. And all of this is to say nothing of the introductory works I have on specific parts of the NT, such as the Gospels or Paul's letters. So with such a proliferation of material introducing readers to the NT what makes one volume stand out above another? For some it will be a mere matter of preference. Do you prefer a volume that is written from a fairly conservative evangelical position or do you want something a little to the left of that? Are you looking for something that's heavily focused on background material or something geared more towards the theology of each book? Do you want something very detailed or something more general? Whatever your preference there is a NT intro to suit your fancy.

So back to the initial question: what makes The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown: An Introduction to the New Testament edited by Andreas J. Köstenberger, L. Scott Kellum, and Charles L. Quarles stand out above other NT intros? It's written from a conservative evangelical perspective but so is D. A. Carson and Doug Moo's excellent An Introduction to the New Testament, 2nd ed. Both volumes proceed along the lines that Scripture is inspired, inerrant, and supremely authoritative. It provides a plethora of sociological and historical background material but Burge, Cohick, & Green's The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament Within Its Cultural Contexts does this as well, and it does it extremely well. It devotes a lot of time and space to the issues of canonization, but Bruce Metzger's The New Testament: Its Background, Growth, & Content covers the same ground, as does McDonald & Porter's Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature. So once more, what commends this volume above the others?

There are a few things. To start this volume does everything that all the other volumes do. They all cover the history, literature, and background of the NT but this volume does it just as well, if not better than the others, and it does so in light of and in reference to previous intros. This brings us to the second feature that makes this volume worthy of our time and attention; it's up to date. One thing I've come to greatly appreciate and respect about Köstenberger is that he does his homework and it seems that his partners do as well. This volume is heavily footnoted and contains a plethora of bibliographies for suggested further reading and the material spans the theological spectrum and references major works in the fields being addressed. I've come to find that conservative writers often reference their less conservative counterparts while the reverse is not always the case.

Perhaps the most important thing, from a Christian perspective, is that it's Christocentric. The book's title The Cradle, the Cross, and the Crown is a pithy summary of the central focus of the NT: Jesus' life, death, resurrection, and return. There is a constant focus on what the text says about Christ especially with reference to redemptive history. The authors view Christ as they argue he viewed himself, i.e., as the "fulfillment of God's purposes for and promises to Israel." (45) And that's another thing that I appreciate about this volume; it doesn't shy away from theology. It doesn't purport to be some disinterested and objective source presenting nothing but brute facts. It discusses the theology of the NT writers, the theology of the early Christians, and what this means for modern believers.

The layout of this intro is exquisite. Each chapter begins with a brief section called "Core Knowledge," in which the reader is told what they should know with a basic, intermediate, or advanced knowledge of the subject matter. Then we're given a table of "key facts" (author, date, provenance, destination, purpose, theme, key verses) for the book under discussion (the key facts are omitted in chapters 1, 2, and 21 since these chapters address different subject matter). These key facts are then detailed as subsections of the section on "History." This is followed by a "Literature" section that discusses the literary plan and provides an outline of the book under consideration; after this is the "Unit-by-Unit Discussion," which functions as a miniature commentary. A section on "Theology" comes next where major theological themes are discussed, and this is followed by a section on the book's "Contribution to the Canon." Each chapter is rounded out with a series of "Study Questions" and a bibliography "For Further Reading." Amidst all of this are a number of sidebars, tables, and maps with a helpful glossary as well as detailed name, subject, and Scripture indices in the back.

And that's really the strength of this volume--the thing that commends its use over others--it's a pedagogical masterpiece. This intro can be used to teach courses at the undergraduate or graduate level. It can be used to lead church or family Bible studies. It can be followed to the letter or adapted as necessary. For example, if one disagrees with the authors' stance on the authorship of the Gospels they can simply skip over it and substitute their own findings while making use of the rest of the material. Or they can ask whatever study questions they deem most important and supplement them with some of their own. Its layout and content make this an extremely versatile resource. I can't imagine that any teacher or student wouldn't benefit from it, unless of course they're fundamentally opposed to the presuppositions of the authors, in which case using this book would still be beneficial in providing an alternative viewpoint.

If there's one area that the authors could have improved on then it would have been the chapter on "The Political and Religious Background of the New Testament" (58-99). I understand that this is an introduction and it is supposed to cover the broad scope of things, but the information provided in this chapter does not seem to be enough to get the student to the level of advanced knowledge detailed in the beginning of the chapter. Sketch summaries are fine as far as they go, but when it came to the Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, and Dead Sea Scrolls we're really told very little other than the most basic information. The suggestions for further reading will certainly supplement this but more could have been said in this volume without being overly detailed or cumbersome. This shortcoming aside, I would gladly recommend this volume to students at varying levels of study and teachers in academic or church settings.

I would have given this 4½ stars but Amazon doesn't do half stars. It's not quite perfect but it too good to just say that I "like" it.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars First Choice for a Conservative NTI 24 Jan 2012
By Charles J. Bumgardner - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This 900-page tome took quite awhile to work through but was eminently worth it. Conservative, premillennial, posttribulational, non-dispensational. Defends traditional positions in NTI (e.g., traditional dating and authorship of NT books, inerrancy and historicity of NT) while engaging recent scholarship. Helpful tables on NT chronology (59-62; 402-403). Very thorough footnotes and outstanding chapter-end bibliographies; given that Köstenberger is one of the authors, the reader will find quite a few German works referenced throughout. Excellent introductory chapters ("Nature and Scope of Scripture," "Political and Religious Background of the New Testament," "Jesus and the Relationship between the Gospels" before the chapters on the gospels, "Paul: the Man and His Message" before the Pauline epistles, "Unity and Diversity in the New Testament" at the close). The content is generally quite thorough, and very readable, both in style and font. Maps, tables, and application sidebars throughout (though no illustrations; go to Burge, Cohick, and Green for those). Pedagogically astute: the "Core Knowledge" section heading each chapter is very helpful for study purposes, detailing what chapter content one should seek to master at a basic (college), intermediate (seminary), and advanced (postgraduate) level, and the "For Further Study" questions at the close of each chapter are helpful as well. Includes glossary (although some definitions are a bit lacking), as well as name, subject, and Scripture indices.

My one hesitation regarding content was the treatment of the history of New Testament interpretation. While Carson and Moo's introduction has a significant section which very deftly summarizes this area, Cradle, Cross, Crown has chosen to handle issues of history of interpretation in a piecemeal fashion in the introductory chapters, and throughout the various chapters on biblical books (e.g., handling the Quests for the Historical Jesus in the chapter introducing the gospels). The closest the volume comes to an overview is an (admittedly) truncated treatment of two pages (xviii-xix) on "A Brief History of New Testament Introduction," which really serves more to locate the volume in the conservative stream of NT introductions than to treat NT interpretation. One can't include everything, but a chapter-long overview of NT interpretation would have been worth the extra pages, in my opinion. This is a small matter, however, and the interested reader can peruse Carson & Moo's chapter, or for a longer treatment, Wright and Neill, or Baird.

On my shelf, I have most of the major NT introductions published in English in the last thirty years. Cradle, Cross, Crown has become my first choice for a conservative recommendation in this genre.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent Text 1 Jun 2013
By Akanna24 - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This was the required text book for my New Testament 1 & 2 courses. I found it very helpful in understanding the text and particularly with establishing the historical context. The other reviewers here have done a great job covering the pros for the text, so I don't feel the need to reiterate, however, I would like to mention a few things I struggled with as a I read:

1) The authors consistently refer to scholars with their first (and possibly second) initial and last name. These creates a very streamlined text, that looks great. However, as someone relatively new to this depth of study, I would have preferred the inclusion of the whole name, as this would better acquaint me with experts in the field by name they are typically referenced.

2) Perhaps this is a reflection on myself, however, but I found the footnote style of citation to be rather limited here. I frequently found myself to be yearning for a bibliography. The citations were often presented in shortened form, and I struggled to find the original to know the work actually being referenced. When I attempted look back through the pages, I often didn't find a lengthened version and also no bibliography. The "For Further Reading" section seemed excellent, however, it did not often aid in identifying these resources.

3) I was completely overwhelmed by Chapter 2: The Political and Religious Background of the NT. Now I can only imagine the difficulties of writing a text like this, particularly with space constraints, however, I struggled a lot with sheer comprehension of this chapter. I had virtually no background knowledge of the background of the NT, and as a result, I found myself having to look up multiple people, places, etc. on a single page just so I could figure out what was going on. It's an intense period of history, with a lot happening, but I would have preferred a longer introduction that would have required me to utilize less external resources.

Overall, it's an excellent book. Whenever I'm preparing to study a book again, I always reference the Kostenberger. It provides such great context and appears to truly examine difficult issues from multiple perspectives (so invaluable!). Aside from Chapter 2, I found the text to be very readable and incredibly well organized, providing just the introduction I needed to my study of the New Testament.
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