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The New Testament: Its Background Growth and Content 3rd Edition

1 rating: 3.0
A book by Bruce M. Metzger

This text is a classic by one of America's most widely respected New Testament scholars. It provides a clear and comprehensive introduction to the New Testament. In a straightforward and understandable style--without distortion or oversimplification--Prof. … see full wiki

Tags: Books
Author: Bruce M. Metzger
Genre: Religion & Spirituality
Publisher: Abingdon Press
1 review about The New Testament: Its Background Growth...

fascinating, full of invaluable information and very readable

  • Feb 8, 2010
Rating:
+3
My son's gone back to college. He left this book lying around on his bedroom floor, so I decided to read it. After all, I'm leading a Bible study on the book of Mark on Tuesday mornings. Knowing more about the New Testament, Its Background, Growth and Content, can only help.

Since the book was clearly a college text book I wasn't sure how far I'd get. After all, college texts can be really slow to read. But I actually finished the book in two days and could scarcely put it down.

Since I grew up with a "Catholic" Bible, I was fascinated to learn more about the history of intertestament times and the Maccabean revolt. The insights into all the different groups of people in Judea at the time of Christ help bring a lot of the Gospel stories and Christ's teachings to life. And the information on local customs, in action and in speech, are truly amazing.

Interesting examples included the use of Judean overstatement (as opposed to British understatement I suppose), and picturesque speech (logs and specks in peoples' eyes). Rhythm and puns that we miss in translation were quite fascinating too. And the insights into how texts were collected, combined, used and preserved make the whole question of where our New Testament comes from much more interesting and well-grounded, besides providing a logical background to modern arguments about "hidden" and "lost" books.

I liked the fact that the author didn't shy away from difficulties. He doesn't assume that every word in some favorite translation is perfectly preserved, but instead looks at how the translations were made, how changes crept in, and how well-researched the analysis of those changes is. I've always known that the historical evidence for the Bible rivals and probably beats that for the Roman documents I studied in Latin in school, but it was nice to see the arguments so clearly laid out.

I really enjoyed this book. I don't know that I'm ready to take an exam on it, and I probably don't want to go back to college to find out. But I'm glad my son left it lying around.

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