Book Reviews,  Theology/Bible

Review of “The Face of New Testament Studies”

Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne, eds. The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research. Grand Rapids: Baker Academic, 2004. 544pp. $34.99.

Eminent New Testament scholars Scot McKnight and Grant R. Osborne have edited an important volume that introduces the various sub-disciplines of New Testament studies. In The Face of New Testament Studies: A Survey of Recent Research, various luminaries of the scholarly guild have contributed essays that give an overview of their respective disciplines and that introduce some of the important voices in those disciplines.

There are a total of twenty-two essays, and they are divided into four parts: (1) Context of the New Testament, (2) New Testament Hermeneutics, (3) Jesus, and (4) Earliest Christianity. There are special sections for historical Jesus scholars, scholars on individual Gospels, generalists on the Synoptic Gospels, Pauline scholars, Petrine scholars and more. The book tries to give an introduction to all the major areas of specialty within the field of New Testament research.

The value of the book consists in its comprehensiveness. There is much more here than in a typical introduction to New Testament criticism. The weakness of the book is in its organization. Because the book is intended to give students an overview of the discipline, it would have been helpful if the essays could have been divided into parts that better represent the sub-disciplines (e.g., Greek Language, Historical Backgrounds, Synoptic Studies, Pauline Studies, etc.). The four part scheme adopted in this book does not adequately reflect the specialized fields of research on the New Testament.

On the whole, however, the essays themselves look to be very helpful to anyone looking for an update on and synopsis of the major trends of research. This volume would be a useful textbook for a course on New Testament criticism.

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