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The New Testament Cover Image
The New Testament, 4/e
Stephen Harris, California State University - Sacramento

An Overview of the New Testament


I. Key topics/themes

II. What is the New Testament?

  1. The New Testament as "scripture"
  2. Appreciating the cultural world of the New Testament

III. The New Testament and the Hebrew Bible

  1. The Relationship between the New Testament and the Hebrew Bible
  2. The Hebrew Bible as scripture for early Christians

IV. Testament and covenant

  1. The nature of the covenant with Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible
  2. The promise of a "new covenant" (Jer. 31:31)
  3. Jesus' declaration of a new covenant

V. The Septuagint

VI. Language and literature of the New Testament

  1. Koin_ Greek
    1. The prevalence of the koin_ dialect
    2. Dating the books of the New Testament
  1. New Testament literary forms
  1. Gospels
    1. Significance of the term euangelion
    2. Gospel as a narrative of Jesus' deeds and teachings
    3. Emphasis on Jesus' passion
  1. A history of the early church
    1. Book of Acts
    2. Written by author of Luke's Gospel
  1. Letters, or epistles
    1. Thirteen letters ascribed to Paul
    2. Seven letters ascribed to Peter, John, James, or Jude
  1. An apocalypse
    1. Nature of apocalyptic literature
    2. Importance of eschatology in early Christian thought
  1. Subgenres within the New Testament documents
  1. Diversity and unity in the New Testament documents
    1. Early Christians as ethnically and theologically diverse
    2. Books addressed to Gentile Christians
    3. Books addressed to Jewish Christians
    4. The community that produced the Gospel of John
    5. Pseudonymous works produced in the name of apostles
    6. New Testament writers' diverse views toward Roman authority

VII. Other early Christian literature

  1. The struggle for orthodoxy as a factor in determining the contents of the New Testament
  2. Differences in how early Christians interpreted the importance of Jesus in God's plan
  3. The Gospel of Thomas

VIII. Scholarly approaches to the New Testament

  1. Contrasting analytical and devotional approaches to the New Testament
  2. The development of analytical methods for biblical research
  3. The nature of biblical criticism
  4. Coordinating critical methodologies and spirituality in the study of the Bible

IX. Summary