Encounter with the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Russell Pregeant

Encounter with the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Approach
Encounter with the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Approach

Book Details

Categories: NT Introductions

Book Information

Pages: 400 pages
Publisher: Fortress Press
Published: 2009
ISBN-10: 0800663489
ISBN-13: 9780800663483

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5 out of 5 based on 2 user ratings
Minneapolis: Fortress, 2009. Pp. xxii + 369, Paperback, $30.00, ISBN 9780800663483. Sonya S. Cronin Florida State University Tallahassee, Florida The 2009 Fortress release of Encounter with the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Approach is “an abridgment and updating” of the original book under the same title, published (also by Fortress) in 1995 (xxi). In this newer edition, author Russell Pregeant has “shortened the original text by one-third … made numerous revisions and introduced new topics … and been more systematic in discussing matters of authorship, date, and place of composition” (xxi). While the “interdisciplinary approach” tagline might suggest something other than a traditional textbook for a lower-level New Testament course, the book is in fact just that, an introduction to the academic study of the New Testament, appropriate for the undergraduate student and comparable to other textbooks written for this purpose. As Pregeant describes in the introduction, his aim in writing this book is to present the academic issues surrounding the New Testament with an “appropriate degree of objectivity (2). However, he also disavows what he calls “value-neutrality,” which in this case seems to be for Pregeant an approach to the New Testament that discourages a personal involvement with the text. Pregeant describes his audience, stating that this book is intended for “those who have some sense of identification with Christianity … adherents of other faiths—Judaism, Islam, Buddhism—and others with no religious faith or background at all (1),” in other words, everyone. [Full Review]
This present volume is an abridgment and updating of a previous work published by Pregeant in 1995: Engaging the New Testament: An Interdisciplinary Introduction. Pregeant establishes that one of the aims of the book is that it will be used in an academic setting, where one’s study of the New Testament does not presuppose a particular religious commitment (1). He offers a brief discussion of the origin and contents of the New Testament and of matters of translations, manuscripts, and textual criticism (2–6). This is followed by an overview of some ways of reading the Bible. In chapter 1, Pregeant explains the nature, strengths, and limitations of historical, theological and ideological, psychological, and literary approaches to the study of the New Testament and informs the reader that his own approach rests on the use of two methods: historical criticism and a moderate version of reader-response analysis (18). From this point on, the book is divided into four main parts: (1) “Before the New Testament”; (2) “The Gospels and Acts”; (3) “The Pauline Corpus”; and (4) “The General Letters and Revelation.” In part 1, chapters 2–4, Pregeant offers a treatment of “the historical contexts within which Jesus lived, the early tradition was transmitted, and the writings finally emerged” (24). “Christian Beginnings in Context” is the subject matter of chapter 2. Pregeant discusses some features of Hebrew monotheism and of Greek philosophy. [Full Review]

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