Introduction to the New Testament
I'm working my way through Udo Schnelle's Einleitung in das Neue Testament at the mo (I believe there is an English translation of an earlier publication) and I must give it an enthusiastically firm thumbs up. In fact, go and buy it instantly, and then put on sack cloth and ashes and feel stupid for not having gotten it earlier.
Each NT document is considered under the titles: Literature, Verfasser, Ort und Zeit der Abfassung, Empfänger, Gliederung – Afbau – Form, Literarische Integrität, Traditionen – Quellen, Religionsgeschichtliche Stellung, Theologische Grundgedanken and Tendenzen der neueren Forschung.
A few problems however:
- It, and this is a problem endemic to so many German NT scholarly works, is unbalanced in its focus on German scholarship. OK, its not as bad as others, but a little more engagement with English speaking works would arguably be more appropriate sometimes.
- It is also a little pessimistic in its evaluation as what counts as genuinely Pauline.
- He adopts the 'northern Galatia' theory concerning the addressees of the letter to the Galatians. Although the evidence for and against is hardly conclusive, I just don't buy the northern theory. At least not yet. Although all of that stuff is as complex as it gets in NT exegesis and its tied to a whole mess of horrid chronological issue that Bletchley Park would be better suited to solving than I.
But these are minor problems, and the pluses far outweigh them. It is a wonderfull and most detailed, closely argued and informative NT introduction, and one that is continually being updated though recent re-publications.
Another wonderful, and much more readable (of the 'difficult to put down' variety), yet less advanced NT introduction is deSilva's recent An Introduction to the New Testament.