Inquiry into the New Testament

Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance

Course instructors considering a book for adoption will be provided a complimentary copy.
$44.95
Digital Books

David Landry’s Inquiry into the New Testament has everything desired in a textbook: crystal-clear explanations, beautiful page layout with gorgeous pictures, key terms and discussion questions at the end of every chapter, fascinating sidebars, and above all a keen sensitivity to the literary and historical contexts of the New Testament, as well as its contemporary significance. With its finger right on the pulse of current New Testament scholarship and well-designed for the academic setting, this textbook will benefit both student and teacher. Highly recommended!

Stephen C. Carlson
Australian Catholic University

I cannot recommend this textbook highly enough. David Landry has composed an ideal introduction for students who will encounter the New Testament in a single semester as part of a general education curriculum. Students will be equipped with all the necessary technical, historical, scholarly, and theological resources to read the New Testament critically. Most impressive and useful in the way it marries methodology with specific text, this volume allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of each biblical book and to develop the critical skills to read the New Testament on their own. The volume includes a range of carefully considered digressions on relevant topics, helping students think through issues and recognize the New Testament as a book rooted in the past but speaking to the present. Students will be well positioned to read and think about the New Testament, to enter upper-division seminars, and to reflect on how these early Christian texts remain important for their lives and for the world around them.

Shawn Kelley
Daemon University

A useful and user-friendly text for undergraduate study of the New Testament. While clearly based on the most up-to-date scholarship, the presentation will be especially helpful for students approaching the Bible critically for the first time. The text never falls into excessive jargon; the style is clear, with complex issues neatly developed.

Landry’s first few chapters on the background to the New Testament texts are comprehensive yet compact. Discussions of such issues as document dating, canonical development, comparison of canonical and noncanonical gospels, and the task of critical inquiry are all helpful.

Time and again, I found this text fit well with my own presentation of the material and the range of students I encounter in my classroom. It has the real feel of classroom experience. I can see myself using this textbook very successfully, and I think other teachers of the Bible would find it similarly useful.

Mark Matson
Milligan College

David Landry and John Martens provide a thorough and accessible introduction to the New Testament replete with images, review and discussion questions, key terms, and bibliography. The approach is primarily historical and literary. What makes Inquiry into the New Testament distinctive from other introductory texts, however, is its engagement with the ongoing use of the Bible in the contemporary world, whether for good or ill. Landry and Martens address the historical and present-day significance of various parts of the New Testament, and furnish each chapter of their book with discussion questions that sometimes engage controversial issues. Various topics such as fundamentalism, politics, economics, gender, and social and environmental justice come to the fore, especially in the last chapter. The authors effectively demonstrate why the academic study of the New Testament is important, regardless of one’s religious orientation. I highly recommend Inquiry into the New Testament for undergraduate courses.

Alicia J. Batten
Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo

In the overcrowded field of introductory textbooks, Inquiry into the New Testament is a standout. Designed with the undergraduate student in mind, this engaging and pedagogically smart volume explores salient historical, literary, theological, and wider interpretive issues both within and with the New Testament. Reflecting decades of teaching and scholarship, Landry and Martens show why a critical New Testament literacy is indispensable for understanding the power the Bible exerts, for better and for worse, in contemporary culture. Few introductions readily embrace this challenge so directly, and none does so more effectively. It’s a superb choice for the beginning New Testament course and one that will enrich many classrooms for years to come.

Gary A. Phillips
Wabash College

About This Book

Overview

The enormous cultural impact of the Bible—and in particular, the New Testament—has given people of all backgrounds and traditions at least some familiarity with it. Yet the Bible remains one of the most misread and misunderstood books of all time. Given the sheer variety of interpretive and critical methods, perhaps this isn’t altogether surprising.

In Inquiry into the New Testament: Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance, David Landry offers a readable, informed, and thorough introduction to this important collection of books. Teachable and ecumenical, the text includes methodological tools, reading guides, key terminology, review and discussion questions, images, and recommendations for further reading that will equip students to understand both Early Christianity and its foundational texts. With sections on literary and historical context, source criticism, interpretive lenses, the formation of the canon, the books of the New Testament as well as noncanonical gospels, and contemporary application, Inquiry into the New Testament highlights not only the ancient importance of the New Testament, but its continued modern significance, as well.

Details

Weight 1.8 lbs
Dimensions 7.25 × 1 × 9.125 in
ISBN

978-1-59982-174-0

Format

Softcover

Pages

468

Item # 7063

Customer Reviews

David Landry’s Inquiry into the New Testament has everything desired in a textbook: crystal-clear explanations, beautiful page layout with gorgeous pictures, key terms and discussion questions at the end of every chapter, fascinating sidebars, and above all a keen sensitivity to the literary and historical contexts of the New Testament, as well as its contemporary significance. With its finger right on the pulse of current New Testament scholarship and well-designed for the academic setting, this textbook will benefit both student and teacher. Highly recommended!

Stephen C. Carlson
Australian Catholic University

I cannot recommend this textbook highly enough. David Landry has composed an ideal introduction for students who will encounter the New Testament in a single semester as part of a general education curriculum. Students will be equipped with all the necessary technical, historical, scholarly, and theological resources to read the New Testament critically. Most impressive and useful in the way it marries methodology with specific text, this volume allows students to gain an in-depth understanding of each biblical book and to develop the critical skills to read the New Testament on their own. The volume includes a range of carefully considered digressions on relevant topics, helping students think through issues and recognize the New Testament as a book rooted in the past but speaking to the present. Students will be well positioned to read and think about the New Testament, to enter upper-division seminars, and to reflect on how these early Christian texts remain important for their lives and for the world around them.

Shawn Kelley
Daemon University

A useful and user-friendly text for undergraduate study of the New Testament. While clearly based on the most up-to-date scholarship, the presentation will be especially helpful for students approaching the Bible critically for the first time. The text never falls into excessive jargon; the style is clear, with complex issues neatly developed.

Landry’s first few chapters on the background to the New Testament texts are comprehensive yet compact. Discussions of such issues as document dating, canonical development, comparison of canonical and noncanonical gospels, and the task of critical inquiry are all helpful.

Time and again, I found this text fit well with my own presentation of the material and the range of students I encounter in my classroom. It has the real feel of classroom experience. I can see myself using this textbook very successfully, and I think other teachers of the Bible would find it similarly useful.

Mark Matson
Milligan College

David Landry and John Martens provide a thorough and accessible introduction to the New Testament replete with images, review and discussion questions, key terms, and bibliography. The approach is primarily historical and literary. What makes Inquiry into the New Testament distinctive from other introductory texts, however, is its engagement with the ongoing use of the Bible in the contemporary world, whether for good or ill. Landry and Martens address the historical and present-day significance of various parts of the New Testament, and furnish each chapter of their book with discussion questions that sometimes engage controversial issues. Various topics such as fundamentalism, politics, economics, gender, and social and environmental justice come to the fore, especially in the last chapter. The authors effectively demonstrate why the academic study of the New Testament is important, regardless of one’s religious orientation. I highly recommend Inquiry into the New Testament for undergraduate courses.

Alicia J. Batten
Conrad Grebel University College, University of Waterloo

In the overcrowded field of introductory textbooks, Inquiry into the New Testament is a standout. Designed with the undergraduate student in mind, this engaging and pedagogically smart volume explores salient historical, literary, theological, and wider interpretive issues both within and with the New Testament. Reflecting decades of teaching and scholarship, Landry and Martens show why a critical New Testament literacy is indispensable for understanding the power the Bible exerts, for better and for worse, in contemporary culture. Few introductions readily embrace this challenge so directly, and none does so more effectively. It’s a superb choice for the beginning New Testament course and one that will enrich many classrooms for years to come.

Gary A. Phillips
Wabash College

About the Author

David T. Landry

David Landry has a PhD in New Testament from Vanderbilt University. He is a professor of theology at the University of St. Thomas.

Table of Contents

Introduction

Chapter 1: The Formation of the New Testament

Chapter 2: Some Prominent Noncanonical Gospels

Chapter 3: Greco-Roman Religions: Alternatives to Christianity

Chapter 4: Ancient Judaism: Christianity’s Mother Religion

Chapter 5: The Roman Empire

Chapter 6: Introduction to the Gospels

Chapter 7: Methods of Biblical Criticism

Chapter 8: The Gospel of Mark

Chapter 9: Source Criticism and the Synoptic Problem

Chapter 10: The Gospel of Matthew

Chapter 11: Luke’s First Volume: The Gospel of Luke

Chapter 12: Luke’s Second Volume: The Acts of the Apostles

Chapter 13: The Johannine Literature: The Gospel of John and the Three Letters of John

Chapter 14: Introduction to Paul

Chapter 15: The Genuine Letters of Paul: Rhetorical Criticism and the Letter to Philemon

Chapter 16: Paul’s Correspondence with the Thessalonians, Philippians, and Galatians

Chapter 17: Paul’s Correspondence with the Corinthians and Romans

Chapter 18: The Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles

Chapter 19: The General Epistles: James, Jude, 1 and 2 Peter, and Hebrews

Chapter 20: The Book of Revelation

Chapter 21: The Quest for the Historical Jesus

Chapter 22: The New Testament in the Modern World

Index

Professional Reviews

Reading Religion: A Publication of the American Academy of Religion

Inquiry into the New Testament

Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance

Editor(s):

David T. Landry

Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, December 2018. 468 pages.

$44.95. Paperback. ISBN 9781599821740.

Review

Inquiry into the New Testament: Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance, written by David T. Landry with John W. Martens, offers an informative introduction to the history, literature, and theology of the New Testament. In a market that is crowded with introductory textbooks about the New Testament, this survey by Landry and Martens will certainly engage students. They have written an introductory textbook that surveys the critical methods, various interpretations, and necessary background information that will equip students to understand the New Testament.

Landry and Martens have organized their textbook into twenty-two chapters. Each chapter explores a particular subject, text, or group of texts. The basic premise of this textbook is that an unbiased interpretation of the New Testament requires the reader to pay attention to the literary and historical context of the verse, passage, and book under examination. With this premise in mind the authors follow a similar pattern of examining a subject, text, or group of texts by introducing students to the methods of biblical criticism in connection to their practical application in each chapter.

Although Landry and Martens acknowledge that their textbook follows the same approach of Bart Ehrman’s popular New Testament textbook, which introduces the various methods of biblical criticism inductively, they point out that their textbook is unique in at least two ways. First, their textbook is shorter because it does not discuss the post-apostolic literature of early Christianity.

Instead they have chosen to focus only on Christian literature produced in the first century. Second, Landry and Martens recognize that most undergraduate students enroll in a New Testament course because they have to be there and not always because they want to be there. In order to make the New Testament more appealing to such an audience the authors have chosen to focus more on what historians often call the “so what?” question, which they understand as the relevance of biblical texts to modern people.

A critical evaluation of every chapter in this textbook is out of the scope of this review. Instead, this review will provide a short summary of the textbook and highlight some content and features that might appeal to both the student and the teacher.

Landry and Martens provide the necessary background information to understand New Testament texts in the first chapters. They explore the formation of the New Testament, Greco-Roman religions, ancient Judaism, and the Roman Empire. The subsequent chapters introduce students to the Gospels, the methods of biblical criticism, and the apostle Paul.

While some chapters focus on individual texts, others discuss a group of texts. The authors group together the following texts: Paul’s correspondence with the Thessalonians, Philippians, and Galatians; the Johannine literature (the Gospel of John and letters of John); the Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles; and the general epistles (James, Jude, 1 and 2 Peter, and Hebrews). Perhaps some of the most unique chapters of this textbook discuss source criticism and the synoptic problem, the quest for the historical Jesus, and the New Testament in the modern world.

This textbook has some unique content and features that may appeal to students. First, each chapter begins with an introduction that engages the student with interesting background information about a subject, text, or group of texts. Second, each chapter includes textboxes with discussions about interesting topics. For instance, the chapter about the Acts of the Apostles includes a textbox that discusses the historical reliability of Acts. Another example is the introductory chapter to Paul, which includes a textbox that asks whether Paul was the inventor of Christianity. The teacher may certainly find these textboxes useful for generating discussion in the classroom. Third, the chapters are written in clear language that the non-expert will easily understand. Fourth, the chapters are not very long so they will maintain the students’ attention.

This textbook has some unique features that may appeal to the teacher too: 1) important key terms and phrases are in bold to more easily capture the attention of the students; 2) the authors have included helpful footnotes that can direct the students’ attention to other resources; 3) the authors have included a list of key terms, review questions, discussion questions, and suggestions for further study at the end of each chapter.

There are some other unique features in this textbook that deserve recognition. The publisher has included images of biblical events or historical locations. In addition, a few chapters have helpful charts or tables for the purpose of organizing or summarizing biblical concepts. Moreover, this textbook includes a few maps, such as Paul’s journeys in Acts.

Landry and Martens have written a textbook designed for undergraduates that will engage them with a thoughtful discussion about historical, literary, and theological interpretive issues within the New Testament. The textbook is logically organized and written in clear language. Overall, this textbook will provide students insight into the critical methods to interpret the New Testament while highlighting the historical context and significance of verses, passages, and texts in the modern world.

About the Reviewer(s):

Steven Shisley is an Instructional Designer at Eastern Kentucky University.

Date of Review:

April 22, 2020

About the Author(s)/Editor(s)/Translator(s):

David Landry is Professor of Theology at the University of St. Thomas.

 

Steven Shisley
Instructional Designer at Eastern Kentucky University
4/22/2020

DAVID T. LANDRY WITH JOHN W. MARTENS, Inquiry into the New Testament: Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance (Winona, MN: Anselm Academic, 2019, paper $44.95) 467 pp.

Illustrated. Bibliographies. Indexed. ISBN: 978-1-59982-174-0. This introductory NT textbook, designed for academic use at the undergraduate level, lays out in its six-page introduction some principles for studying the NT critically (context is crucial, evidence-based conclusions, no “special rules” for interpreting the Bible) and places itself in considers the formation of the NT, some prominent noncanonical Gospels, Greco-Roman religions, ancient Judaism, and the Roman empire, respectively. Then, after an introduction to the Gospels and to methods of biblical criticism, respectively, it surveys the NT in roughly canonical order: the Gospel of Mark, source criticism and the Synoptic problem, the Gospel of Matthew, the Gospel of Luke, Acts of the Apostles, the Gospel of John and the Johannine letters, Paul and the undisputed letters (four chapters), the Deuteropauline and Pastoral epistles, the catholic epistles and Hebrews, the book of Revelation, the quest for the historical Jesus, and the NT in the modern world. A fourteen-page glossary is included. Landry and Martens are both professors of NT at the University of St. Thomas in Saint Paul, Minnesota.

New Testament Abstracts Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
New Testament Abstracts
Boston College School of Theology and Ministry
2/24/2020

David T. Landry with John W. Martens. Inquiry into the New Testament. Ancient Context to Contemporary Significance. Winona, MN: Anselm Academic (www.anselmacademic.org), 2019. Pages, 467. Paper, $44.95.

The Bible Today

The quest of college and university professors to find the most useful New Testament introduction is neverending. This work by David Landry and John Martens, both members of the theology faculty at St. Thomas University in Saint Paul, Minnesota, is an admirable attempt to find the right balance, size, and level of comprehension needed for a textbook to be in college or university courses. The type of course the authors have in mind is one in a religious studies context rather than as part of a proper theological curriculum. Thus they aspire to approach the biblical text “free of bias” regarding its theological significance or authority, although leaving some openings for teacher and student to move in that direction if desired. The exposition of the social and religious context of the New Testament and the descriptions of the contexts of the individual books are well done and pedagogically attractive. Given the spirit of the book, perhaps a bibliography with leads to theological interpretation of the New Testament writings would be useful. overall, those teaching in a mainly religious studies context will want to take a look at this resource.

Donald Senior, CP
Chancellor and president emeritus of Catholic Theological Union and continues as professor of New Testament. He is general editor of The Bible Today.

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