Stephen Harris's best-selling text is designed for students undertaking their first systematic study of the New Testament. The purpose of the text is twofold: to introduce readers to the content and major themes of each book of the New Testament and to familiarize them with the goals and methods of the most recent New Testament scholarship.
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Meet the Author
Stephen L. Harris is Professor Emeritus of Humanities and Religious Studies at California State University, Sacramento, where he served ten years as department chair. A Woodrow Wilson Fellow, he received his M.A. and Ph.D. from Cornell University. A member of the Society of Biblical Literature, his publications include Understanding the Bible (8th edition, 2011); The Old Testament: An Introduction to the Hebrew Bible (with Robert Platzner); Classical Mythology: Images and Insights (with Gloria Platzner); Exploring the Bible; and Fire Mountains of the West: The Cascade and Mono Lake Volcanoes, a survey of volcanic hazards on the U.S. Pacific Coast; and for National Geographic Books, Restless Earth, a study of global earthquakes, tsunamis, and volcanic eruptions. He contributed the chapter on “Archaeology and Volcanism” to the Encyclopedia of Volcanoes (Academic Press, 2000).
Part I. An Invitation to the New Testament
1. An Overview of the New Testament
Key Topics/Themes / What Is the New Testament? / The New Testament and the Hebrew Bible / Testament and Covenant / The Septuagint / Language and Literature of the New Testament / Other Early Christian Literature / Scholarly Approaches to the New Testament
2. How the New Testament Was Formed and Handed Down to Us
Key Topics/Themes / Formation of the New Testament Canon / Transmitting the New Testament Texts / English Translations
3. The Two Worlds in Which Christianity Originated: Jewish and Greek
Key Topics/Themes / The One God, Yahweh / The Torah / The Divine Promises / The Jerusalem Temple / The World of Greek Thought and Culture / Greek Philosophy / Greco-Roman Religion / The Mystery Religions
4. The Troubled World Into Which Jesus Was Born
Key Topics/Themes / Alexander and His Successors / Antiochus's Persecution and the Maccabean Revolt / The Roman Emperors / The Jewish Revolt Against Rome
Stephen Harris is not a credible author for this topic since he is obviously completely bias against the church. At the beginning of the book, I was excited because I thought I was going to gain some understanding of the history of writings; instead, Harris' bias deminished his credibility because he twisted the scriptures and excluded scriptures to convey his hatred and discredit the NT. For example, he states on page 171 that the concept of hell "is absent from the Hebrew bible and most of the New Testament, a few scattered references to it (primarily involving Gehenna or a fiery lake) appear in the Synoptic Gospel and the Book of Revelation". He apparently eighter is deliberately trying to deceive students or he does not know the history of the text because there are many references to hell in the Old and New Testaments. Deuteronomy 32 writes about culture of the Isralites at that time and how they worshipped demons instead of God and furthered made reference to hell. Some other reference in the Old Testament are 2 Sam. 22:6, Ps. 18:5, Ps.55:15, Ps.116:3, Ps.139:8, Prov.15:11, and many more. In addition, Harris states that Matt 5:22, 29-30; 10:28;23:15,33 refers to hell as a geographic location in Jerusalem called Gehenna. This is misleading students because these scriptures does not mention or cite this location Harris reference in his text. His inaccuracy is only one of the major errors in this text. How can students use this material to study the Bible when the author (Harris) is not honest. A writer should not try to discredit the history, but he should report what is there - (the evidence) even if that evidence opposes his personal bias. I strongly reject this book as a student's study of the N.T.
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