This fascinating and comprehensive book, first published in 1990, is, as the original subtile put it, 'a story and a programme'.
The story is that of the many attempts over the last two hundred years to write a theology of the New Testament, from the pioneering J. P. Gabler to the present day. Writing in Theology, Robert morgan describes it as 'surely the best available survey in any language and particularly useful for those less familiar with the German tradition'.
However, the book contains more than a survey: the 'programme' maps out the way that New Testament theology should proceed in the future. The programme relates not only to subject-matter but also to audience, since in a secular society those who read the New Testament range far outside the confessions and churches.
As might be expected, the reception for this radical thesis has ben a mixed one, but the importance of Professor Raisaenen's work has been strongly emphasized, not lesast by Professor Gerd Theissen in his A Theory of Primitive Christian Reigion.
This new edition contains a survey of the debate over the last decade and also elaborates further on the programme for the future in the light of recent developments.
Heikki Raisaenen is Professor of New Testament Exegesis at the University of Helsinki.