The New Testament

The New Testament

by Gerd Theissen


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Gerd Theissen takes up the problem of the emergence of the New Testament canon out of the wide variety of early Christian literature. Drawing from Max Weber's discussion of the evolution of religious organizations, Theissen describes the development of early Christian literature as a series of phases in the life of the movement: the charismatic, the pseudepigraphic, the functional, and the canonical.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780800697853
Publisher: Augsburg Fortress, Publishers
Publication date: 12/01/2011
Pages: 304
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.10(h) x 1.10(d)

About the Author

Gerd Theissen is Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg.

Table of Contents

List of Tables and Figures xiii

Preface xv

Introduction: The Problem of a Literary History of the New Testament 1

Part 1 The Twofold Beginnings of a History of Early Christian Literature

A The Charismatic Beginnings of Gospel Literature in Jesus

1 The Oral Prehistory of Early Christian Literature with the Historical Jesus

The Beginning of the History of Early Christian Literature 19

Beginnings of Oral Tradition with the Historical Jesus? 21

Three Tradents of the Jesus Tradition after Easter 25

The Formal Language of Jesus' Proclamation 27

2 The Sayings Source Q

The First Written Form of the Jesus Tradition 32

The Structure of Q 34

The Time of Q's Origins 36

The Tradition-Critical and Theological Location of Q 37

The Genre of Q: A Prophetic Book and More? 40

3 The Gospel of Mark

The Second Written Form of the Jesus Tradition 43

The Structure of Mark's Gospel 43

Time and Place of Mark's Gospel 48

Genre: A Biography with a Public Claim 53

B The Charismatic Phase of Paul's Epistolary Literature

4 The Historical Conditions for Paul's Letters 61

5 The Pre-Pauline Oral Tradition 64

Jesus Traditions in Paul 64

Pre-Pauline Christological Formulae 67

6 The Pauline Letter as Literary Form 69

The Form-Critical Location of Paul's Letters: Models 69

Development from Letter of Friendship to Community Letter by Means of Liturgical Stylization 74

Development from Letter of Friendship to Community Letter by Means of Rhetorical Stylization 78

7 The Sequence and Development of the Pauline Letters 82

8 The Collection of Paul's Letters 94

The Sequence of Paul's Letters 94

Attestation of Paul's Letters 95

The Place Where Paul's Letters Were Collected 99

Part 2 The Fictive Self-Interpretations of Paul and Jesus: The Pseudepigraphic Phase

9 Pseudepigraphy as a Literary-Historical Phase in Early Christianity 105

Early Christian Pseudepigraphy between Jewish and Hellenistic Cultures 109

Early Christian Pseudepigraphy between Oral and Literary Cultures 110

Early Christian Pseudepigraphy between Educated Authors and Uneducated Addressees 112

Open Pseudepigraphy in Early Christianity? 113

10 Paul's Fictive Self-Interpretation in the Deutero-Pauline Writings 116

The Eschatological Theology of 2 Thessalonians 117

The Cosmic Wisdom Theology of Colossians and Ephesians 118

The Theology of Office in the Pastorals 121

Paul's Fictive Self-Correction in the Deutero-Pauline Letters 123

Excursus: The Correction of Paul by the Catholic Epistles

11 Jesus' Fictive Self-Interpretation through the Redaction of the Jesus Traditions in the Synoptic Gospels 130

The Gospel of Mark 132

The Gospel of Matthew 134

The Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles 143

12 Jesus' Fictive Self-Interpretation through the Transformation of the Jesus Traditions in the Gospels Associated with Gnosis 155

The Gospel of John 156

The Gospel of Thomas 165

The Gospel of the Egyptians 167

13 Jesus' Fictive Self-Interpretation through the Continuation of the Synoptic Jesus Tradition in the Jewish-Christian Gospels 168

The Gospel of the Nazareans 169

The Gospel of the Ebionites 169

The Gospel of the Hebrews 170

14 Jesus' Fictive Self-Interpretation through the Harmonizing of the Jesus Tradition in Other Apocryphal Gospels 171

The Egerton Gospel 171

The Gospel of Peter 172

The Unknown Berlin Gospel 173

Part 3 The Authority of the Independent Forms: The Functional Phase

15 The Independent Differentiation of Partial Texts and Tendencies 179

Preaching 179

Congregational Order 180

Collections of Sayings 180

Secret Teachings of Jesus 180

Historical Writing 181

Apocalypses 181

16 The Acts of the Apostles 184

17 The Revelation to John 189

18 The Letter to the Hebrews 195

Part 4 The New Testament on Its Way to Becoming a Religious World Literature: The Canonical Phase

19 Canon as a Means to Stability Based on Compromise and Demarcation 205

The Four-Gospel Canon 211

Canonical Collections of Letters 216

Canonical Clusters of Gospels and Other Genres 218

The Septuagint as Canonical Model 220

A Canonical Edition of the New Testament in the Second Century? 222

Establishment of a Canon as a Recognition of and Limitation on Plurality 225

20 Extra-Canonical Literature Provides Flexibility 237

New Creations by New Charismatic Authors 238

New Creations in the Form of Additional Pseudepigraphic Writings 241

New Creations through Multiplication of Functional Genres 248

New Creations as Metacanonical Texts 250

Concluding Observation 253

Notes 260

Bibliography 291

Index 302

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