New Testament Exegesis studies early Christian literature and contemporary Jewish texts from a wide variety of perspectives.
Our primary material is the New Testament, which due to its decisive importance for Christianity has impacted Western society for two thousand years. We also study other gospels, acts, epistles, and apocalypses, which provide additional interpretations of early Christianity. Since the first Christians were Jews, we also examine Second Temple Jewish literature, such as the Dead Sea Scrolls. The subject also covers a few hundred years of Christian literature after the New Testament, whose authors interpret the Bible, defend their faith, describe persecution and martyrdom, govern the life of their congregations, dispute theological issues, and reflect on the history of their community.
These texts are analyzed philologically with knowledge of conventions in ancient Greek, Hebrew, Syriac, Latin and Coptic literature. They are also analyzed historically to evaluate their historical accuracy, narratively and rhetorically to uncover the working process of ancient authors, reception-historically to see how the texts have been interpreted in later communities, ideology-critical to unveil which ideological positions they support and subvert, and in several other ways. The unavoidable impact of the chosen perspective on the result of any analysis is an important insight within New Testament Exegesis.
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