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Developments in New Testament Studies

Larry Hurtado has listed some of the key developments in the study of the New Testament and Christian Origins over the past century or so. They are:

  • The “de-throning” of the textus receptus and the turn to a critically-based NT text.
  • The discovery & publication of early NT papyri.
  • Methods in text-critical analysis.
  • A greater sophistication in our handling of the Gospels.
  • The growing recognition that the apostle Paul was firmly Jewish in formative background and remained so in his life as apostle to the Gentiles.
  • A more vivid sense of early Christian diversity.
  • A much more sophisticated understanding of the Jewish context of earliest Christianity.
  • A more accurate sense of the social composition of earliest churches.
  • The early eruption of Jesus-devotion.

Larry explains each of these in more detail. I would add:

  • Application of social-scientific methods (sociology and anthropology) to NT exegesis. Bruce Malina, John H. Elliot, Richard Rohrbaugh, and others have helped us become better acquainted with the patterns of thought and culture that pervade the world of the New Testament but may not be evident to those whose own worldviews are thoroughly modern. Concepts like honor and shame, dyadic personality, limited good, and patronage shed fresh light on much of the New Testament. (Following Larry’s lead, I immodestly note my own very small contribution to reading the book of Hebrews through an anthropological lens.)

What else would you point to as a recent “major development” in New Testament studies?

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