Skip to main content

De-Introducing the New Testament: Texts, Worlds, Methods, Stories




De-Introducing the New Testament: Texts, Worlds, Methods, Stories

Todd Penner, Davina Lopez

ISBN: 978-1-405-18768-8 May 2015 Wiley-Blackwell 256 Pages


In De-Introducing the New Testament, the authors argue for a renewed commitment to the defamiliarizing power of New Testament studies and a reclaiming of the discipline as one that exemplifies the best practices of the humanities.

  • A new approach that asks us to ‘defamiliarize’ what we think we know about the New Testament, articulating themes and questions about its study that encourage further reflection and engagement
  • Looks behind the traditional ways in which the NT is “introduced” to critically engage the conceptual framework of the field as a whole
  • Provides a critical intervention into several methodological impasses in contemporary NT scholarship
  • Offers an appraisal of the relationship between economics and culture in the production of NT scholarship
  • Written in a style that is clear and concise, ideal for student readership

Acknowledgments ix

(De-)Introduction 1

Seeing Old Stones Anew 1

Introducing the New Testament as Introducing Traditional

New Testament Scholarship 4

Introducing Criticisms of Traditional New Testament Scholarship 9

Introducing De-Introducing the New Testament 17

1 The Order of New Testament Things: Questioning Methods and Meanings 25

The Bone-Box of James, “the Brother of Jesus” 25

Ways of Knowing a Subject of Study 31

Ordering Principles in the Study of the New Testament 35

Ways of Knowing New Testament “Things” 62

2 Foregrounding New Testament Backgrounds: Contextualizing Interpretation 71

Jew” or “Judean”? The Present Confronts the Past 71

Introducing the New Testament: Making Meaning with the Context 76

Backgrounding the Backgrounds Approach 83

Backgrounding the Character of Early Christianity: Liberty against Tyranny 97

Contexts Matter, Ancient and Modern 110

3 Objects, Objectives, and Objectivities: Material and Visual Culture and New Testament Studies 119

Of Fragments and Forgeries 119

Archaeology and the Making of Objects 122

Excavating Discourses that Produce Ancient Objects 133

What Do We Do with Ancient Objects? 145

What Do We Want with Ancient Objects? 160

4 Brand(ish)ing Biblical Scholars(hip): New Testament Studies and Neoliberal Subjectivity 169

Who Can Be a “New Testament Scholar?” 169

Neoliberalism and the Politics of Identity 173

Branding as a Practice of Neoliberal Subjectivity 183

Branding New Testament Scholars(hip) 191

The One-Dimensional New Testament Scholar? 205

Back to the Future: Concluding Observations on History, Method, and Theory in New Testament Studies 215

Index 000

Lopez, associate professor of religious studies at Eckerd College in St. Petersburg FL, suggest that part of the radical potential of de-introducing the NT lies in the refusal to give up on history, and historical criticism, while continuing to think through methodological questions and issues in the discipline (New Testament Abstracts 2016)