Book Notice: Hearing the NT, 2nd ed. (ed. J. Green)

In my seminary, there was a strong emphasis on learning well the tools of exegesis.  One of the books that was on the recommended reading list of every exegesis course of mine was the first edition of Hearing the New Testament (ed. JB Green; Eerdmans, 1995).  Thus, I was excited to see a new edition come out recently (2010) with some revisions and additions.

Most often, changes to a book like this would make it longer – an expansion.  However, it was apparently decided that they should revise and re-write in such a way as to maintain about the same length.  Here are some changes I noticed:

Deletions: They removed Anthony Thiselton’s “New Testament Interpretation in Historical Perspective”  and Edgard McKnight’s “Presuppositions in New Testament Study”.

Replacements: Bruce Chilton’s “Traditio-Historical Criticism and the Study of Jesus” was replaced by Holly Carey’s “Traditio-Historical Criticism”; Sandra Schneiders’ chapter on “Feminist Hermeneutics” was replaced by F. Scott Spencer.  In place of John R. Levison and Priscilla Pope-Levison’s “Global Perspectives on New Testament Interpretation” we have two essays: “African American Criticism” (Emerson Powery) and “Latino/a Hermeneutics” (Efrain Agosto).

Expansions: Most of the essays have additions to the “Suggestions for Further Reading” sections.  A few essays brought new material into the actual bodies of the chapters.  Prof. Green added a good portion to the introduction.  One remarkable statement he adds is this: “During [the last forty years], we have witnessed the fall of historical criticism as the approach that, previously, quite literally defined critical biblical studies” (p. 11).  However, it is noted that a good number of chapters (2-6) still fall within this ambit.

I am still very impressed with the excellent contributors chosen for this project and the erudition in the essays.  However, it should be kept in mind that this book does not teach how to use these interpretive strategy.  Rather, they give the reader background and insight into the significance of the tool/approach and its development in biblical studies.