The State of New Testament Studies: Matthew Bates on Old in the New

We are continuing out short interviews with contributors of The State of New Testament Studies (Baker Academic, coming Nov 2019). 

Matt and I have been friends for several years now. We share interests in the apostle Paul, enjoying Portland (which he sometimes visits), and we both spent very little time on styling our hair in the morning. If you want to hear Matt’s soothing voice on a regular basis, check out OnScript podcast.

NKG: Matt, why are you interested in the subject of the NT use of the OT?

MB: Ever since I first became a serious reader of Scripture, I’ve been fascinated by how our NT authors interpreted their scriptures, our Old Testament. On the one hand it is challenging to try to uncover the interpretative mindset and principles of our NT authors as they interpreted. On the other, the theological results are frequently fascinating and rich.

NKG: How has this discipline changed over the last 20 years?

MB: There has been a shift away from seeing “the use of the OT in the NT” as a distinct, isolated sub-discipline of research and a movement toward seeing it within wider frameworks of meaning-making and interpretation.

NKG: Can you recommend an important book on this subject?

MB: Frances M. Young’s Biblical Exegesis and the Formation of Christian Culture is stellar. She shows how “allegory,” “typology,” “the literal sense,” and the like functioned within early Christian and pagan culture in ways that stretch our understanding of what “the use of the OT in the NT” can and should mean.

NKG: What else are you working on?

MB: Keep your eyes peeled for a book that just released, Gospel Allegiance. I’m presently writing a book that extends the core “gospel-allegiance model” I develop there to other matters related to salvation. It’s fantastic stuff! Well, at least I am excited about it.




The State of New Testament Studies: Abson Joseph on Petrine Letters

Dr. Abson Joseph is dean of Wesley Seminary (Indiana Wesleyan University). Before his work as dean, Dr. Joseph taught New Testament at IWU for several years, with speciality in the Petrine Epistles.

NKG: Why are you interested in the Petrine Epistles (1 Peter, 2 Peter)?

AJ: The Petrine letters are formative for the way the church should engage society. It is exciting to look at the way the literature and scholarship on these letters have developed over the years.

NKG: Can you give a very brief description of how this discipline has changed over the last 20 years?

AJ: There is a growing commitment to and interest in engaging the Petrine Letters, though some writers continue to treat the letters with prejudice. The application of new methodological approaches has provided fresh ways to understand the message of these texts.

NKG: Can you recommend two books that have been especially important or discipline-shaping in the scholarship on 1-2 Peter, especially in the last 20 years?

AJ: Karen Jobes, 1 Peter, BECNT (Grand Rapids: Baker, 2005). Jobes’ commentary is one of the most comprehensive, balanced, and helpful treatments of the text of 1 Peter. She addresses the issues in a critical yet accessible way. Ruth Anne Reese, 2 Peter & Jude, THNTC (Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 2007). Reese provides a helpful treatment of 2 Peter that takes seriously the letter’s (canonical) proximity to 1 Peter while paying close attention to its relationship with Jude.

NKG: What else are you up to these days?

AJ: I am researching the role that hospitality plays in the call(s) to holy living throughout Scripture; and, I am also interested in the Gospel of Mark’s characterization of Jesus.

SNTS.jpgNKG: Thanks, Dr. Joseph! If you are interesting in reading what he has to say about the “state of scholarship” on the Petrine letters, check out the book The State of New Testament Studies.



The State of New Testament Studies: Rebekah Eklund on Jesus Studies

I am excited to announce that the book The State of New Testament Studies (Baker Academic) is coming out in about a month, edited by Scot McKnight and myself (Nijay). In anticipation of the release (Nov 5, 2019), I thought I would do some short profiles of and interviews with a handful of our contributors to whet your appetite for the book!

Rebekah Eklund, Loyola University Maryland

Eklund-400x275Dr. Eklund wrote her essay for SNTS on “Jesus of Nazareth” (the state of Jesus studies especially in the last twenty years).

NKG: Why are you interested in Jesus studies?

REI’ve always been intrigued by the tensions (and overlaps) between Jesus of Nazareth as a figure in history and Jesus as a figure of worship and devotion around the world. How much history do we need to understand Jesus’ identity and mission?

NKG: How has this discipline (Jesus studies) developed and changed over last twenty years?

REThe argument that history and theology are difficult to disentangle in the Gospel accounts is not a new one, but has gained prominence in the last 20 years. Some have given up the “quest” for the historical Jesus altogether; others are proceeding more cautiously. Certainly the imperative to connect Jesus to his Jewish roots — rather than to disconnect him via the dissimilarity criterion — has become more accepted. There’s also heightened interest in the role of memory in the formation of the gospels.

NKG: Can you recommend one or two important books on this topic, written in the last couple of decades?

JCDA.jpgRE: Keith and LeDonne, eds., Jesus, Criteria, and the Demise of Authenticity — collection of essays exploring and challenging the “standard” criteria for determining the authenticity of material in the canonical gospels.

Also, Dale Allison, The Historical Christ and the Theological Jesus– overturns the typical dichotomy between the historical Jesus and the theological Christ of faith.

NKG: What else are you up to these days?

RE: I’m finishing up a book on the reception history of the beatitudes, forthcoming with Eerdmans.

Eklund has written an excellent monograph entitled Jesus Wept: The Significance of Jesus’ Laments in the New Testament (LNTS, 2015)
Eklund Book.jpg