Since its original publication in German, Peter Stuhlmacher’s two-volume Biblische Theologie des Neuen Testaments has influenced an entire generation of biblical scholars and theologians. Now Daniel Bailey’s expert translation makes this important work of New Testament theology available in English for the first time.
Following an extended discussion of the task of writing a New Testament theology, Stuhlmacher explores the development of the Christian message across the pages of the Gospels, the writings of Paul, and the other canonical books of the New Testament. The second part of the book examines the biblical canon and its historical significance. A concluding essay by Bailey applies Stuhlmacher’s approach to specific texts in Romans and 4 Maccabees.
“Faith in Jesus’s saving death and resurrection for Paul implies that believers will participate in the glory of the Κύριος (cf. Phil. 3:20–21). For the Christians in Thessalonica who were worried about the participation in resurrection glory of their fellow believers who had died before the parousia, the apostle recalls the faith formula in 1 Thessalonians 4:14: ‘Since we believe that Jesus died and rose again, even so, through Jesus, God will bring with him [from the dead] those who have died.’ As Paul assures them shortly thereafter, ‘God has destined us not for wrath but for obtaining salvation through our Lord Jesus Christ’ (1 Thess. 5:9). He argues the same way in Romans 6:8: ‘If we have died with Christ, we believe that we will also live with him.’” (Pages 380–381)
“What remains as a solid foundation for the presentation of the apostle Paul’s theology is therefore the following letters: 1 Thessalonians, 1-2 Corinthians, Philippians, Philemon, Galatians, and Romans; to these can be added perhaps also Colossians and 2 Thessalonians. All these writings originate from the period of Paul’s ministry after the apostolic council in Jerusalem, which according to the best estimates took place in AD 48. They were written one after another within a period of about six to eight years. These Pauline letters, written with so little time between them, may easily be related to each other and interpreted in the light of one another.” (Page 255)
“Although he by no means denies divergences and contradictions in the New Testament, Hahn gives the impression of a coherent whole that outweighs them, even speaking of ‘a self-contained whole’ (2:806). This whole is supported by two unifying components. On the one hand the early Christian message is firmly bound to the Old Testament testimony about God’s work of salvation borne by prophetic promises and faith in the one God. On the other hand, on the basis of the Christ event, this message achieves and attests to a ‘qualitative transformation’ of the Old Testament history of promise: ‘God’s revelatory act attested in the Old Testament culminates in the person and story of Jesus Christ, which is the consistent orientation of early Christian testimony’ (2:806).” (Pages 29–30)
We have much to learn from Peter Stuhlmacher, and we give thanks to God for his contribution to NT scholarship.
The Gospel Coalition
A short review can scarcely do justice to the rich detail and the exegetical and theological insights on almost every page. . . . This should probably be one of the top two or three go-to New Testament theologies for any serious study of the topic.
Review of Biblical Literature
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