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The Writers of the New Testament: Their Style and Characteristics


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This volume was originally intended to be published together with The Language of the New Testament all in a single volume, but both books together grew beyond the limits of the Theological Educator series of which they were a part. The Writers of the New Testament picks up where the previous book left off. The Language of the New Testament examined the Greek of the New Testament in an attempt to describe what the various writers had in common over and against other Greek writers such as the classical authors or Philo and Josephus. The goal of this companion volume attempts to do the same for the individual authors themselves. What makes Paul’s writing different from that of Luke, Matthew, or Peter? The Writers of the New Testament seeks to study the idiolects of the individual authors: their choices of idioms, grammar, and vocabulary. The central focus is how Greek language is used by Jewish authors, with what Simcox terms “Hebraic modes of thought.” Whether this terminology should be preferable is debatable. Nonetheless, it cannot be denied that the New Testament authors were primarily bilingual authors, whose first language and culture was not Greek. And read in light of that fact, this volume provides an extremely helpful analysis of New Testament authors and their style of writing.

The book concludes with two appendices. The first compares the vocabulary differences and similarities across authors and the second presents representative examples of non-Biblical Hellenic and Hellenistic Greek text of a variety of genres: Old Testament paraphrase, original narratives, and theological and philosophical exposition. These are followed by a mini-commentary of grammatical and lexicon notes on various words and phrases with reference to the historical development of the Greek language and parallels in the New Testament. For example, Simcox compares Epictetus to Paul, Luke to Polybius, and so forth. These comparisons provide the student and scholar both with helpful examples of differences between Biblical authors and their contemporaries, and also with detailed notes on specific passages of scripture.

All that Mr. Simcox wrote was original and ingenious. . . .

The Expositor

[The Writers of the New Testament] is a companion volume to that on The Language of the New Testament. . . . There is just enough of it to make one wish that the author had lived long enough to treat this whole important subject exhaustively. Even as it is, however, this little book will be found most helpful. It contains, in fact, a great deal in a very small compass; and certainly the young student could not do much better than to take this book in one hand and his Greek Testament in the other, and turn up all the references.

The Academy

  • Title: The Writers of the New Testament: Their Style and Characteristics
  • Author: William Henry Simcox
  • Publisher: Hodder and Stoughton
  • Publication Date: 1890
  • Pages: 190

William Henry Simcox (1842–1889) was a Biblical and Classical scholar of the highest caliber. Fellow of Queen’s College, Oxford and Rector of Harlaxton, Simcox was active in the study of the book of Revelation, early Christian history, textual criticism, and Greek grammar. He contributed to the translation of John Chrysostom’s Homilies on the Epistle of St. Paul to the Romans for Philip Schaff’s Nicene and Post-Nicene Fathers of the Christian Church, Vol. XI. Outside of the realms of Biblical studies, he wrote the first major biography of William Shakespeare’s patron Barnabe Barnes. His family was also close friends with novelist George Eliot. At the age of forty-seven, he was involved in a variety of projects including the collation of Greek manuscripts of Revelation, the Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges and Cambridge Greek Testament volumes on Revelation, and an extensive study of the style of the New Testament authors. His brother and fellow scholar, George Simcox, edited and saw to publication his two Revelation commentaries, as well as The Writers of the New Testament.


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Digital list price: $9.99
Save $2.50 (25%)