At a time of deep disagreements about the nature and purpose of academic biblical studies, Markus Bockmuehl advocates the recovery of a plural but common conversation on the subject of what the New Testament is about.
Seeing the Word begins with an assessment of current New Testament studies, identifying both persistent challenges and some promising proposals. Subsequent chapters explore two such proposals. First, ground for common conversation lies in taking seriously the readers and readings the text implies. Second, Bockmuehl explores the text’s early effective history by a study of apostolic memory in the early church.
All serious students of the Bible and theology will find much of interest and much to discuss.
The Logos Bible Software edition of Seeing the Word: Refocusing New Testament Study is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of the Bible. Scripture passages link directly to your English translations and original-language texts, and important theological concepts link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. In addition, you can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say about interpreting the Bible.
Witty, sure-footed, and erudite, Markus Bockmuehl’s Seeing the Word is a gift to all who care about the future of New Testament studies. Though severe in his diagnosis of the field’s present crisis, Bockmuehl is heartening and enlightening in his account of how scholars today can reconstitute the study of the New Testament in an intellectually coherent and theologically fruitful way, without sacrificing the genuine gains of recent decades. By highlighting the integrative potential of New Testament study from the perspective of its implied readers and Wirkungsgeschichte, Bockmuehl models an approach whose historical interest is broad enough to encompass the New Testament’s historic identity as Christian Scripture and whose theological concern is confident enough to dare public conversation about truth.
—R. Kendall Soulen, professor of systematic theology, Wesley Theological Seminary
This is a timely prophetic plea for an ‘evangelical catholic reading of the text (of Scripture) in our own time.’ Every page crackles with the tension created by dialogue between systematic and historical-critical perspectives. The author’s amazingly broad learning is worn lightly in this accessible book, written with an elegance few can match. At last, the circle has been squared: it is possible to take Scripture as God’s address to us without ducking awkward historical questions.
—Graham Stanton, Lady Margaret’s Professor of Divinity, emeritus, University of Cambridge
Markus Bockmuehl’s Seeing the Word offers fresh possibilities for reading biblical texts in their historic role as the church’s Scripture. There is something to be learned on every page of this study, but the book is especially persuasive in arguing the case for an integrated reading of Scripture that overcomes the specious dichotomy between historical and theological issues and in demonstrating that theological exegesis can draw from and contribute to both the church and the academy. Whether one’s interests lie primarily with historical questions or with theological ones, readers will find no guide more capable and learned.
—Marianne Meye Thompson, George Eldon Ladd Professor of New Testament, Fuller Theological Seminary
In this important work, Bockmuehl deploys his wide knowledge both of the world of the early church and of the history of modern New Testament scholarship. His diagnosis of the contemporary state of New Testament studies is acute, and his recommendations for future directions are suggestive and important.
—Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews
Markus Bockmuehl’s Seeing the Word is essential reading for understanding the confusing state of play in contemporary New Testament studies. His trenchant essays offer us fresh ways of ‘seeing’ the relation between history and theology. Bockmuehl’s constructive proposals address a range of crucial issues: the New Testament’s formation of its implied readers, the significance of the Jewishness of the New Testament, the reception history of the New Testament texts, and the hermeneutical significance of the canon. In short, Bockmuehl sees the big picture and offers a penetrating, critical perspective on the unexamined assumptions of the field in which he works. On every page he stimulates historically informed reflection about the testimony of the earliest Christian witnesses. Most of all, he calls us to contemplate anew the identity of Jesus of Nazareth, the real-world, Jewish figure to whom these witnesses testify.
—Richard B. Hays, George Washington Ivey Professor of New Testament, The Divinity School, Duke University
Markus Bockmuehl is a professor of biblical and early Christian studies at Keble College, University of Oxford. He previously taught at the University of Cambridge and the University of St. Andrews. Bockmuehl is the author or editor of numerous books, including Paradise in Antiquity: Jewish and Christian Views and Redemption and Resistance: The Messianic Hopes of Jews and Christians in Antiquity.