The discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, the Nag Hammadi texts, and new Targums has greatly increased scholarly interest in the relationship between the New Testament and first-century Judaism. This critically acclaimed study sheds light on this relationship by exploring the methods the earliest Christians used to interpret the Old Testament. By comparing the first Christian writings with Jewish documents from the same period, Longenecker helps to discern both the key differences between Christianity and Judaism and the Judaic roots of the Christian faith. The original content has been largely unchanged, though a new forty-one page preface has been included to interact with particular topics of importance. Additions to references in the footnotes concerning recent significant developments and corrections of content in the text have been made. This second edition of Biblical Exegesis in the Apostolic Period seeks to introduce new findings and research since the original release in 1975.
“The Targums, however, are important in the determination of early Jewish exegetical practice, for their purpose in rendering the Hebrew into Aramaic was not just to give a vernacular translation of the Bible, but ‘to give the sense and make the people understand the meaning’—as did the Levites in Neh 8:8.” (Page 8)
“Secondly, the focus of our attention will be on the biblical quotations used by the various writers of the New Testament” (Page 2)
“Paul understood the Old Testament christologically” (Page 89)
“Why, if Jesus spoke and taught in Aramaic, is it that not only are his words recorded in Greek but his biblical quotations are based on the LXX, and not on a Hebrew or Aramaic version?” (Page 47)
“The first is that the New Testament writers began in their understanding of fulfillment from a stance outside the biblical materials themselves and used Scripture mainly to support that stance—that is, rather than beginning with a biblical text and then seeking to con-temporize it, they began from outside the texts and used those texts principally to support their extrabiblical stance. Second, they understood fulfillment in broader terms than just direct prediction and explicit verification—that is, rather than viewing fulfillment as simply a linguistic or conceptual reenactment of an ancient prophecy, they understood it in a fuller and more personal manner.” (Page xxvii)
A clear and illuminating analysis of the facts of biblical interpretation in the New Testament. . . . I welcome this scholarly and judicious book as a useful contribution.
—C. F. D. Moule
Longenecker is to be commended for a well-informed and engagingly written introduction to the subject, one that will find a useful place in both the classroom and the study.
—E. Earle Ellis
Longenecker writes with clarity and a certain grace. His argument is conducted in a thorough and comprehensive manner, and his conclusions seem to be sound and balanced.
—Bruce M. Metzger, Princeton Theological Seminary
Richard N. Longenecker is a prominent New Testament scholar and Professor Emeritus of New Testament at Wycliffe College, Toronto. He was formerly Distinguished Professor of New Testament at McMaster Divinity College, McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario.