In Reading the Gospels Wisely, Jonathan Pennington examines the theological and ethical aims of the Gospel narratives, helping students see the fruit of historical and literary study. He contends that we can learn to read the Gospels well from various vantage points, among them the premodern, modern, and postmodern.
This textbook can stand on its own as a guide to reading the Gospels as Scripture. It is ideally suited to supplement conventional textbooks that discuss each Gospel systematically. Most textbooks tend to introduce students to historical-critical concerns but may be less adequate for showing how the Gospel narratives, read as Scripture within the canonical framework of the entire New Testament and the whole Bible, yield material for theological reflection and faithful practice. Pennington neither dismisses nor duplicates the results of current historical-critical work on the Gospels as historical sources. Rather, he offers critically aware and hermeneutically intelligent instruction in reading the Gospels in order to hear their witness to Christ in a way that supports Christian application and proclamation. This text will appeal to professors and students in Gospels, New Testament survey, and New Testament interpretation courses.
The Logos Bible Software edition of this volume is designed to encourage and stimulate your study and understanding of Scripture. Biblical 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 the Word of God.
- Lays a basic foundation for reading the Gospels, making the book ideal for any level of theological background
- Provides a guide to reading the Gospels as Scripture
- Explains the idea of the Gospel as a genre, as well as reasoning the necessity for the Gospel
- Part 1: Clearing Ground, Digging Deep, and Laying a Good Foundation
- What Are the Gospels? Defining “Gospel”
- What Are the Gospels? Understanding the “Gospel” Genre
- Why Do We Need the Gospels? (Or Why Saint Paul Is Not Enough)
- The Joy and Angst of Having Four Gospels
- Texts and History: The Testimony of the Fourfold Witness
- Reading Holy Scripture Well: Three Avenues
- Reading Holy Scripture Well: Intent, Meaning, and Posture
- Foundations for Reading the Gospels Well
- Part 2: Building the House through Wise Reading
- Reading the Gospels as Stories: The “Whatever Strikes Me” (WSM) Hermeneutic versus Narrative Analysis
- Reading the Gospels as Stories: Circles of Contextual Meaning
- Part 3: Living in the Gospels House
- Summing It All Up: Applying and Teaching the Gospels
- The Gospels as the Archway of the Canon
Praise for the Print Edition
This is a book that could transform many people’s reading of the Gospels. Jonathan Pennington has a wide knowledge of the specialist literature, and he skillfully distills what matters most for the task of reading the Gospels wisely. He is especially concerned that we read the Gospels in ways that are appropriate to the sort of texts they are. What comes across is a powerful sense that the Gospels are not only historical but also life-changing.
—Richard Bauckham, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, University of St. Andrews
Many books on the Gospels slog through source criticism, form criticism, and redaction criticism—important topics to be sure. How refreshing it is, however, to find a book with a new approach, one that reads the Gospels as literature and sees their importance theologically. This book is like a cool drink of water in what is too often the desert of Gospel studies. . . . his arguments must be reckoned with, and they further the conversation in productive and stimulating ways. I believe this is the best introductory book on the Gospels. Both students and professors will find it to be invaluable.
—Thomas R. Schreiner, James Buchanan Professor of New Testament Interpretation, The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary
Reading the Gospels can be tricky, but it is important to read them with a full appreciation of their theology. Jonathan Pennington’s study helps you get there—and get there well, as well as wisely.
—Darrell Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Few academic enterprises of recent generations have been as chaotic and contradictory as the study of Jesus and the Gospels. . . . This learned yet lively volume attempts to transcend past miscues and cash in on lasting insights going back to patristic times. Pennington shows how the fourfold canonical Gospel ought to be read: as the proper entrée to becoming Jesus’ disciple for the sake of loving God by the work of the Spirit. Few works explain more.
—Robert W. Yarbrough, associate professor of New Testament, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Trinity International University
- Title: Reading the Gospels Wisely: A Narrative and Theological Introduction
- Author: Jonathan T. Pennington
- Publisher: Baker Academic
- Publication Date: 2012
- Pages: 288
About Jonathan T. Pennington
Jonathan T. Pennington is an associate professor of New Testament interpretation at the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary in Louisville, Kentucky. The author of Heaven and Earth in the Gospel of Matthew, he has published a number of biblical language–learning tools, including New Testament Greek Vocabulary and Old Testament Hebrew Vocabulary.