Wednesday, December 05, 2007

The History of NT Scholarship 1987 - 2007

If one had to update Stephen Neil and Tom Wright's book on the history of NT scholarship and include the period 1987-2007, what movements and developments would you include? I would go for the following:
1. Synoptic Gospels and the Historical Jesus
The demise of form criticism due to further studies on memory and orality
The rise of social-scientific and narrative approaches
The popularizing of the Goulder-Goodacre hypothesis on the Synoptic Problem
Continued volumes from Third Questers (e.g. Wright, Dunn, Theissen & Merz, Allison)
The questioning of the "Gospel Community" hypothesis
2. Gospel of John
The questioning of the Martyn-Brown community hypothesis
Greater consideration to the historical tradition in John's Gospel
Continued interest in the depiction of "the Jews"
3. Pauline studies
The continuing rise of rhetorical criticism
The huge storm created by the New Perspective on Paul
The development of anti-imperial readings of Paul
4. Revelation
The questioning of the dominant view that Domitian initiated a persecution of Christians
5. Methodological Developments
The rise of socio-rhetorical and post-colonial criticism
Theological Exegesis coming back into vogue
The rise of studies in reception history
NT scholars giving more attention to archaeology
6. Important Discoveries
DSS: publication of 4QMMT and 4Q521
Talpiot Tomb
James Ossuary
Gospel of Judas
Anything else (esp. developments in the general epistles)?


John Mark said...

General question...what do you think of Allison's work on Jesus? I find his work fascinating, but disturbing to my beliefs about Jesus.

J. B. Hood said...

(1) The words narrative and literary don't appear--and they certainly should; i.e., more attention is being paid to subtle literary artistry (perhaps too subtle in many instances, but nonetheless it's a very significant trend), structure, etc.

(2) The use of the OT in the NT has, arguably, grown a good bit; the consideration of intertextuality/echo/allusion and the like is important, as are arguments related to "substructure" etc.

(3) Kidd and Van Neste both put out some nice material shaking up things in regards to the scholarly consensus on the structure and social elements of the pastorals (arguably Marshall and Mounce's commentaries as well) but I don't know if this represents a consensus or no.

J. B. Hood said...

Two non-scholastic factors worth mentioning:

(4) The internet--resources for learning and research, raising scholarly profiles, etc.

(5) Big money: more people are getting more famous for NT scholarship, starting with the Jesus Seminar in the early 90s. Lately we have Bart Ehrman at the top of the NYT bestseller list with a book on textual criticism of all things. Meyer or Robinson one, at the Gospel of Judas discussion, noted that he received six figures in royalties on the one book in one year. (He lamented the fact btw.) BBC, Discovery, Natl Geographic, NBC, PBS, ABC are all into specials on everything related to Jesus, the NT, and early Christianity; they need scholarly faces and "star power" to make it all work.

Danny Zacharias said...

socio-rhetorical criticism

The question of canon, in particular the status of the HB around the time of Jesus

The work being done in the area of Greek grammar (discourse analysis, verbal aspect, etc)

Christian artifacts is an emerging study too

Chris Weimer said...

Not only, as J. B. Hood mentioned, the Jesus Seminar, but also their breakaway group the Context Group. This, I suppose, goes in line with much of what has been said already, I suppose...

Tommy Wasserman said...

Do not forget textual criticism! There are so many things to mention here. The book The Text of the New Testament in Contemporary Research: The Status Questionis (ed. Ehrman & Holmes) was released in 1995 so it covers the first years in detail.

For example, there have been
a)new manuscript findings;
b)technical development, most significantly the digitization of manuscripts, and transcriptions, etc;
c)developments in methods for evaluating and presenting textual witnesses (including the use of computers, software and public access on the World Wide Web);
d) new editions (most significantly the Editio Critica Maior which is now complete for the Catholic Epistles);
e) a shift in focus from the classical goal of reconstructing the "original text" (a term that has also been problematized) to other goals including interest in the scribes and their reception of the text reflected in individual witnesses and their hypothetical "orthodox corruption" of the text;
f) the ITSEE in Birmingham under David Parker, Peter Robinson and Barbara Bordalejo has emerged as a new and strong center for textual scholarship (with a number of significant projects including the IGNTP in collab. with the INTF, the Verbum project, the Sinaiticus project);
g) the CSNTM under Dan Wallace is working hard to film manuscripts (including hitherto unknown) and making them available as far as possible;
h) a new edition of Jude :-)

J. B. Hood said...

(6) The "new christology": Hurtado, Bauckham, Wright (Climax, NTPG and elsewhere) and co. and the rise in studies related to monotheism and christology and the devotion to and divinity of Jesus in the various strands of early christianity.

(7) Can't believe I forgot this one--the challenge to the "parting of the ways" has been significant in fostering new ways of viewing Judaism and Christianity, synagogue and church and their relationship over the first two centuries or so.

Peter Gurry said...

So what's your publication date?

Doug Chaplin said...

I would have thought that the real widespread impact of social-scientific crticism of Paul belongs in this period, where it is even more influential than in Jesus and gospel work.
On Revelation, I would have put the move away from a Domitianic persecution earlier than 1987, but would suggest a new receptivity to visionary experiences informing the genre has begun to emerge in recent years - enough, even, to influence one of the more recent commentaries (Boxall)

Eric Rowe said...

Bart Ehrman has already been mentioned twice in these comments, and rightly so. His book, Orthodox Corruption represents a recent watershed in the areas of TC and Christian origins. And related to that, I think you have to mention the surge of emphasis on diversity in both Judaism and Christianity as an ongoing fad. I would see that as a third phase of something that began with Walter Bauer's questioning of the lines between orthodoxy and heresy in the origins of Christian movements in various places in the third century, was extended into a much more foundational blurring of the lines between orthodoxy and heresy in the second and first centuries by Koester and Robinson, and has now come to its blossoming as these scholarly quirks have come into fashion with the rage of political correctness and diversity in American culture today, with whole shelves at Barnes and Noble committed to books concerning heterodox forms of Christianity past and present, generally hyped with ideas like "these are the books THEY don't want you to know about."