“First, Hengel has set a high standard of thoroughness of research that continues to instruct and inspire. Second, his frank acknowledgement of his Christian stance and theological concerns is commendable, both in its honesty and in his demonstration (contrary to the anxieties of some) such a commitment can actually inspire dedicated and critical historical analysis that wins the praise of scholars of various faith-stances. Third, over and against both anti-critical conservatism of a creedalistic or fundamentalistic nature, and over and against the now-fashionable disdain of the validity of critical historical investigation in some so-called ‘post-modernist’ circles, and also over and against the tendency by some other NT scholars to play off critical historical study and hermeneutical concerns, Hengel’s body of work stands as a monumental refutation and inspiration.” (p. 75).
The areas where I have found Hengel to be helpful and even inspirational are: 1. He is a first class exponent of primary sources. 2. He combines historical acumen with theological sensitivity. 3. The breadth of his research and learning is immense. 4. He has shown that views often touted as conservative (e.g. history in Acts, Jesus as a messianic claimant, critical of form criticism) are not based on theological prejudices but on sound historical evidence.