Gospel of John in Historical Inquiry – a book note

Front cover: The Gospel of John in Historical Inquiry

It is not often I recommend a book that book that retails new at £120, but when this one landed on the sorting table a Book Aid last week I thought its contents significant enough to do so.

James H. Charlesworth with Jolyon G.R. Pruszinski, editors, Jesus Research. The Gospel of John in Historical Enquiry. T&T Clark Jewish and Christian Texts Series 26. Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 2019. ISBN-13: 978-0-5676-8134-8. Hbk. pp.371.

Table of Contents (partial)

  • Paul N. Anderson, Why the Gospel of John is Fundamental to Jesus Research
  • Dale C. Allison, Jr., Reflections omn Matthew, John, and Jesus
  • Harold W. Attridge, Some Methodological Considerations Regarding John, Jesus and History
  • George L. Parsenois, How and in What Way Does John’s Rhetoric Reflect Jesus’ Rhetoric?
  • Urban C. von Wahlde, The First Edition of John’s Gospel in Light of Archaeology and Contemporary Literature
  • R. Alan Culpepper, John 2:20, “Forty-Six Years”: Revisiting J.A.T. Robisnon’s Chronology of Jesus’ Ministry
  • Craig S. Keener, Historical Tradition in the Fourth Gospel’s Depiction of the Baptist
  • James H. Charlesworth, Can Archaeology Help Us See Jesus’ Shadows in the Gospel of John?
  • Jan Roskovec, History in John’s Portrayal of Jesus
  • Michael A. Draise, Jesus and the Historical Implications of John’s Temple Cleansing
  • Petr Pokorny, Jesus of Nazareth in the Gospel of John

Most experts who seek to understand the historical Jesus focus only on the Synoptic Gospels of Mark, Matthew and Luke. However, the contributors of this wolume come to an important consensus: that the the Gospel of John preserves tradition that are independent of the Synoptics, and which are often as reliable as any known traditions for understanding the historical Jesus. As such, the contributors argue for the use of John’s Gospel in Jesus research.

From the back cover.

So, if you are fortunate to have access to a research library I would recommend this as an addition to your reading list.

Please note that I cannot make any part of this book available on-line, because it is in copyright.

Cambridge Greek Testament: Hebrews by Alexander Nairne

Alexander Nairne [1863-1936], The Epistle to the Hebrews with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges

A commentary on the Greek text of Hebrews in the Cambridge New Testament for Schools and Colleges series by Alexander Nairne. It is worth oting that the author devotes a considerable space in the introduction to the theology of Hebrews.

My thanks to Book Aid for providing a copy of this public domain title for digitisation.

Alexander Nairne [1863-1936], The Epistle to the Hebrews with Introduction and Notes. Cambridge Greek Testament for Schools and Colleges. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1922. Hbk. pp.141. [Click here to visit the download page for this title]

Table of Contents

  • Introduction
    1. Plan and analysis of the epistle
    2. History of the reception, criticism and interpretation of the epistle
    3. The theology of the epistle
    4. The text of the epistle
    5. The style of the epistle
  • The Greek Text
  • Notes
  • Index of Contents

Disussion of authorship

That no doubt had already struck Luther when he conjectured Apollos as the author. Possibly Luther, and the modems who have accepted his conjecture, read more into the few lines in which .Apollos is described (Acts xviii. 24 f.) than is really to be found there. The conjecture is not supported by tradition. Harnack’s idea that Priscilla was the authoress is a development from Luther’s inference. Blass in the short preface to his rythmical text pays no attention to the philosophical colouring, and accepts the Barnabas tradition, because Barnabas as a Levite would have been familiar with the cadences of the Greek Psalter. Barnabas is the only name which can be connected with anything like a. real tradition. Scholarship is more respectful to tradition of late. It is felt that there are few fresh starts in thought; tradition generally lies behind, and what seems to be tradition is at least to be respectfully examined. That is the spirit of a book which has not yet been so carefully criticised as it deserves. Mr Edmundson thinks Hebrews was written to Judaeo-Christians in Rome by Barnabas in 66 A.D. S. Paul was still living; had been released from his captivity; and at the close of the same year was himself in Rome, again in prison and soon to die. I Peter had been already written and is quoted in Hebrews. The Apocalypse was written three years later, at the beginning of A.D. 70. Early in the same year, A.D. 70, Clement, a younger brother of M. Arrecinus Clemens and the same Clement as is named in Phil. iv., gave literary expression to the message from the Church in Rome to the Church in Corinth ; he was not yet the official head of the Roman Church. That is a consistent view of our epistle and the other epistles that are related to it. Without necessarily adopting the whole of it, we may at least welcome the support Mr Edmundson gives to the early date of Hebrews. That judgement is hardly fashionable at present, but, as will presently be shown, it does fit many important characteristics of the epistle.

As for the author’s name, that search may as well be given up. The Barnabas tradition only emerges for a moment or two and is lost in darkness on either side. The other names proposed, Luke, Clement, Apollos, Silas, Philip the deacon, Aristion – one writer has even suggested S. Peter – are mere conjectures; some of which are surely impossible. That there should be one letter in the New Testament which was not written by any person who happens to be mentioned in the other books, is quite in accordance with the analogies of literary history. It may be added, though not as an argument, that our interest in the apostolic Church and our reverence for its rich inspiration would be increased hereby. The character, education and to a large extent the circumstances of the author may be gathered from the letter itself. The mere precision of a name would not illuminate the background very much….

Pages iv-lvii

Blog Interview: Dr Daniel Strange – Oak Hill College, England

In this, the latest of my interviews with faculty of Bible Colleges around the world, I speak with Dr Daniel Strange of Oak Hill College.

Oak Hill College Building
Oak Hill College Building

Please introduce yourself and your role at Oak Hill College

Dr Daniel Strange
Dr Daniel Strange

I’m the College Director at Oak Hill College and on the senior leadership team. I also teach in the areas of Culture, Religion and Public Theology

Tell us a little about Oak Hill

Oak Hill was founded in 1932 by Charles Baring Young to train those from less privileged backgrounds, and with very little financial backing, for evangelical ministry in the Church of England and other protestant denominations. Today we’re training men and women for a lifetime of gospel ministry, whether for pastoral leadership, cross-cultural ministry, youth and children’s ministry, evangelism, both within the Church of England and in independent churches, in the UK and overseas.

Are the courses full time, part-time or a mixture of both?

Our programmes are offered both full time and part time. And we’re also expanding our offering to include some Flexible Learning courses for those wanting to grow in their faith, reach and serve others more effectively whether at home, in their workplace, or at church.

How do Oak Hill’s students fund their studies, and do you take students from overseas?

Anglican ordinands are funded by the Church of England; our independent students are funded by a variety of means, whether their sending church, friends and family, trusts, government funding, savings etc. So many of our students have experienced the gracious generosity of our God in providing wonderfully for their needs.

What type of ministry is Oak Hill intended to prepare students for?

Most of our students will be seeking to go into full time paid Christian ministry; either Anglican or Independent. We are looking to provide rigorous training that will enable students to sustain a lifetime of ministry and to develop resilience. In giving them rigorous training in terms of depth, they are building on foundations, and at the same time developing an appetite to be lifelong learners. And most importantly we want them to become more like the Lord Jesus.

College Alumni in ministry
Jon Putt, former student of Oak Hill College, talks with local people outside Grace Church, Kempston, Bedford, where he is responsible for church outreach

What is distinctive about what Oak Hill offers compared with other colleges in the UK and overseas?

So we are distinctively conservative evangelical in terms of confession. We recognise the importance of high academic standards, depth and rigour, while applying everything to real ministry situations, hence our strap line “ministry for the real world”. We intentionally integrate the different theological disciplines so they are not taught in a compartmentalised way but rather inform each other, and we look at what that means formationally too. Our focus on pedagogy; not simply being Christian in what we teach, but Christian in how we teach, particularly within our unique living, learning and worshipping community. And we have being developing a graduate profile by looking at what ministry is and what ministry needs, starting with what the Bible has to say on this. So the graduate profile focuses on character, skills and theological wisdom and is enabling us to be more intentional with how our curriculum and the college experience helps our students to grow in these areas.

Please tell us about the library and other research facilities.

We have one of the finest theological libraries in the south-east – we’ve got historical material and a wide range of contemporary resources from a variety of different traditions to support the teaching and research of members of the college. It contains over 55,000 items in stock, including multimedia items on DVD. New stock is added to the library each month, to make sure the resources remain relevant to contemporary needs. We also subscribe to approximately 100 print journals with the majority of our subscriptions being electronic.

Oak Hill College Library
Oak Hill College Library