The New Testament

Methods and Meanings

By Warren Carter, Amy-Jill Levine Published
Hardback image ISBN: 9781630885779 $49.99 Buy
Paperback image ISBN: 9781426741906 $39.99 Buy
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While meaning-making is the task of every reader, how we read the New Testament shapes our understanding of it.

In this concise, accessible book, Warren Carter and A.J. Levine introduce three aspects of New Testament study: the world of the text (plots, characters, setting, and themes), the world behind the text (the concerns, circumstances, and experiences of the early Christian communities), and the world in front of the text (the meaning for contemporary readers). As students engage the New Testament, they face a central issue that has confronted all students before them, namely, that these texts have been and are read in diverse and often quite conflicting ways. These multiple readings involve different methods: historical-critical, traditional (history of interpretation), colonial, multicultural, and sociological, with feminist and liberationist implications for the first-century readers as well as the ongoing implications for today's reader. For example, Carter and Levine show how a text can be used by both colonizer and colonized, feminist and anti-feminist, or pro- and anti-Jewish. The authors also show how scholarly work can be both constructive and threatening to the contemporary Church and how polemical texts can be used, whether for religious study, theological reflection, or homiletical practice.

"... a brilliant contemporary representative of the biblical discipline of the Einleitung, Introduction. ... In the best tradition of historical-critical biblical scholarship, Carter and Levine advocate a respectful, critical and generous engagement with the texts, involving readers in finding meanings. ... There are many gems in the heart of this book, including excursuses in shaded boxes, and some misguided traditional interpretations are safely despatched.  Dagmar Winter, Journal for the Study of The New Testament Booklist 2015

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About the Authors

Warren Carter

Warren Carter is Professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School in Fort Worth, with a Ph.D. from Princeton Theological Seminary. Before moving to Brite in 2007, he taught for 17 years at Saint Paul School of Theology in Kansas City. His scholarly work has focused on the gospels of Matthew and John, and he has focused on the issue of the ways in which early Christians negotiated the Roman empire. In addition to numerous scholarly articles, he is the author of many books including The Roman Empire and the New Testament; What Does Revelation Reveal?; The New Testament: Methods and Meanings (with Amy-Jill Levine); and God in the New Testament published by Abingdon Press. He has also contributed to numerous church resources and publications and is a frequent speaker at scholarly and church conferences.

Amy-Jill Levine

Amy-Jill Levine is University Professor of New Testament and Jewish Studies and Mary Jane Werthan Professor of Jewish Studies at Vanderbilt Divinity School and College of Arts and Sciences. An internationally renowned scholar and teacher, she is the author of numerous books including The Misunderstood Jew: The Church and the Scandal of the Jewish Jesus and The Meaning of the Bible: What the Jewish Bible and the Christian Old Testament Can Teach Us. She is also the co-editor of the Jewish Annotated New Testament. Professor Levine, who has done over 300 programs for churches, clergy groups, and seminaries, has been awarded grants from the Mellon Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Council of Learned Societies. Institutions granting her honorary degrees include Christian Theological Seminary and the Episcopal Seminary of the Southwest.