eorge Rupp, former president of Columbia and before that the dean of Harvard Divinity School wrote in 1979 that “Christian theology is in disarray; it has neither a goal nor a purpose,” trends follows fads with such dizzying speed, he wrote, that the discipline is more like a carousel gone wild than an academic discipline. If Rupp were observing the current state of New Testament scholarship in 2012, he might have written just the same thing.
Why has this situation arisen? While generalizations are always more convenient than precise, I think it’s safe to say that three overlapping trends explain the current crisis in New Testament studies.
irst, of course, New Testament studies is simply a mess. It is a mess because many otherwise conscientious scholars (many of them either refugees from or despondents of the Jesus Seminar) had reached the conclusion that the New Testament should be regarded as a theory in search of facts. Accordingly, the…
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