Introductory Lecture on the NT. Dr. Matthew R. Anderson. A definition.
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The New Testament (NT) is a collection of 27 documents, written in ancient Koine (common) Greek by believers in Messiah Jesus, edited over the course of a century or so, and collected and canonized as a set of writings until finally being appended to a Greek translation of the Hebrew scriptures known as the Septuagint
almost all 27 documents concern themselves with some aspect of Jesus’ role in God’s actions to reconcile (or “save”) humanity. Jesus is always seen as the central figure, so much so that his title, “Christ” became virtually a last name.
surviving Gnostic works such as the Gospels of Thomas and Judas, together with the NT orthodox works, show that, for the first three centuries, the Christian movement was extremely heterogeneous and varied.
In an early church that didn’t yet have a unitary organization, some areas and churches thought of Jesus as entirely human, others as entirely divine, and there were wide variations in practice as well.
This is certainly true of all four Gospels. In other words, the Gospel of Mark never says in its actual original text: ‘the gospel of Mark’. What has happened is that fairly early on, it was believed that Mark, an associate of Peter, wrote it.
The exceptions are Paul’s letters, for which the now-missing originals were even “signed” in some cases, by the Apostle.
Some of the letters attributed to Paul in the NT may not have been written by him (pseudonymity)
It is unique in that it combines aspects of two ancient and differing (although interpenetrating) cultures: the Jewish and the Greco-Roman.
The NT combines a Jewish view of scripture with the particular moral ethical or religious concerns of those living in the Gentile, Greco-Roman world, in the service of a “revelation” of Jesus as the Jewish Messiah, who inaugurates God’s age for Jew and Gentile.