Special Issue "Current Trends in New Testament Study"

A special issue of Religions (ISSN 2077-1444).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (1 February 2019).

Printed Edition Available!
A printed edition of this Special Issue is available here.

Special Issue Editor

Prof. Dr. Robert E. Van Voorst
Website
Guest Editor
Western Theological Seminary, 101 E 13th St, Holland, MI 49423, USA
Interests: Methods in New Testament study; the historical Jesus; Pauline theology; Christianity and other religions

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This is a call for expressions of interest in contributing to a special issue on current New Testament study for the peer-reviewed electronic journal, Religions.

This issue will focus on the formal methods used to interpret the New Testament today. In line with the multiplicity of methods for interpretation of texts in the humanities in general, New Testament study has never before seen so many different methods. This situation poses both challenges and opportunities for researchers and students alike.  

This issue will contain between twelve and fifteen contributions by established scholars and by younger scholars who have recently demonstrated their expertise in a certain method. These articles will reflect global perspectives on biblical interpretation. I expect that this issue will serve to inform both students and professors about some of the latest trends in methodology. Because Religions is a peer-reviewed open-access journal with a high rate of citation, you can be assured of rigorous academic quality, free access, and international exposure for your contribution.

Religions has been funded by the Knowledge Unlatched initiative, resulting in no direct charge to authors.  For more information, see https://www.mdpi.com/journal/religions/apc .

Thank you for your interest in this topic, and best wishes in your academic work.

Prof. Dr. Robert E. Van Voorst
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a double-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Religions is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1000 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • African criticism
  • Chinese criticism
  • cultural anthropology criticism
  • ecological criticism
  • feminist criticism
  • historical criticism
  • inter-textual criticism
  • LGBT criticism
  • narrative criticism
  • performance criticism
  • post-colonial criticism
  • reception history
  • social identity criticism

Published Papers (8 papers)

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Editorial

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Open AccessEditorial
Introduction to the Special Issue “Current Trends in New Testament Study”
Religions 2019, 10(12), 647; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10120647 - 26 Nov 2019
Abstract
This special issue of Religions focuses on seven of the most important formal methods used to interpret the New Testament today [...] Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available

Research

Jump to: Editorial

Open AccessArticle
Antipodean and Biblical Encounter: Postcolonial Vernacular Hermeneutics in Novel Form
Religions 2019, 10(6), 358; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10060358 - 31 May 2019
Abstract
This article argues that in postcolonial and post-secular Australia, a country in which Christianity has been imported from Europe in the process of colonization in the eighteenth century by the British Empire, institutional Christianity is waning in influence. However, the article argues, Australian [...] Read more.
This article argues that in postcolonial and post-secular Australia, a country in which Christianity has been imported from Europe in the process of colonization in the eighteenth century by the British Empire, institutional Christianity is waning in influence. However, the article argues, Australian culture has a capacity for spiritual awareness provided it is expressed in language and idioms arising from the Australian context. R. S. Sugirtharajah’s concept of vernacular hermeneutics shows that a contemporary novel, The Shepherd’s Hut by Tim Winton, expresses Australian spirituality saturated with the images and values of the New Testament, but in a non-religious literary form. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
A Deep-Language Mathematical Analysis of Gospels, Acts and Revelation
Religions 2019, 10(4), 257; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10040257 - 09 Apr 2019
Cited by 1
Abstract
The paper aims at casting some light on the interrelations among the Gospels, Acts and Revelation. We do not consider words ranking and their frequency of occurrence, as largely done in the literature, but we analyze, statistically, some mathematical aspects of the texts, [...] Read more.
The paper aims at casting some light on the interrelations among the Gospels, Acts and Revelation. We do not consider words ranking and their frequency of occurrence, as largely done in the literature, but we analyze, statistically, some mathematical aspects of the texts, which the authors were not conscious of. We use mathematical methods developed for specifically studying deep-language parameters of literary texts, such as the number of words per sentence, the number of characters per word, the number of words per interpunctions, the number of interpunctions per sentence, all very likely peculiar to the writer’s style, after having recalled the punctuation in classical languages. First, we consider the full texts of the canonical Gospels, Acts and Revelation, then the partial texts attributable to the Triple Tradition (Matthew, Mark and Luke), to the Double Tradition (Matthew and Luke), Own Tradition (Matthew and Luke) and Q source. The mathematical/statistical tool used confirms and reinforces some general results concerning the Gospels, Acts, Revelation and Q source, but also evidences some interesting differences concerning the number of words per sentence and words per interpunctions, likely casting some light on the capacity of the short-term memory of the readers/listeners of these texts. All these New Testament writings fit very well in the larger Greek literature of the time. The existence of a proto gospel seems more probable than other possible hypotheses. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
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Open AccessArticle
A Glossary of New Testament Narrative Criticism with Illustrations
Religions 2019, 10(3), 217; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030217 - 21 Mar 2019
Abstract
This is the first stand-alone glossary of New Testament narrative-critical terms in the English language. It is an alphabetical listing of prominent terms, concepts, and techniques of narrative criticism with illustrations and cross-references. Commonly used terms are defined and illustrated, these include character, [...] Read more.
This is the first stand-alone glossary of New Testament narrative-critical terms in the English language. It is an alphabetical listing of prominent terms, concepts, and techniques of narrative criticism with illustrations and cross-references. Commonly used terms are defined and illustrated, these include character, characterization, double entendre, misunderstanding, implied author, implied reader, irony, narrator, point of view, plot, rhetoric, and other constitutive elements of a narrative. Lesser-known terms and concepts are also defined, such as carnivalesque, composite character, defamiliarization, fabula, syuzhet, hybrid character, MacGuffin, masterplot, primacy/recency effect, and type-scene. Major disciplines—for example, narratology, New Criticism, and reader-response criticism—are explained with glances at prominent literary critics/theorists, such as Aristotle, Mikhail Bakhtin, Wayne Booth, Seymour Chatman, Stanley Fish, E. M. Forster, Gérard Genette, Wolfgang Iser, and Susan Sniader Lanser. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Paul, Timothy, and the Respectability Politics of Race: A Womanist Inter(con)textual Reading of Acts 16:1–5
Religions 2019, 10(3), 190; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030190 - 13 Mar 2019
Abstract
In this paper, I interpret the story of the Apostle Paul’s circumcision of Timothy in the New Testament text The Acts of the Apostles (16:1–5) from a womanist perspective. My approach is intersectional and inter(con)textual. I construct a hermeneutical dialogue between African American [...] Read more.
In this paper, I interpret the story of the Apostle Paul’s circumcision of Timothy in the New Testament text The Acts of the Apostles (16:1–5) from a womanist perspective. My approach is intersectional and inter(con)textual. I construct a hermeneutical dialogue between African American women’s experiences of race/racism, respectability politics, and the Acts’ narrative. In conversation with critical race theorists Naomi Zack, Barbara and Karen Fields, and black feminist E. Frances White, I discuss the intersection of race/racism, gender, geopolitical Diasporic space, and the burden and failure of respectability politics. Respectability politics claim that when non-white people adopt and exhibit certain proper behaviors, the reward will be respect, acceptance, and equality in the white dominated society, thereby ameliorating or overcoming race/racism. Race and racism are modern constructions that I employ heuristically and metaphorically as analytical categories for discussing the rhetorical distinctions made between Jews and Greeks/Gentiles, Timothy’s bi-racial status, and to facilitate comparative dialogue between Acts and African American women’s experiences with race and racism. I argue that Paul engages in respectability politics by compelling Timothy to be circumcised because of his Greek father and despite the Jerusalem Council’s decision that Gentile believers will not be required to be circumcised. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Ecofaith: Reading Scripture in an Era of Ecological Crisis
Religions 2019, 10(3), 154; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030154 - 04 Mar 2019
Abstract
This essay outlines the emerging field of ecological theology (ecotheology) with a primary focus on the methods of ecological hermeneutics developed by biblical scholars, ethicists, and theologians. This relatively new approach to reading ancient sacred texts has emerged in tandem with, and partially [...] Read more.
This essay outlines the emerging field of ecological theology (ecotheology) with a primary focus on the methods of ecological hermeneutics developed by biblical scholars, ethicists, and theologians. This relatively new approach to reading ancient sacred texts has emerged in tandem with, and partially as a result of, increased public, political, and scientific consensus on the impacts of anthropogenic global warming and the ranging environmentally related effects (e.g., reduction of biodiversity and ecosystems, deforestation, loss of fertile lands, and so forth). The demands of our current context have challenged scholars to consider how religious anthropocentric worldviews have influenced historical readings of the Bible in ways that have contributed to the crisis and constricted the ecological contours of the ancient text. In order to place these developments within a broader historical context, the first section summarizes the history and trajectory of ecological hermeneutics over the past four decades. The main section of this work outlines and summarizes the different types of reading strategies being considered and debated among scholars today and includes promising examples of ecocritical readings of biblical texts. These readings are based on a constructive and critical engagement of ancient texts in light of the modern environmental challenges. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Are the Gospels “Historically Reliable”? A Focused Comparison of Suetonius’s Life of Augustus and the Gospel of Mark
Religions 2019, 10(3), 148; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10030148 - 28 Feb 2019
Abstract
Are the Gospels historically reliable? Authors of ancient historical literature had objectives for writing that differed somewhat from those of modern historians. Consequently, the literary conventions that were in play also differed. Therefore, it is difficult to speak of the historical reliability of [...] Read more.
Are the Gospels historically reliable? Authors of ancient historical literature had objectives for writing that differed somewhat from those of modern historians. Consequently, the literary conventions that were in play also differed. Therefore, it is difficult to speak of the historical reliability of ancient texts without certain qualifications. In this essay, a definition for the historical reliability of ancient texts is proposed, whereby such a text provides an accurate gist, or an essentially faithful representation of what occurred. Four criteria that must be met are then proposed. Suetonius’s Life of the Divine Augustus and the Gospel of Mark, are then assessed by using the criteria. Suetonius was chosen because he wrote more closely than his peers to how modern biographers write, and the Augustus was chosen because it is the finest of Suetonius’s Lives. The Gospel of Mark from the Bible was chosen because it is probably the earliest extant account of the “Life of Jesus.” The result of this focused comparison suggests that the Life of Augustus and the Gospel of Mark can be said to be historically reliable in the qualified sense proposed. However, an additional factor challenging this conclusion is described, and further discussion is needed and encouraged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
Open AccessArticle
Biblical Performance Criticism: Survey and Prospects
Religions 2019, 10(2), 117; https://doi.org/10.3390/rel10020117 - 18 Feb 2019
Abstract
Biblical Performance Criticism (BPC) analyzes communication events of biblical traditions for audiences. Every communication event of a tradition has four aspects: a communicator, traditions re-expressed, an audience, and a social situation. This essay surveys the history of BPC and its current prospects and [...] Read more.
Biblical Performance Criticism (BPC) analyzes communication events of biblical traditions for audiences. Every communication event of a tradition has four aspects: a communicator, traditions re-expressed, an audience, and a social situation. This essay surveys the history of BPC and its current prospects and points to the future work of developing a fine-grained theoretical foundation for its work. In the analytical mode, a scholar gathers and examines data from a past performance event to describe it, and its effects, in detail. In the heuristic mode, a performer presents a tradition to an audience in order to better understand its dynamics. In the practical mode, a person reflects on the performance of biblical traditions in daily life. In these ways, BPC reunites biblical scholarship fragmented by critical reduction, and bridges the academic and popular use of biblical traditions. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Current Trends in New Testament Study) Printed Edition available
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