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Title: Challenges to New Testament theology : an attempt to justify the enterprise
Author: Balla, Peter
Awarding Body: University of Edinburgh
Current Institution: University of Edinburgh
Date of Award: 1994
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In this thesis I survey and examine major challenges presented to the enterprise of writing a New Testament theology. I argue that the challenges, although weighty, are not convincing. In a programmatic way, I also put forward arguments in favour of the thesis, that the enterprise may be justified. I accept the proposal that New Testament theology should be a historical enterprise (W.Wrede, H.Räisänen). I argue that a historian may describe the theological content of the New Testament and that this should be the task of the enterprise. Theology here does not mean the theology of the modern interpreter, but the theology of the New Testament itself. Theology should be understood as a broad term: it should include beliefs of the early Christians, as well as practices in connection with their beliefs. The theology of the early Christians should not be separated from their religious experience. As historians we have to study all the available evidence and historians may justify the study of the theology of the New Testament, if they find that early Christianity had a basic theology, which was generally adhered to, and that this basic theology was represented in writings held to be authoritative. I argue (against W.Bauer and H.Koester) that what was later called "orthodoxy" was the earliest form of Christianity. Christians not adhering to the theology of the orthodox became regarded as heretics. I challenge the view that the canon came into existence as a late decision of the church. Rather, we can trace the beginnings of a canonical development to the first century. Indeed, the New Testament authors may have written with an awareness of authority which was on the same level as that of the Old Testament prophets. (Excursus: The Temple Scroll had a canonical status in Qumran).
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available