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Through the Eyes of a Historian

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Chapter Summary

There are many reasons why the New Testament and aspects thereof should be interpreted and explained historically. Historical interpretation of the New Testament is necessitated by the very nature of these writings. The origin, contents, transmission, reception and canonization of New Testament writings are only some of the factors that make the New Testament an object of historical interest. In addition there is also a past standing behind and a future standing in front of individual texts. Some of them apparently represent the end phase of a process of oral transmission of tradition. Historical criticism of the New Testament concerns two fields of interest: Historical interpretation and explanation of individual writings or aspects of these writings; the history of the people about whom the New Testament writings speak, that is Jesus and the early Christians. This chapter focuses on both aspects.

Keywords: Christians; historical interpretation; individual writings; Jesus; New Testament; oral transmission of tradition



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