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Neues Testament


Moule, C. F. D.


The birth of the New Testament 1964


Barrett, Charles K.

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Theologische Literaturzeitung 89. Jahrgang 1964 Nr. 6


es immer noch unzulässig, diese Beobachtung zu verallgemeinern
und für die jüdische Vergangenheit und für die jüdische Zukunft
zu behaupten, der jüdische Mensch sei nicht eigentlich,
sondern nur synthetisch schöpferisch tätig. 5. Ähnlich unbefriedigend
sind auch die zuletzt genannten Ausführungen. Man
kann nicht sagen: Das jüdische Volk ist kein politisches Volk,
weil es nur zwei staatenbildende Epochen in seiner Geschichte
gekannt hat. Es gibt eine ganze Reihe von Völkern, die jahrhundertelang
keine eigene staatliche Gliederung besaßen. Niemand
aber wird sich zu der Behauptung versteigen, einem solchen
Volk fehle eine politische Ausrichtung. Ebenso wird man
verschiedener Ansicht darüber sein können, ob das zionistische
Geschichtsbild der Geschichte gerecht wird oder nicht. Zu beanstanden
ist schließlich die Ansicht, jüdische Existenz könne
sich besser außerhalb als innerhalb Israels entfalten. Denn es
dürfte eine Illusion 6ein zu meinen, die relative Unabhängigkeit
vom Staat sei außerhalb Israels größer. Die Politik greift heute
überall in das Leben ein!, so daß es richtiger wäre zu sagen,
daß der jüdische Mensch nicht mehr und nicht weniger Privatleben
und Selbständigkeit außerhalb als innerhalb Israels besitzt.

.MUnstcr/V. Wolfgang E. Gi-rbcr

Bergmeier, Roland: Miszellen zu Flavius Josephus, De bello
Iudaico 5 § 208 und § 236 (ZNW 54, 1963 S. 268-271).


Moule, C. F. D., Prof.: The Birth of the New Testament. London:
A. & Ch. Black [1962]. XII, 252 S. 8° = Black's New Testament
Commentaries, ed. H. Chadwick, Companion Vol. I. Lw. 25 s.
This book is described as "Companion Volume I" to the
series "Black's NT Commentaries", of which six commentary-
volumes have now appeared. No indication is given what
further companion volumes may be expected, but if a set like
the additional volumes in the Handbuch zum NT is intended
English-speaking students of the NT will have cause for

The present volume may be described as an introduetion
to the NT, though, as will appear, it is a very unconventional
introduetion. This Professor Moule justifies in his first chapter,
on the ground that "alrcady there are sufficient works on these
[conventional] lines" (l). It would be interesting to know which
Works M. is thinking of. Few of our undergraduates can use
the great German Introductions, and for serious work have
Httle to turn to except the excellent but rather dated book by
Moffatt. NT teachers would in fact have been grateful to M.
for a conventional introduetion; but this does not take away
from him the right to write the 6ort of book he wished to
write, nor does it affect the value of the book he has written.
He describes his aim and method as follows: "This book looks
at the NT in the light thrown on the earliest days of the
Christian Church by such techniques as that of 'form criti-
cism' .. . and it attempts to place in their setting in Iife and
thought the processes which led up to the writing of early
Christian books and the beginnings of the process of the selec-
tion from among them of what we call the scriptures of the
NT" (2).

M. proeeeds at once to apply the methods laid down in his
introduetory chapter. Chapter II is headed "The Church at Worship":
Jn it M. first collect« fragments of Songs and psalms borrowed by
NT writers from their context in primitive Christian worship, and
then inquires what further material is to be found. He is not im-
pressed by the theory that "1 Peter is virtually a Baptism Service"
(27), but thinks that "baptism is the most natural setting for early
Christian Creeds . . . and the Eucharist was the setting in which the
Institution words and narrative lived on" (30), and finds other
Hturgical indications too.

The next four chapters all bear the title "The Church Explains
Itself", with different sub-headings. "Stages of Self-Awareness"
(Ch. III) deals with th« Church's theological and practica] elucidation
°f its position Over against Judaism, a position that involved both
continuity and discontinuity. This process of thought underlies a

good deal of Pauls writing, to which a quantity of material in the
Gospels and Acts must be joined. The problem was sharpened after
Paul's death by the Jewish War of A. D. 66—70, but Paul had al-
ready seen that the question was ultimately a theological one: "The
vehement Pauline refusal to require circumeision in addition to
baptism implies an estimate of Christ's person and work which sees
them as all-inclusive and as absolute" (48 f.). Hebrews and Ephe6i-
ans may be seen as contributions to the same discussion.

"The Use of the Jewish Scriptures" (Ch. IV) provides the ex-
planation of much NT material. M. himself sums up a long diapter
as follows: "First, pre-Christian Judaism... had already developed
certain ways of interpreting Scripture. S e c o n d 1 y, Jesus himself...
had used scripture with great originality, and yet with an under-
standing of traditional methods. And t h i r d 1 y, the early Christians
. . . used both scripture and the memories and traditions of the
words of Jesus with the ercative freedom of the inspired" (58). In
the working out of the third point M. touches on many issues. He
describes the characteristic NT use of scripture as "modern", "in
that it treats the OT asarecord of revelation"; that is, "histori-
cally" (68). Rom. 9—11, the matter peculiar to Matthew, Stephens
speech, and Hebrews are considered in some detail, and the problem
of the NT's disuse of Isa. 53 is raised, but not answered (83).
M. thinks that testimony books may have been in existence in NT

"The Gospels and Acts" (Ch. V) are taken as primarily apologe-
tic documents, in the sense that they explain the affirmations of the
kerygma (answering, e. g., the question, Why was Jesus crueified?);
they also provide an embodiment of the Jesus who was proclaimed
as Lord. The Synoptic Gospels and Acts are explanation intended
for Christians, but the Fourth Gospel is at least in part directed to
the unbelieving, and answers the (individualistically coneeived)
question, What must I do to be saved?

It was necessary for the Church to explain also the interim
period in which it believed itself to be living (Ch. VI: "The Reign of
Christ"). Christian eschatology was exposed to error on two sides:
there was the claim that the resurrection had already happened, and
the gibe that it showed no sign of happening at all. In fact, it was
never primarily concerned in detail with the future, but with "the
past leading to the present" (103). Christian apocalyptic was "a way
of conveying, pictorially and in Symbol, the conviction of the
ultimate victory of God" (103).

The next Chapter ("The Church under Attack") reviews the
references in the NT to persecution. The results are summed up:
"The NT . . . reflects plenty of attack from antagonists, but little
that was official or state-organized. What can be identified is mainly
Jewish rather than imperial" (124).

M. now begins to move up from the ground-floor of NT
Christianity to what he describes as the superstrueture
(Ch. VIII). Looking at the question sociologically he conclu-
des that "NT evangelism. . . represents neither the typical
mass movement type of primitive tribalism nor the purely
individual, 'gathered church' ideal" (128). Doctrinally the process
was a very complicated one, Statement of the kerygma
and exposition of its implications (didache) closely interlock-
ing. It is evident that the NT writers found many occasions to
deal with moral and religious problems on the basis of the
Gospel, and there was false teaching, both moral and Christo-
logical, to refute. The 6ynoptic parables form a special quarry
of material for study. Following Dodd and Jeremias, but with
further illustrations of his own, M. holds that the parables
of Jesus were freely and uneritieally adapted by Christian
teachers for edificatory purposes; nevertheless, he believes that
for far more of this material than most recent students have
allowed a „Sitz im Leben Jesu" can be found.

In Ch. IX M. deals with "Variety and Uniformity in the
Church". "The social level of most Christian communities was
probably towards the lower end of the scale without touching
'rock bottom'" (159). Within these social limits there was
probably much personal as well as geographica! variety. A good
deal of intellectual activity was going on, and this must have
led to differences that would "ultimately harden into distin-
guishable schools of thought" (162). M. lists six areas of con-
trast: (l) betwecn the Platonism of Hebrews and the rest of
the NT; (2) between Paul's emphasis on the powerlessness of
man and James's instistence on man's duty; (3) between apocalyptic
and the tendency to give a positive estimate to human
history; (4) between individualist and corporate tendencies;