The Concept, History, and Organization of New Testament Theology
Baur’s Introduction provides a history (sixteenth to nineteenth century) of the discipline of New Testament theology. New Testament “theology” is to be distinguished from “dogmatics” as systematic theology because it should be a purely historical discipline that focuses on the teaching of the New Testament books—on their theological ideas and arguments. This discipline had to disengage itself from misuse by seventeenth- and eighteenth-century dogmatic systems, from assumptions of a harmony between biblical and dogmatic theology and among the books of the New Testament canon themselves. Strauss challenged this, questioning the credibility of the gospel story as a whole by comparing individual units. Baur’s chief contribution was a critique of the writings and a determination of their specific historical and theological interests—both for the canonical Gospels, and for the epistles attributed to Paul and other New Testament writings—revealing conflicts and differences among the authors.
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