The title of this book may be a bit puzzling—a Catholic introduction to the New Testament? The New Testament belongs to all Christians, and the modern study of the New Testament has benefited from the contributions by scholars of all Christian denominations. But there are questions and issues in the New Testament that are specific to Catholics, such as the portrayal of Jesus' mother Mary, the commissioning of Peter, and the Trinity. In this volume, Joseph Kelly provides an introduction to the New Testament for students and deals with the concerns of modern Catholics reading the Bible. It’s a book that Catholic teachers can use rather than a book that presents them with problems they have to explain.
Kelly helps readers to understand what modern scholars, especially Catholic biblical exegetes, say about the individual books because we cannot understand what role Jesus can play in modern life if we don’t understand what he meant to the earliest Christians.
The New Testament tells the story of Jesus, the most remarkable person who ever lived, and of his disciples. It includes some of the most famous narratives in the world and the most memorable words ever spoken. It introduces us to great people who moved history and of those who took the difficult step of leaving the religions of their ancestors and families to become Christians. Kelly shows that in looking at the New Testament we see real people communicating with us—sharing their beliefs, their fears, and their hopes. Distant yet familiar, challenging yet comprehensible, the New Testament is a precious heritage, and one that Kelly recommends we must make our own.
Joseph F. Kelly, PhD, is professor of religious studies at John Carroll University in Cleveland, Ohio. He is the author of The World of the Early Christians, The Problem of Evil in the Western Tradition, Responding to Evil, The Origins of Christmas and The Collegeville Church History Time-Line published by Liturgical Press.
With brevity and precision Dr. Kelly leads the reader through each book of the New Testament, striking the right balance between popular interest and responsible scholarship. He assists Catholics with such issues as Jesus' "brothers" and whether Mary is the Woman of the Apocalypse. But this book will enlighten any believer who wishes to appreciate how doctrine develops, how to deal with miracles and devils, or why the Christmas magi and shepherds never meet in the same gospel.
The reader-Catholic or otherwise-will find here a helpful and accessible introduction to the New Testament writings.
The Bible Today
Author Joseph F. Kelly, Ph.D., shows in his book that in looking in the New Testament, we find real people who are communicating to us over the centuries, sharing their faith, their beliefs, their hopes and their fears. In reading the book, readers will understand the precious heritage that it is and will make the heritage our own.
For Catholics wishing to get a general grasp of the N.T. this Introduction to the New Testament will prove to be an enjoyable read as well as an excellent introduction to some of the research that is possible and is happening.
This valuable text is intended for students and general readers who want to put their Catholic identity in conversation with the contemporary understanding of the Bible. . . . Photographs, summaries, helpful outlines of each text, maps, suggestions for further reading, and a subject index all make this text a very useful tool for beginning NT students of any age.
Catholic Library World
The style is lively and clear. The contents are well balanced, and the Gospels receive much attention due to their importance for Catholics. . . . fulfills the need for a gentle introduction to the NT for Catholics.
Kelly has written an immensely rich explanation of the New Testament. First, his style makes the material totally accessible to even the uninitiated. Second, he zeroes in on common misunderstandings and offers clear information on the cause of confusion and ways it can be avoided. In the process he explains the importance of scholarly examination of historical, cultural, linguistic, and doctrinal issues in interpreting Scripture for modern readers.
. . . a handy little guide that introduces the nonprofessional reader to the contents of each of the books of the New Testament and some of the issues involved in understanding them.
Review of Biblical Literature
Professor Joseph Kelly's new Introduction to the New Testament for Catholics fills a critical need in today's church. Drawing upon the most current resources in contemporary scholarship, Kelly invites non-specialists to reflect more deeply on the richness of the biblical text. Uncommonly, he does so with deep sensitivity to the particular questions that Catholic readers are likely to ask. The result is both satisfying and engaging. Readers who have been searching for an accessible introduciton need look no further.
John J. O'Keefe, Creighton University, Omaha, Nebraska