How Liberal New Testament Scholarship Is Being Left Behind


Craig Blomberg, New Testament Theology, pp. 5–6:

Particularly noteworthy is how little attention is paid in more liberal circles (even more so in the United States today than in Germany!) to the growing body of literature spawned in varying ways by Larry Hurtado and Richard Bauckham, which has demonstrated that a high, divine Christology was pervasively present throughout the earliest church in ways that are best explained as the vindication of the very claims and ministry of Jesus himself.

So much of the parceling out of the various books of the NT to the last decades of the first and even the early second centuries depends on the perception of various forms of evolutionary trajectories of theological development and vice versa.

The scholarship in this tradition can easily get caught up in a hermeneutical circle without realizing it.

Why do we date a certain book later than early Christian tradition uniformly did (and therefore determine it to be pseudonymous)?

Because it contains theology that developed only at a later point.

How do we know that it developed only at a later date (and therefore that the books that contain it have to be pseudonymous)?

Because it contains later theology!

The possibility of revolutionary developments occurring very quickly after Jesus’ death, if not entirely discounted, is at the most given very limited attention.

And assumptions about pseudonymity continue to be taken as demonstrated, despite increasingly numerous rebuttals both to the concept being acceptable in early Christianity in general and to the reasons for applying it to individual NT documents.

Along these lines, Blomberg cites the following works that liberal NT scholarship has failed to catch up with:

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