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Enjoy the Good News, A New Testament Guide.

Author: Alan Hogan

Published: ATF Theology, Adelaide 2016 ISBN: 9780646934433 (paperback) Format: Hardcover $71.90, paperback $53.35

Reviewed by Helen Scanlon (*)

Alan Hogan has written this guide to the New Testament for the general reader wanting to deepen their knowledge and understanding of the scriptures. Alan's education was in the seminary first at Springwood, then Propaganda College, Rome. He left there before ordination and returning to Australia became a successful barrister and later a judge. In his retirement he gained an MA in Biblical Studies, and his teacher Sr Michelle Connolly rsj has written the forward to the book.

As Alan wrote in his introduction: "The purpose of this work is to covey basic information and background to each book, to enable readers to understand when, why and in what circumstances it was written, and what message the author intended to convey."

In this aim Alan was very successful. He writes with a simple, relaxed style, belying the extensive scholarship of his work.

The first three chapters outline the origins of the New Testament, the historical background and how the various writings became recognised by the church as the canon. There are maps of the regions although I found that using a biblical atlas with larger print was more satisfactory. The historical background covers the politics, the geography and the peoples of the region. He also deals with manuscript evidence for the texts.

The second section contains a programme of study of each of the individual books, arranged by Alan in the order of writing, after they are given context by an introduction to the Acts of the Apostles. This is followed by some of St Paul's letters, preceded by a chapter "The Letters of Paul" in which he details which epistles are now believed to be by Paul and which were penned by his followers after his death in 64. As each of Paul's letters is introduced, Alan refers the reader back to the relevant section of the Acts.

Alan has a chapter on "Paul's Attitude to Women", and one on "How the read a Gospel". There are detailed introductions to the three synoptic gospels, interspersed by the other epistles. The book concludes with the Book of Revelation, the Johannine literature, the letters of John and finally the Gospel of John.

I found much in the book that deepened my understanding and knowledge of the New Testament. Alan has been able to share his understanding of contemporary biblical studies. I recommend this book to all.

(*) Helen Scanlon attended Sydney University 1953-6, was influenced there by university chaplain Roger Pryke and attended Newman Graduate summer schools at Sancta Sophia in the early 60s. She is secretary of the ACHS.

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Author:Scanlon, Helen
Publication:Journal of the Australian Catholic Historical Society
Article Type:Book review
Date:Jan 1, 2017
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