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The Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1986.

Denis Hickey is a professor of philosophy at Cypress College in Southern California.

I recommend the Interpretation of the New Testament: 1861-1986, by Stephen Neill and Tom Wright (Oxford University Press, second edition, 1988, $13.95 paper). Anyone interested in Jesus will want to know not only his story, but how we have come to read (or misread) that story. One begins with an interest in the mysterious man named Jesus, and finds oneself irresistibly curious about those who have told us that story. But the tellers and the telling are themselves so buried in long-held and half-hidden assumptions that most people forget to question them.

This is an account of the more-than-hundred-years attempt to roll back the stone from the tomb and unloosen the centuries of cobwebs that enshroud Mark and Matthew, Luke and Paul, John and the author of Hebrews. It is thereby also an account of the search for the early Christianity that birthed the gospel stories and the gospel theology.

If you would like to see this unbinding recounted by a gentle master (Bishop Stephen Neill died in 1985, while working on the revised edition, which was then completed by his disciple, Tom Wright), put this book on your coffee table and read snatches during TV commercials. Soon, you will turn off the set.
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Author:Hickey, Denis
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Article Type:Book Review
Date:Nov 19, 1993
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