The blend of variety and unity apparent in the thought of the New Testament has been a subject for theological debate through the ages. Certain themse, teachings, and characterizations are clearly consistent, but others are perplexing in their diversity. This distinction was acknowledged by the New Testament writers themselves. For example, the author of 2 Peter looking back at the letters of "our beloved brother Paul", confesses that they contain "some things hard to understand". The author explores in detail the different aspects of variety and unity in the entire New Testament. He gives special attention to the sixteen books which fall outside the central gospels and Pauline epistles and which offer the greatest challenge to the defence of unity. These include such important writings as Revelation, 1 Peter, Hebrews, and James. He argues that, despite contemporary emphasis on the pluralism of the writings, there remains a central unifying focus: faith in Jesus as the Christ. Recent emphases on social setting, rhetoric, and narrative are shown to enrich traditional historical criticism and to open up the New Testament for readers today.
'well worth reading ... very useful and up-to-date discussions of the major issues regarding date, authorship and the like ... the author has provided a very useful guide, complete with an annotated bibliography.'
Journal for the Study of the New Testament 54 (1994) 'Reumann manages to include a vast array of material that embraces a whole cross-section of NT concerns ... Both students and scholars can profit from his endeavors.'
Casimir Bernas, Holy Trinity Abbey, Huntsville, Religious Studies Review, Volume 19, Number 3 / July 1993 'an eminently useful volume that concentrates on the last third of the New Testament canon often unknown even to otherwise committed anbd literate Christians. Pastors and Associates in Ministry would find this an excellent book to review and renew their understanding of and enthusiasm for NT study. It is truly multum in parvo, a great deal in small compass.'
Edgar Krentz, Lutheran School of Theology at Chiacgo, Currents in Theology and Mission, 10/92 'fine contribution to the Oxford Bible Series ... a lucid and illuminating discussion of the question that underlies his title ... also a solid "introduction" to the NT for the general reader ... This is an excellent book to place into the hands of the "educated lay person" or general inquirer who is seeking a critical yet sympathetic review of the Christian Scriptures ... this distinguished Lutheran author does not regard the demonstration of coherence
as his task. He presents both unity and variety, with due attention to the unique aspects of every book and to the easily overlooked matter of what each book fails to affirm.'
Richard I. Pervo, Seabury-Western Theological Seminary, Illinois, Anglican Theological Review, LXXV:3 'His lucid discussion of some theoretical issues and reliable exposition of the Deutero-Pauline, Catholic Epistles, Apocalypse and Acts makes this, like the rest of the series, a necessity for all theological libraries.'
R. Morgan, Linacre College, Oxford, Theological Book Review, Vol. 5, No. 2, February 1993 'This is a serviceable textbook ... specially useful for its honest and efficient ... exposition of the contents of the non-Pauline and non-Gospel New Testament books.'
J.L. Houlden, King's College, London, Theology `This is a serviceable textbook, in effect, specially useful for its honest and efficient (but unoriginal) exposition of the contents of the non-Pauline and non-Gospel New Testament books.'