Book Reviews -- By: Anonymous

Journal: Grace Theological Journal
Volume: GTJ 11:1 (Spring 1990)
Article: Book Reviews
Author: Anonymous

Book Reviews

New Testament History, by Richard L. Niswonger. Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1988. Pp. 332. $19.95.

Richard Niswonger, who teaches New Testament at John Brown University in Siloam Springs, Arkansas, has written a careful survey of the history of New Testament times. The book is not only a history of early Christianity, but is a very readable summary of Jewish and Greco-Roman backgrounds behind early Christian history. It is not by intention, however, a survey of the teachings of the New Testament. It is not, then, a primary textbook for a course in New Testament survey or New Testament introduction courses. The volume could serve as excellent parallel reading for such courses or for an introductory course in New Testament backgrounds.

Niswonger begins by considering the intertestamental period. His work here is detailed and up to date, including discussion of the Essenes, the developments in Greek and Roman cultures, and some attention to the various literature during this period. The next section focuses on the life of Christ. Niswonger’s approach here adopts a harmonistic reading of the gospels. He wrestles with the complex issues of the historical reliability of the gospels and Acts. Here the reader will be helped by the recent IVP publication, The Historical Reliability of the Gospels, by Craig Blomberg. Throughout, Niswonger adopts conservative evangelical positions on these matters.

The author then examines the history of the early church in the Book of Acts. This is one of the most helpful parts of the book. Here Niswonger draws parallels between the Acts account and the epistles. The book concludes with matters related to the General Epistles, Revelation, and non-canonical early Christian literature.

Niswonger is to be commended for taking difficult and complex material and conveying it in a most understandable manner. The book is nicely written and well organized. The survey style makes it most useful for the beginning college or seminary student, or the interested layperson. The pictures, lists, charts, and complete bibliography make the book a valuable source for all. For a more detailed account for advanced students, F. F. Bruce’s history of the New Testament remains unsurpassed. Yet, for a beginning textbook on this subject, one needs to look no further for an excellent resource than Niswonger’s New Testament History.

David S. Dockery
Southern Baptist Theological Seminary

Talk Thru the Bible, by Bruce Wilkinson and Kenneth Boa. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers, 1990. Pp. 544. $24.95. Cloth.

The cover states, “Talk Thru the Bible is a great referenc...

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