Locating Udo Schnelle’s “Theology Of The New Testament” In The Contemporary Discussion -- By: D. A. Carson

Journal: Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
Volume: JETS 53:1 (Mar 2010)
Article: Locating Udo Schnelle’s “Theology Of The New Testament” In The Contemporary Discussion
Author: D. A. Carson

Locating Udo Schnelle’s “Theology Of The New Testament” In The Contemporary Discussion

D. A. Carson

D. A. Carson is research professor of New Testament at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, 2065 Half Day Road, Deerfield, IL 60015. This is a lightly edited version of what was read at the New Testament Theology section of SBL, November 22, 2009, one of four presentations precipitating vigorous discussion. The other three were by James D. G. Dunn, Frank J. Matera, and Udo Schnelle himself.

To locate the magisterial work of Professor Udo Schnelle, Theology of the New Testament,1 within current discussion on the nature of New Testament theology demands reflection along a number of axes. The older axes are well established: how any NT theology (hereafter “NTT”) is organized, how it interacts with the OT, how it treats the tension between the diversity and the unity of the NT, and so forth. But Robert Morgan rightly observes, “As New Testament studies became more varied in the final quarter of the twentieth century, New Testament theology was also drawn into new channels.”2 Under the label of NTT have sprung a plethora of new reading strategies generating new theologies: assorted post-colonial theologies, liberation theologies, ethnic theologies, gender theologies, and so forth.3 My own survey of NTT, published in 1997,4 already sounds spectacularly out of date. So in no particular order of precedence, I shall try to locate Professor Schnelle’s work along some of these many axes, both older axes and more recent ones:

(1) Connection to the OT. Abandoning the essentially Marcionite rejection of OT relevance for the understanding of the NT espoused by Harnack, Bultmann, Baumgärtel, Hirsch, and in some ways Hans Hübner,5 most recent NT theologies argue, with various strategies and degrees of intensity,

that the NT authors understand the significance of Jesus Christ in categories substantially drawn from the OT, or at least in ongoing discussion with such categories. This includes the two-volume work by Ferdinand Hahn,6 the still-incomplete work of Ulrich Wilkens,7 the work of Peter Stuhlmacher,8 and the text-book contributions of I. Howard Marshall,9

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