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Understanding the New Testament

Written by: The Great Courses
Narrated by: Professor David Brakke
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Publisher's Summary

The New Testament is a fascinating book - the canonical root of Christian history and theology. Yet the book is also a paradox, because this single “book” is comprised of 27 different books by more than a dozen authors, each of whom has a different perspective and is responding to a different set of historical circumstances. How do you reconcile this diversity of voices into a single, unified belief system? And should you even try?

For a historian, the diversity of authors is not a challenge to be reckoned with, but rather an exciting opportunity. In the New Testament, we have 27 primary sources that offer a doorway to the extraordinary history of the early Christian communities. In these books, you can discover how:

  • Christian practices developed;
  • Conflicts of belief were debated and addressed;
  • The institution of the Church evolved; and
  • A man named Jesus of Nazareth was transformed into the Messiah.

Join Professor David Brakke, an award-winning Professor of History at The Ohio State University, for Understanding the New Testament. In these 24 eye-opening lectures, he takes you behind the scenes to study not only the text of the New Testament, but also the authors and the world in which it was created. You will explore Jewish lives under Roman occupation, reflect on the apocalyptic mood of the first and second centuries AD, witness the early Christians’ evangelism beyond the Jewish communities, and witness the birth of a faith that continues to shape our world today.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying PDF will be available in your Audible Library along with the audio.

©2019 The Teaching Company, LLC (P)2019 The Great Courses

What listeners say about Understanding the New Testament

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Worthwhile. Get it

I'm not religious, but I started the gnosticism course by this author and ended up listening to it 4 times. Just picked up this course and finished it in a week. Solid author and content and I definitely recommend it to anyone with an interest in early Christianity and how religions in general come into being.

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Concise and Clear

Excellent course. Professor Brakke teaches the historical critical approach to the New Testament in a concise and clear manner. His delivery is professional and not at all pompous or arrogant, while at the same time not dumbed down too much. I expect anyone interested in history, philosophy, theology or religion will find something to enjoy in this lecture series.

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Really great

Not a perfect score because it wasn't perfect, but I couldn't say their was any major flaw.

The program really addresses the complexity of the new testament and was thoroughly enjoyable and insightful.

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  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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Struggling to finish

Can't tell if the author is relaying their own assessment of the New Testament or others' general interpretation (few references to other sources). Comes across confident that their conclusions are obvious even though I feel they are often a bit of a stretch to make without more supporting information. I'm struggling to decide if it's worth listening to any more of it. I would prefer a more objective presentation and critique of ideas, with more depth. Not one of the "Great Courses" in my opinion.

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1 person found this helpful

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Very informative, just a bit dry

It’s extremely enlightening but so hard to follow along while doing other tasks because the narrator is so monotoned.

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