Some books are a whole lot easier (and fun) to read and review than others. They’re a pleasure to read and the review just flows from the keyboard. Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions by David A. Croteau is a case in point. Croteau is a professor of New Testament and Greek in the Seminary and School of Ministry at Columbia International University. With this volume he brings his Greek scholarship to fore.
Urban Legends … When you read that title applied to a volume relating to the Bible you might expect contents reflecting myths, fables and fantasies found in the Good Book. Well, for Urban Legends you would be tending in the right direction with a hermeneutical focus in mind.
We all have certain expectations and presuppositions that we anticipate for particular passages in the Bible. We just assume they will be interpreted and preached in a certain interpretive fashion. For instance, how many times have you heard a sermon or sat in a Sunday School class with the subject matter focused on the fact that Paul was a tentmaker? The passage was clearly explained and you had no issue with accepting that Paul was not only a great missionary and ambassador for God but a hardworking man as well plying his trade as a tentmaker as he spread the Gospel. But, whoa; not so fast. Perhaps Paul’s trade was more than just tentmaker. What if the Greek word and the interpreters of history ascribe more to Paul? What if Paul was also a … ?
Croteau’s volume contains 40 bite-sized encounters to the conventional wisdom (urban legends) of interpretation. There are sixteen from the Gospels and twenty-four from the remainder of the New Testament. Each one is short, about 4-6 pages, but well explains Croteau’s reasoning for challenging the urban legend.
The wonderful aspect of Urban Legends is that it is a suitable read for every Christian. You don’t have to be an ivory tower, Greek scholar to read, understand and appreciate Croteau’s hermeneutics. You may not agree with everything he has to say, but you will be challenged.
The bottom line: Invest in this volume and stretch your Christian thinking.
This book was provided to me by B&H Academic for a fair, honest and impartial review.