Through a detailed examination of the historical shaping and final canonical shape of seven oft-neglected New Testament letters — James, 1 & 2 Peter, 1-2-3 John, and Jude — Reading the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude as Scripture
introduces readers to the historical, literary, and theological integrity of this indispensable apostolic witness.
While most modern scholars interpret biblical texts against the diversity of their individual historical points of composition
, Robert Wall and David Nienhuis make the case that a theological approach to the Bible as Scripture is better served by attending to issues that occasioned these texts' historical point of canonization
— those key moments in the ancient church's life when apostolic writings were grouped together into collections designed to maximize the Spirit's communication of the apostolic rule of faith to believers everywhere.Reading the Epistles of James, Peter, John, and Jude as Scripture
is the only treatment of the Catholic Epistles that approaches these seven letters as an intentionally designed and theologically coherent canonical collection.
-- Durham University
"In this groundbreaking book David Nienhuis and Robert Wall show that the New Testament collection called the `Catholic Epistles' has a structure and a rationale that profoundly impact the way its individual texts should be read. Like the fourfold canonical Gospel, this collection represents a decisive intervention in the process of creating a well-ordered Christian scripture out of the mass of early Christian writing."
John H. Elliott
-- University of San Francisco
"In this eloquent challenge to current exegetical communis opinio, the authors argue forcefully for a reading of the seven Catholic Epistles as a canonical unit, which then reveals their common theology, their collective role in the scriptural canon as balance to the Pauline letters, and their cogent apostolic instruction on Christian discipleship and community both in antiquity and in today's world."
-- Loyola University
"David Nienhuis and Robert Wall argue that if we shift our focus from the point of composition to much later matters of canonization, we can begin to see that the Catholic Epistles as a group round out and enrich the theological emphases of the Gospels and Paul's letters in ways that form a more complete and even more attractive canonical whole. . . . Nienhuis and Wall present a challenging argument sustained by detailed theological attention to the canonical process and by close and lively readings of the Catholic Epistles. If taken up, their views can dramatically alter the interpretive patterns and concerns the church and the academy bring to these letters."
Bible Study Magazine
"Academics, pastors and even those without an academic background will find this an original and challenging study of the literary and theological unity of these letters."
Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society
"Nienhuis and Wall have written a challenging book. . . . It points to the importance of the canonical process. It argues that this was a theological process and gave new meaning to texts that are now read together. This is an important contribution."
The Bible Today
"This is a welcome and most interesting study. . . . Nienhuis and Wall make a convincing case that these letters, so often treated as an afterthought by modern biblical scholarship, are a key part of the canon in their own right, shaped by the early church."