All month long Steve Moyise’s Jesus and Scripture is free in Logos—grab it today!
Steve Moyise is head of department and professor of New Testament at the University of Chichester. (To learn more about the author see this helpful interview with Nijay Gupta and Steve Moyise.) This book is relatively short at only 160 pages, yet it is filled with a wealth of information and scholarship, with helpful footnotes and bibliography to lead you into deeper study. The topic at hand is how Jesus himself utilized the Old Testament writings in his teaching—it’s a study of intertextuality, honing in on Jesus in the Gospels. Much work has been done in this area broadly, but Moyise brings a helpful look on this one aspect, similar to his book on the same topic looking at Pauline writings.
Moyise spends the first four chapters looking at Jesus’ use of the OT in each of the four Gospels individually, starting with Mark. (The reader who holds to Markan Priority will no doubt appreciate this.) In chapters 5–7 he looks at three different views on the topic: minimalist (Crossan, Borg), moderate (Dunn, Wright), and maximalist (Kimball, France). The author himself identifies with the moderate view, which should be immediately noted by evangelicals in the latter camp. In his review of Jesus and Scripture (Themelios: Volume 37, No. 1), Christopher Beetham addresses the issue to the evangelical reader:
It is not that the question of historicity is not important to evangelicals (Moyise’s “maximalists”). Christian faith stands or falls upon whether the events of Jesus’ life, death, and resurrection actually occurred. But evangelicals, by virtue of their presuppositions, have already embraced a position that understands the Gospels to convey historically reliable information. They are not wrestling, like Moyise, about what OT quotations can or cannot be traced to the historical Jesus. Evangelicals tend to take the text at face value and believe that all the quotations put in the mouth of Jesus in the Gospels are there because they do, in fact, ultimately derive from his lips. That the Gospel writers probably felt free to paraphrase Jesus’ OT quotations on occasion does not detract from this. Therefore, evangelicals are usually asking a different set of questions than Moyise when it comes to the use of the OT in the Gospels. Evangelicals want to understand the significance of the quotation in its new context (its “meaning-effects”) and its contribution to biblical theology.
Beetham, however he may disagree with Moyise on some issues, still recommends this book for evangelical readers:
I do recommend the book, nevertheless, to evangelical students. Moyise offers a brief yet intelligent survey of the use of the OT in the Gospels. Much in the book is thoughtful and thought-provoking. Moreover, Moyise has written his overview “not to propagate my conclusions” but “to encourage readers to work out their own” (p. 121). Evangelical students can learn much from him.
Jesus and Scripture helps provide the context for the student to examine, with an appendix of Jewish legal texts on Sabbath, divorce, oaths and vows, and purity. Furthermore, Moyise provides a dozen or so bits of information in shaded boxes, highlighting important concepts for the reader, such as “New English Translations of the LXX,” “The criterion of embarrassment,” and “Hillel’s seven exegetical rules” (shown in the screenshot below).
Free this month
Jesus and Scripture is entirely free for the month of April! If you are a student of the New Testament and want to examine how Jesus used the Old Testament, this book will be a tremendous help. Get it free—and if you’re registering a new free account, don’t be alarmed! Our ecommerce system will ask for your credit card information, but you will not be charged a penny.
Steve Moyise’s Jesus and Scripture begins with concise assessments of how Jesus used and understood Old Testament Scripture in the four respective New Testament Gospels.This excellent book strikes the right balance and brings clarity to a subject that is often discussed in convoluted and confusing ways. Its value for students is obvious, but veteran scholars will also find it very helpful.
—Craig A. Evans