You are on page 1of 2


'Introspective Conscience' article, much of which has already been

said in the more developed presentation of the earlier pages, but it
is valuable nonetheless to have the original articles which first
expressed the important insight. That is followed by a Martin
Luther King J r Day address on 'Judgment and Mercy', and a paper
on 'Glossolaliathe New Testament Evidence', first delivered at a
conference on the development of the modern charismatic move-
ment. The last few pages on 'Sources and Critiques' indicate the
major areas of Stendahl's concernhermeneutics and the relation
between Judaism and Christianityand give him the opportunity to
respond (all too briefly) to the alternative presentations of Paul's
thought by E. Kasemann and G. Bornkamm.
One of the chief qualities of this book is its demonstration of the
importance of always asking' To whom was this said or written?' Paul
was not writing for Western man plagued with his 'introspective
conscience'. 'Jesus did say, "Man does not live by bread alone", but
he never said that to a hungry person' (p. 106).
The other thing I particularly liked is Stendahl's concern with
contemporary issues and his ability to turn a memorable phrasefor
example, 'The fullness of the church cannot be better ridiculed than
by the habit, long established, according to which every denomina-
tion or sect takes its gift of the Spirit and builds a special little chapel
around it' (p. 121).
While I would wish to qualify his arguments at several individual
points I would not quarrel with any of his main theses, but rather
would commend the book as a most valuable exercise in removing
the blinkers.
JAMES D. G. DUNN {Nottingham)

The New Testament Concept of Witness. By ALLISON A. TRITES.

Cambridge University Press, 1977. Pp. x + 294. 12-00.
TRITES begins his examination of 'witness-terminology' with an
outline of the concept of the witness in the ancient world. He draws
out the importance for the Greek world of witnessing to facts and
notes that there is also a witness to conviction which attempts to
persuade others to accept the witness's point of view. In Israel
special attention is drawn to the place of the witness in controversy
and in this connexion the concept of 'trial' is examined in 2 Isa.
Basically the concept is juridical but it can lose this aspect in common
usage. Trites then applies what he has learned to the New Testa-
ment. Major attention is given to the concept in the Johannine
writings including Revelation, and for these the Isaianic background

Downloaded from https:/ University College London, on 16 May 2017 at 02:46:07, subject to the
Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https:/
is shown to be most important. Acts also receives special treatment.
The book draws our attention to a concept which has been too long
neglected and, if it induces scholars to pay more attention to it, it
will have fulfilled a useful function.
On the whole, however, it is a disappointing book. Too often it is
merely the listing of references without much penetrating reflection
on them. In so far as it attempts to cover the concept of witness, in
distinction from examining the martus terminology, it is not even
exhaustive; the common theme which runs through passages like
Matt. 5.16; 1 Thess. 4.12; Col. 4.5; 1 Tim. 3.7; 1 Pet. a.12 is
discussed very inadequately. This probably arises because the study
begins from the juridical understanding of witnessing, and so the
wider aspects of the concept tend to be neglected. On the whole,
critical questions are not faced. It is too easily assumed (p. 78) that
John's Gospel was written for unbelievers; at least four of the most
recent commentators (Bultmann, Barrett, Brown, Schnackenburg)
are unanimous in rejecting this conclusion; how much Trites'
interpretation of the Fourth Gospel would be affected if he changed
his view on this is not easily apparent. In Acts he draws attention to
the importance of the apostolic witness to the facts of Jesus' death
and resurrection; the evidence conies largely from the speeches in
Acts; if the speeches are Lukan compositions, what has this to say
about Luke's concept of witness? Trites is indeed not clear about the
meaning of the word 'facts'; he appears to think that facts and
interpretations are two separable entities. He finds little about
witness in Paul yet he takes witness to be a juridical concept and
draws it from Isa. 40-55 which is precisely the area from which Paul
draws his juridical concept 'righteousness'.
The book is indexed very comprehensively and there is an
adequate bibliography. If it draws attention to the concept and
leads to fuller discussions New Testament scholarship will be under a
debt to its author.

JohnEvangelist and Interpreter. By STEPHEN SMALLEY. Exeter, the

Paternoster Press, 1978. Pp. 285. 7*00.
How 'the whirligig of time brings in his revenges'! Some forty years
ago Kirsopp Lake was dismissing John's Gospel as 'mostly fiction'.
But in the last three or four decades, thanks to the researches of men
like Gardner-Smith, C. H. Dodd, John Robinson, W. F. Albright,
and Raymond Brown, and the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls,
the Fourth Gospel has been taking on a 'new' and decidedly better

Downloaded from https:/ University College London, on 16 May 2017 at 02:46:07, subject to the
Cambridge Core terms of use, available at https:/