Video: Theologian on early Christian reception of the New Testament

Author: Todd Boruff

“By reading the Bible along with some of its earliest interpreters in antiquity, it's actually strange, unsettling, unsystematic. It's full of surprises,” said Nathan Eubank, associate professor of theology at the University of Notre Dame.

Eubank’s research centers on the Synoptic Gospels (Matthew, Mark, and Luke) and the writings of Paul, particularly in light of ancient Biblical interpretation. He is currently writing a book on merit in early Christianity — the ability to gain salvation through good actions. According to Eubank, “scholarly anxiety” about merit has led to skewed conceptions of Jesus and Paul’s teachings. “Some of these theological assumptions have been embedded in the field and unless they're explicitly interrogated, they remain in place,” he said.

He is also working on a book analyzing the Sermon on the Mount, through the lens of historical reception. Eubank said this portion of scripture tends to be a source of comfort for many Christians, but that he takes the opposite view. “I suspect it's closer to the articulation of a program that should do nothing if not scare us a little bit, because it's very extreme,” he said.

You can also watch this video on YouTube.