Schnelle, "The History and Theology of the New Testament Writings"

a brief review

Valuable insights

His insights about the author and place and time of composition of the NT materials are invariably well argued and very credible.


  1. Schnelle argues that 2 Corinthians and Philippians were each originally single letters, but the multiple letter solutions as advocated by Bornkamm [1] or more recently by Duling & Perrin [2] are closer to the truth. My analysis of the relationship between structure and papyrus pages suggests that when Paul's letters were assembled, some of the sheets (probably written on one side only) seem to have been accidentally displaced. After examining many options, this eventually led me to conclude that 2 Corinthians (less 6:14-7:1 which is widely recognized as an interpolation) and Philippians each originally consisted of three letters. They are set out below in chronological order.
  2. Schnelle claims that there were two pre-synoptic written sources, namely Q and Deutero-Mark. Both of these are hypothetical and historically unattested.

Overall Assessment

This is currently the best English-language introduction to the books of the New Testament. The material is set out systematically, which makes it easy to use for reference. It deals with all the main issues, and only a very small proportion of its conclusions should be seriously questioned.


1. G.Bornkamm, Paul (ET, Hodder & Stoughton, London, 1975) 244-47
2. D.C.Duling & N.Perrin, The New Testament (3rd edn, Harcourt Brace & Co., Orlando, 1994) 230-35