Department of New Testament Studies

The department of New Testament Studies at the Theological Faculty of the Georg-August University in Göttingen explores the New Testament (NT) as the basic document and witness of the Christian faith, formulated on the basis of the Holy Scriptures of Israel, in the context of ancient Judaism and in encounter with the Hellenistic-Roman world. These studies, therefore, are carried out in an area of religious-historical tension, in which the NT initially represents the collective writings of a Jewish splinter group, before becoming the charter of a world religion, and as a consequence, from a theological perspective, testifying to the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ in a fundamental way.

Main research areas

For more than 100 years Göttingen has specialized in interpreting the NT in the context of extra-biblical traditions and evidence, i.e. combining exegesis with religious-historical research.

Studies in ancient Judaism have a long tradition, and, especially in recent years, are being pursued also outside the discipline of New Testament studies (cf. Prof. Hans-Jürgen Becker`s projects on rabbinic literature and the research on the Dead Sea Scrolls carried out by Prof. Reinhard G. Kratz and his team).
In this context, Prof. Florian Wilk is engaged in researching the philological and theological profile of the Septuagint and its reception in early Christianity, particularly in the NT writings; currently, a multi-volume "Handbuch zur Septuaginta" is being prepared in cooperation with an international circle of editors.

Another main research area in the Department of Hellenistic Religious History is the reconstruction of Hellenistic culture and intellectual history as a part of the context of early Christian theology. This research is being undertaken by Prof. Reinhard Feldmeier in collaboration with colleagues from outside the department of theology. In the SAPERE series, writings of Greco-Roman antiquity on philosophy, religion, and ethics are edited, translated, and annotated – while the COMES series has dedicated itself to particular locations that were of high relevance in the ancient world.

Since the publication of their biblical doctrine of God, Reinhard Feldmeier and Hermann Spieckermann (Old Testament) have been the editors of the TOBITH series which focuses on key topics of biblical theology; each topic is conjunctly being worked on by an OT- and an NT-scholar. Together with Marianne Grohmann (Vienna), Florian Wilk is in charge of the volume on the authority of Scripture.
Furthermore, R. Feldmeier and F. Wilk both are involved in the university`s SFB 1136, which explores the interaction of education and religion in the ancient world. R. Feldmeier is also engaged in STRATA, a research group on ancient myths.

For all its careful philological, historical, and religious-historical work, the goal of such research is ultimately a theological one: the biblical texts are to be explored for the present time, not least as a central point of reference for relating Christianity to Judaism, as well as any other form of interreligious dialogue. In order to pursue this goal, commentaries on the Gospel of Luke (R. Feldmeier) and on the Letters to the Corinthians (F. Wilk) are currently being prepared.