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 as it was formulated on the basis of the Holy Scriptures of Israel, in the context of ancient Judaism, and in conversation with the Greco-Roman world. Consequently, this scholarship is carried out in an area of tension from a religious-historical perspective because the NT represents first the collective writings of a Jewish splinter group, then the founding document of a world religion, and from a theological perspective it testifies in a fundamental way to the revelation of God in the person of Jesus Christ.

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.

There is a long tradition of studies in ancient Judaism, which have taken place in recent times even outside the discipline of New Testament studies and without regard to New Testament questions (cf. Prof. Hans-Jürgen Becker`s projects on rabbinic literature as well as the research on the Dead Sea Scrolls carried out by Prof. Reinhard G. Kratz and his team).

In this area, Prof. Florian Wilk is engaged in researching the philological and theological profile of the Septuagint and its reception in early Christianity, particularly the writings of the NT; currently, a multi-volume "Handbuch zur Septuaginta" is being produced in cooperation with an international group of editors (already published: volumes 1: Einleitung [2015], 3: Sprache [2016], 4: historisch-kultereller Kontext [2019], and 5: Theologie [2019]).

Florian Wilk is also working in other collegial groups on the concept of Biblical Theology. Within the “Topoi Biblischer Theologie (TOBITH)” series, which he co-edits, he is responsible together with Marianne Grohman (Vienna) for the volume on the “authority of Scripture”.

Prof. Susanne Luther focuses on the literary, religous and cultural-historical influence of Greco-Roman curse tablets on the New Testament; on this topic, the volume “Antike Fluchtafeln und das Neue Testament” (WUNT I), produced in conjunction with Markus Lau (Fribourg) and Michael Hölscher (Mainz) will soon appear. Further central research areas for Susanne Luther include the issue of ancient and New Testament ethics as well as the topic of historiography and the question of the fiction, fictionality, and factuality of the New Testament texts (cf. the soon-appearing monograph on this: “Die Authentifizierung der Vergangenheit: Literarische Geschichtsdarstellung im Johannesevangelium”, WUNT I).

The goal of such research in all its careful philological, historical, and religious-historical work is ultimately a theological one: the biblical texts should be explored for the sake of use in the present time, not least as an essential point of reference for Christian-Jewish as well as general interreligious conversations. With this in mind, commentaries on the letter of James (S. Luther) and the Corinthian letters of Paul (F. Wilk) are currently being prepared. In addition, of course, reflection on hermeneutical approaches to the New Testament texts occupies a central place.