Insights: The Newsletter of the Neal A. Maxwell Institute for Religious Scholarship

Article Title

Brown Bag Report



languages, ancient history, BYU, scriptures


On 13 November John F. Hall, professor of classical languages and ancient history at Brigham Young University, spoke about his new book, New Testament Witnesses of Christ: Peter, John, James, and Paul. The book draws on early Christian writings to show that the “four pillars” of early Christianity—Peter, John, James (the brother of Jesus), and Paul—consistently testified of the life and mission of Jesus Christ. The book is important, Hall believes, because many professing Christians, even many ministers, do not accept Christ as the literal Son of God even though the scriptures and the writings of the early church fathers are clear on the matter. In his book Hall also deals with issues of scholarly debate, such as whether the Gospel of John was the last biblical book written and whether tradition has judged Peter too harshly as a man of little faith and learning, that are illuminated by the Greek text and by an understanding of Greek culture. Hall’s book is divided into sections that review the backgrounds of the four pillars, apostolic authority, the Jewish world, and the Greek and Roman world.