After spending a little over 4 years on the Old Testament, it will be fun to study the New Testament. I learned a lot about the Hebrew Scriptures. I am now able to better understand the Jewish background of Jesus. All my life I have tried to understand the Christian message of Jesus. As an emeritus professor of religious studies, I began my retirement Bible project at the age of 74 in 2013. Now in 2018, at age 78, I going to dive into the Greek New Testament aided by reading the Bible in French, La Sainte Bible: traduite en francais sous la direction du L’Ecole Biblique de Jerusalem, the 1961 edition of the Jerusalem Bible that I first studied in 1962. As a guide to help me with this translation, I will use the New Revised Standard Version of the New Oxford Annotated Bible with the Apocrypha: An Ecumenical Study Bible Completely Revised and Enlarged, the 1994 edition. I will also use Novum Testamentum Graece et Latine by Eberhard and Erwin Nestle and Kurt Aland, the 1960 edition, that I used over fifty years ago. To be more precise, the 1904 Nestle Greek edition is now on line as found at Bible Hub. To help understand the Greek New Testament text, I will use The Jewish Annotated New Testament of the New Revised Standard Version, edited by Amy-Jill Levine and Marc Zvi Brettler, 2011. As a further aid, I will use the Bible Concordance, Synopsis Quattuor Evavgeliorum, Locis parallelis evangeliorum apocyrphorum et pratrum adhibitis edidit Kurt Aland, the 1964 edition. Finally, I will use that invaluable online web site of the Bible Hub. http://biblehub.com/.
Over a thousand years later, Martin Luther, a German Augustinian religious monk and Roman Catholic priest at Wittenberg appeared. He was a bible scholar, so that biblical influences dominated him and his followers. The epistles of Paul showed that righteousness was a gift that was not earned. Faith alone, not works or even indulgences to be used in purgatory, was necessary for salvation. In 1517, he posted his printed objections, since half a century earlier the printing press had been invented. He translated and published the New Testament in German, so that people could read the Bible themselves. This led to the Protestant Reformation, which actually maintained many of the medieval Catholic practices. The Counter Reformation resulted in the Roman Catholic Council of Trent. Instead of just accepting being excommunicated, these protesters formed their own community in northern Germany and Scandinavia. Other groups also broke off from the Roman Catholic Church.
The distinction between the Old Testament and the New Testament raises the question of whether the separation of the first century Christian groups and the nascent first century CE Rabbinic Jewish groups was just a continuation of an earlier dispute. Did the fall of the Temple in 70 CE put the final nail in the coffin? Was this the fracture of Judaism, as the two groups went in different ways? Already in the second century BCE, there were differences between the Judean Maccabeus group and the Greek Hellenistic Jews. None of the inspired Jewish biblical writers who called themselves followers of Jesus Christ in the first century wrote in Hebrew, but all wrote in Greek. Was Christianity, or the forming of the Christian communities, the final stage of this dispute within Judaism about the role of Greek?