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By Adolf Deissmann / T&T Clark / 1901
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In the preface to this work, Deissmann writes, "Bible Studies is the name I have chosen for the following investigations, since all of them are more or less concerned with the historical questions which the Bible, and especially the Greek version, raises for scientific treatment." This book revolutionized New Testament scholarship by demonstrating convincingly from Egyptian papyrus scraps that the Greek of the New Testament was not a specialized, spiritual language or "Holy Ghost Greek." One of the great biblical scholars of the 20th century, Adolf Deissmann strongly opposed the idea that New Testament writers used a sacred language and worked to show that it was, indeed, the ordinary language spoken by common people. In Bible Studies, Deissmann shares his observations from then-newly-discovered papyri and inscriptions, shedding light on the language, literature and religion of Hellenistic Judaism and the New Testament church.
In 1895, Adolf Deissmann published a volume, given the unassuming title, Bible Studies (Bibelstudien), which revolutionized New Testament scholarship. Deissmann discovered that ancient papyrus scraps, buried in Egyptian garbage dumps some 2,000 years ago, contained Greek which was quite similar to the Greek of the NT. He concluded that the Greek of the NT was written in the common language of the day. It was not the dialect which only the most elite could understand. Since Deissmann's discovery, translators have endeavored to put the NT into language the average person could comprehend—just as it was originally intended.
—Daniel B. Wallace, Professor, New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary
Adolf Deissmann was a German New Testament scholar. His studies showed that the New Testament was written in popular rather than classical Greek and described the evolution of Christian doctrine in terms of a popular cult. Deissman wrote a life of the apostle Paul and other biblical studies. The more important of his books were Light from the Ancient East (1910) and The Religion of Jesus and the Faith of Paul (1923).