Shelf Life Book Review: Urban Legends of the New Testament

Kelley Mathews

Urban Legends of the New Testament: 40 Common Misconceptions
B&H Academic, 2015

Your nativity scene may never look the same after you read this book. David Croteau, professor of New Testament and Greek at Columbia International University, uses his knowledge of first-century culture and language to investigate what he maintains are commonly misunderstood Scriptures. Tackling 40 texts that most Christians would recognize, he challenges the accepted interpretations and offers options that hew closer to how original hearers would have understood the passages.

Each chapter begins by telling the “legend”—either a mistaken or misleading story—and then attempts to disprove it. Through detailed interaction with the biblical text, Croteau explains some of the problems he finds with the standard (mis)interpretation. He concludes with his own view of what the text is saying. Each legend is examined and debunked in order to help readers see the New Testament more clearly and to learn to interpret it more accurately. Often intellectual and sometimes downright entertaining, this user-friendly resource will provide Bible readers of all levels with valuable direction and insight.

This review was also printed in the May-June issue of Bible Study Magazine.