Raymond E. Brown, An Introduction of the New Testament. New-Haven-London: Yale University Press, 1997, 936 p.

(Detailed summary)

Raymond E. Brown was born on May 22, 1928 in New York City, Bronx. After high school in Miami, where the family of two boys had moved, he entered the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C., where he earned his Master of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1949. He studied at the Gregorian University in Rome (1949-50). In 1951, he entered the Sulpician Society after receiving his bachelor's degree (1951) and his licentiate (1953) in sacred theology from St. Mary's Seminary and University of Baltimore. He was ordained a priest on May 23, 1953 in the Diocese of St. Augustine, Florida and received his doctorate in theology in 1958 at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore. In 1958-59, he spent time in Jerusalem and Jordan working on the Dead Sea Scrolls. In 1963 he received his Licentiate in Sacred Scripture from the Pontifical Biblical Institute in Rome. From 1971 to 1990 he was professor of biblical studies at the Protestant Union Theological Seminary in New York, where he became professor emeritus. He was appointed to the Pontifical Biblical Commission in 1972 and 1996. President of several biblical associations, such as the Catholic Biblical Association, the Society of Biblical Literature (1976-7) and the Society of New Testament Studies (1986-7), he is considered one of the most important American biblical scholars. He holds 24 honorary doctorates from American and European universities, including Protestant institutions. He died of a heart attack at St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park, California, on August 8, 1998, after retiring from teaching to devote himself to research at the age of 70. His latest book, A Retreat With John the Evangelist: That You May Have Life (St. Anthony Messenger Press), was published a day before his death.

Raymond Brown became known for his research on the Gospel of John, of which he published a commentary in 1966 and 1970, and for his studies of the Johannine community in 1979. Among his many publications are the following:

  • The Semitic Background of the Pauline Mystērion (Ph.D. Diss.). Baltimore: The Johns Hopkins University, 1958, 243 p.
  • New Testament Essays. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1965, 280 p. (reprint: Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1968).
  • The Gospel According to John (i-xii), v.1. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (Anchor Bible, 29), 1966, 538 p.
  • Jesus God and Man: Modern Biblical Reflections. Milwaukee: Bruce, 1967, 109 p. (reprint: (New York: Macmillan, 1972)
  • The Semitic Background of the Term “Mystery” in the New Testament. Philadelphia: Fortress, 1968, 72 p. (abbreviated version)
  • Jerome Biblical Commentary (co-publisher), 2 v. Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1968, 637 et 835 p.
  • Exégèse et Théologie: Les Saintes Écritures et leur interprétation théologique: Donum natalicium Iosepho Coppens septuagesimum annum complenti D.D.D. collegae et amici (co-publisher). Gembloux: Duculot, 1968, 327 p.
  • The Gospel According to John (xiii-xxi), v.2. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (Anchor Bible, 29A), 1970, 539 p.
  • The Virginal Conception and Bodily Resurrection of Jesus. New York: Paulist, 1973, 136 p.
  • Peter in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars (co-publisher). New York: Paulist, 1973, 181 p.
  • Biblical Reflections on Crises Facing the Church. New York: Paulist, 1975, 118 p.
  • The Birth of the Messiah. Garden City, NY: Doubleday, 1977, 594 p.
  • Mary in the New Testament: A Collaborative Assessment by Protestant and Roman Catholic Scholars (co-publisher). New York: Paulist, 1978, 323 p.
  • The Community of the Beloved Disciple. New York: Paulist, 1979, 204 p.
  • The Critical Meaning of the Bible. New York: Paulist, 1981, 150 p.
  • The Epistles of John. Garden City, NY: Doubleday (Anchor Bible, 30), 1982, 812 p.
  • Antioch and Rome: New Testament Cradles of Catholic Christianity (co-author). New York: Paulist, 1983, 242 p.
  • The Churches the Apostles Left Behind. New York: Paulist, 1984, 156 p.
  • Biblical Exegesis and Church Doctrine. New York: Paulist, 1985, 171 p.
  • The New Jerome Biblical Commentary (co-publisher). Englewood Cliffs, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 1990, 1475 p.
  • Responses to 101 Questions on the Bible. New York: Paulist, 1990, 147 p.
  • The New Jerome Bible Handbook (co-publisher). London: Chapman, 1992, 456 p.
  • The Death of the Messiah: From Gethsemane to the Grave: A Commentary on the Passion Narratives of the Four Gospels. 2 v. New York: Doubleday, 1994, 1608 p.
  • An Introduction to New Testament Christology. New York: Paulist, 1994, 226 p.
  • Reading the Gospels with the Church: From Christmas Through Easter. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger, 1996, 90 p.
  • An Introduction to the New Testament. New York: Doubleday, 1997, 878 p.
  • A Retreat with John the Evangelist: That You May Have Life. Cincinnati: St. Anthony Messenger, 1998, 102 p.
  • An Introduction to the Gospel of John (ed. et rev. Moloney). New York: Doubleday, 2003, 356 p.

The following attempts to summarize his commentary on The Birth of the messiah.

An Introduction to the New Testament

Useful Information About the Bible as a Whole

Part I: Preliminaries For Understanding The New Testament

Chapter 1: The Nature And Origin Of The New Testament
Chapter 2: How to Read the Testament
Chapter 3: The Text of the New Testament
Chapter 4: The Political And Social World Of New Testament Times
Chapter 5: The Religious And Philosophical World Of New Testament Times

Part II: The Gospels and the Related Works

Chapter 6: Gospels In General; Synoptic Gospels In Particular
Chapter 7: Gospel according to Mark
Chapter 8: Gospel according to Matthew
Chapter 9: Gospel according to Luke
Chapter 10: The Acts of the Apostles
Chapter 11: Gospel according to John
Chapter 12: First Epistle (Letter) of John
Chapter 13: Second Letter of John
Chapter 14: Third Letter of John

Part III: The Pauline Letters

Chapter 15: Classifications And Format Of New Testament Letters
Chapter 16: General Issues In Paul's Life And Thought
Chapter 17: An Appreciation of Paul
Chapter 18: First Letter to Thessalonians
Chapter 19: Letter to the Galatians
Chapter 20: Letter to the Philippians
Chapter 21: Letter to Philemon
Chapter 22: First Letter to the Corinthians
Chapter 23: Second Letter to the Corinthians
Chapter 24: Letter to the Romans
Chapter 25: Pseudonymity And The Deuteropauline Writings
Chapter 26: Second Letter to the Thessalonians
Chapter 27: Letter to the Colossians
Chapter 28: Epistle (Letter) to the Ephesians
Chapter 29: Pastoral Letter: to Titus
Chapter 30: Pastoral Letter: the First to Timothy
Chapter 31: Pastoral Letter: the Second to Timothy

Part IV: The Other New Testament Writings

Chapter 32: Letter (Epistle) to the Hebrews
Chapter 33: First Letter of Peter
Chapter 34: Letter (Epistle) of James
Chapter 35: Letter (Epistle) of Jude
Chapter 36: Second Letter of Peter
Chapter 37: The Book Of Revelation (The Apocalypse)


  1. The Historical Jesus
  2. Jewish And Christian Writings Pertinent To The New Testament