Chapter OneI. INTRODUCTION
* "New Testament" means "new covenant."
* The NT books appear in a logical order rather than a chronological
order of writing.
II. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
BC Dominant Events and Personages
700s Assyria Exile of northern kingdom of Israel
600s Babylonia Exile of southern kingdom of Judah, destruction
of Jerusalem & Solomon's temple
500s Persia Return of some Jews, rebuilding of
temple & Jerusalem
300s Greece- Alexander the Great's
Macedonia conquests, hellenization,
split of empire into
200s Egypt Septuagint (Greek translation of
Hebrew OT: LXX)
100s Syria Seleucids, esp. Antiochus
Epiphanes' attempt to force
paganism on Jews, revolt
of Hasidic Jews under
leadership of Maccabees
Maccabees Jewish independence & emergence of
Jewish sects (Pharisees, Essenes,
100-1 Rome Pompey, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Herod
the Great, Jesus' birth
1-100 Rome Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Jesus' public
ministry, death, & resurrection,
Christian church under Peter, Paul, &
others, first Jewish revolt, destruction of
Jerusalem & temple (AD 70)
III. CULTURAL BACKGROUND OTHER THAN RELIGIOUS
* Many Jews lived outside as well as inside Israel.
* Roman roads facilitated travel over land; commercial transport went
mainly by water.
* Cities had public baths & toilets, sewage systems, pavements, schools,
* Private homes ranged from
villas to apartment buildings & huts.
* Most people had skimpy,
largely meatless diets.
* People wore a short robe (tunic)
next to the skin, plus a
long outer robe & cloth belt.
* There was no large middle
class, but many slaves.
* Social mores included male
dominance, importance of
honor & shame, sexual immorality
(even as part of pagan
religions), much divorce, exposure
of unwanted infants.
* Entertainment included drama,
athletic competition, chariot
races, gladiatorial shows.
* Instead of big industry, there
were small businesses with
trade guilds, other voluntary
associations, & banking.
* Medical practice included
surgery & dentistry.
III. RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND
* Paganism featured mythology regarding a pantheon of gods & goddesses,
emperor worship, mystery religions, superstitious practices,
syncretism with outgrowths of Gnosticism & the influence of philosophies
* Judaism featured
Synagogues, the second temple (beautified by Herod the Great)
OT in original Hebrew, Greek translation (LXX), & Aramaic paraphrases
Apocryphal books, pseudepigraphal/apocalyptic books, Dead Sea
Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes; Herodians & Zealots; scribes & disciples;
People of the land; Diaspora Jews as Hebraists & Hellenists; Gentile
proselytes & God-fearers
Narrow religious education of Jews in contrast with liberal education
IV. CANON AND TEXT OF THE NT
* "Canon" refers to books accepted as standard for belief & conduct.
* In the precanonical period, Christians depended on the OT, oral tradition
regarding Jesus, & pronouncements of Christian prophets.
* The homolegoumena were books quickly canonized, antilegomena books
* Marcion's short canon prompted orthodox formalizing of the present NT