Saturday, May 07, 2011

New Testament in Antiquity

The New Testament in Antiquity: A Survey of the New Testament within Its Cultural Context
Zondervan, 2009

The perfect textbook for an undergraduate introductory course on the New Testament in an evangelical setting! The New Testament in Antiquity is handsomely produced, highly accessible and sufficiently indepth without overwhelming a reader with detail.

The major focus of the book is clear from the subtitle A Survey of the New Testament Within Its Cultural Contexts: a student comes away from the book aware of the importance of the historical and cultural setting of the New Testament documents for its interpretation. The book is probably not a sufficient introduction for a graduate and seminary level course, although as a supplemental text it could serve quite nicely. I used it in conjunction with one of my favorites: Oskar Skarsaune's In the Shadow of the Temple: Jewish Influences on Early Christianity.


WoundedEgo said...

This sounds like a great subject, but my concern would be that it would be chock full of unfounded descriptions based on the NT, rather than the other way around, creating more of the already circulating myths about Jews and NT times. Has anyone evaluated this book to see if it explores primary sources?

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I found the following good sources during my time in seminary. They are not written with a bias toward the NT.
Jewish Literature Between The Bible And The Mishnah, with CD-ROM, Second Edition by George W. E. Nickelsburg

From the Maccabees to the Mishnah, Second Edition by Shaye J. D. Cohen

The Apocalyptic Imagination: An Introduction to Jewish Apocalyptic Literature (Biblical Resource) by John Joseph Collins

Andrew said...

This is a required text at Gordon-Conwell. Any thoughts about it being used at the seminary level?

Andrew said...

Never mind. I must have skipped over the line about seminary courses!

Mark Goodacre said...

Thanks for the recommendation. It's a beautiful looking book -- I really like the illustrations. I was very disappointed with the treatment of the Synoptic Problem, which featured several inaccuracies and ignored the Farrer Theory -- see and .

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Jeff said...

Very useful book for undergraduate level. I appreciate the plethora of maps, illustrations, archaeological contributions, and bibliography for further research (at the end of every chapter!). There are some "assumed positions" that go unexplored (probably what Goodacre reflects on above) throughout, but probably no more than the typical NT Survey.

One thing that is curious: the order of treatment follows the NT order of books -- except in one place: James precedes Hebrews. I have no idea why, and the authors/editors do not explain this oddity. Strange.

Anyway, a solid tool for introductory, undergraduate levels!

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