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The Baker Academic New Testament Backgrounds collection brings you 19 volumes from today’s finest New Testament, Greek, and Judaic scholars, including Craig S. Keener, Michael F. Bird, Graham H. Twelftree, Brad H. Young, and others. It provides insight into the cultural, social, and religious contexts surrounding the Greco-Roman World, analyzes the credibility of the biblical canon, miracles, and exorcisms, and explores the history and impact of Judaism. Each volume is clear, comprehensive, and readable; each tackles skeptics’ tough questions; and each includes helpful resources like indexes, bibliographies, and photos.

Deepen your New Testament understanding and study with these volumes’ scholarship. Uncover the New Testament’s relevance to twenty-first-century Christian living. The Baker Academic New Testament Backgrounds collection will benefit pastors, students, scholars, and laypeople interested in the most pressing topics in New Testament studies.

In the Logos Bible Software edition, all Scripture passages are tagged to the original-language texts or your preferred English translation. You can perform powerful searches by topic and find what other authors, scholars, and theologians have to say, making this collection ideal for studying and interpreting the New Testament.

Please note that this collection is available as part of the Baker Academic New Testament Bundle (57 vols.) and the Baker Academic Biblical Studies Bundle (86 vols.).

Key Features

  • Provides contributions from top scholars
  • Addresses skeptics’ questions
  • Includes glossaries, indexes, bibliographies, maps, photos, and other helpful resources

Individual Titles

Apocalypticism in the Bible and Its World: A Comprehensive Introduction

  • Author: Frederick J. Murphy
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 448

Apocalypticism is not a specialized or peripheral topic in biblical studies. It represents the central, characteristic transformation of Hebrew thought in the Second Temple period, and it’s the context in which the New Testament books were written. Frederick Murphy defines apocalypticism while discussing its origins, its expressions in the Hebrew Bible, and its bearing on Jesus and the New Testament. This text will be useful for students of early Christianity and will work well as a supplemental text for Second Temple Judaism, Hebrew Bible, and New Testament courses.

Years ago Ernst Käsemann asserted that Jewish apocalypticism was the mother of Christian theology. If you want to understand that claim, read Rick Murphy’s masterful guide to all the relevant ancient Jewish and Christian apocalyptic texts. This remarkable synthesis is a fitting memorial to a beloved teacher, respected scholar, and fine human being.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

Lucidly written, accessible, and reliable, Murphy’s book is an ideal textbook for college courses. Its distinctive strength lies in its exposition of the role apocalypticism plays in the New Testament.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

A master teacher, Professor Murphy has left us a legacy in this volume that will serve students for years to come. He covers the entire range of apocalyptic imagery and eschatology from its roots in the prophetic texts of the Hebrew Bible through the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish works of the Second Temple period. Text boxes, charts, illustrations, and extensive bibliographies make this a classroom-friendly volume.

Pheme Perkins, professor of theology, Boston College

This book is without a doubt the most comprehensive and up-to-date introduction to apocalypticism available. It was written by a master scholar and teacher whose many years of intimate acquaintance with the ancient texts and whose pedagogical adeptness in communicating the material are evident on every page. This superb study will benefit both those who are new to the apocalyptic genre and worldview and those who are ready for a fresh and deeper look into a subject whose importance for understanding early Judaism and Christianity cannot be exaggerated.

Daniel C. Harlow, professor of religion, Calvin College

Frederick J. Murphy (1949–2011) was, for more than 25 years, a professor of New Testament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He authored numerous books, including Fallen Is Babylon: The Revelation to John, Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Jesus, and An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels.

Jewish Backgrounds of the New Testament

  • Author: J. Julius Scott Jr.
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2000
  • Pages: 416

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This survey of intertestamental Judaism illuminates the customs and controversies that provide an essential background for understanding the New Testament. Helpful charts, maps, and diagrams are incorporated throughout the text.

To be recommended for its cautious approach to controversial subjects.

International Review of Biblical Studies

This volume provides a wealth of practical information furnished in a tightly written style, which will make it a helpful basic reference for general discussion of the major tensions and trajectories within intertestamental Judaism. . . . Scott’s 30 years of teaching experience is evident in the way he has very compactly brought together an enormous amount of material about an area of biblical study that is constantly expanding. . . . Scott has served Christian students well by opening a door into the Jewish world and literature leading up to the development of Christianity.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

This . . . is an excellent one-volume introduction to the historical and cultural backgrounds of early Christianity. The layout of the book is very straightforward and easy to follow. In addition, the table of contents is more complete than most books published in the present day, and it serves the reader well. . . . An outstanding survey of the historical and religious developments in Second Temple Judaism as they relate to New Testament Studies.

Review of Biblical Literature

This easy-to-read reference is a great help in understanding the New Testament.

Conservative Theological Journal

Professor Scott has provided students and pastors with a first-rate study of intertestamental Judaism and how this period—its literature and institutions—serves as background for a better understanding of the New Testament. What makes this book especially useful is that it not only offers an accessible overview of the data (history, institutions, religious thought) but also engages with the ideas and controversies that emerged within the Judaism of this period. The reader is thus given an especially helpful entry into the complex and varied phenomenon called early Judaism—of which Jesus, Paul, and most of the other New Testament writers were a part.

Gordon D. Fee, emeritus professor of New Testament studies, Regent College

Overall, the volume offers a very detailed yet readable treatment of its topic, clearly relevant for the Christian student yet valuable for numerous other readers as well.


I recommend this study to anyone who wants to become a better interpreter of the New Testament.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

J. Julius Scott Jr. received his PhD from the University of Manchester. He is an emeritus professor of biblical and historical studies at Wheaton College Graduate School.

Christianity in the Greco-Roman World: A Narrative Introduction

  • Author: Moyer V. Hubbard
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 344

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Background becomes foreground in Moyer Hubbard’s creative introduction to the social and historical setting of the Apostle Paul’s letters to the churches in Asia Minor and Europe.

Hubbard begins each major section with a brief narrative that features a fictional character in one of the era’s great cities. He elaborates on the various cultural aspects of the setting portrayed in the vignettes, and discusses the implications of those venues for understanding Paul’s letters and applying their message to our present lives. Addressing a wide array of cultural and traditional issues, Hubbard covers:

  • Religion and superstition
  • Education, philosophy, and oratory
  • Urban society
  • Households and family life in the Greco-Roman world

This work is based on the premise that the better you understand the historical and social context in which the New Testament—and like Paul’s letters—was written, the better you will understand the writings of the New Testament themselves. Passages become clearer, metaphors are deciphered, and images are sharpened. Teachers, students, and laypeople alike will appreciate Hubbard’s unique, illuminating, and well-researched approach to the world of the early church.

Hubbard uses imaginative stories to present various aspects of life in the Greco-Roman world, followed by discussion of key issues.


An excellent introduction to the Greco-Roman world that uses insights from the ancient Mediterranean cultural milieu to interpret the New Testament. . . . Christianity in the Greco-Roman World would be a good text to use in any introductory course on the New Testament and its social world, both on the undergraduate and graduate levels.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The author has a wide-ranging knowledge of the field, and this book includes several good features, such as the inclusion of numerous citations from a range of primary sources (both literary and non-literary). Given that many undergraduate students have very little familiarity with the Graeco-Roman world, the descriptions found here of important aspects of it . . . will be very illuminating, especially as these are connected directly to relevant New Testament passages.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

While there is no substitute for reading primary source materials, Hubbard’s work brings readers close to the originals. Suggestions are given at the end of every main section for further reading in primary and secondary source materials. Hubbard is to be commended for the extensive amount of research behind this work. Numerous quotations help give readers a glimpse of how people in the Greco-Roman world thought and lived, and the effect the gospel had on those social norms. . . . Blending narrative and prose keeps the readers’ attention and it makes the Greco-Roman world come alive.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Much of the Christian world lacks sufficient awareness of the wider context in which the figures of the New Testament moved. Moyer Hubbard . . . addresses this need in his book . . . targeting undergraduate-level readers and working expositors. There is much to praise about Hubbard’s effort. . . . This work is a well-written narrative, well organized and thoroughly indexed enough to remain a useful reference.

Expository Times

[An] evocative work. . . . Hubbard begins each chapter with a fictional narrative based on a name found on an ancient inscription. . . . These sections will appeal to the postmodern penchant for story-telling and do provide a glimpse into a world completely foreign to the modern reader. . . . The vast array of inscriptions included throughout the pages of this work is invaluable. . . . This single feature makes this monograph useful to the undergraduate student looking for a general understanding of first-century life in the Greco-Roman world. . . . This book is a valuable tool for the student of the Bible or general interest reader who wishes to better understand the prevailing cultural influences as the church came into existence and began to grow in the first century.

Journal of Greco-Roman Christianity and Judaism

Moyer V. Hubbard received a BS from Multnomah Bible College, a ThM and MDiv from Western Seminary, and a DPhil from the University of Oxford. He is an associate professor of New Testament language and literature at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University. Hubbard is the author of New Creation in Paul’s Letters and Thought and of a commentary on 2 Corinthians.

Crossing Over Sea and Land: Jewish Missionary Activity in the Second Temple Period

  • Author: Michael F. Bird
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 224

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What was the extent and nature of Jewish proselytizing activity amongst non-Jews in Palestine and the Greco-Roman diaspora leading up to and during the beginning of the Christian era? Was there a clear missional direction? How did Second-Temple Judaism recruit converts and gain sympathizers? This book strives to address these questions and provides an update of the discussion. A source book of key texts is provided at the end.

One of the more fascinating discussions in New Testament scholarship today involves the question as to what pre-Christian Judaism thought about mission, if it did so at all. In this book, Michael Bird not only brings much-needed definitional clarity but also offers a sensible and clear path through the multifaceted thicket of historical evidence. Anyone seeking a deeper understanding of either first-century Judaism or Christian origins can ill afford to neglect taking a study like this along for the journey.

Nicholas Perrin, Franklin S. Dyrness Associate Professor of Biblical Studies, Wheaton College

This excellent study takes up the question of whether ancient Judaism at the time of Jesus and the early church was missionary in character. Scholarly opinion has been divided on this issue, although most recent authors question whether Judaism was a missionary religion as such. Bird notes that the question of what the fate of the Gentiles might be stems from two fundamental biblical convictions: first, that God is the God of the whole world, and second, that Israel is an elect people. After carefully reviewing the evidence Bird concludes that, while Second Temple Judaism welcomed proselytes and in some instances significant numbers of Gentiles became incorporated into Judaism, deliberate outreach or attempts to convert Gentiles were only sporadic and not at the core of Jewish consciousness.

The Bible Today

Bird offers a compelling discussion regarding whether or not Second Temple Judaism may rightly be identified as having maintained an active and consistent mission to Gentiles. . . . This source book, which offers the original Greek, Latin, and Hebrew texts along with their translations, is in itself a useful resource for those interested in the subject. Bird’s lucid study is accessible for use as an introduction, yet at the same time it will be recognized as a genuine contribution to the ongoing discussion of Jewish attitudes toward mission and conversion in the Second Temple period.

Theological Book Review

[Bird] contributes significantly to the ongoing discussion of early Jewish missionary activity through his engaging monograph. . . . There is little to criticize in this book. . . . Bird is spot-on in his nuanced linguistic and historical judgments. Indeed, this book might profitably serve as a supplementary text in a course focusing on either missiology or biblical backgrounds. The text models careful research that has relevance for both reading the New Testament and rightly understanding missions. Bird’s book takes its deserved place in the line of missions-related studies by New Testament scholars such as Eckhard Schnabel and I. Howard Marshall—scholars who model careful historical study in the service of the academy and the church.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Michael F. Bird is a lecturer in theology at Crossway College and an honorary research associate at the University of Queensland. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission and The Saving Righteousness of God: Studies on Paul, Justification, and the New Perspective.

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians: Illuminating Ancient Ways of Life

  • Author: Lynn H. Cohick
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2009
  • Pages: 352

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Lynn Cohick provides an accurate and full picture of the earliest Christian women, examining a wide variety of revealing first-century Jewish and Greco-Roman documents. She organizes the book around three major spheres of life: family (daughter, wife, mother, and widow), religious community (including both official and unofficial activities), and society in general (work, slavery, prostitution, and benefaction). Cohick shows that although women during this period were active at all levels within their religious communities, their influence was not always identified by leadership titles nor did their gender always determine their participation levels.

Women in the World of the Earliest Christians corrects our understanding of early Christian women and offers an authentic and descriptive historical picture of their lives. The book includes black-and-white illustrations of the ancient world.

Dr. Cohick offers a richly detailed and finely nuanced invitation into the lives of women in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. The study profits from her integrated examination of literary, epigraphic, iconographic, and archaeological evidence. She exposes gender bias and ideology in literary evidence without discarding what reliable evidence these texts offer for the reconstruction of women’s ‘real life’ experience. She remains attentive throughout not only to issues of gender but also to issues of status, class, and ethnicity and to the bearing these have on the levels of self-direction, involvement, and influence enjoyed by women in the Hellenistic and Roman periods. This book challenges some oft-heard generalizations about women, women’s roles, and women’s influence, replacing these with the more complicated and varied realities of women’s experience in the ancient world.

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

Many preconceptions exist about the role of women in the Greco-Roman and Jewish worlds at the time of Jesus. . . . By taking us through the world of women at that time, Cohick offers a solid glimpse of first-century culture—a wonderful window into the world of the New Testament that is well worth the read.

Darrell L. Bock, research professor of New Testament studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

She carefully assesses the available information—from literature, artwork, inscriptions, and even business receipts—sketching a portrait of ‘real women’s experiences’ in the early days of Christianity. This portrait is one that moves beyond the stereotype of women sequestered at home, but it takes full account of the patriarchy that characterized their world. To combine fascinating storytelling with careful historical assessment is no simple task; Cohick does so with ease.

Jeannine K. Brown, interim dean for the faculty and professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary

This is an important book for all students of the New Testament, however novice or advanced. Cohick’s historical sensibilities and sympathetic reading of the whole range of available evidence overturn a number of caricatures that have for decades plagued claims about women (and men) in the world of the early church. Her presentation of the life of the ordinary Roman woman from Greco-Roman, Jewish, and Christian sources is a model of careful exploration and nuanced reconstruction. It deserves to be read attentively and consulted often.

Joel B. Green, professor of New Testament interpretation, Fuller Theological Seminary

This is an excellent historical resource book that describes in detail the situation of women in the Greco-Roman world. . . . Throughout, the author maintains a non-ideological stance; while she is clearly appreciative of women’s role in this historical context and aware of the constraints imposed on women, her goal is to be as objectively descriptive as possible. The end result is a fine resource, well documented and almost encyclopedic in character, yet still making fascinating and informative reading.

The Bible Today

Lynn H. Cohick received her PhD in New Testament/Christian Origins from the University of Pennsylvania. She is a professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and the coauthor of The New Testament in Antiquity. She previously taught at Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology.

Peoples of the New Testament World: An Illustrated Guide

  • Author: William A. Simmons
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 352

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Making sense of the New Testament requires navigating a labyrinth of different cultural, religious, political, and economic groups that existed in first-century Jewish society—as well as in the Roman Empire at large. In this introduction to the major people groups of the New Testament world, William Simmons clarifies New Testament history and teaching. He provides a historical analysis of major Jewish groups (Pharisees, Sadducees, and Scribes) and important Greco-Roman groups (Philosophers, Herodians, and Centurions). Important subgroupings within the first-century church—Hebrews and Hellenist, for example—are set in the larger context of the Judeo-Roman mix. A helpful resource for anyone interested in understanding the New Testament world better, this book also makes an excellent textbook for an introductory college or seminary course on early Christian history or backgrounds.

Scribes. Pharisees. People of the land. These and other groups are interwoven throughout the New Testament narrative, often appearing with little or no explanation. Peoples of the New Testament World draws upon current scholarship to illuminate the nature and significance of these groups for the serious student of the Word.

Peoples of the New Testament World is text only. Images are not included.

This book is highly recommended for general survey courses and those seeking to understand the cultural context of the New Testament. Simmons has produced a richly illustrated and extensively researched monograph that deserves to take its place among the existing handbooks on the New Testament.

Criswell Theological Review

The breadth of material covered in the space of just a few hundred pages is impressive. One comes away with a basic knowledge of lifestyles ranging from emperors to slaves; from high priests and lofty philosophers to people struggling to maintain religious identity in the face of daily necessities. . . . References for further reading are provided, and each chapter has its own annotated bibliography to help guide one to clarification on specific topics. All in all this is a clear, well-presented coverage of a subject that is sure to be of interest to students of the New Testament.

Expository Times

An insightful and accessible introduction to some of the religious, political, and social groups that made up the world of the New Testament. . . . The chapters are lucidly organized, with an introduction to each group followed by a nuanced discussion of the significance of the group for the New Testament. . . . Ample (but not exhausting) footnotes and annotated bibliographies at the end of each chapter provide up-to-date resources for readers interested in pursuing any particular topic in more detail. . . . Numerous charts, illustrations, photographs, and maps make this a very attractive volume. . . . This book offers readers a solid introduction to the religious, political, and social context of the New Testament. It would be a particularly good choice as a supplementary textbook for introductory courses on the New Testament, although pastors, church teachers, and some graduate students will also find it useful.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This book has much more detail than most dictionary articles and commentaries. It is well researched and includes helpful annotated bibliographies after each chapter. . . . It can be read cover to cover or serve as a reference volume. It is packed with illustrations and maps that help illuminate the context and contribute to the interesting nature of the subject matter. . . . Students of the New Testament will profit from this book.

Bibliotheca Sacra

William A. Simmons is a professor of New Testament studies and Greek at Lee University. He has taught New Testament studies and Greek for more than 20 years in Europe and the United States. His specialty is Pauline studies.

Exploring the Origins of the Bible: Canon Formation in Historical, Literary, and Theological Perspective

  • Editors: Craig A. Evans and Emanuel Tov
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 272

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In this volume, leading international scholars provide cutting-edge perspectives on various facets of the biblical writings, how those writings became canonical Scripture, and why the canon matters. Craig Evans begins by helping those new to the field understand the different versions of the Hebrew Bible (Masoretic Text, Septuagint, Targum, Vulgate, etc.) as well as the books of the Apocrypha and the Pseudepigrapha. Later essays define “canon” and explain the development of canons in various Jewish and Christian communities, examine the much-debated tripartite canon of the Hebrew Scriptures, and discuss questions of authority. The book includes insightful explorations and perspectives to challenge more advanced readers, including an essay on the complexities of biblical writing, a critical investigation of the usefulness of extracanonical Gospels for historical Jesus research, and an exploration of the relationship of Paul to the canonization process. The result is a thought-provoking book that concludes with discussion of an issue at the fore today—the theological implications of canon.


Given the centrality of Scripture in the preaching task, it is important that preachers have a solid understanding of the canon of Scripture. In Exploring the Origins of the Bible, a team of scholars explores various issues related to the development and canonization of the biblical writings. This is a meaty but worthwhile volume.


[These essays] provide basic information for students and general readers who want to go deeper in understanding the issues involved in the study of the biblical canons. . . . This book well introduces the issues and some of the evidence in regard to canon formation. . . . The scholarly honesty of the presentations makes a plea for a view of inspiration and authority consonant with the messy details of history.

Review of Biblical Literature

Exploring the Origins of the Bible is an introductory volume for a theological student to understand the various historical issues related to the compilation and growth of the canon. . . . This volume could prove a helpful text for introducing students to the complexities in understanding the historical process in which the text of Scripture came to the church today.


A useful acquisition for theological reference libraries.

Religious Studies Review

Among the strengths of the book is the diversity of perspectives that the authors bring. . . . Another strength of the book is the attention it gives to the importance of the Septuagint (LXX). . . . [This work] provides helpful insight into discussion revolving around the biblical canon. It introduces fresh information, challenges assumptions, and defends the importance of its subject matter, having implications for history, hermeneutics, textual criticism, and theology. . . . A must read for those doing serious biblical or theological study within the academy.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Th[is] volume provides students and nonspecialists with an informative orientation on the complex issues of canon formation.

Journal of Ancient Judaism

In several instances, the essays in this volume . . . may serve as helpful overviews of current scholarship on the canon, aside from their own contributions. The concluding focus on theological ramifications and the basis of canonical authority sets this volume apart from many other works on the subject. . . . On the whole, this collection of essays provides an informative presentation of many of the issues surrounding discussions of canon formation. The essays are written so as to be easily accessible to the non-expert, yet they do not (generally) over-simplify this enormously complex subject. Finally, the breadth of topics covered in this volume is impressive and gives fairly equal attention to both the Hebrew Bible/Old Testament and the New Testament, while also addressing practical theological concerns, which surround and arise from scholarship on the origins of the Bible.

Hebrew Studies

Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College. He has received degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Western Baptist Seminary, and Claremont Graduate University. Evans is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and is the author or editor of numerous publications.

Emanuel Tov is the J. L. Magnes Professor of Bible at the Hebrew University in Jerusalem and the editor-in-chief of the Dead Sea Scrolls Publication Project.

In the Name of Jesus: Exorcism among Early Christians

  • Author: Graham H. Twelftree
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 352

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Although the Synoptic Gospels treat exorcism as a significant aspect of Jesus’ ministry, other parts of the New Testament (e.g., John and Paul) say little to nothing about exorcism. Which is more reflective of early Christian belief and practice? The answer to that question has relevance both for biblical scholars and for the contemporary church.

Graham Twelftree explores this debated issue by examining exorcism in the New Testament world before embarking on a chronological study of all relevant New Testament passages. He supplements his New Testament exploration with an analysis of how second-century Christians and critics viewed exorcism. This comprehensive study yields a nuanced view of the early Christian church and its view of Jesus as a model for ministry.

Graham Twelftree has proved himself, by several top-level monographs, as the expert of the day in his cautious, meticulously detailed examination of Jesus as an exorcist and miracle worker. He now judiciously extends the examination to the early church’s view and practice of exorcism from Paul through to the Greek Apostolic Fathers. There is no better, nor even comparable, treatment. This will dominate a generation of study.

—Max Turner, professor emeritus of New Testament, London School of Theology

Contemporary accounts of exorcisms abound but there has been very little written on the practice from a rigorous biblical and historical perspective until now. In the Name of Jesus fills this gap and provides the reader with numerous helpful insights into the text of Scripture and into the practice of the church in the second century. This book is exceptionally well researched and will prove to be an indispensable source for biblical scholars as well as anyone interested in the theme of spiritual warfare. I cannot think of anyone better suited to write this volume than Dr. Twelftree.

Clinton E. Arnold, professor of New Testament language and literature, Talbot School of Theology

For over two decades Graham Twelftree has closely studied the question of exorcism. This stimulating and graciously provocative work is essential reading for anyone working in the field.

—Rikk Watts, professor of New Testament, Regent College

This excellent study . . . helps to anchor the Christian phenomenon of exorcism within the wider cultural milieu of the first and second centuries.

Expository Times

A meticulously detailed exegetical study on exorcism in the early church. . . . The major strength of the book is the inclusion of literature from the second century, whereby Twelftree is able to demonstrate that the function of Jesus in early Christianity was much more varied than we might conclude from the New Testament. I was also impressed at the breadth, depth, and rigor of Twelftree’s research. . . . Twelftree’s case for the place and practice of exorcism among early Christians is convincing overall and a must-read for anyone interested in the subject. . . . It is undoubtedly the best academic work on the subject. I highly recommend this book to those who wish to delve deeper into the issue of exorcism to understand its nature and place in the church—then and now.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

The historical treatment is precisely what makes this book a rich and helpful contribution. No one else has covered the same territory to the depth that Twelftree does in this volume. . . . We are greatly indebted to Twelftree for his careful historical work on this important and neglected topic. . . . This volume needs to be read not only by biblical scholars, but those involved in the ministry of the church.

Evangelical Quarterly

Scholars will be indebted to Twelftree for his career-long interest in, research on, and publications about this topic. His meticulous studies include revisions of previously published opinions and thereby provide up-to-date, rich overviews of possession, exorcism, and related topics.

Catholic Biblical Quarterly

Graham H. Twelftree received his BA from the University of Adelaide, MA from the University of Oxford, and PhD from the University of Nottingham. He is a distinguished professor of New Testament at the School of Divinity at Regent University. Twelftree has written many scholarly articles and reviews and he is the author of a number of books, including People of the Spirit: Exploring Luke’s View of the Church.

Biblical Canon: Its Origin, Transmission, and Authority

  • Author: Lee Martin McDonald
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 592

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This volume provides an introduction to the Christian biblical canon and answers key questions about both testaments. It represents a fresh attempt to understand some of the many perplexing problems related to the origins and canonicity of the Bible.

Lee McDonald’s magnum opus is the fair fruit of a lifetime’s labor. His is an updated and fluent historical reconstruction of the canonical process, marked by the careful consideration of the real evidence that encourages a more precise discussion of the history and idea of a Christian biblical canon. Not only does McDonald seek to understand the complex and variegated phenomena of canon formation within the social worlds of both Judaism and earliest Christianity, he is ever alert to the serious theological and hermeneutical questions his discussion engenders about the nature and role of Scripture within today’s faith community. While McDonald’s conclusions will surely be debated, no scholar or student interested in these important matters will be able to neglect his fine book.

Rob Wall, professor of the Christian Scriptures, Paul T. Walls Chair in Wesleyan Studies, Seattle Pacific University

This thorough introduction to the questions concerning the formation of the Christian canon offers a substantial revision of the author’s useful previous work. McDonald does not seek to answer every question he asks, but he asks nearly every question one can imagine, and he answers many of the central ones by drawing on his years of reflection on the topic. . . . I certainly commend this introduction to the Christian canon to all biblical scholars and to our most diligent students. McDonald helps frame for us the questions we must continue to ponder, and he thoroughly summarizes for us the fruit of his extensive labors in this important field.

Review of Biblical Literature

The book is highly recommended for students and scholars alike as an excellent introduction to the central issues at stake in the formation and reception of Christian scripture.

The Catholic Historical Review

This work aims to be an introduction to the study of the canon, and it certainly accomplishes that and much more. . . . The Biblical Canon overall is an excellent work, but only when the reader is readily adept in working through the weighty issues in canon studies. It is a must read for any serious student looking for an in-depth introduction to the study of the scriptural canon for early Jewish and Christian communities.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Lee Martin McDonald was a professor of New Testament studies and the president of Acadia Divinity College. He is the coauthor of Early Christianity and Its Sacred Literature and The Canon Debate.

Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Christ

  • Author: Frederick J. Murphy
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2006
  • Pages: 496

This textbook provides an introduction to the Second Temple period (520 BC–AD 70), the formative era of early Judaism and the setting for Jesus and the earliest Christians. Murphy pays close attention to original sources—especially the Bible, the Pseudepigrapha, the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Josephus—and introduces students to the world of ancient Jews and Christians. Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Christ, is designed to serve students and teachers in the classroom, and it contains suggestions for primary readings, bibliographies, maps, illustrations, glossaries, and indexes.

This is the ideal textbook for Second Temple Judaism, beautifully crafted, masterful in its exposition, reliable in its facts, sympathetic in its attitude. . . . [Murphy] has taken a complex and diffuse subject, Judaism before 70, and presented it with structure, clarity, and purpose.

Jacob Neusner, distinguished service professor of the History and Theology of Judaism, Bard College

This is not only a history of the Jewish people in the Second Temple period, but specifically a history of the religion, that highlights major religious trends. . . . A splendid textbook for colleges and seminaries.

John J. Collins, Holmes Professor of Old Testament Criticism and Interpretation, Yale Divinity School

Written by a distinguished scholar and award-winning teacher, this volume is both a reliable reference tool and the perfect textbook for a course in Second Temple Judaism. Murphy helps us to appreciate better the Jewish world of Jesus and of the first Christians in all its richness and diversity.

Daniel J. Harrington, professor of New Testament, Boston College School of Theology and Ministry

This is a textbook for courses on Early Judaism, designed to provide the historical and literary background needed for New Testament study. . . . Each chapter is accompanied by a bibliography. Glossary and an index will serve the student well, as does the text itself.

International Review of Biblical Studies

We have here a competently written textbook for beginners that explains in jargon-free language the accepted wisdom of mainline scholarship taken from many disparate historical sciences on the issues in question. . . . The overall portrait of early Judaism is presented here with sympathy and depth.

Religious Studies Review

Frederick J. Murphy (1949–2011) was, for omore than 25 years, a professor of New Testament at the College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts. He authored numerous books, including Fallen Is Babylon: The Revelation to John, Early Judaism: The Exile to the Time of Jesus, and An Introduction to Jesus and the Gospels.

Josephus and the New Testament, 2nd ed.

  • Author: Steve Mason
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2002
  • Pages: 256

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Throughout Christian history, Joshephus’ works have been mined for the light they shed on the New Testament world. Josephus tells us about the Herodian family, the temple, the Pharisees, the Sadducees, and the Essenes. He mentions James the brother of Jesus, John the Baptist, and even Jesus himself. In Josephus and the New Testament, Steve Mason, an internationally acknowledged authority on Josephus, introduces readers to this first-century Jewish historian, allowing them to explore Josephus’ witness to the formative environment of early Judaism and Christianity. Updated text and new maps bring this standard introduction up to date.

Steve Mason is widely recognized as one of the foremost authorities on Josephus today. In this thoroughly revised introduction, he sets out his understanding of the Jewish author and his writings as well as how his works may be responsibly used in the study of Christian origins. The result is the finest introduction to Josephus for students of the New Testament that has been written to date.

—Gregory E. Sterling, dean, Yale Divinity School, Yale University

There can be no doubt that the best aid for understanding the background of the New Testament is its contemporary, Josephus; and . . . the most careful, most comprehensive, and most useful introduction to Josephus as the key to the background for the New Testament is Steve Mason’s book. As one reads it, one senses that a master teacher is talking directly to one in a most delightful, even breezy, style. . . . Even the most advanced student will find the book of great value.

Louis H. Feldman, Abraham Wouk Family Professor of Classics and Literature, Yeshiva University

One of the most important and interesting personalities in extra-biblical history of the New Testament era is Flavius Josephus (ca AD 37–100). . . . [Mason] is widely regarded as a leader among living Josephan scholars. . . . This new edition is well designed and includes a new series of charts and maps that are helpful in sorting out the various personalities and groups. . . . Mason has written an overview and a lucid and detailed introduction that deals with a quite complicated corpus of work from a singularly unique individual. . . . This work is well indexed (particularly the index of Josephus’ works cited) and provides excellent bibliographic references.

Master’s Seminary Journal

Mason . . . improves upon the first edition of his work on Josephus and the New Testament by substantially rewriting parts of it, notably chapter three on the writings of Josephus, by far the longest chapter at nearly a hundred pages, reflecting the explosion of scholarship in this field. . . . Mason is overly modest in describing the intention of this book as making Josephus accessible to the New Testament reader. This book is now the best one-volume introduction to Josephus for anyone, presenting in language both clear and deft the contemporary appreciation of a master rhetorician whose project bore many similarities to the gospel writers, for whom he provided a foundation and model. . . . The clear introductions and conclusions to each chapter, charts summarizing dynasties and important contemporary events, together with new maps, make this volume especially enjoyable to read.

Heythrop Journal

Mason presents a balanced and informed analysis of Josephus and his writings, presenting fresh, thoughtful assessments of Josephus’ purposes for writing his four known works, contrary to traditional interpretations and frank admission to the limits of present knowledge. . . . This volume is a helpful examination of the writings of an important literary figure who impacts biblical studies.

Southwestern Journal of Theology

Steve Mason is the Canada research chair in Greco-Roman Cultural Interaction at York University, Toronto. He is the author of Flavius Josephus on the Pharisees and general editor of the 12-volume series Flavius Josephus: Translation and Commentary.

The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2008
  • Pages: 348

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Fully one-third of Jesus’ words in the Synoptic Gospels occur in parables—knowing the parables is essential for understanding the person of Christ. In this work, Brad Young displays his unique perspective as a scholar steeped in both Jewish and Christian studies. While parables have timeless messages, reinterpretations in new contexts throughout the centuries have distorted the original meanings and undermined the essence of what Jesus intended. Young examines the parables that best illustrate the parallels between the rabbinic and Gospel parables. He challenges readers to remember that first-century Judaism was not merely the backdrop for Jesus’ teachings but the very stage from which Jesus delivered the message of the kingdom. Jesus’ ethics and theology can be properly understood only in the light of first-century Jewish teachings. Young focuses on the historical development and theological significance of parables in both traditions and examines five theological subjects that are dealt with in parables: prayer, grace, reconciliation, calling, and sovereignty.

Young’s investigation and analysis is both interesting and challenging. The introduction gives a solid overview of parables in general as teaching tools. Young also surveys the relationship between Jesus’ parables and the broader context of Rabbinic Judaism. He makes extensive use of Jewish materials related to Second Temple Judaism including the Mishnah, Talmud, Dead Sea Scrolls, as well as the work of modern Jewish scholars and other major secondary sources. The general outline he follows in his exposition of the various parables is logical and helpful . . . Young’s study of the parables is an excellent and stimulating contribution to the study of the parables and is well worth reading.

Ashland Theological Journal

Brad H. Young is the associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2007
  • Pages: 256

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Meet the Rabbis explains how rabbinic thought was relevant to Jesus and the New Testament world—and how it should still be relevant today. Rabbinic literature explores the meaning of living life to its fullest while in right relationship with God and humanity. However, many Christians are not aware of rabbinic thought and literature. Most individuals in the Western world today—Christians, atheists, agnostics, secular community leaders, or some other religious and political persuasions—are more knowledgeable of Jesus’ ethical teachings from the Sermon on the Mount than the Ethics of the Fathers found in Jewish prayer books. The author seeks to introduce the reader to the world of Torah learning. It is within this world that the authentic cultural background of Jesus’ teachings in ancient Judaism is revealed. Young uses parts of the New Testament, especially the Sermon on the Mount, as a springboard for probing rabbinic method. The book is an introduction to rabbinic thought and literature and has three main sections in its layout:

  • Introduction to Rabbinic Thought
  • Introduction to Rabbinic Literature
  • Meet the Rabbis—a biographical description of influential Rabbis from Talmudic sources
An informative and highly readable volume that will serve its target audience well.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This book represents part of a growing collection of works written specifically for a lay Christian audience that seek to identify the Jewish context of the New Testament and early Christianity. In this volume, Young presents an independent introduction to rabbinic literature and history that highlights aspects of rabbinic Judaism that are instructive for understanding early Christianity. It also seeks to reverse a long-standing negative attitude toward Judaism (particular Pharisaic-rabbinic Judaism) displayed in many popular and scholarly discussions of the background of the New Testament. Young offers an overwhelmingly positive image of Judaism and its role in shaping early Christianity. Young places particular emphasis on the history and character of the rabbis, the corpus of rabbinic literature and the idea of an oral Torah, and rabbinic thought. This work is most successful in its treatment of points of contact between rabbinic thought and early Christianity, and analysis of where these commonalities diverge.

Religious Studies Review

This text presents insights to both interest and challenge students of the Bible with the hope that they might choose to pursue a closer study of the Jewish sources and resources that are available for study. This book is of value for all students, particularly undergraduate students.

Theological Book Review

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Paul the Jewish Theologian, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Paul the Jewish Theologian: A Pharisee among Christians, Jews, and Gentiles

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1995
  • Pages: 192

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Paul the Jewish Theologian reveals Saul of Tarsus as a man who, though rejected in the synagogue, never truly left Judaism. Author Brad Young disagrees with long-held notions that Hellenism was the context which most influenced Paul’s communication of the Gospel. This skewed notion has led to widely divergent interpretations of Paul’s writings. A correct interpretation of Paul can only be achieved by rightly aligning Paul as rooted in his Jewishness and training as a Pharisee. Young asserts that Paul’s view of the Torah was always positive, and he separates Jesus’ mission among the Jews from Paul’s call to the Gentiles.

The Pharisee Saul of Tarsus is arguably one of the most influential religious figures in the history of Western culture. . . . Brad Young is one of the important theologians who is leading the way for Christians to explore the Jewish roots of Jesus, Paul, and Christianity. . . . Brad Young has endeavored to excavate Paul’s Pharisaic roots for all to examine, while at the same time leaving the family tree firmly planted and continuing to grow.

—Rabbi Burton Visotzky, Appleman Chair of Midrash and Interreligious Studies, Jewish Theological Seminary, New York

Brad Young offers an extremely well-informed, insightful study of Paul as a Jewish theologian. . . . Among the many important qualities Brad Young gained from his years of study from Jewish scholars is a love for and an almost exclusive focus upon the text, what it actually says and does not say; and this perspective has led him to some new, important, and sometimes ‘unorthodox’ conclusions.

Cheryl Anne Brown, consultant, Theological Assistance Group, European Baptist Federation

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, and Jesus the Jewish Theologian.

Jesus the Jewish Theologian

  • Author: Brad H. Young
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 1993
  • Pages: 352

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Jesus the Jewish Theologian establishes Jesus firmly within the context of first-century Judaism and shows how understanding Jesus’ Jewishness is crucial for interpreting the New Testament and for understanding the nature of Christian faith. Insights from Jewish literature, archeology, and tradition help modern readers place Jesus within his original context. Particular attention is given to the Jewish roots of Jesus’ teaching concerning the kingdom of God.

This book illuminates anew how Jewish Jesus was. That should come as no surprise to Jews or to Christians, although it often does. Jesus grew from the soil of his people. In reading this book I was struck again and again with how Jesus’ teachings were paralleled in my own tradition. . . . Young’s book is not intended to diminish Jesus’ teaching, but to show its roots.

—David Wolpe, rabbi, Sinai Temple, Los Angeles

Young . . . permits the words of Jesus to glisten within their own Semitic setting . . . [He] has done his readers a great service in introducing them to Jewish theological thought. . . . What emerges, however, is not ‘Jesus the Jewish theologian’ in any Western, systematic sense. Rather, in Jesus, Young presents an Eastern or Semitic theologian, one who employs a living, vibrant theology.

—Marvin R. Wilson, Harold J. Ockenga Professor of Biblical and Theological Studies, Gordon College

Brad H. Young is an associate professor of Judaic-Christian studies in the Graduate School of Theology at Oral Roberts University. He has devoted much energy to Jewish-Christian interfaith dialogue. Young is the author of many books, including The Parables: Jewish Tradition and Christian Interpretation, Meet the Rabbis: Rabbinic Thought and the Teachings of Jesus, and Paul the Jewish Theologian.

Vines Intertwined: A History of Jews and Christians from the Babylonian Exile to the Advent of Islam

  • Author: Lee Dupree Sandgren
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 864

The study of Jewish and Christian history in antiquity is experiencing a renaissance. Textual witnesses and archaeological sites are being reevaluated and revisited. As a result, author Lee Sandgren asserts that the relationship between Jews and Christians has shifted from a “mother-daughter” paradigm to one better described as “siblings.”

Recognizing that Judaism and Christianity are what they are because of each other and that they were not formed in isolation, Sandgren provides readers and researchers a comprehensive generation-by-generation political history of the Jews—from the fall of the First Temple to the start of the Middle Ages. With a good subject index and a strong chronological framework, this book is a convenient work on this extended period of antiquity. Making use of numerous contemporary studies as well as often neglected classics, Sandgren thoroughly develops the concept of “the people of God” and the core ideology behind Jewish and Christian self-definition.

The author charts the history of this expansive period in striking detail and with formidable accuracy and clarity of expression, with a focus on the implications for the complex relationship between Judaism and emergent Christianity. The coverage of the period before the appearance of Christianity demonstrates the profound influence of both Persian and Hellenistic cultures on Judaism—an important condition that would subsequently play a role in the relationship between Judaism and Christianity. Sandgren does justice to the complexity of this relationship and its distinctive features both in various regions and over the course of time. His close attention to the history of the relationship also helps avoid simple explanations for both the antipathy that marked this relationship in the early centuries and the startling examples of peaceful coexistence and interaction . . . it is very rewarding reading for anyone who perseveres through the deep scan of history its author provides.

The Bible Today

[Sandgren] presents Jews and Christians as siblings, emerging in the first centuries of the Common Era, with a common ancestry. . . . This he does in great historical detail, including maps and lists of prominent figures. . . . He reflects the latest scholarship; footnotes give ample scope for further exploration. This book is an invaluable source of information . . . More than that, it contributes to the ongoing dialogue between Jews and Christians by looking anew at their early history, and asking difficult questions about the relationship between rhetoric and reality.

Theological Book Review

The book . . . chronicl[es] how proto-Judaism became both Judaism and Christianity and how the two groups influenced each other up until the rise of Islam. In addition, Sandgren adds helpful maps and charts and an important synthesis at the end of each section. He also adds an extensive and useful epilogue explaining some of the other issues pertaining to a modern Jewish-Christian dialogue. . . . His detail is impeccable and his research has depth and is readable. This book does many things well, including showing the complexities of the shared history of Judaism and Christianity. In addition, the comprehensive bibliography includes both Jewish and Christian sources that should be important to both groups. This book is well written and convincing on many of the arguments. . . . Sandgren . . . adds an important historical analysis that should challenge anyone interested in the development and dialogue between Judaism and Christianity. This book is perhaps most profitable as a resource for further research. However, it also asks important questions.

Trinity Journal

Sandgren has done an admirable job in providing a large-scale and broadly middle-of-the-road overview of the history of Jews, Judaism, and the early church. . . . The intended audience is not the specialist, but the person who needs an introduction into any of the periods discussed.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

Sandgren shows a remarkable knowledge of the grand sweep of western history (with occasional reference to its cultural landmarks) as well as the details of both Jewish and Christian history. He is even-handed and nonpolemical in his presentation. . . . One must be impressed with the diligence and erudition required in producing this book. It will be referred to often in discussions of the relations of Jews and Christians in the formative period for both modern religions.


Leo Duprée Sandgren is an adjunct assistant professor of Judaism, Christian origins, and historical fiction at the University of Florida. He has lived in Israel, Africa, and Europe, and he is the author of The Shadow of God: Stories from Early Judaism.

Jewish Targums and John’s Logos Theology

  • Author: John Ronning
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2010
  • Pages: 400

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At the beginning of his gospel, John refers to Jesus Christ as the Logos—the “Word.” Author John Ronning makes a case that the Jewish Targums—interpretive Aramaic translations of the Old Testament that were read in synagogues—hold the key to understanding John’s descriptive use of Logos as a title for Jesus. Ronning examines numerous texts in the fourth gospel in light of the Targums and shows how connecting the Logos with the targumic Memra (word) unlocks the meaning of a host of theological themes that run throughout the Gospel of John.

John Ronning’s fresh and stimulating study of the Aramaic tradition and the light it sheds on John’s Logos theology represents another important, positive step in Johannine scholarship. The documentation is impressive and the arguments are compelling. There should no longer be any doubt about the role played by the targumic memra (‘word’) in Johannine Christology. Ronning’s book is must-reading for anyone interested in the Johannine writings.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

Ronning identifies an astonishing number of parallels that shed new light on John’s theology more generally. Even those who may not be persuaded will surely acknowledge that this work is a wonderful education on the subject. More important, it is a contribution that changes the nature of the scholarly debate, and as such it cannot be ignored.

Moisés Silva, emeritus professor, Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary

The work is well-done and by all means it will captivate biblical scholars and others as well. Ronning offers a bunch of original documents and considers a wide array of contemporary scholarship. The evangelical community will highly praise the newly published monograph on John’s theology rooted in Jewish sources. Furthermore, the work will be welcomed by scholars of Aramaic, Old Testament, and New Testament.

Theological Book Review

Ronning’s work must be recognized for its value to Targumic studies and is a ‘must have’ for those engaged in that field of study. . . . Unlike other works in this field of study, this book is an easy read.

Journal of the Evangelical Theological Society

Ronning’s argument is provocative and often convincing. . . . Some interesting points emerge, particularly in the argument that John’s logos theology counters that of the targums in its emphasis on the enfleshment of the word.

Journal for the Study of the New Testament

An impressive and somewhat provocative study of the Jewish Targums and the light they shed on the Gospel of John. . . . Ronning is to be commended for a thorough and meticulous study. The number of parallels that he identifies between the Targums and John’s Gospel is striking, and his theological analysis is lucid. Ronning may not be the first to link John’s Logos theology with the ‘Memra’ of the Targums, but his is certainly the most comprehensive and convincing work to date. . . . It is a significant contribution that promises to be a part of the scholarly debate for many years to come and is a must-read for anyone interested in Johannine scholarship and/or Second Temple studies.

Bulletin for Biblical Research

John Ronning is a professor of biblical studies and the doctoral program director at Faith Theological Seminary in Baltimore, Maryland.

Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts

  • Author: Craig S. Keener
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2011
  • Pages: 1,248

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Most modern prejudice against biblical miracles goes back to David Hume’s argument that uniform human experience precludes miracles. Current research, however, reveals that human experience is far from uniform; hundreds of millions of people today claim to have experienced miracles. Respected New Testament scholar Craig Keener argues that it is time to rethink Hume’s argument in light of the contemporary evidence available to us. This wide-ranging and meticulously researched study presents the most thorough current defense of the credibility of the miracle reports in the Gospels and Acts. Keener draws on claims from a range of global cultures and takes a multidisciplinary approach to the topic. He suggests that many historical and modern miracle accounts are best explained as genuine divine acts, lending credence to the biblical miracle reports.

The book is all the more valuable because of Keener’s thoughtful and bold analysis of the scientific method and the means by which we can test the miraculous. This massively researched study is both learned and provocative.

—Philip Jenkins, distinguished professor of history, Baylor University

Seldom does a book take one’s breath away, but Keener’s magisterial Miracles is such a book. It is an extremely sophisticated, completely thorough treatment of its subject matter, and, in my opinion, it is now the best text available on the topic. The uniqueness of Keener’s treatment lies in his location of the biblical miracles in the trajectory of ongoing, documented miracles in the name of Jesus and his kingdom throughout church history, up to and including the present. From now on, no one who deals with the credibility of biblical miracles can do so responsibly without interacting with this book.

J. P. Moreland, distinguished professor of philosophy, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

From the very beginning of the modern approach to the Gospels, the question of miracles brought controversy. Over the last few centuries, most historical-critical scholars have dismissed them out of hand. However, in recent years, the tide has turned for a growing number of Gospel scholars. It is within this context that Craig Keener’s new two-volume work can be fully appreciated. Those familiar with Keener’s previous work will not be surprised by the remarkable level of scholarship in these volumes. The depth and breadth of research is stunning. The interdisciplinary synthesis is as careful as it is brilliant. The arguments are evenhanded and nuanced. In short, this work takes scholarship on miracles to a new level of sophistication and depth.

Paul Rhodes Eddy, professor of biblical and theological studies, Bethel University

This book is a rarity in the scholarly world in that it is both rigorous in its scholarship and speaks with knowledge and passion about an exciting subject that demands our attention. We have here perhaps the best book ever written on miracles in this or any age. Highly recommended.

Ben Witherington III, Amos Professor of New Testament for Doctoral Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary

In an age of a global church, the time has come for Bible scholarship to be enriched by considering the way Christians read and understand Scripture in non-Western countries and cultures. In Miracles, Craig Keener offers an invaluable example of how that enrichment can take place through hard scholarly work and a passion for integrity. He gives us an exhaustive wealth of historical understanding, anthropological richness, and missiological savvy.

—Samuel Escobar, emeritus professor of missiology, Palmer Theological Seminary; professor, Theological Seminary of the Spanish Baptist Union, Madrid

Keener dares to accuse prevailing approaches to biblical-historical inquiry of operating according to ethnocentric prejudices and presuppositions, and then dares to make the charges stick with an avalanche of interdisciplinary arguments and evidence. He challenges us to ask—not only as persons of faith, but also as committed academicians--one of the most important questions that we can: Is the natural world a closed system after all? This monumental study combines historical inquiry into late antiquity, philosophical and existential criticism of antisupernaturalism and the legacy of David Hume’s epistemological skepticism, and ethnographic study of the phenomenon of the miraculous throughout the Majority World. The result is a book that is important not only for the historical study of Jesus and the New Testament but also for our understanding of our contemporary world beyond the boundaries of our social location and its worldview.

David A. deSilva, Trustees’ Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary

Craig Keener has written arguably the best book ever on the subject of miracles. He places the miracles of Jesus and his followers in a full and rich context that includes philosophy, history, theology, exegesis, comparative religion, cultural anthropology, and firsthand observation and testimony. There is nothing like it. Keener’s monumental work shifts the burden of proof heavily onto skeptics. This book is must-reading for all who are interested in the truly big questions of our day.

Craig A. Evans, Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Acadia Divinity College, Nova Scotia

Craig S. Keener is a professor of New Testament at Asbury Theological Seminary. He is the author of many books, including The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, The Historical Jesus of the Gospels, Gift and Giver, and commentaries on Acts, Matthew, John, Romans, 1–2 Corinthians, and Revelation.

Ancient Texts for New Testament Studies: A Guide to the Background Literature

  • Author: Craig A. Evans
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Publication Date: 2012
  • Pages: 576

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One of the most daunting challenges facing the New Testament interpreter is achieving a familiarity with the immense corpus of related literatures. Scholars and students must have a fundamental understanding of the content, provenance, and utility for New Testament interpretation of a wide range of pagan, Jewish, and diversely Christian documents. This volume examines a vast range of ancient literature, masterfully distilling details of date, language, text, and translation into an eminently usable handbook. Craig Evans evaluates the materials’ relevance for interpreting the New Testament and provides essential biographies.

Evans’ introduction is more than a map to terra incognita; it is a helpful companion for all who study Judaism and Christianity before the establishment of the Holy Roman Empire.

James H. Charlesworth, George L. Collord Professor of New Testament Language and Literature, Princeton Theological Seminary

Many doctoral students would have loved to have this reference work on their desks during graduate studies. All of the standard exegetical questions (date, provenance, author, historical situation) are answered in a few enlightened sentences. . . . The bibliographies are classified to aid students at various levels of research. . . . Evans’ book is a success, providing vast amounts of information in a minuscule space with extensive leads for further study. His choice of bibliography to continue research is lean and pointed. The very scope of his introduction to Israelite and rabbinic literature make this book worthy of a place on any shelf.

Review of Biblical Literature

Indispensable for libraries, lay readers, and New Testament readers with all levels of academic training. . . . This book is most certainly worth having.

Biblical Theology Bulletin

This is a superb text for beginning students making their first foray into the jungle of ancient sources as well as for more experienced scholars already familiar with many of the paths. This book will find much use by those interested in including the ancient sources in their study and research. Some will for the first time discover how to connect the wealth of background material now available to the exegetical process.

Restoration Quarterly

This book can be a significant time-saver for anyone who does research in New Testament and/or reads the better commentaries. It is a quick reference to help track down important references.

Bibliotheca Sacra

Evans, a highly credible scholar, has put together an important reference book that will become a standard volume in the libraries of scholars and students alike. . . . This is a most valuable asset in the library of the every serious exegete.

Seminary Studies

Craig A. Evans is the Payzant Distinguished Professor of New Testament at Acadia Divinity College. He has received degrees from Claremont McKenna College, Western Baptist Seminary, and Claremont Graduate University. Evans is a frequent contributor to scholarly journals and the author or editor of numerous publications.

Product Details

  • Title: Baker Academic New Testament Backgrounds
  • Publisher: Baker Academic
  • Volumes: 19
  • Pages: 8,340