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The New Testament in Antiquity

, 2009
ISBN: 9780310493631

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Today many Christians know the basic elements of this story and enjoy an intimate, deeply personal love for numerous passages of the New Testament. However, few understand the breadth of this story, much less how to interpret each book. Many gravitate to familiar texts but don’t feel confident interpreting other more difficult chapters. The aims of this book are simple: to assist students to become alert, capable readers of the New Testament—to guide them through its many books, giving not only essential background information but also a digest of the New Testament’s most important teachings. Readers will grow in knowledge of the Scriptures by understanding not only their own interpretative contexts, but also the original context of the New Testament. The context of antiquity should control how we understand the New Testament today.

The New Testament in Antiquity is a textbook for college and seminary students penned by three evangelical scholars with over fifty years of combined experience in the classroom. Their challenge was to build a text that would be engaging, academically robust, richly illustrated, and relevant to the modern student. This book strikes a balance between being accessible to all students and challenging them to explore the depths of the New Testament within its cultural worlds.

This volume carefully develops how Jewish and Hellenistic cultures formed the essential environment in which the New Testament authors wrote their books and letters. It argues that knowing the land, history, and culture of this world brings remarkable new insights into how we read the New Testament itself. Numerous sidebars provide windows into the Jewish, Hellenistic, and Roman worlds and integrate this material directly with the interpretation of the literature of the New Testament. This is an ideal introductory text for classroom use, with ample discussion questions and bibliographies.

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Top Highlights

“Most agree that a decisive turning point in this gospel occurs when Peter confesses the true identity of Jesus at Caesarea Philippi (8:29). But this confession is also mirrored by two other announcements that frame the ends of the gospel. In 1:1 the gospel begins with Mark’s own personal testimony of faith: ‘The beginning of the good news about Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God’ (cf. tniv note]. At the close of the gospel we hear a Roman centurion at the cross proclaim, ‘Surely this man was the Son of God!’ (15:39). Hence three confessions—by our author, by the leading Jewish apostle, and by a Gentile—frame the gospel, hinting at Mark’s purposes. Mark wants to persuade us to see Jesus as the Messiah embraced by all the world.” (Pages 181–182)

Complete with an extraordinary array of visual illustrations, this book covers important topics needed for an introductory text in New Testament in a way that is both understandable and well-informed. It emphasizes many details that help students discover the biblical text in new ways they would rarely get on their own.

Craig S. Keener, Professor of New Testament, Palmer Seminary of Eastern University

The New Testament in Antiquity is a beautifully done, carefully presented, evangelically sensitive work to introduce the New Testament. I have longed for a text like this. There is richness on virtually every page. Read, savor, learn.

Darrell L. Bock, Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary

. . . one of the best introductions and surveys in recent times. Remarkably attractive in its layout, with color pictures, color pictures, charts, diagrams and sidebars galore . . . If it's backgrounds you want to highlight in a one-semester introduction to the New Testament, this is the text to assign.

Craig L. Blomberg, PhD, Distinguished Professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

Gary M. Burge is a professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Gary has authored a number of books, including Who Are God’s People in the Middle East? What Christians Are Not Being Told About Israel and the Palestinians.

Lynn H. Cohick is associate professor of New Testament in the Department of Biblical and Theological Studies at Wheaton College and Graduate School, Wheaton, IL.

Gene L. Green is Professor of New Testament at Wheaton College and Graduate School. Before coming to Wheaton in 1996, he served for over a decade as Professor of New Testament as well as Academic Dean and Rector of the Seminario ESEPA in San José, Costa Rica.


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  1. kim jae kwang
  2. Clifford B. Kvidahl