Shelf Life Book Review: The World of the New Testament

Elliot Ritzema

The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts
Baker Academic, 2013

The New Testament was written in a culture vastly different from our own. If we want to understand what the New Testament writers intended to say, we must understand the context in which they lived and wrote.

Screen Shot 2018-10-22 at 5.55.19 PM.png

Joel B. Green and Lee Martin McDonald have gathered a cast of contributors to illuminate the cultural background of the New Testament. The 44 essays that compose the book fall into five sections: Jewish heritage, Roman Hellenism, Jewish people in the context of Roman Hellenism, literary context and geographical context. Notable essays include the following: McDonald on the chronology of the New Testament, Green on healing and healthcare, Nicholas Perrin on the imperial cult, Ben Witherington III on education in the Graeco-Roman world, Larry R. Helyer on apocalypticism, David A. DeSilva on Jews in the Diaspora, and Michael F. Bird on Josephus and the New Testament. Many of the essays feature maps, pictures and diagrams.

Each essay is a self-contained primer on a subject. Unlike many dictionaries, the essays are not simply about a subject in general; they focus on how each subject relates to the New Testament. This book is a welcome resource for anyone who wants to learn more about the world in which the New Testament was written.

Article courtesy of Bible Study Magazine published by Faithlife Corporation. Originally published in print, Vol. 6 No. 3