Backgrounds of Early Christianity / Edition 3

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Ferguson's authoritative students' introduction to the world of the early church has now been revised and expanded with new discussions of 'first-century social life, of Gnosticism, and of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish literature'. Each section is clearly structured with its own bibliography. Arranged thematically, chapters discuss the political background (looking at the political history of the Near East, Alexander the Great, the Hellenistic kingdoms and Rome), society and culture (including the Roman military, social classes, slavery, relationships, morality, economy, entertainment, literature, art and architecture, clubs and associations), Hellenistic-Roman religions (cults, imperial cults, personal religions, Greek and eastern mysteries), Hellenistic-Roman philosophies, Judaism and Christianity.

A thorough and detailed introduction to Roman, Greek, and Jewish backgrounds of early Christianly.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Currents in Theology and Mission
"The text is excellent -- rich and amazingly detailed. A standard textbook, it would also be a good addition to a parish library."
Church History
This is a book rich in appetizers which tantalize the palate for more substantial fare. The vast scope of the book and the labor involved reflect the author's commendable erudition.This work is imaginatively and painstakingly executed.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780802822215
  • Publisher: Eerdmans, William B. Publishing Company
  • Publication date: 8/1/2003
  • Edition number: 3
  • Pages: 647
  • Sales rank: 157,085
  • Product dimensions: 6.56 (w) x 9.44 (h) x 1.33 (d)

Meet the Author

Everett Ferguson is professor emeritus of Bible and distinguished scholar-in-residence at Abilene Christian University, Abilene, Texas. Among his books are Backgrounds of Early Christianity, now in its third edition, and The Church of Christ: A Biblical Ecclesiology for Today (both Eerdmans).
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Table of Contents

General Bibliography
Introduction: Perspectives on Parallels 1
Political History 5
Near East before Alexander 6
Alexander the Great 10
The Hellenistic Kingdoms 15
Rome 20
Administration of the Empire 40
Political Connections of the New Testament 46
Society and Culture 48
The Roman Military 49
Social Classes 55
Slavery 59
Roman Citizenship 62
Roman Law 65
Social Relationships 66
Social Morality 69
Economic Life 82
Clothing and Appearance 96
Entertainment 97
Education 109
Literature and Language 113
Art and Architecture 137
Clubs and Associations 142
Hellenistic-Roman Religions 148
Ancient Greek Religion 149
Ancient Roman Religion 165
Religion in Hellenistic-Roman Times: General Characteristics 173
Domestic and Rural Religion 177
Civic Cults 182
Ruler Cult 199
Personal Religion 213
Greek Mysteries and Eastern Religions 251
Gnosticism, Hermetic Literature, Chaldaean Oracles 300
Later Developments: Monotheism and Sun Worship 316
Hellenistic-Roman Philosophies 319
Sophists and Socrates 326
Plato and the Academy to the First Century 330
Aristotle and the Peripatetics 338
Skepticism 346
Cynicism 348
Stoicism 354
Epicureanism 370
Eclecticism 379
Neopythagoreanism 382
Middle Platonism 387
Plotinus and Neoplatonism 391
Judaism 396
Jewish History, 538 B.C. to A.D 200 399
Jews in the Early Roman Empire 427
Jewish Literature and Other Sources in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods 431
Parties and Sects 513
Beliefs and Practices 537
Organization and Institutions 562
Christianity in the Ancient World 583
Literary References to Christianity in Non-Christian Sources 584
Archaeological Remains Bearing on Early Christian History 585
Some Claimed Archaeological Remains of Early Christianity 589
Attitudes of Pagans toward Christians 592
The Legal Status of Christianity 601
Hindrances to the Acceptance of Christianity 608
Religious Rivals 609
Factors Favorable to Christianity 616
What Was Unique in Christianity? 619
Index of Subjects 621
Index of Scripture References 643
Map of the Ancient World 650
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