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A Survey of the New Testament
By Robert H. Gundry
ZondervanCopyright © 2007 Robert H. Gundry
All right reserved.
Chapter OneI. INTRODUCTION
* "New Testament" means "new covenant."
* The NT books appear in a logical order rather than a chronological order of writing.
II. HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
BC Dominant Events and Personages Power
700s Assyria Exile of northern kingdom of Israel
600s Babylonia Exile of southern kingdom of Judah, destruction of Jerusalem & Solomon's temple
500s Persia Return of some Jews, rebuilding of temple & Jerusalem
300s Greece- Alexander the Great's Macedonia conquests, hellenization, split of empire into 4 parts
200s Egypt Septuagint (Greek translation of Hebrew OT: LXX)
100s Syria Seleucids, esp. Antiochus Epiphanes' attempt to force paganism on Jews, revolt of Hasidic Jews under leadership of Maccabees (Hasmoneans)
Maccabees Jewish independence & emergence of Jewish sects (Pharisees, Essenes, Sadducees)
100-1 Rome Pompey, Julius Caesar, Augustus, Herod the Great, Jesus' birth
AD 1-100 Rome Tiberius, Pontius Pilate, Jesus' public ministry, death, & resurrection, Christian church under Peter, Paul, & others, first Jewish revolt, destruction of Jerusalem & temple (AD 70)
III. CULTURAL BACKGROUND OTHER THAN RELIGIOUS
* Many Jews lived outside as well as inside Israel.
* Roman roads facilitated travel over land; commercial transport went mainly by water.
* Cities had public baths & toilets, sewage systems, pavements, schools, etc.
* Private homes ranged from villas to apartment buildings & huts.
* Most people had skimpy, largely meatless diets.
* People wore a short robe (tunic) next to the skin, plus a long outer robe & cloth belt.
* There was no large middle class, but many slaves.
* Social mores included male dominance, importance of honor & shame, sexual immorality (even as part of pagan religions), much divorce, exposure of unwanted infants.
* Entertainment included drama, athletic competition, chariot races, gladiatorial shows.
* Instead of big industry, there were small businesses with trade guilds, other voluntary associations, & banking.
* Medical practice included surgery & dentistry.
III. RELIGIOUS BACKGROUND
* Paganism featured mythology regarding a pantheon of gods & goddesses, emperor worship, mystery religions, superstitious practices, syncretism with outgrowths of Gnosticism & the influence of philosophies (esp. Stoicism).
* Judaism featured
Synagogues, the second temple (beautified by Herod the Great)
OT in original Hebrew, Greek translation (LXX), & Aramaic paraphrases (targums)
Apocryphal books, pseudepigraphal/apocalyptic books, Dead Sea Scrolls, Talmud
Pharisees, Sadducees, Essenes; Herodians & Zealots; scribes & disciples; Sanhedrin
People of the land; Diaspora Jews as Hebraists & Hellenists; Gentile proselytes & God-fearers
Narrow religious education of Jews in contrast with liberal education among Gentiles
IV. CANON AND TEXT OF THE NT
* "Canon" refers to books accepted as standard for belief & conduct.
* In the precanonical period, Christians depended on the OT, oral tradition regarding Jesus, & pronouncements of Christian prophets.
* The homolegoumena were books quickly canonized, antilegomena books eventually canonized.
* Marcion's short canon prompted orthodox formalizing of the present NT canon.
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