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The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament: Exploring the Background of Early Christianity
James S. Jeffers
From The Publisher:
What was life really like for first-century Christians?
Imagine a modest-sized Roman home of a well-to-do Christian household wedged into a thickly settled quarter of Corinth. In the lingering light of a summer evening, men, women and children, merchants, working poor and slaves, a mix of races and background have assembled in the dimly lit main room and are spilling into the central courtyard. This odd assortment of gathered believers—some thirty in number—are attentive as the newly arrived and travel-weary emissary from Paul reads from the papyrus scroll he has brought from their apostolic mentor.
But we—transported to this scene—are overwhelmed by a flood of unexpected difference. The voice of the reader recedes as through open windows the din and clamor of the city assault our ears. Hooves clunk and cart wheels grind and echo from the street while drivers shout, vendors call and neighbors gather and converse. And later, as we accompany a family through darkened and dangerous streets to their third-story tenement apartment, we try to mask our shock at the cramped and unsafe conditions.
In The Greco-Roman World of the New Testament Era, James Jeffers provides an informative and scenic tour of the various facets of the Roman world. Here is an eye-opening book that advances our understanding of the New Testament and early Christianity.
"Any student of the New Testament eager to understand its Greco-Roman setting will profit greatly from this excellent book. I commend it highly for its up-to-date perspectives and usefulness. Jeffers writes with a breadth of expertise on the Greco-Roman world that few New Testament specialists can match."
—Craig S. Keener, author of The IVP Bible Background Commentary: New Testament, Eastern Seminary
"Where does one go to find a book that provides a clear, simple description of what life was like in the time of Jesus and the apostles? There has been no obvious answer to this question until now. In this outstanding work, James Jeffers had put together a fascinating and engaging treatment of daily life in the world of the New Testament on topics ranging from what people ate for dinner to apartment life in Rome. A careful reading of this book will helpl many passages in the New Testament come alive."
—Clinton E. Arnold, Talbot School of Theology
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About the Author
James S. Jeffers teaches ancient history for the Torrey Honors Institute at Biola University, and at California State University, Dominguez Hills. He is the author of Conflict at Rome: Social Order and Hierarchy in Early Christianity (Fortress).
Table of Contents
List of Figures
List of Maps
List of Tables
1. Historical Background to the New Testament Era
2. Life & Death in the First Century
3. The City in the Greco-Roman World
4. Influences on Christian Organization
5. Religion in the Greco-Roman World
6. Governing of the Provinces & Palestine
7. Tools of Governance: Finances, Law & the Military
8. Social Class & Status in the Empire
10. The Jews in the Cities
12. The Family, Women & Education
13. Provinces & Cities of the New Testament Era
Appendix A: A Summary of Greco-Roman History
Appendix B: Chronology of Events
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