If there was an itch to know more about the historical and cultural background of the Bible there are more and more books out to scratch it. This latest one comes from Hendrickson Publishers. Christianity in the Greco-Romand World arrived in the store late yesterday so I didn't even have time to skim it.
"Background becomes foreground in Moyer Hubbard’s creative introduction to the social and historical setting for the letters of the Apostle Paul to churches in Asia Minor and Europe.
Hubbard begins each major section with a brief narrative featuring a fictional character in one of the great cities of that era. Then he elaborates on various aspects of the cultural setting related to each particular vignette, discussing the implications of those venues for understanding Paul’s letters and applying their message to our lives today. Addressing a wide array of cultural and traditional issues, Hubbard discusses:
• Religion and superstition:
• Education, philosophy, and oratory:
• Urban society:
• Households and family life in the Greco-Roman world:
This work is based on the premise that the better one understands the historical and social context in which the New Testament (and Paul’s letters) was written, the better one will understand the writings of the New Testament themselves. Passages become clearer, metaphors deciphered, and images sharpened. Teachers, students, and laypeople alike will appreciate Hubbard’s unique, illuminating, and well-researched approach to the world of the early church."
Here are a couple of the endorsements:
"This is, quite simply, the most accessible, engaging and helpful introduction to the wider world of the earliest Christians that is available. It is achieved through a mixture of imaginative narrative evocations, thoughtful socio-cultural descriptions and careful, nuanced interpretations of relevant biblical texts. The result is not just an excellent introduction to, but an immersion in, the life and times of the earliest believers, one that brings the NT to life for our times as well."
—Robert Banks, Adjunct Professor, Ancient History, and Associate, Centre for The Study of Christian History and Experience, Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia
"Hubbard has woven intriguing narratives with cultural and NT contexts to give readers a vivid picture of what the primitive “Jesus movement” meant to the ancient world. The depth of his cultural research and the thoroughness of his scholarship on the topic of NT Christianity offer readers not just a glimpse, but a total immersion in Greco-Roman life. I commend this work of historical and intellectual importance."
—Barry H. Corey, President of Biola University
The author, Moyer Hubbard, is Associate Professor of New Testament Language and Literature at Talbot School of Theology, Biola University, Los Angeles, California.
The book is a paperback with 344 pages and sells for $24.95. You can also see the table of contents, a sample chapter and the introduction online.