Backgrounds of Early Christianity, Third EditionBackgrounds of Early Christianity, Third Edition
Everett Ferguson
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Backgrounds of Early Christianity now in its 3rd edition has long served as the standard introduction to the world of the early church. with 95 mostly new and improved photographs, the book explores and unpacks the Roman, Greek, and Jewish political, social, religious, and philosophical backgrounds necessary for a good historical understanding of the New Testament and the early church. New to this edition are revisions of Ferguson's original material, updated bibliographies, and fresh discussions of first-century social life, of Gnosticism, and of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish literature. A perennial best-seller and foundational text for all students, it makes a critical addition to any Churhc History of New Testament library.

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General Bibliography


    I.    Introduction
    II.    Near East before Alexander
        A.    Persian Empire
        B.    Greece
    III.    Alexander the Great
        A.    Macedonia
        B.    Life of Alexander III
        C.    Alexander's Influence
    IV.    The Helenistic Kingdoms
        A.    The Diadochi
        B.    Ptolemies - Egypt
        C.    Seleucids - Syria
    V.    Rome
        A.    The Roman Genius
        B.    Rome and the West
        C.    Rome and the East
        D.    The Later Republic:  Civil Wars
        E.    Augustus
        F.    The Early Empire
        G.    The Later Empire
    VI:    Administration of the Empire
        A.    Cities
        B.    Provinces
        C.    Client Kingdoms

    I.    Introduction
    II    The Roman Military
        A.    Legions
        B.    Emblems, Weapons, and Dress
        C.    Auxiliaries
        D.    Praetorian Guard
        E.    Other Units
    III    Social Classes
        A.    The Senatorial Order
        B.    The Equestrian Order
        C.    Municipal Aristocracies
        D.    Plebeians and Other Free Persons
        E.    Freedmen
        F.    Patron-Client Relationship
    IV    Salvery
    V    Roman Citizenship
    VI    Roman Law
    VII    Social Morality
        A.    Marriage and Family
        B.    Place of Women
        C.    Exposure of Children
    VIII    Economic Life
        A.    Trade and Travel
        B.    Coinage
        C.    Taxation
    IX    Entertainment
        A.    Theatres
        B.    Athletics
        C.    Arenas
        D.    Circuses
        E.    Gynmasia and Baths
        F.    Banquets
        G.    Music

    X    Education
    XI    Literature and Language
        A.    Author
        B    Rhetoric
        C    Literary Forms and Genres
        D.    Making of Books
        E.    Reading and Studying of Books
        F.    Inscriptions and Papyri
        G    Language
    XII    Art and Architecture
    XIII    Clubs and Associations
        A.    Greek Clubs
        B.    Roman Colleges
        C.    Egyptian Associations
        D.    The Statutes of an Association
        E.    Conclusion

    I.    Ancient Greek Religion
        A.    The Epic Age: Homer
        B.    Hesiod
        C.    The Archaic Period
        D.    Signs of Dissolution in the Classical Age
    II    Ancient Roman Religion
        A.    Deities
        B.    Religious Personnel
        C.    Religious Observances
        D.    Soul and the Dead
        E.    Characteristics of Roman Religion
    III.    Religion in Hellenistic-Roman Times:  General Characteristics

    IV    Domestic and Rural Religion
        A.    Greek
        B.    Roman
    V    Civic Cults
        A     Piresthood
        B.    Ritual Prescriptions
        C.    Sacrifice
        D.    Votive Offerings
        E.    Prayers and Hymns
        F.    Festivals
        G.    Other Features
    VI    Ruler Cult
        A.    Antecedents and Presuppositions
        B.    Historical Developments
        C.    Forms o the Imperial Cult
    VII    Personal Religion
        A.    Oracles
        B.    Dreams and Divination
        C.    Healing Cults
        D.    Magic and Maledictions
        E.    Imprecations and Oaths
        F.    Demons and Superstition
        G.    Astrology, Astral Religion, and Fate
        H.    Death and the Afterlife

    VIII    Greek Mysteries and Eastern Religions
        A.  Local Mysteries
        B.    Eleusinian Mysteries
        C.    Dionysiac Mysteries
        D.    Egyptian Deities:  Isis, Osiris, and Sarapis
        E.    Phoenician Deities:  Astarte and Adonis
        F.    Syrian Deities:  Atargatis and Others
        G    Phrygian Deities:  Cybele and Attis
        H    A Persian Deity: Mithras
        I    Mystery Relgions and Christianity
    IX    Gnosticism, Hermetic Literature, Chaldaean Oracles
        A.    Origins of Gnosticism
        B.    Characteristics Features
        C.    Gnosticism in the New Testament
        D.    The Hermetica
        E.    Chaldaean Oracles
    X    Later Developments:  Monotheism and Sun Worship

    I.    Introduction
        A.    Philosophy as Religion
        B.    Philosophy as Ethics
        C.    Popular Philosophy
        D.    Philosophy and Individualism
        E.    Philosophy in Its Social Setting

    II    Sophists and Socrates
        A.    Sophists
        B.    Socrates
    III    Plato and the Academy to the First Century
        A.     Life of Plato
        B.    The Dialogues
        C.    Plato's Thought
        D.    Plato's Influence
        E.    The Old Academy
        F.    The Skeptical Academy
        G.    The Eclectic Academy
    IV    Aristotle and the Peripatetics
        A.    Life of Aristotle
        B.    Aristotle's Thought
        C.    Aristotle's Influence
        D.    Theophrastus
        E.    Strato
        F.    Later History and General Character
        G.    Aspects of the Peripatetic Legacy
    V    Skepticism
        A.    Pyrrho
        B.    Aenesidemus
        C.    Sextus Empiricus
        D.    Influence of Skepticism
    VI    Cynicism
        A.    Beginnings of Cynicism
        B.    Cynic Characteristics
        C.    Dio of Prusa
        D.    Lucian of Samosata

    VII    Stoicism
        A.    Early Stoa
       B.    Stoic Physics
        C.    Stoic Logic and Epistemology
        D.    Stoic Ethics
        E.    Middle Stoa
        F.    Later Stoa: Roman Stoicism
        G    Stoicism and Christianity
    VIII    Epicureanism
        A.    Epicurus and his School
        B.    Lucrtius
        C.    Epicurean Physics
        D.    Epicurean Epistlemology
        E.    Epicurean Ethics
        F.    Estimate and Comparisons
    IX    Eclecticism
        A    Characteristics
        B.    Cicero
    X    Neopythagoreanism
        A.    Pythagoras
        B    The Pythagorean Revival
        C    Apollonius of Tyan and Philostratus
        D.    Numenius
    XI    Middle Platonism
        A.    Characteristics
        B.    Plutarch
    XII    Plotinus and Neoplatonism
        A.    Life of Plotinus
        B.    Plotinus'System
        C.    Later Neoplatonists

    I.    Jewish History 538 BC - AD 200
        A.    The Persian Period
        B.    The Greek Period
        C.    The Maccabean Period
        D.    The Roman Period

    II    Jews in the Early Roman Empire
    III    Jewish Literature and Other Sources in the Hellenistic and Roman Periods
        A.    The Old Testament in Greek
        B.    Jewish Literature in Greek: Fragments
        C.    Apocrypha
        D.    Pseudepigrahpa
        E.    Dead Sea Scrolls
        F.    Apocalyptic Writings
        G    Philo
        H.    Josephus
        I.    Rabbinic Literature
        J.    Archaelogical Sources
        K.    Pagan References to Jews
    IV    Parties and Sects
        A.    Pharisees
        B.    Sadducees
        C.    Qumran Community, Essences and Therapeutae
        D.    Zealots
        E.    Herodians
        F.    Samaritans
    V    Beliefs and Practices
        A.    One God
        B.    Israel, the Chosen People
        C.    Torah, Tradiiton, and Scripture
        D.    Jewish Mysticism
        E.    Proselytes and Godfearers
        F.    Messianism and the Glorious Destiny
        G    Afterlife
        H    Festivals and Holy Days
        I    Daily Devotions

    VI    Organizations and Institutions
        A.    Temple and Priesthood
        B.    Sanhedrin
        C.    Community Organization
        D.    Rabbis
        E.    Synagogue

    I    Literary References to Christianity in Non-Christian Sources
    II    Archaeological Remain Bearing on Early Christian History
        A.    Inscriptions
        B.    Papyri
        C.    Coin
    III    Some Claimed Archaeological Remains of Early Christianity
        A.    Rotas-Sator Word Square
        B.    "Cross" at Herculaneum
        C.    Talpioth (Jerusalem) Ossuaries
        D.    Tomb of Peter
    IV    Attitudes of Pagans Toward Christians

    V    The Legal Status of Chrsitianity
    VI    Hindrances to the Acceptance of Christianity
    VII    Religious Rivals
        A.    Judaism
        B.    Pagan Religion and Philosophy
        C.    Gnosticism and Rival Versions of Christianity
        D.    Jewish Christianity
    VIII    Facts Favorable to Christianity
        A.    External Circumstances
        B.    Hellenistic Judaism
        C.    Religious Quest

Index of Subjects
Index of Scripture References
Map of the Ancient World