This useful, concise introduction to the worlds around the New Testament focuses on seven key moments in the centuries before and after Jesus. It enlightens readers about the beginnings of the Christian movement, showing how religious, political, and economic factors were interwoven in the fabric of the New Testament world.
Leading New Testament scholar Warren Carter has a record of providing student-friendly texts. This introduction offers a "big picture" focus and is logically and memorably organized around seven events, which Carter uses as launching pads to discuss larger cultural dynamics and sociohistorical realities that were in some way significant for followers of Jesus and the New Testament. Photos and maps are included.
Warren Carter (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the author of many books, including Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist; John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist; The Roman Empire and the New Testament; Matthew and Empire; John and Empire; and Matthew and the Margins.
Warren Carter is a skilled writer. Organized around seven key events and their effects, this book provides a fresh approach to setting the New Testament and early Christianity in context. Though scholars lack unanimity on some debated matters that introductions must treat, readers will find the book enjoyable, thought provoking, and full of fascinating information and perspectives."
Craig Keener, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary
"Brilliantly conceived and accessibly written. Carter's seven events serve as doors through which to enter into and explore the cultural complexities of the early church. This book will be an excellent secondary text for courses on New Testament introduction, but it should also find its way into the hands of any reader interested in the sociocultural context of early Christianity.
-David A. deSilva,
Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek, Ashland Theological Seminary
How did rank-and-file Jesus followers negotiate the complex cultural nettle--a right admixture of Greek, Roman, and Jewish worlds--into which the early Jesus movement was birthed? In this slender yet substantive volume, seasoned scholar and accomplished author Warren Carter turns his learned attention to this fascinating question. From a 'people's history perspective,' Carter explores seven salient events (ranging from the death of Alexander the Great in 323 BCE to the 'closing' of the New Testament canon in 397 CE) that enable student and teacher alike to understand better the social milieu in which nascent Christianity 'lived and moved and had its being.' For those who have been searching for a succinct, authoritative 'New Testament history,' look no further. Take up and read!
-Todd D. Still,
William M. Hinson Professor of Christian Scriptures, Truett Seminary, Baylor University
Warren Carter has done a service to biblical studies. It is easy to pass over the period covered by these seven events because it is difficult to find a text that does it justice. No longer will that deficiency hinder study from the death of Alexander to the writing and closing of the New Testament canon. Carter's approach is different and refreshing, and he is in control of a wide range of materials. He not only shows how each event opens up this world but also explains why each event is important for understanding the more familiar materials encountered in New Testament introduction. If this study had been available when I was teaching New Testament, it would have been a must-read for my students. Professors, students, and pastors alike will benefit from this work, which is well conceived, well designed, well researched, and well written.
-William R. Herzog II,
retired professor of New Testament, Andover Newton Theological School