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The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, 2nd edition provides in-depth data and analysis of the production and reception of the canonical writings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and also of the apocryphal works produced by Jewish and Christian writers. Unique among single-volume introductions, this book focuses on the ever-changing social and cultural contexts in which the biblical authors and their original readers lived. The authors of the first edition were chosen for their internationally recognized expertise in their respective fields: the history and literature of Israel; postbiblical Judaism; biblical archaeology; and the origins and early literature of Christianity. In this second edition, all chapters have been updated and thoroughly revised,under the direction of a new volume editor, Bruce D. Chilton. More than 22 new maps, 90 new photographs and a full-color section help illustrate the book.
Nine prominent scholars and researchers into rabbinic Judaism and early Christianity here investigate the literary and archaeological evidence by which the evolution of the synagogue can be traced. This research project began as the theme of the Philadelphia Seminar on Christian origins at the University of Pennsylvania during the academic year 1993/ 1994, chaired by Howard C. Kee and Lynn Cohick. In addition to papers presented at the Seminar, outstanding scholars who have analyzed the relevant literature and/or the archaeological evidence from ancient synagogue sites over the early centuries of the Common Era were invited to contribute essays as well. The various contributions to this volume are presented in two groupings: (1) those concerned with the development of the synagogue in the land of ancient Israel and (2) analyses of the diverse and abundant evidence from synagogues in the dispersion, especially Syria and Asia Minor. Also included is an examination of the literary and traditional evidence from historical, rabbinic, and early Christian sources. In addition to the editor, contributors include James F. Strange, University of South Florida; Richard A. Horsley, University of Massachusetts; Joseph Gutman, Wayne State University; Shaye J. D. Cohen, Brown University; Marianne Bonz, Harvard Divinity School; Lynn H. Cohick, Nairobi Evangelical Graduate School of Theology; J. Andrew Overman, Macalester College; and Douglas R. Edwards, University of Puget Sound. Howard Clark Kee is Aurelio Professor of Biblical Studies Emeritus at Boston University and Visiting Faculty at the University of Pennsylvania.
In this provocative book, an eminent scholar examines the complex sociocultural factors that shaped Judaism and early Christianity, analyzing cardinal Judaic and Christian texts and the cultural communities in which they were written.
This book analyzes the evidence about Jesus in a broad range of sources, from ancient pagan and Jewish texts to the earliest Christian sources, including the New Testament apart from the gospel, the canonical gospels, and later Christian texts not included in the Christian canon. Each source is examined in light of the social and cultural context in which it was written. Kee concludes that although the various portrayals of Jesus differ, there is indeed a convergence of evidence about his activities and his message.
This book sketches and illustrates in detail the range of understandings of the human condition and remedies for ills that prevailed when Jesus and the apostles - as well as their successors - were spreading the Christian message and launching Christian communities in the Graeco-Roman world. Healing played so prominent a part in Jesus' ministry as depicted in the New Testament that it is important to understand that aspect of his appeal in the context of the ways in which it was understood by Greeks, Romans and Jews of the time. Some saw sickness as the result of magic performed against the victims by enemies, others as the work of demons. Some saw health as the result of ordering life according to nature, emphasising the beneficial effects of natural substances. Jewish attitudes, for example, ranged widely over the centuries from hostility towards physicians to regard for them as men endowed by God with special knowledge for human benefit.
An eminent synthesis of modern New Testament studies, in a very user-friendly presentation and excellently illustrated
The Cambridge Companion to the Bible, Second Edition provides in-depth data and analysis of the production and reception of the canonical writings of the Hebrew Bible and New Testament, and also of the apocryphal works produced by Jewish and Christian writers. Unique among single-volume introductions, this book focuses on the ever-changing social and cultural contexts in which the biblical authors and their original readers lived. The authors of the first edition were chosen for their internationally recognized expertise in their respective fields: the history and literature of Israel; postbiblical Judaism; biblical archaeology; and the origins and early literature of Christianity. In this second edition, all chapters have been updated and thoroughly revised, under the direction of a new volume editor, Bruce D. Chilton. More than 22 new maps, 90 new photographs and a full-color section help illustrate the book
Why are there four Gospels, each apparently written for a different purpose? Why did certain writers use a letter-like form for what seems to be essentially a theological treatise? Why is there no New Testament gospel consisting entirely of the sayings of Jesus, as there is, say, in the Gnostic Nag Hammadi discoveries? Why does John's Gospel speak of God's love for the world and yet distinguish the community so sharply from the world? Common to all these important questions is their connection with an understanding of the world in which Christianity arose. One of the most important developments in recent years has been the application of methods and perspectives derived from the social sciences to illuminate that world. Professor Kee's own Community of the New Age, a detailed examination of the church in which Mark's Gospel was written, was a pioneering work in this respect, as was Gerd Theissen's sociological study, The First Followers of Jesus. This new book is simpler, and more general, and is meant as an introductory report on the use of sociological approaches to New Testament theology. The opening chapter outlines the ways in which these approaches are used and describes in broad terms how earlier historians of primitive Christianity have correlated their history writing with a variety of non-historical factors. Subsequent chapters consider the different attitudes towards contemporary cultures adopted by the various groups, documented in the New Testament, varying modes of leadership, the nature of other religious movements in the Graeco-Roman world that also claimed special revelation or access to divine mysteries, and the way in which ritual and myth tended to develop. Finally, the functions of the New Testament writings themselves are reconsidered in a survey which takes into account not only their original aims but also the uses to which they were actually put. Here is a fresh approach which shows that the New Testament still has surprises in store for us.
To understand the historical beginnings of Christianity, one requires not only to examine the documents that the movement produced, but also to scrutinize other evidence - historical, literary, and archaeological - that can illumine the socio-cultural context in which Christianity began and how it responded to the influences that derived from that setting. This involves not only analysis of the readily accessible content of the relevant literary evidence, but also attention to the world-views and assumptions about reality that are inherent in these documents and other phenomena that have survived from this period. Attention to the roles of leadership and the modes of formation of social identity in Judaism and the continuing influence of these developments as Christianity began to take shape is important for historical analysis. Distinguished New Testament scholar Kee performs such readings of the texts and communities in this dazzling study of early Christian origins. In methodological terms, the historical study of Christian Origins in all its diversity must involve three different modes of analysis: epistemological, sociological, and eschatological. The first concerns the way in which knowledge and communication of it were perceived. The second seeks to discern the way in which the community or tradition preserving and conveying this information defined its group identity and its shared values and aims. The third focuses on the way in which the group understood and affirmed its ultimate destiny and that of its members in the purpose of God. These factors are interrelated, and features of one mode of perception strongly influence details of the others, but it is useful to consider each of them in its own category in order to discern with greater precision the specific historical features of the spectrum of facets which appear in the evidence that has survived concerning the origins of Christianity.
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