Item description for New Testament Background: Selected Documents: Revised and Expanded Edition by Charles K. Barrett...
Overview C.K. Barret's classic work presents 280 ancient writings that bring the spiritual world of first century vividly to life.
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Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 9.26" Width: 6.1" Height: 1.08" Weight: 1.2 lbs.
Release Date Oct 13, 1995
Publisher Harper Collins Publishers
ISBN 0060608811 ISBN13 9780060608811
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More About Charles K. Barrett
C. K. Barrett is Professor of Divinity at the University of Durham, England. He has established himself it the front rank of contemporary New Testament scholars by such works as "The Holy Spirit in the Gospel Tradition, Commentary on St. John, " and "The New Testament Background".
Reviews - What do customers think about New Testament Background: Selected Documents: Revised and Expanded Edition?
Very Well Selected Documents on the background of the NT Aug 18, 2004
A resource this expansive can only be successfully created by a scholar of the first rank. Fortunately, C.K. Barrett is such a scholar. He has written top commentaries on many of Paul's letters, as well as the Acts of the Apostles and the Gospel of John.
This book is exactly what it purports to be. It provides a wealth of primary source evidence relevant to the culture and history in which New Testament arose. All of it nonChristian.
Barrett organizes the material by topic and then provides the primary evidence relevant to each. For example, for the Roman Empire he includes topics such as Augustus, Claudius, and Nero. Under the topics, Barrett provides selections from the primary evidence relevant to each, such as Suetonius, Tacitus, and Dio Cassius. He also leads off with an informative introduction to the topic.
The topics are:
The Roman Empire Papyri Inscriptions Mystery Religion The Philosopher and Poets Jewish History Rabbinic Literature and Rabbinic Judaism Qumran Philo Josephus Septuagint Apocalyptic Mysticism
Probably my favorite topic was the Mystery Religions. Given some of the wilder claims being made about comparisons between the Mystery Religions and Christianity, it is helpful to see what we really know about the former. Too often, references to what the Mystery Religions supposedly believed are to outdated secondary sources or from much later periods (which raises the more likely possibility that it was Christianity doing the influence). Barrett brings a healthy dose of reality to the situation and enables us to read what the ancient sources themselves had to say about Mystery Religions.
However, all of the sections are very helpful and valuable resources for studying the New Testament and early Christianity. Which makes this book a valuable addition your library. I highly recommend it.
good background for early NT environment Feb 24, 2003
The book is basically a collection of quotes from contemporary authors -Jewish, Christian or pagan - living in the decades during and after the rise of early Christianity. A novice would not understand the usefulness of this book, but for someone like me who has a deep interest in the early beginnings of the Semitic faiths, this book is very useful indeed, as it contains certain quotes often used in Christian texts but obscure to track down its source (such as quotes from Epicurus or Josephus, for example). I would certainly recommend this book for those who know well enough the historical context of Christianity and wishes to use this book in order to track down (and gain) such references.
A necessary text for finding the New Testament Background Jan 3, 2001
Many have the idea in their minds that Christianity simply appeared in a vacuum, or that Christianity began when one's church was built. However, Jesus was born into a much different world than ours today. We must also remember that the New Testament writers and Church fathers were writing under different conditions as well, and these influences are seen in their writings.
Barrett's book should give the reader a fine background into the period of the New Testament. I personally think every New Testament class should require this text, if anything as a side textbook to be consulted when necessary. Barrett saves us the work of finding the appropriate background writings on our own. He has collected them and given us pertinent excerpts.
He gives writings from the:
Roman Empire- Here he has writings from Roman Statesmen and Emperors, showing policies towards the Jews, etc.
Papyri- He translates various everyday letters, wills, and deeds in Koine Greek, perhaps showing us what the average Christian or Jew may have experienced in everyday life.
Inscriptions- here he translates inscriptions on synagogues, tombs, and other buildings.
Philosophers and Poets- Excerpts from Plato, Epicurus, the Stoics, and many others show us the prevailing pagan philosophies of the day.
Gnosticism and Gnosis- this section has writings discovered at Nag-Hammadi and from other Gnostic groups lacking Christian influence. He has divided Gnosticism (the full blown heresy of the 2nd century) and Gnosis (the developing religion perhaps addressed in Colossians) into 2 groups for clarity.
He also has sections on the Mystery Religions, Jewish History (including readings from the apocrypha), Rabbinic Literature, Qumran Texts, Philo, Josephus, the Septuagint, the Targums, and finally from Jewish apocalyptic literature.
As can be seen, Barrett gives a fine survey of the time period using the writings of important Jews and Gentiles. Chronologically, the writings are all from the New Testament and the Ante-Nicene time periods in the Church. Overall, this is an essential text, which should introduce the student to the influences upon Christian Thought and writings, as well as to the world Jesus was born into and in which generations of Christians lived.