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The New Testament in Its World

An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians
N. T. Wright (Author), Michael F. Bird (Author)
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Finally: an introduction that captures the excitement of the early Christians, helping today's readers to think like a first-century believer while reading the text responsibly for today.

The New Testament in Its World is your passageway from the twenty-first century to the era of Jesus and the first Christians. A highly-readable, one-volume introduction placing the entire New Testament and early Christianity in its original context, it is the only such work by distinguished scholar and author N. T. (Tom) Wright.

An ideal guide for students, The New Testament in Its World addresses the many difficult questions faced by those studying early Christianity. Both large and small, these questions include:

  • What is the purpose of the New Testament?
  • What was the first-century understanding of the kingdom?
  • What is the real meaning of the resurrection in its original context?
  • What really were the Gospels?
  • Who was Paul and why are his letters so controversial?
  • As twenty-first-century people, how do we recover the excitement of what it was like to live as Christians in the first or second centuries?

In short, The New Testament in Its World brings together decades of ground-breaking research, writing, and teaching into one volume that will open readers' eyes to the larger world of the New Testament. It presents the New Testament books as historical, literary, and social phenomena located in the world of Second Temple Judaism, amidst Greco-Roman politics and culture, and within early Christianity.

Written for both classroom and personal use, the benefits of The New Testament in Its World include:

  • A distillation of the life work of N. T. Wright on the New Testament with input from Michael Bird
  • Historical context that situates Jesus and the early church within the history, culture, and religion of Second Temple Judaism and the Greco-Roman world
  • Major sections on the historical Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, and Paul's chronology and theology
  • Surveys of each New Testament book that discuss their significance, critical topics like authorship and date, and that provide commentary on contents along with implications for the Christian life
  • Up-to-date discussions of textual criticism and the canonization of the New Testament
  • A concluding chapter dedicated to living the story of the New Testament
  • Available Video and Workbook companion resources to enhance learning and experience the world of the New Testament
  • Illustrated with visually rich pictures, maps, charts, diagrams, and artwork; plentiful sidebars provide additional explanations and insights

About the Authors

N. T. Wright is the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the award-winning author of many books, including After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the series Christian Origins and the Question of God.

Michael F. Bird is Academic Dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission, The Saving Righteousness of God, Evangelical Theology, Romans (Story of God Bible Commentary Series), The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, and editor of The Apostle Paul: Four Views. He also runs a popular theological studies blog called “Euangelion” and can be followed on twitter @mbird12.

Table of Contents



1. Reading the New Testament

1.1 Beginning Study of the New Testament

1.2 The New Testament as History

1.3 The New Testament as Literature

1.4 The New Testament as Theology

2. The World of Jesus and the Early Church

2.1 The History of the Jews between the Persian and Roman Empires

2.2 The Jewish Context of Jesus and the Early Church

2.3 The Graeco-Roman Context of the Apostles and the Early Church

3. Jesus and the Victory of God

3.1 The Study of the Historical Jesus

3.2 The Profile and Praxis of a Prophet

3.3 Who Did Jesus Think He Was?

3.4 The Death of the Messiah

4. The Resurrection of the Son of God

4.1 The Afterlife in Greek, Roman, and Jewish Thought

4.2 The Story of Easter according to the Apostle Paul

4.3 The Story of Easter according to the Evangelists

5. Paul and the Faithfulness of God

5.1 The Story of Paul’s Life and Ministry

5.2 A Primer on Pauline Theology

5.3 1–2 Thessalonians

5.4 Galatians

5.5 1–2 Corinthians

5.6 Philippians

5.7 Colossians, Philemon, and Ephesians

5.8 Romans

5.9 The Pastoral Epistles

6. The Gospels and the Story of God

6.1 Mark

6.2 Matthew

6.3 Luke–Acts

6.4 John

6.5 The Making of the Gospels

7. The Early Christians and the Mission of God

7.1 Introduction to Early Christian Letters

7.2 Hebrews

7.3 Letters by Jesus’s Brothers: James and Jude

7.4 Petrine Letters: 1 and 2 Peter

7.5 Johannine Letters: 1, 2, and 3 John

7.6 John the Seer and the Apocalypse of Jesus Christ

8. The Making of the New Testament

8.1 Introduction to Textual Criticism of the New Testament

8.2 The Canonization of the New Testament

9. Living the Story of the New Testament

9.1 Bringing it All Together



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  • General
  • Product Details
  • Page Count: 992
  • Format: Hardcover, Cloth
  • ISBN: 9780310499305
  • Release: November 19, 2019