You’ve all probably already seen this post by Michael Bird.
I beg all Ph.D candidates [that would be me] to consider the fact that
- the New Testament was written (as far as we know) in Greek, the lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean,
- most of the New Testament was written outside of Palestine (James, Jude, and Matthew might be the exceptions),
- the interface with Hellenism and Roman society was arguably one of the driving forces behind the sociology and theology of Diaspora Judaism and early Christianity, and
- most of the early churches were located in the major Graeco-Roman cities and thus the life of the polis (culture, history, religion, literature, etc) was of paramount import to the New Testament authors and audiences.
Let me suggest a 12 step plan to get up to speed on Graeco-Roman sources . . . read them here.