Bird’s advice to NT PhD students

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

  1. the New Testament was written (as far as we know) in Greek, the lingua franca of the eastern Mediterranean,
  2. most of the New Testament was written outside of Palestine (James, Jude, and Matthew might be the exceptions),
  3. 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
  4. 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.

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