This book, first published in 2002, offers an authoritative and accessible introduction to the New Testament and early Christian literature for all students of the Bible and anyone interested in the origins of Christianity. It is designed primarily for undergraduate courses in the New Testament, biblical studies and early Christianity. Delbert Burkett focuses on the New Testament, but also looks at a wealth of non-biblical writing to examine the history, religion and literature of Christianity in the years from 30 CE to 150 CE. An appendix containing translations of primary texts allows instant access to the writings outside the canon. With this textbook and the Bible, the student should therefore have all the necessary basic texts. The book is organised systematically with questions for in-class discussion and written assignment, step-by-step reading guides on individual works, special box features, charts, maps and numerous illustrations designed to facilitate student use.
Delbert Burkett has degrees from Harvard and Duke, with a specialization in New Testament and Christian Origins. He has taught religious studies at a number of colleges and universities, currently serving as Associate Professor at Louisiana State University. His book The Son of Man Debate: A History and Evaluation (Cambridge University Press, 1999) received critical acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic. Other works include articles for New Testament Studies and Novum Testamentum. He is a member of the Society of Biblical Literature and the Society for New Testament Studies.
Part I. Historical and Religious Background: 1. Introduction; 2. Jews among Greeks and Romans; 3. Religion of Second-Temple Judaism; 4. Varieties of Second-Temple Judaism; 5. Jewish hopes for the future; 6. Hellenistic religion, philosophy, and world-view; 7. An overview of Early Christian history; 8. The making of the New Testament; Part II. Jesus and the Gospels: 9. Introduction to the Gospels; 10. The dynoptic problem; 11. The Gospel of Mark; 12. The Gospel of Matthew; 13. The Gospel of Luke; 14. The Gospel of John; 15. The apocryphal Jesus; 16. The quest for the historical Jesus; Part III. Acts: 17. The Book of Acts; Part IV. Pauline Christianity: 18. Paul, his letters, and his churches; 19. Gentiles and the law (1): Galatians; 20. Gentiles and the law (2): Romans; 21. Problems of church life: 1 Corinthians; 22. Problems of church life: 2 Corinthians; 23. The imminent Parousia: 1 and 2 Thessalonians; 24. Prison epistles (1): Philippians and Philemon; 25. Prison epistles (2): Colossians and Ephesians; Part V. Judaic Christianity: 26. Judaic Christianity; 27. The letter of James; 28. The Didache; Part VI. Gnostic Christianity: 29. Gnostic Christianity; 30. The Gospel of Thomas; Part VII. Proto-Orthodox Christianity: 31. Proto-Orthodox Christianity; 32. Conflict within the church (1): 1 Clement; 33. Conflict within the church (2): Pastoral Epistles; 34. Conflict within the church (3): Jude and 2 Peter; 35. Conflict within the church (4): Johannine Epistles; 36. Conflict within the church (5): Letters of Ignatius; 37. Relation of Christianity to Judaism (1): Hebrews; 38. Relation of Christianity to Judaism (2): Epistle of Barnabas; 39. Conflict with the Roman World (1): 1 Peter; 40. Conflict with the Roman World (2): Revelation; Appendixes: 1. Lucian on sacrifice; 2. The Essenes; 3. Jewish Messianic hopes; 4. Divine men and their births; 5. Apotheoses; 6. Miracle stories in the ancient world; 7. The infancy Gospel of Thomas; 8. The Gospel of Peter; 9. The Didache; 10. Selections from the Gospel of Thomas; 11. Selections from 1 Clement; 12. Selections from the epistle of Barnabas; 13. Ignatius to the Smyrnaeans 1-9; 14. Conflict with Rome.