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Seven Events That Shaped the New Testament World Paperback – February 15, 2013

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Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

"A fresh approach to setting the New Testament and early Christianity in context"

"Warren Carter has done a service to biblical studies. It is easy to pass over the period covered by these seven events because it is difficult to find a text that does it justice. No longer will that deficiency hinder study from the death of Alexander to the writing and closing of the New Testament canon. Carter's approach is different and refreshing, and he is in control of a wide range of materials. If this study had been available when I was teaching New Testament, it would have been a must-read for my students. Professors, students, and pastors alike will benefit from this work, which is well conceived, well designed, well researched, and well written."
--William R. Herzog II, Andover Newton Theological School

"Warren Carter is a skilled writer. Organized around seven key events and their effects, this book provides a fresh approach to setting the New Testament and early Christianity in context. Though scholars lack unanimity on some debated matters that introductions must treat, readers will find the book enjoyable, thought provoking, and full of fascinating information and perspectives."
--Craig Keener, Asbury Theological Seminary

"Brilliantly conceived and accessibly written. Carter's seven events serve as doors through which to enter into and explore the cultural complexities of the early church. This book will be an excellent secondary text for courses on New Testament introduction, but it should also find its way into the hands of any reader interested in the sociocultural context of early Christianity."
--David A. deSilva, Ashland Theological Seminary

"How did rank-and-file Jesus followers negotiate the complex cultural nettle--a right admixture of Greek, Roman, and Jewish worlds--into which the early Jesus movement was birthed? In this slender yet substantive volume, seasoned scholar and accomplished author Warren Carter turns his learned attention to this fascinating question. From a 'people's history perspective,' Carter explores seven salient events that enable student and teacher alike to understand better the social milieu in which nascent Christianity 'lived and moved and had its being.' For those who have been searching for a succinct, authoritative 'New Testament history,' look no further. Take up and read!"
--Todd D. Still, Truett Seminary, Baylor University

About the Author

Warren Carter (PhD, Princeton Theological Seminary) is professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School, Texas Christian University in Fort Worth, Texas. He is the author of many books, including Matthew: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist; John: Storyteller, Interpreter, Evangelist; The Roman Empire and the New Testament; Matthew and Empire; John and Empire; and Matthew and the Margins.
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 192 pages
  • Publisher: Baker Academic (February 15, 2013)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0801039169
  • ISBN-13: 978-0801039164
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #175,887 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Zack Ford on March 29, 2013
Format: Paperback
Review originally appeared on ztford.wordpress.com

What sort of world did the biblical authors and Early Christians live in? It is often very hard for us twenty-first-century, technology-driven, Western-thinking Americans to think of a culture different than our own; and this poses massive problems when it comes to Christians faithfully reading the New Testament texts and seeking to understand them in their original context.

Dr. Warren Carter, professor of New Testament at Brite Divinity School (TCU), has written a helpful little book that is accessible to Christians of all levels in order to help answer this question. In order to inform Christians today about what kind of world the Early Church found itself in, Dr. Carter looks at seven key events that shaped this world.

The events that Dr. Carter chose to focus on, each of which constitutes a chapter in the book, are as follows:

1. The death of Alexander the Great (323 BCE)
2. The process of translating Hebrew Scriptures into Greek (ca. 250 BCE)
3. The rededication of the Jerusalem Temple (164 BCE)
4. The Roman occupation of Judea (63 BCE)
5. The crucifixion of Jesus (ca. 30 CE)
6. The writing of the New Testament texts (ca. 50 - ca. 130 CE)
7. The process of "closing" the New Testament canon (397 CE)
Why these seven events? Dr. Carter gives an answer in the introduction:

What makes each event special? How were they selected? I take each events as a focal point for larger cultural dynamics and sociohistorical realities that were in some way significant for followers of Jesus and the New Testament. I use them as entry points, as launching pads, to talk about these significant and larger realities" (xvii)

While I completely understand that Dr.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Joel L. Watts VINE VOICE on February 12, 2013
Format: Paperback
Warren Carter never fails to delight in bringing the context of the ancient world to bear on the shape and telling of Scripture. His latest work does not fail to continue this track, but takes a broader reach and appeal than his previous works. Those familiar with Carter's work knows of his imperial biases in reading the New Testament, biases I favor, but here, he begins long before the world of the New Testament, ending long after. Throughout the book, however, is the constant connection to the time of Jesus, presented unapologetically but nevertheless respectively.

In an apocalyptic flair Carter reveals seven different times contributing to our understanding of the New Testament. He begins with the death of Alexander the Great, followed by the Septuagint (along with some interesting insight into how Jesus may have read the LXX, or at least his community). After this is the rapid development of the New Testament world beginning with the rededication of the Temple, the Judean Occupation, writing the actual texts, and closing the canon. All of this covers more than six hundred years. This seventh event may give some heartburn, given that Carter takes his usual role of pointing out the variety of practices and doctrines enshrined in the New Testament. For others, his reliance on solid historical detail is disconcerting. For instance, Carter gives a faithful account of what ratifying the canon meant, rather than the conspiracy theories thrown around today of masked mean in the moonlight making mad ministerial decisions.

Each event is detailed and then stretched out so as to allow the reader to understand just what role this played in the shaping of the New Testament. For instance, the manliness of Alexander the Great is contrasted to the expected manliness of Jesus.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dr Conrade Yap TOP 1000 REVIEWER on April 30, 2013
Format: Paperback
Whenever anyone talks about events that shaped any particular world, there are at least three questions that one instinctively asks. What events are they? Why are they chosen? What kind of world are they referring to? My simple summary of the whole book is in terms of three periods: Before Christ; During Christ; After Christ. The first part prepares readers with the contexts surrounding the introduction of the person of Christ. The second part sheds more light into the culture and the circumstances that led to the death of Christ. The third part shows the culmination of the Bible that we have today. All of them necessarily deal with the person of Christ. After all, without Christ, there is no New Testament! The key point that Carter wants to make is that as the ancient world is multicultural, so was Jesus' time, and our modern time. From Greek and Hellenistic cultures, we observe how the New Testament gets transmitted through Greek influence, Jewish traditions, Imperial power, the Roman order, and many more. It explains how the early Christians are considered a minority movement, and suffer much persecution, marginalization, and how powerlessness shapes their identity, their group dynamics, and their way of life. It also reflects on the amazing process of how the canon takes shape over more than 350 years.

This book is basically about highlighting the multi-era, multicultural, multifaceted, multiperspectival environments from which the New Testament, even the whole Bible comes into being. There are many parts that I agree wholeheartedly with Carter.
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