History, culture, and religion of the Hellenistic Age

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History, Culture, and Religion of the Hellenistic Age is Helmut Koester’s English translation of Einführung in das Neue Testament. In this book, Koester explores the scholarship, date, integrity, and literary structure of New Testament writing within the Hellenistic imperial era, during which the foundations of early Christianity were established. This book considers but does not limit the discussion to twenty-seven canonical texts. It also treats sixty other early Christian writings, whether they be completed or fragmented. Moreover, the level of historical-critical inquiry involved requires that comprehensible decisions be made about authorship, date, and place of each text. Through the coupling of these texts, Koester fosters an appreciation and further critical evaluation of this period. It is important that a historical orientation begin with a rumination of the Hellenistic Age in order to understand how the world was arranged when Christianity began to establish its identity as a major new world religion.

Helmut Koester is John H. Morison Research Professor of Divinity and Winn Research Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Harvard Divinity School. This work, published in 1995, has established itself as a classical text in the field of New Testament studies. Written in a readable, non-technical style, it has become an indispensable textbook and reference for teachers, students, clergy, and the educated layperson interested in a scholarly treatment of the New Testament and its background in the Judaic and Greco-Roman world. The author many books (his most recent in 2007) Professor Koester was editor of Harvard Theological Review (1975-1999), and he is co-editor and chair of the New Testament editorial board of "Hermeneia: A Critical and Historical Commentary on the Bible." He is an ordained minister of the Lutheran Church, a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the Society of Biblical Literature (president 1991), and of the Societas Novi Testamenti Studiorum.

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