Course Summary

Surrounding environment of the New Testament 

The course examines the historical and social setting of the New Testament, the geography of Bible lands, archaeological contributions, and special groups.  3 semester credits.  No credit with the former BRS 6.

The course is organized in three modules: (1) Historical Background, (2) The World of the New Testament, and (3) Pharisees, Scribes, and Sadducees.


• Describe New Testament events against the history of the Greek and  Roman empires

• Evaluate the relationship between the gospel and Roman culture

• Compare Jewish groups and institutions with Jesus and the early church

Credit. Credit for the course requires a score of 70% or greater on each of two multiple choice examinations, one essay exam, and two essays. A sample multiple choice problem is given below:

Religious associations were organized around (A) a specific deity, (B) a family shrine, (C) an emperor of choice, (D) the community leader.


Internet articles, which are embedded within the online syllabus.  Additionally, a textbook is available in the Electronic Collection at no cost to the student.

If a hard copy text is preferred, one of the two listed below is recommended: 

Ferguson, Everett. Backgrounds of Early Christianity. 3rd ed. Eerdmans, 2003. 672 pages. $29.40 ISBN: 978-0802822215

McDonald, Lee Martin and Joel B. Green. The World of the New Testament: Cultural, Social, and Historical Contexts. Baker Academic, 2013 640 pages. $37.49 ISBN: 978-0801039621