Fortress Press

The New Testament Era: The World of the Bible from 500 B. C. to A. D. 100

The New Testament Era

The World of the Bible from 500 B. C. to A. D. 100

Bo Reicke (Author), David E. Green (Translator)


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This volume by an internationally know New Testament scholar and historian offers a concise history of the complex and often obscure period, from the Jewish exile to the completion of the New Testament writings and the onset of the age of martyrs, which was of such crucial significance for Judaism and Christianity. The author's attention is concentrated on the political, social and religious factors in this period. Beginning with the period in which Judea was under Persian rule, from which much of the religion and cultural heritage of Judaism derives, the author goes on to describe the process of hellenization that occurred after the conquest of Alexander the Great when Persian rule came to an end. The major portion of the book is devoted to the New Testament era proper, when Palestine was under Roman domination. Finally, the author traces the events which led to the ultimate divorce of Christianity and Judaism.
  • Publisher Fortress Press
  • ISBN 9780800610807
  • Format Paperback
  • Pages 336
  • Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5
  • Publication Date July 1, 1975


" excellent, concise, and very readable account of a period the understanding of which is indispensable for any intelligent comprehension of the New Testament."
— Paul J. Achtemeier, Interpretation

"...both scholarly and eminently readable."
— Samuel Sandmel, Journal of Biblical Literature

The New Testament Era does "what no other introductory work does; it displays clearly and simply the interplay of forces, people, and events that were key to the birth and gradual expansion of early Christianity."
— David Reeves, McCormick Quarterly

Table of Contents


I. Judah Under Persian Rule, 539-332 B.C.
1. The Iranian Sphere of Influence
2. The Early Achaemenids
A. Cyrus, Darius I, Xerxes, and Artaxerxes I
B. Ezra and Nehemiah in Jerusalem
C. Judaism in the Persian Empire
3. The Late Achaemenids
A. The General Situation
B. The Samaritan Schism
C. The Last Perisan Wars
D. The Effects of Persian Rule on Judaism

II. Judea Under Hellenistic Rule
1. The Hellenistic Sphere or Influence
A. Alexander's Campaign
B. Hellenism
C. Diadochi and Epigoni
2. Egyptian Hegemony
A. Ptolemy I-III and the Rise of Egypt
B. Jerusalem Under the Ptolemies
C. Ptolemy IV, Ptolemy V, and the Decline of Egypt
3. Syrian Hegemony
A. Antiochus III, Seleucus IV, and Antiochus IV
B. Religious Oppression
C. Maccabeus, Jonathan, and Simon

III. The Hasmonean Rule
1. Rule by High Priests
A. Simon as High Priest
B. Hyrcanus I
2. Kings
A. Aristobulus I
B. Janneus
C. Alexandra, Hyrcanus II, and Aristobulus II

IV. Palestine Under Rome and Herod
1. The Roman sphere of Influence
A. The Rise of Rome as a World Power
B. Pompey Occupies Palestine
2. Triumvirs, Antipater, and Herod
A. Antipater
B. Herod I
C. The Date of Jesus' Birth

V. Palenstine at the Time of Jesus and the Apostles
1. The Division of Herod's Kingdom
2. Galilee-Perea and Northern Trans-Jordan at the Time of Jesus
A. Antipas' Two Territories
B. Jesus' Homeland
C. The Synagogues
D. The Reign of Antipas
E. The Land and Rule of Philip
3. Judea and Samaria in the Time of Jesus and the Primitive Church
A. The Two Territories of Archelaus
B. The Reign of Archelaus
C. The Establishment of the First Procuratorship
D. Roman Government
E. The Jewish Administration
F. The High Council
G. Sadducees and Pharisees
H. Priests and Essenes
I. Pilate, Golgotha, the Primitive Church
4. Palestine in the Time of James and Paul
A. Agrippa I as King of Judea
B. The Second Procuratorship, the Zealot Movement, and the Church

VI. The Roman Empire in the Time of Jesus and the Apostles
1. The Empire, the Jews, and the Christians
2. Augustus and Tiberius
A. Augustus' System of Government
B. The Provinces Under Augustus and Afterward
C. The Status Quo Under Tiberius
3. Caligula, Claudius, and Nero
A. Disappointment Under Caligula
B. Developments Under Claudius
C. Disintegration Under Nero

VII. The Roman Empire in the Subapostolic Period
1. The Jewish War and the Civil Wars
A. The First Jewish War
B. The Roman Civil Wars
C. The Fall of Jerusalem
2. Vespasian, Titus, and Domitian
A. Consolidation Under Vespasian
B. Relief Under Titus
C. Tension Under Domitian
D. Jews and Christians Under the Flavians

Index of Names and Subjects