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Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT

Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT

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Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT

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  1. Topic 2 World of Jesus and NT A. Jewish history (late OT – NT period) Oppression, persecution, and rebellion • Babylonian period (587-39 BC) – Jerusalem fell; Temple destroyed; Exile – “Babylonian captivity” • Persian period (539-333 BC) – Restoration - Temple rebuilt • Hellenistic period (333-166 BC) - Greek influence. • Alexander the Great – spread Greek language/culture. • 167 BC - persecution by Antiochus IV Epiphanes. • Daniel – written about 165 BC as call to faithfulness. • 1 and 2 Maccabees – stories of persecution and resistance. • Maccabean/Hasmonean period (166-63 BC) • Maccabean Revolt – won Jewish independence • Hasmonean dynasty –provoked Jewish factionalism

  2. Jewish History (cont.) • Roman period (63 BC – 135 AD) - NT period • Pax Romana - Augustus (27 BC) • Indirect rule of Palestine through the Herods – Jewish client rulers appointed by Rome • Herod the Great (37-4 BC) • “King of the Jews/Judea” • Great building campaign - rebuilt Temple • Brutal tyrant – ruthless • Birth of Jesus c. 6 BC (Mt. 2) • Three sons: • Herod Antipas (4 BC-39 AD) - Galilee and Perea aCapital at Sepphoris (and Tiberias) aBeheaded John the Baptist; suspicious of Jesus. b) Philip (4 BC-34 AD) – NE districts • Archelaus (4 BC-6 AD) – Judea and Samaria aRemoved in 6 AD; replaced by Roman procurator. Herodian Palestine Pictures Map Sepphoris Pictures

  3. A. Jewish History (cont.) • Roman period – cont. c. The procurators (prefects) – 6 AD onward • Direct Roman rule of Judea; census; new tax. • Uprising of Judas the Galilean. • Pontius Pilate (26-36 AD) – crucified Jesus c. 30. d. Jewish War (66-70 AD) • 70 AD – Jerusalem fell; Temple destroyed. • Josephus – Jewish historian. e. Council (Academy) of Jamnia (90-100 AD) • Reorganized Judaism around Scripture, tradition, and synagogue. • Closed Hebrew canon. • Banned Christians from synagogue. f. Second Jewish Revolt (132-135 AD) • Simon bar Kochba – alleged “messiah.” • Jerusalem demolished, rebuilt as Roman city.

  4. Religious developments in Judaism • Scripture (Hebrew Bible) • Torah (400 BC) • Prophets (200 BC) • Writings (90 AD) • Oral law – Cumulative body of interpretations of Torah by scribes and rabbis. • Synagogues • Jewish centers of worship and study. • No animal sacrifices (as in Temple). • Reading/interpreting Scripture; recital of prayers. 4. Sanhedrin • Jewish ruling council (71 members). • Presided over by high priest (appointed by procurator). • Had limited authority under Roman rule.

  5. 5. Jewish Eschatology – doctrine of “last things” • Hope for Messiah • Ideal king to restore Israel; rule over Golden Age of peace and justice. • “Messiah” = Hebrew for “anointed one” • “Christ” = Greek for “anointed one” • NT claims that Jesus fulfills messianic hope – but in unexpected ways. • Apocalypticism • Apocalypses flourished c. 200 BC-200 ADin times of crisis. • Apocalypse = “revelation” • Symbolic visions of (near) end of world • Doctrine of two ages: “this age” and “age to come” • Expectations: tribulation; defeat of evil; resurrection of dead; final judgment; glorious new age/world. • Usually not a messiah; sometimes a heavenly “Son of Man” as cosmic judge. • New age is “Kingdom of God” –restoration of God’s sovereignty. • These themes pervade the NT.

  6. Doctrine of the Two Ages

  7. Jewish Parties (Sects) Before 70, Judaism was quite diverse; many different forms. After 70, many parties disappeared; Judaism became more uniform. • Sadducees • Chief priests; wealthy aristocrats. • Controlled Temple, local government. • Compromised with Romans; maintained order. • Conservative: rejected oral law, resurrection. • Opposed Jesus as potential revolutionary. • After 70, disappeared. • Pharisees • Devoted to Torah: written and oral law. • Maintained ritual purity in daily life. • Rules for Sabbath, tithing, washings, fasting, etc. • Progressive: believed in resurrection; afterlife. • Neglect of Torah delays Messiah. • Challenged Jesus’ view of Torah. • After 70, Pharisaism survived, developed into Rabbinic Judaism.

  8. C. Jewish Parties (cont.) • Essenes • Josephus (and others) describe as a sectarian group living on shore of Dead Sea. • Probably associated with Dead Sea Scrolls at Qumran. • Origin in Hasmonean period as Temple protest. • Apocalyptic: expected final war between good and evil (Sons of Light vs. Sons of Darkness); expected 2 messiahs. • Strict discipline and ritual purity – daily baths of ritual purification; sacred meals. • Not mentioned in NT; many parallels. • Destroyed in Jewish War. 4. Zealots • Militant revolutionaries; freedom fighters. • Not a single, continuous party. • Ideology of violent opposition to foreign rule and compromise of Jewish law; motivated by devotion to God and Torah. • Many wished Jesus to be Zealot type leader. • Zealot movements faded after 70 and 135. Qumran Pictures

  9. D. Hellenistic Judaism 1. Diaspora - “scattering/dispersion” of Jews outside Palestine. 2. Diaspora Judaism - more open to Hellenistic influence. • Septuagint (LXX) - Greek translation of Jewish scripture (OT). • Produced in Egypt, beginning c. 250 B.C. • Adopted by early Christians; influenced NT writers. • Philo of Alexandria • Jewish theologian; trained in Greek philosophy. • Combined Jewish theology and Greek philosophy. • Proselytes and God-fearers a. Proselytes - Gentile converts to Judaism (see Acts 6:5): • Circumcision • Ritual immersion (“proselyte baptism”) • Sacrifice • God-fearers – Gentiles attached to synagogues; did not convert (see Acts 10:1-2).

  10. E. Larger Greco-Roman World 1. Hellenistic culture • Greek culture dominant. • Pessimism: no confidence in human ability to cope. • Superstitious: fatalism, magic, astrology. 2. Religious ferment • Proliferation of new religions. • “Syncretism” – “blending together” different religions into new pattern. 3. Popular philosophies • Platonism, Stoicism, Epicureanism, Cynicism. • Wandering philosophical teachers.

  11. Larger Graeco-Roman World (cont.) 4. Mystery religions • Secret rituals bring rebirth to immortality. • Myth of dying and rising gods. • Influenced Christian sacraments (cf. Rom. 6:3-4). 5. Gnosticism • Dualism of spirit (good) and matter (evil). • Human being: good spirit trapped in evil body. • Salvation by secret gnosis (knowledge). • Ethics of asceticism or libertinism • Asceticism - rigorous discipline of fleshly appetites. • Libertinism - absence of moral restraint. • Interacted with early Christianity.