Historical background of the New Testament
From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
Most scholars who study the Historical Jesus and Early Christianity believe that the Canonical Gospels and life of Jesus must be viewed as firmly placed within his historical and cultural context, rather than purely in terms of Christian orthodoxy. They look at the "forces" which were in play regarding the Jewish culture at that time, and the tensions, trends, and changes in the region under the influence of Hellenism and the Roman occupation.
By Pompey's 63 BCE siege of Jerusalem, the partially Hellenized territory had come under Roman imperial rule as a valued crossroads to trading territories and buffer state against the Parthian Empire. Beginning in 6 CE, Roman prefect's were appointed whose first duty to Rome was to maintain order through a political appointee the High Priest. After the uprising during the Census of Quirinius (6 CE) and before Pilate (26 CE), in general, Roman Judea was peaceful and self-managed, although riots, sporadic rebellions, and violent resistance were an ongoing risk. The conflict between the Jews' demand for religious independence and Rome's efforts to impose a common system of governance meant there was underlying tension.
Four decades after Jesus' death the tensions culminated with the first Jewish-Roman War and the destruction of the Second Temple in Jerusalem. This, in turn, is commonly seen as a catalyst for the final stage in the birth and divergence of Early Christianity and Rabbinic Judaism.
- Assyro-Babylonian culture
- Christianity and Judaism
- Hellenistic Greece
- History of ancient Israel and Judah
- Jesus in the Christian Bible
- Jesus in the Talmud
- Jesus Seminar
- Judeo-Christian tradition
- Julio-Claudian dynasty
- Roman Empire
- Romanitas, Culture of Rome
- Social life in Babylonia and Assyria