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Cultural background is an important but often unexamined factor that shapes and influences any piece of writing. The Bible is no different. In the New Testament, gospel and epistle writers used expressions and ideas they knew would be familiar to their readers. Jesus himself spoke in parables that drew heavily on the common experiences of his audience.
But for modern readers, the cultural world of early Christianity is quite foreign—which means that reading and understanding the New Testament in its proper cultural and historical context can sometimes be challenging. The Dictionary of New Testament Background is a reference work designed to narrow the gap between the perspective of modern readers and the ancient setting of the New Testament. Drawing from the best and most recent scholarship on the ancient Mediterranean world, this work offers important information on Jewish religion, Greco-Roman culture, and other factors of vital importance in shaping the New Testament world.