Friday, May 9, 2014

Guest Writer: Nicordo Wilson The Greco-Roman and Its Contribution

The Greco-Roman World and its Contribution

It is impossible to understand the New Testament writings unless you have an understanding of the influence of the Greco-Roman World. David Wenham, commenting on the above statement writes: “If we should have a deeper knowledge of the New Testament World, then, we need to transport ourselves into the world of First-Century Palestine.[1]” The New Testament world came into being in the Mediterranean Region. This world began with the conquest of Alexander the Great, his conquest helped to shape and form the face of the New Testament. Alexander and his armies introduced their culture and ideas upon all their vassals. By doing this, they Hellenized the world.
With Hellenization Greek became the common and widely used language. Even under the rule of the Romans Greek was still the national language.  Greek was the language of trade, government, religion and philosophical thought. The various philosophers and philosophical schools also influenced the lives of the people. After the nation of Greece was conquered, Rome came on the scene.  Rome was powered and advanced by slave labor;[2] and in extension, persons whose lives were disrupted by war also helped to power this state.  The provinces of Rome made significant contributions to ensure the stability and development of the state.
Under this empire a road system was developed, Luke Johnson mentions about fifty thousand miles of road was paved by the year 100 C.E.[3] Despite these good things, there was a heavy system of taxation imposed upon the local citizens. Particularly in Judea, local Jews were employed by the state to collect the taxes. For example: Matthew Jesus’ disciple and Zaccheus were well known and despised by the Jews. (These men were hated.)
In closing, the influence by the Greco-Roman world is quite extensive; however, see the list below for the main contributions:
1.       Hellenization of the world by the Greeks allowed for the rapid growth and use of one major language as a means of communication. This language, gave rise to the writing and production of the Greek translation of the Old Testament scripture (Septuagint) used by both Jews and Christians. It also influenced the writing of the New Testament into common Greek.
2.       Travel and trade was improved because of the development of paved roads by the Romans.
3.       Greek philosophical ideas also influenced the New Testament writers. A close analysis of their writings reflects those of ancient Greek novels and letters.
4.       Because of the Pax Romana political peace during the reign of Caesar Augustus.[4] The Christian faith was spread throughout the empire by the early New Testament missionaries.
5.       There was also an efficient postal system, which made letter writing common place for commerce, friendship and literary exercise.

Evans, Craig. Dictionary of New Testament Background. Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000.
Johnson, Luke T. The Writings of the New Testament. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999.
Wenham, David. Exploring the New Testament Volume 1.  Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2001.

Nicordo Wilson

[1] Craig Evans, Dictionary of New Testament Background (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 771.

[1] David Wenham, Exploring the New Testament Volume 1 (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2001), 3.

[2] Luke Timothy Johnson, The Writings of the New Testament (Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1999), 27.

[3] Ibid, 27.
[4] Craig Evans, Dictionary of New Testament Background (Illinois: Intervarsity Press, 2000), 771.

1 comment:

  1. ...maybe the title should be ''' and its Contribution To Christianity

    ...t'was an interesting read...