Contemporary Western readers may find it surprising that honor and shame, patronage and reciprocity, kinship and family, and purity and pollution offer us keys to interpreting the New Testament. But as recent scholarship has proposed and as David deSilva demonstrates, paying attention to these cultural themes opens our eyes and ears to new discoveries and deeper understanding.
Through our understanding of honor and shame in the Mediterranean world, we gain new appreciation of the way in which the personhood of early Christians connected with group values. By examining the protocols of patronage and reciprocity, we more firmly grasp the meaning of God's graceand our response has fresh meaning. In exploring the ethos of kinship and household relations, we enlarge our perspective on the early Christian communities that met in houses and functioned as a new family or "household" of God. And by investigating the notions of purity and pollution along with their associated practices, we come to realize how the ancient "map" of society and the world was revised by the power of the gospel.
DeSilva's work will reward you with a deeper appreciation of the New Testament, the gospel and Christian discipleship. More than that, it will also inform your participation in contemporary Christian community.
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About the Author
David A. deSilva (PhD, Emory University) is Trustees' Distinguished Professor of New Testament and Greek at Ashland Theological Seminary in Ashland, Ohio. He is the author of over twenty-five books includingDay of Atonement: A Novel of the Maccabean Revolt;Unholy Allegiances: Heeding Revelation's Warning;The Jewish Teachers of Jesus, James, and Jude;Introducing the Apocrypha: Context, Message and Significance; andPerseverance in Gratitude: A Socio-Rhetorical Commentary on the Epistle "to the Hebrews."He is also an ordained elder in the Florida Conference of the United Methodist Church.
Table of Contents
Introduction: Cultural Awareness Reading Scripture
1. Honor Shame: Connection Personhood to Group Values
2. Honor Shame in the New Testament
3. Patronage Reciprocity: The Social Context of Grace
4. Patronage Grace in the New Testament
5. Kinship: Living as a Family in the First-Century World
6. Kinship the "Household of God" in the New Testament
7. Purity Pollution: Structuring the World Before a Holy God
8. Purity the New Testament
Index of Ancient Modern Authors
Index of Subjects
Index of Scripture Texts
Index of Other Ancient Literature