Graeco-Roman Milieu

From: Edgar M. Krentz (
Date: Fri Jun 28 1996 - 10:32:20 EDT

Reply to your request:

>Since you've posted the list of things you think we ought to know, and I have
>basically no Graeco-Roman reading background at all I wondered if you
>would >offer suggestions about where to start. My main area of interest
>for my >dissertation at least is Luke-Acts, if that makes a difference.

A short, but I trust, helful response.

1. Relevant pages in two surveys:

   Everett Ferguson, *Backgrounds of Early Christianity,* 2nd ed.,
Eerdmans, 1993. ISBN 0-8028-0669-4. Extensive bibliographic lists.
   Helmut Koester, *History, Culture, and Religion of the Hellenistic Age.*
Intero to NT vol. 1. 2nd ed. New York, Berlin: Walter de Gruyter, 1995.
ISBN 3-11-014692-4

2. John Ferguson, *REligions of the Roman Empire. Cornell

3. For Luke-Acts try the following:
   *The Book of Acts in its First Century Setting. ed. Bruce Winter. 4
vols out, to be 6 in all. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans

After that read texts, both in translation and [if possible] in the
original. Here LCL and Bude volumes {if you have French) are very helpful.
Note topics of interest and vocabulary. Don't concentrate ONLY on first
century authors. Dip into jourals like JHS and JRS, GRBS, etc. Spend some
time in the classics section of the UC-Berkeley library just browsing
around in the stacks. [DS and PA sections; early numbers in B section,

Areas to dip into: Hellenistic-Roman philosophy (Musonius Rufus,
Epictetus); miracle, medicine and magic (Epidaurus and its healing
inscriptions; Asklepios cult); Patron system, social structure (works by
Richard Saller!); urban life; social institutions (e.g. baths, festivals,
entertainment); rhetoric and education (Second Sophistic, etc.)

Read anything and everything by Ramsay MacMullen.

That should get you going.

Edgar Krentz <>
Luthran School of Theology at Chicago
1100 East 55th Street, Chicago, IL 60615
Off: 312-256-0752 H: 312-947-8105

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