The development of ancient Greek and Roman religions from their inception to the rise of Christianity in the first century are covered. Special attention is given to the continuity between Greek religion and Roman religion, as well as the rise of the imperial cult after the end of the republican regime, and the incorporation of oriental cults into the framework of Roman society and religious practices.
In order for the student to fully understand the context of the New Testament and the early development of the church, he/she must have a basic understanding of the opposing views, namely Greek and Roman religions. It is in response to these that many early Christians wrote.
Proper understanding of the context of the New Testament requires a basic knowledge of Greek and Roman religions.
A complete and accurate understanding of much of the New Testament requires an understanding of the pagan context of the first century.
Although Greek and Roman religions are no longer present, the missional student will still encounter similar ideas and practices.
This study will ground the student in the context of the New Testament, and will prepare him to better address contexts where Christianity is in the minority.
The study of these early religions is by necessity an exercise in intercultural studies and application.
The student will be equipped to better teach the New Testament after understanding the world context of the first century.
The student will be better prepared to engage non-believers in non-Christian cultures.