Essential Reading

The most frequently cited primary sources in this course are the writings of the New Testament. Any modern translation is acceptable. The New Revised Standard Version (NRSV) is available in several formats, among them The New Oxford Annotated Bible with Apocrypha edited by B. M. Metzger and R. E. Murphy (New York: Oxford University Press, 1991). The NRSV has the advantage of using the best available manuscript evidence and of being gender-inclusive. I tend to prefer its predecessor, the Revised Standard Version, which is not gender-inclusive but is overall a more accurate translation.

A large number of other ancient primary texts are referred to or cited in the lectures. The following works contain most of them (as well as many others):

Barrett, C. K. The New Testament Background: Writings from Ancient Greece and the Roman Empire Illustrating Christian Origins. Rev. ed. New York: Harper and Row, 1987. A collection of abbreviated entries whose main value is pertinence; Jewish texts are included as well.

Charlesworth, J. H. The Old Testament Pseudepigrapha. 2 vols. Garden City, NJ: Doubleday, 1992. This splendid collection contains introductions, translations, and helpful notes for all extant Jewish literature between the Maccabees and Mishnah, excepting the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Elliott, J. K. The Apocryphal New Testament. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1993. A contemporary translation (with introductions and notes) of all pertinent apocryphal (non-canonical) Christian literature, except the Gnostic and patristic. Look here especially for the apocryphal Acts of the Apostles.

Lewis, N., and Reinhold, M. Roman Civilization: Selected Readings. 2 vols., 3rd ed. New York: Columbia University Press, 1998. A valuable reference for a wide array of primary sources, almost all of them abbreviated, dealing with everything from commercial law to religion.

The Loeb Classical Library. New York: G.P. Putnam's Sons, 1927. This series of more than 500 titles contains original language and translated versions of most of the classical authors treated in this course. Look here under author for the writings of Epictetus, Lucian, Dio Chrysostom, and Cicero, as well as Philo and Josephus. Roberts, A., and Donaldson, J. Ante-Nicene Fathers: The Writings of the Fathers down to A.D. 325. Peabody, MA: Henrickson Publishers, 1994 [1885]. This reprint of the standard set of early patristic writings in English translation remains the most accessible, even if in a somewhat archaic rendering. Look in the first two volumes for the writings of Ignatius, Polycarp, the Didache, Justin, and Irenaeus.

Robinson, J. M., ed. The Nag Hammadi Library in English. Translated and introduced by the members of the Coptic Gnostic Library of the Institute for Antiquity and Christianity. 4th rev. ed. Leiden: E.J. Brill, 1996. This volume contains all the Gnostic materials discovered in Egypt in 1947.

Vermes, G. The Dead Sea Scrolls in English. 3rd ed. Baltimore: Penguin Books, 1987. A responsible and readable version of the library discovered at Qumran in 1947 and so important for the understanding of Judaism in Palestine in the first century.

For further guidance to names and topics mentioned but insufficiently clarified in this course, recourse can be had to these standard reference works:

Encyclopedia of Religion. Edited by Mircea Eliade. New York: MacMillan, 1987.

The Oxford Classical Dictionary. 2nd ed. Edited by N. G. L. Hammond and H.H. Scullard. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1970.

The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church. 3rd ed. Edited by E. A. Livingstone. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 1997.

Frequent reference is made to two books by the teacher of this course:

Johnson, L. T. The Writings of the New Testament: An Interpretation. 2nd ed. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998. A textbook that covers the range of issues having to do with Christian origins.

-. Religious Experience in Earliest Christianity: A Missing Dimension in New Testament Studies.

Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 1998. Five of the twenty-four lectures have a fuller exposition, as well as a substantial set of discussions by way of notes, in this book.

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