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5 The Cultural Context of the New Testament: The Graeco-Roman World

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Chapter Summary

The relationship between early Christianity and its environment has been viewed in a number of ways. For the most part, in the first century, particularly outside Palestine, Christianity took root in major cities, frequently provincial capitals, on the main routes. People could communicate in the common Greek, which had developed with the spread of Greek culture three centuries earlier during Alexander the Great's conquests. The Graeco-Roman world was highly oral, and that exercised a profound influence on education. Education progressed through three stages. In the first, pupils were given elementary instruction in reading and writing; in the second, they learned more about grammar and, in addition, language and literature; and in the third, they could specialize according to their professional interests by placing themselves under the tutelage of a philosopher, a physician, or a lawyer.

Keywords: early christianity; Graeco-Roman world; Greek culture



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