New Testament slash History is Story, Chronology & Classical Context.
About Story: Christian scripture is a sourcebook for exploring our heritage and inspiring our future. The earliest christians were unified by Christ but diverse in their practice, and the NT Story contains many episodes with a variety of beginnings, middles and ends. Today's christian vision is least mature when monolithic, and most dynamic when four-dimensional. The truth changes not, but situations change constantly. Therefore, whether we commit to the ongoing renewal of tradition or to experiment with innovative new gathering styles, we must necessarily write our own story within our own time, as did each of the earliest churches. Whatever your context, NT/History as-it-was remains the best narrative fertilizer from which we might grow whatever-comes-next. The Christ of scripture, and those original churches, deserve to be fully respected, as they were in that context, before we appropriate their stories into ours.
About Chronology: The bedrock of history is chronology, which requires both sequence and timing. Things that happen are always impacted by when they happen, by what else was happening at about the same time, and by whatever had already happened before. Whether one's view of History leans toward causation and influence or towards interdependence and chaos, it remains true that human ideas and events do not ever exist in a vacuum. History is development - growth, change, stimulus, response, adaptation & innovation. Our human lives are lived out in this way and so our view of scripture needs to be oriented this way. The context of the New Testament is the world and the time to which it refers. The events of the New Testament are only "historical" to the extent that they can be related to one another, chronologically.
About Classical Context: Background is helpful. Connection is far better. Integration beats all. The Jesus movement impacted the world of the Herods and Caesars but remained bounded within it. Likewise, the decisions of Herods and Caesars created circumstances that affected the decisions of Jesus, of Paul, and of all of their followers. Everything, naturally, played out slowly in four dimensions. That is, the New Testament is most properly contextualized by a classical milieu that was, itself, only progressing a little bit at a time. A world of changes took place from 4 BC to AD 7, to AD 33, to AD 54, to AD 70. The full story, in context, depends on rightly dividing those times, one from another. The posts on this site explore, tentatively, ways in which so-called "New Testament Backgrounds" might be woven together more cohesively with the history that we can discover in the narratives of the NT itself.
About Bill Heroman: Bill is about 6'3" and about forty years old. He's a retired Math teacher, an amateur christian historian and a regional logistics implementation facilitator ("breaker breaker, good buddy"). He's the world's friendliest introvert, an inclusive conservative, and often hysterical on facebook. Religiously, Bill is post-episcopalian, post-evangelical, post-radical-house-church, and dumb as a post about religious politics. He hopes to exhaust this obsession with historical study sometime before Jesus returns... which really could be any century now.
Anon then... The words I often sign off with reflect that our studies are always ongoing, just like time itself. The last word on everything will be God's. Until then, we press on. We move forward. "Anon" is also my homage to LSU's Don Moore, who taught Shakespeare with one eye on the aspects of stage production. In one anecdote from his own theater experience, an actor missed their cue to come onstage, which froze the scene (because "you can't ad lib Shakespeare") until Don said, "Anon my Lord!" and rushed offstage to find the culprit. Because of this, "Anon" reminds me that texts about people in action should be read with a four-dimensional imagination. As much as anything, that sums up what I'm doing here.
I do hope you'll enjoy reading.