New Testament slash History is Story, Chronology, & Classical Context.

About Story: Christian scripture is a sourcebook for exploring our heritage and inspiring our future. Today's christian vision is least mature when monolithic, and most dynamic when four-dimensional. Although the truth changes not, situations change constantly, and whether we commit to the ongoing renewal of tradition or to experimenting with innovative new gathering styles, we necessarily write our own story within our own time, as did each of the earliest churches. Whatever your present context, NT/History as-it-was remains the best narrative fertilizer from which we might grow whatever-comes-nextThe Christ of scripture, and those original churches, deserve to be fully respected, as they were in that context, before we appropriate their stories into our own.

About Chronology: Chronology is the bedrock of history, which requires both sequence and timing. Happenings rarely make sense without knowing what else took place at about the same time, or afterward, or before. Some perspectives on History lean toward causation and influence
 where others see interdependence and chaos, but ideas, actions, and reactions do not ever take place in a vacuum. History is development - growth &change, stimulus & response, adaptation & innovation, and all that is evidenced by the passing of time. The "New Testament World" cannot contextualize scripture unless we recognize that situational adjustments kept piling up during the New Testament Era. It's one thing to believe the events of the New Testament are true, but events are only "historical" when they can be related to other events, chronologically.

About Classical Context: Backgrounds are helpful. Connection is far better. Integration beats all. The Jesus movement impacted the world of the Herods and Caesars yet 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. Naturally, all of this played out very slowly across four dimensions. The New Testament is most properly contextualized by a classical milieu that continued developing, altogether, year by year, change by change. A number of differences distinguish the context of 4 BC from AD 7, from AD 33, from AD 54, from AD 70. To convey any story about that era 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 observe and infer from the stories and discourses of the New Testament documents themselves.

About Bill HeromanBill is about 6'3" and about forty years old. A retired Math teacher, an amateur christian historian, and a regional logistics implementation facilitator ("breaker breaker, good buddy"), Bill aspires to be the world's friendliest introvert, most inclusive conservative, and its funniest uptight person. Religiously, Bill is post episcopalian, post evangelical, post radical-house-church, and "as a post" dumb about religious politics. He hopes to exhaust this obsession with historical study sometime before Jesus returns... which should really 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, and until then, we press on. "Anon" is also my homage to LSU's Don Moore, who taught Shakespeare with one eye on the aspects of stage production. In Don's favorite anecdote from his own theater experience, an actor missed their cue to come onstage, which froze the actors (because "you can't ad lib Shakespeare") until Don said, "Anon my Lord!" and rushed offstage to find the culprit. For this reason, "Anon" reminds me to be patient about what comes next, and also that texts about people in action can convey far more meaning when we attempt to infer the actors' contextual situation.

As much as anything, that sums up what I'm doing here.

I do hope you'll enjoy reading.

Recent Posts