Here's why the logo says "Story, Chronology, and Classical Context." 

Story: Christian scripture is a sourcebook for exploring our heritage and inspiring our future. Whether we commit to the ongoing renewal of traditions or experiment with new styles of gathering, we necessarily write and re-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-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 our own.

Chronology: The bedrock of history is chronology because we cannot make sense of the past without temporal context. People's actions and reactions, and their development of new ideas, were influenced by causal factors and random happenstance alike, which can make timing a bit different than sequence. In any case, history is development -
growth & change, stimulus & response, adaptation & innovation, and whatever became evident through the passing of time. We cannot adequately envision "The New Testament World" or understand NT stories in their "historical context" unless we recognize that some situations were fluid during The New Testament Era. There is no singular "first century context" that fits every piece of scripture into precisely the same frame.

Classical Context: There were six Herods and five Caesars whose decisions 
affected the world around Jesus and Paul and their followers. Shifting political alliances and sporadic military conflicts altered the windows of possibility and affected the risk factors for travel to certain places at certain times. More broadly, a number of pivotal changes distinguish the contextual situations before and after (e.g.) 4 BCE, 7 CE, 31 CE, 54 CE, and 68 CE. Thus, contextualizing the history of Jesus and Paul requires us to distinguish between one temporal context or another. The New Testament Era is most properly contextualized by a classical milieu that continued developing, day by day, year by year, change by change. 

In summation, the posts on this site explore different ways in which so-called "New Testament Backgrounds" might be woven together more cohesively with the stories contained in the New Testament, first as literature for contextual interpretation, and then as material worth investigating historically.

Anon then...  I sign off with these words to reflect that our studies remain ongoing until God takes the last word, but "Anon" is also my homage to LSU's Don Moore, who taught Shakespeare with one eye on aspects of stage production. In one personal anecdote, Don said an actor missed their cue to come onstage, which briefly froze the whole cast ("you can't ad lib Shakespeare") until Don exclaimed, "Anon my Lord!" and rushed offstage to find the straggler. Thus, "Anon" further reminds me that texts about people in action convey far more meaning when we can first properly infer the situational context of the characters in the story.

As much as anything, that sums up what I'm trying to do here.

I do hope you'll enjoy reading.

No comments:

Recent Posts
Recent Posts Widget
"If I have ever made any valuable discoveries, it has been owing more to patient observation than to any other reason."

-- Isaac Newton