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Honor, Patronage, Kinship and Purity: Unlocking New Testament Culture Paperback – 30 Nov 2000

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Product details

  • Paperback: 375 pages
  • Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press,US (30 Nov. 2000)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0830815724
  • ISBN-13: 978-0830815722
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 2.5 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 580,382 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Rev. R. Davis on 10 Feb. 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is essential to understand the culture of the New Testament since it was the same and different to ours in today's multiform and multicultural ways. reading old literature has to be done through an understanding of cross-cultural communication! The NT is new and old at the same time to us. So read and understand key value systems- honour ....
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 16 reviews
18 of 18 people found the following review helpful
Wonderful 4 Jan. 2006
By Lee E. Foster - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book is helpful to the aspiring biblical scholar and to the Christian layman. It situates the Bible firmly in its 1st Century mediterranean culture, first by exploring the contemporary texts, then examining the scriptures. At the end of the chapters dealing with scripture, he briefly writes on the practical applications of this knowledge, which is particularly useful. Some feel that he wrecks his book this way, by forcing 1st Century culture into the service of 21st century protestant evangelicalism. However, it is always presented as either a way to fulfill the Great Comission or how to apply the New Testament, a group of books nearly 2000 years old, to our modern lives. I recommend this above Bruce Malina's "The New Testament World" because of its clarity and practical application, although both are wonderfully informative.
13 of 13 people found the following review helpful
A tremendous survey 12 July 2005
By Jimmy Archer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
In studying the New Testament, or any ancient text, we must understand much about the environment it came out of--the societal values, the cultural assumptions, the historical context, etc--otherwise we unwittingly anachronize our interpretations and read ancient literature as if they were written in our day. David deSilva, a member of the Context Group, has here a wonderful and informative survey of four key social values. Not only does he have a very accessible explanation of each value, he follows with a series of application to the New Testament texts. The client-patron model is observed in Lk 7:2-10 (p.123), which serves as an excellent illustration of how patronage functioned. His discussion of grace (favor) is fascinating (ch. 3), presenting it through the eyes of the ancients. Grace must be met with grace; favor must always give birth to favor; gift must be met with gratitude. (p. 105) He cites Seneca's explanation of the three Graces , which is indeed, in deSilva's words, most revealing . This is an important book, one to be studied alongside other Context Group publications. It will, with diligent study, do much to 'unlock' the background of the New Testament.
I would also note, since there is an excellent review by Loren Rosson (my addition can be taken as supplementary or confirmatory), that the particular segment referred to in p.84 is a short section and can easily be skipped. One can come to the book strictly for the social sciences and skip over the application parts--or skim them for helpful references.
9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Helps to understand the background and culture of the bible 19 Feb. 2008
By Amazon Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
DeSilva argues in "Honor, Patronage, Kinship,and Purity" that we need to understand these four pivotal concepts in order to unlock the bible in its original context. Our culture, with its emphasis on individualism, has lost its sense of shame and dishonor which were so important in the ancient world.

When the Pharisees challenge Jesus because he eats without washing, they challenged his honor, not just his adherence to purity laws. A need to seek approval from others was pervasive throughout the ancient world, and especially so among Jews. Status and wealth were typically imbued with great honor among the Romans, but right behavior and leading a blameless life was more honorable among the Jews.

There is an interesting discussion of the early Christians. "Strict avoidance of participation in idolatrous worship meant that the Christians would need to remove themselves from much of the public life of their city" (p 47). They formed their own kinship group instead. The believers in Corinth, for example, gained honor by giving alms to congregations in need. Instead of the usual patronage system so common in Rome, a Christian was told to be grateful, not to his wealthy benefactor, but to the God who gave him life. "God's patronage of the Christian community is evidenced in the growth of...churches and members" (p 133).

Kinship was the primary source of status, a tendency even more pronounced in Jewish culture. Hence legitimacy of relationship is very important. Huge lists of genealogies were kept in the temple to show who was eligible to be a priest. And later, in early Christianity, much was made of Jesus being the son of the Father, and of adopting us as his legitimate heirs.

A very useful book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
New Testament world comes alive 16 July 2010
By Lori S - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
The subtitle of this book--Unlocking New Testament Culture--says it all. As a seminary student, I have found HPKP to be a great resource, not only for writing papers, but for deepening my own understanding of Scripture. The book covers four aspects/concepts prevalent in first century culture, devoting two chapters to each one. As deSilva unpacks these concepts and shows how the gospels and epistles are steeped in them, the New Testament comes alive in a whole new way. Understanding the ancient concepts of patronage and reciprocity lays a great foundation for understanding the gospel itself. Nothing could be more fundamental. This book has helped me enter into the world of the apostles and my faith has increased as a result. It is well-written, easy to read, and well worth every penny.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A Necessary Companion to New Testament Students 24 Nov. 2013
By Narrowminded1 - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Without the social and cultural backgrounds of the 1st Century, a New Testament reader will miss out, misunderstand, and even misinterpret much of the New Testament. deSilva brings this much needed information to the foreground, which will help clarify the New Testament to the honest truth-seeker. I especially liked his clarification of the Grace-gift (Gr. charis), which is too often interpreted as a one-sided coin that is only dependent upon God, without any required and/or expected responses by the recipients of GRACE. Excellent book, highly recommended for the inductive Bible student.
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