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New Testament World, Third Edition, Revised and Expanded: Insights from Cultural Anthropology (Revised, Expanded) Paperback – 1 Feb 2001

5.0 out of 5 stars 2 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 274 pages
  • Publisher: Westminster John Knox Press; Revised, Expand edition (1 Feb. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0664222951
  • ISBN-13: 978-0664222956
  • Product Dimensions: 15.2 x 1.6 x 22.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 46,080 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Bruce J. Malina is Professor of New Testament and Early Christianity of the Department of Theology at Creighton University in Omaha, Nebraska.


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By A Customer on 21 Dec. 1998
Format: Paperback
Malina's volume is a must for anyone who intends to exegete the New Testament. Students of the Bible will benefit greatly from the material because it introduces one to a world unlike our own.
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Very quick delivery and as described.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4.8 out of 5 stars 20 reviews
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars A great guide to the social world of the Bible 21 Dec. 2011
By Helios Apollo - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Understanding the cultural context of the Bible should be the first priority of any Christian or atheists who tries to debate or study the Bible. To this end, I also recommend "Honor, Patronage, Kinship, and Ritual Purity" by David DeSilva. HPKRP is a great starter book for the novice as it is an easy read and yet covers the titular cultural facets to an acceptable depth as is befitting a book for novices. I would also recommend "The New Testament World" but would caution the novice that this book is a bit more complex and abstract than DeSilva's book.

"The New Testament World: Insights from Cultural Anthropology" attempts to explain the culture of the 1st century Mediterranean world with particular emphasis on the Jews of the Bible. Honor, patronage, kinship, and ritual purity are covered as you might expect, but it plumbs them to a much greater depth. Here are some of the cultural facets that Malina attempts to explain:

1) Honor - what is it? How can honor be earned or lost? What is considered honorable? What is expected of an honorable male or female, lower class, or elite class member? What kind of examples in history demonstrate honor and shame in action?

2) Marriage - what values were attached to marriage in the 1st century? Who were eligible to be married and where would they seek their marriage partner? What role did marriage play in the kin? What marriage strategies were used in the different time periods of the Bible? What about divorce? When is divorce acceptable?

3) Kinship - who was considered kin? How important was your kin? What duties must one perform or live up to?

4) Relations with people outside of kin - what is a dyadic contract? A patron-client relationship? When would you seek such a relationship? How did one repay debts?

5) Ritual purity - what are purity maps? What purpose did they serve? Do we have parallels in our modern culture to ritual purity? What did one have to do to be considered ritually pure and what did one have to do should they defile themselves to be restored to purity?

6) Personalities of the First Century - how did a 1st century Jew view themselves? What kind of personality did they have? How does this relate to any other cultural consideration (honor, purity, and so on)?

7) Social activist groups - how common were they? How did they form? Why did they form? How does Jesus' little group of followers relate to other social groups of His time?

And above all, Malina attempts to tie all these in to Biblical accounts. One thing is for certain - if you can read and you read it with an open mind, this book will teach you things. You will never read your Bible the same way again.

Each chapter ends with a nice summary, there are several useful graphs to help you understand difficult, abstract concepts, and the book ends with study questions that you can use to test your understanding. All in all, this is a solid book for understanding the social context of the Bible.

So was there anything bad? Well, Malina tends to repeat himself at times and maybe it was just me, but he would at least appear to go off on tangents and explain things that might be considered irrelevant (at least to me); but there's nothing really obviously bad with this book. It's throughly documented, and the index in the back is invaluable as it lists topics with page numbers and a list of scripture references.

Final verdict - a definite buy, provided you don't mind swimming in deeper waters as opposed to some more novice-friendly books such as HPKRP.
5.0 out of 5 stars Getting Inside the New Testament Social World 18 Aug. 2012
By EEG - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
In this 2001 book, Malina systematically treats the culture of the New Testament world by contrasting it with contemporary Western culture. He organizes his presentation around a series of core Judean culture traits. His in-depth coverage draws on constructs from cultural anthropology, making it helpful to have had an introductory course in this field. For this reason, this book is a more challenging read than was his 1993 title, 'Windows on the World of Jesus'. The earlier book is written in a more accessible style for the non-specialist reader. Malina has as his underlying objective in both of these books to make the reader appreciate the great distance between his own contemporary experience of social reality and that of 1st century Judeans. He believes that without applying such a perspective, the reader is prone to misinterpret what he reads in the New Testament, as if it were taking place in our own time.
5.0 out of 5 stars A must for serious Bible students 13 Feb. 2013
By William T. Reynolds - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Malina work "The New Testamant World" provides an excellent description of 1st century culture. For serious Bible study, it is importent to remove our 21st century cultural lens and try to hear the Bible as the first audiance. This book does a great job of explaining the 1st century culture and highlighting the differences between then and now. The companion book "Social Science Commentary on the Synoptic Gospels" should be used after reading "Insites from Cultural Anthropology"
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great insights 11 Nov. 2007
By M. Abe - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
For years, I have been trying to discover the cultural background of the New Testament. Malina answered a lot of my questions in very helpful ways. I enjoyed the variety of subjects that he covers, and his paragraphs comparing contemporary and first century cultures were quite helpful. The concepts he describes in the first century Mediterranean culture exist in many cultures today, which can be useful if one is involved in any cross culture work. This book made my research and teaching deeper and more interesting. I would highly recommend it to any Bible scholar. (I am a minister and seminary student.)
5.0 out of 5 stars great knowledge 19 July 2011
By MCdawg - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book arrived in perfect condition. It has very interesting knowledge which I found to be extremely helpful for my biblical backgrounds class. It gives you great insight to the culture and procedures of the bible world and makes understanding scripture in context a lot more easier!
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