Ferguson Backgrounds cover w/drop shadow I have to admit at times I’m a bit envious of today’s seminary students–until I remember cramming for exams and the like. I’m actually referring to the ever-growing Accordance Library with titles such as Everett Ferguson’s Backgrounds of Early Christianity (3rd edition) released today. This was a textbook I used in a backgrounds class I took a few years ago. Back then, I had to buy the “dead-tree” version of the book, but I would have loved to have had it in Accordance at the time.

Of course, Backgrounds of Early Christianity is a valuable work for all those who study or teach the Bible, whether professionally or simply for personal understanding. As nothing is written in a vacuum, the cultural and socio-political context for any document is essential for understanding not only circumstances surrounding the events it contains, but even its message. This is true even for biblical literature.

If you’re not already familiar with Ferguson’s work, this is definitely a title you will want to add to your personal Accordance Library. Here is the publisher’s description:

Having long served as a standard introduction to the world of the early church, Everett Ferguson’s Backgrounds of Early Christianity has been expanded and updated in this third edition. The book explores and unpacks the Roman, Greek, and Jewish political, social, religious, and philosophical backgrounds necessary for a good historical understanding of the New Testament and the early church. New to this edition are revisions of Ferguson’s original material, updated bibliographies, and fresh discussions of first-century social life, of Gnosticism, and of the Dead Sea Scrolls and other Jewish literature.

Backgrounds of Early Christianity is divided into six main sections: Political History, Society and Culture, Hellenistic-Roman Religions, Hellenistic-Roman Philosophies, Judaism, and Christianity in the Ancient World. Both subject and Scripture indexes from the print version are included, but having this title in Accordance allows every word to become part a potential search, far beyond what the editors deemed important for a standard subject index.

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Ferguson’s Backgrounds of Early Christianity

The Accordance edition of Backgrounds also includes the black and white photographs included in the print edition. However, I quickly noticed that the photos in the Accordance version are of much better quality than the photos on paper. If you’re using any of these photos in a teaching setting in presentation software like PowerPoint or Keynote, you’ll be pleased to have such high quality images with which to illustrate your slides.

When using Backgrounds in academic settings, don’t forget Accordance’s citation feature. When you copy text from the Accordance edition and paste it into a word processor such as Microsoft Word, Redler’s Mellel, and Nota Bene, a footnote is automatically placed in the document with appropriate citation content, including page number(s).

Anyone who studies the New Testament and further developments of Early Christianity will benefit from Everett Ferguson’s Backgrounds of Early Christianity. Now, if I could only figure out an easy way to transfer my marginal notes from the print version to the Accordance edition!

For a limited time, Accordance users can add the title to their personal Accordance Library for 25% off the regular list price.

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Regular Price $39.90