The New Testament: A Historical Introduction to the Early Christian Writings

Paperback | July 15, 2011

byBart D. Ehrman

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Featuring vibrant full color throughout, the fifth edition of Bart D. Ehrman''s highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Distinctive to this study is its unique focus on the historical, literary, and religious milieux of the Greco-Roman world, including early Judaism. As part of its historical orientation, the book also discusses other Christian writings that were roughly contemporary with the New Testament, such as the Gospel of Thomas, the Apocalypse of Peter, and the letters of Ignatius.

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Featuring vibrant full color throughout, the fifth edition of Bart D. Ehrman's highly successful introduction approaches the New Testament from a consistently historical and comparative perspective, emphasizing the rich diversity of the earliest Christian literature. Distinctive to this study is its unique focus on the historical, literary, and religious milieux of the Greco-Roman world, including...

Bart D. Ehrman is the James A. Gray Professor of Religious Studies at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. He has published numerous books and articles, including The Apocryphal Gospels: Texts and Translations (OUP, 2011); A Brief Introduction to the New Testament, Second Edition (OUP, 2010); and Lost Christianities: The Battles for Scripture and the Faiths We Never Knew (OUP, 2005).

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Format:PaperbackDimensions:608 pages, 7.52 × 9.21 × 0.98 inPublished:July 15, 2011Publisher:Oxford University PressLanguage:English

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ISBN - 10:0199757534

ISBN - 13:9780199757534

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Table of Contents

Chapters 2-30 end with Key Terms and Suggestions for Further Reading Boxes Maps, Time Lines, and Diagrams Preface to the Fourth Edition Preface to the Fifth Edition Acknowledgments Notes on Suggestions for Further Reading Credits Master Time Line 1. What is the New Testament? The Early Christians and Their Literature The Diversity of Early Christianity The New Testament Canon of Scripture Implications for Our Study At a Glance: Box 1.5 The New Testament Canon Excursus: Some Additional Reflections: The Historian and the Believer Take a Stand 2. Do We Have the Original New Testament? Publishing Books: Now and Then How Can We Know if We Have an Ancient Author's Actual Words? What Manuscripts of the New Testament Do We Have? The Good News and Bad News A Concrete Example Accidental Mistakes Intentional Errors Criteria for Establishing the Text At a Glance: Box 2.6 The Text of the New Testament Take a Stand 3. The World of Early Christian Traditions The Problem of Beginnings One Remarkable Life The Environment of the New Testament: Religions in the Greco-Roman World Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 3.3 The Roman Empire At a Glance: Box 3.6 The World of Early Christianity Take a Stand 4. The Jewish Context of Jesus and His Followers Judaism as a Greco-Roman Religion Political Crises in Palestine and Their Ramifications The Formation of Jewish Sects At a Glance: Box 4.6 The Jewish World of Early Christianity Take a Stand 5. The Traditions of Jesus in Their Greco-Roman Context Oral Traditions behind the Gospels At A Glance: Box 5.3 The Traditions of Jesus Excursus: Some Additional Reflections: The Authors of the Gospels Take a Stand 6. The Christian Gospels: A Literary and Historical Introduction The Question of Genre Biography as a Greco-Roman Genre The Gospels as Ancient Biographies At A Glance: Box 6.2 The Christian Gospels Take a Stand 7. Jesus, The Suffering Son of God: The Gospel According to Mark The Beginning of the Gospel: Jesus the Messiah, the Son of God Who Fulfills Scripture Jesus the Authoritative Son of God Jesus the Opposed Son of God Jesus the Misunderstood Son of God Jesus the Acknowledged Son of God Jesus the Suffering Son of God Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 7.6 Son of God and Son of Man Jesus the Crucified Son of God Jesus the Vindicated Son of God Conclusion: Mark and His Readers At A Glance: Box 7.8 The Gospel of Mark Take a Stand 8. The Synoptic Problem and Its Significance for Interpretation Methods for Studying the Gospels The Synoptic Problem The Methodological Significance of the Four-Source Hypothesis At a Glance: Box 8.3 The Synoptic Problem Take a Stand 9. Jesus, The Jewish Messiah: The Gospel According to Matthew The Importance of Beginnings: Jesus the Jewish Messiah in Fulfillment of the Jewish Scriptures Jesus and His Forerunner from Matthew's Perspective The Portrayal of Jesus in Matthew: The Sermon on the Mount as a Springboard Jesus and the Jewish Cultic Practices Prescribed by the Law Jesus Rejected by the Jewish Leaders Matthew and His Readers At A Glance: Box 9.6 Matthew Take a Stand 10. Jesus, The Savior of the World: The Gospel According to Luke The Comparative Method and the Gospel of Luke A Comparative Overview of the Gospel The Preface to Luke's Gospel Luke's Birth Narrative in Comparative Perspective From Jew to Gentile: Luke's Portrayal of Jesus the Rejected Prophet Luke's Distinctive Emphases throughout His Gospel Conclusion: Luke in Comparative Perspective At A Glance: Box 10.7 Luke Take a Stand 11. Luke's Second Volume: The Acts of the Apostles The Genre of Acts and Its Significance The Thematic Approach to Acts From Gospel to Acts: The Opening Transition Themes in the Speeches in Acts At A Glance: Box 11.7 The Book of Acts Excursus: The Author of Luke--Acts and His Audience Conclusion: The Author and His Themes in Context Take a Stand 12. Jesus, The Man Sent From Heaven: The Gospel According to John The Gospel of John from a Literary-Historical Perspective The Gospel of John from a Thematic Perspective The Gospel of John from a Comparative Perspective The Gospel of John from a Redactional Perspective The Socio-Historical Method The Gospel of John from a Socio-Historical Perspective The Author of the Fourth Gospel At A Glance: Box 12.7 The Gospel of John Take a Stand 13. From John's Jesus To The Gnostic Christ: The Johannine Epistles and Beyond The Questions of Genre and Author The New Testament Epistolary Literature and the Contextual Method Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.2 The Gospel and Epistles of John: Some Thematic Similarities The Johannine Epistles from a Contextual Perspective At a Glance: Box 13.3 Methods for Studying the New Testament Reflections on the Contextual Method At a Glance: Box 13.5 The Johannine Epistles Beyond the Johannine Community: The Rise of Christian Gnosticism Gnostics and the Johannine Community At a Glance: Box 13.8 Gnosticism Take a Stand 14. Jesus From Different Perspectives: Other Gospels in Early Christianity Narrative Gospels Sayings Gospels Infancy Gospels Passion Gospels Conclusion: The Other Gospels At a Glance: Box 14.5 The Other Gospels Take a Stand 15. The Historical Jesus: Sources, Poblems, and Methods Problems with Sources Non-Christian Sources Christian Sources Using Our Sources: Some of the Basic Rules of Thumb Specific Criteria and Their Rationale Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 15.4 Judas and the Roasting Chicken Conclusion: Reconstructing the Life of Jesus At A Glance: Box 15.5 The Sources for the Historical Jesus Take a Stand 16. Excursus: The Historian and the Problem of Miracle Miracles in the Modern World and in Antiquity The Historian and Historical Method At a Glance: Box 16.1 The Problem of Miracles Take a Stand 17. Jesus in Context Popular Modes of Resistance to Oppression An Ideology of Resistance At A Glance: Box 17.2 First-Century Palestinian Judaism Jesus in His Apocalyptic Context At a Glance: Box 17.5 Jesus as an Apocalyptic Prophet Take a Stand 18. Jesus, The Apocalyptic Prophet The Apocalyptic Deeds of Jesus The Apocalyptic Teachings of Jesus The Apocalyptic Death of Jesus At a Glance: Box 18.10 Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet Take a Stand 19. From Jesus to the Gospels The Beginning of Christianity Jesus' Resurrection from an Apocalyptic Perspective Jesus' Death, according to the Scriptures The Emergence of Different Understandings of Jesus At A Glance: Box 19.4 From Jesus to the Gospels Take a Stand 20. Paul the Apostle: The Man and His Mission The Study of Paul: Methodological Difficulties The Life of Paul Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 20.3 What Did Paul Look Like? At a Glance: Box 20.5 Paul and His Mission Take a Stand 21. Paul and His Apostolic Mission: Thessalonians as a Test Case The Founding of the Church in Thessalonica The Beginnings of the Thessalonian Church: A Socio-Historical Perspective The Church at Thessalonica after Paul's Departure Conclusion: Paul the Apostle At a Glance: Box 21.4 1 Thessalonians Take a Stand 22. Paul and the Crises of His Churches: 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Philippians, and Philemon 1 Corinthians At A Glance: Box 22.2 1 Corinthians 2 Corinthians At A Glance: Box 22.4 2 Corinthians Galatians At A Glance: Box 22.8 Galatians Philippians At A Glance: Box 22.11 Philippians Philemon At a Glance: Box 22.12 Philemon Take a Stand 23. The Gospel According to Paul: The Letter to the Romans The Occasion and Purpose of the Letter The Theme of the Epistle Pauline Models for Salvation The Flow of Paul's Argument Conclusion: Paul and the Romans At A Glance: Box 23.6 Romans Take a Stand 24. Does the Tradition Miscarry? Paul in Relation to Jesus, James, Thecla, and Theudas Paul in Relation to What Came Before Paul in Relation to What Came After Conclusion: Pauline Christianities At A Glance: Box 24.3 Paul in Relation to What Came Before and After Take a Stand 25. In the Wake of the Apostle: The Deutero-Pauline and Pastoral Epistles Pseudonymity in the Ancient World The Deutero-Pauline Epistles At a Glance: Box 25.5 The Deutero-Pauline Epistles The Pastoral Epistles The Historical Situation and Authorship of the Pastoral Epistles Conclusion: The Post-Pauline Pastoral Epistles At a Glance: Box 25.7 The Pastoral Epistles Take a Stand 26. From Paul's Female Colleagues to the Pastor's Intimidated Women: The Oppresion of Women in Early Christianity Women in Paul's Churches Women Associated with Jesus Paul's Understanding of Women in the Church Women in the Aftermath of Paul Ancient Ideologies of Gender Gender Ideology and the Pauline Churches At A Glance: Box 26.4 Women in Early Christianity Take a Stand 27. Christians and Jews: Hebrews, Barnabas, and Later Anti-Jewish Literature Early Christian Self-Definition Continuity and Superiority: The Epistle to the Hebrews At a Glance: Box 27.3 Hebrews Discontinuity and Supremacy: The Epistle of Barnabas At a Glance: Box 27.6 The Epistle of Barnabas Conclusion: The Rise of Christian Anti-Judaism Take a Stand 28. Christians and Pagans: 1 Peter, The Letters of Ignatius, The Martyrdom of Polycarp, and Later Apologetic Literature The Persecution of the Early Christians Christians in a Hostile World: The Letter of 1 Peter At a Glance: Box 28.3 1 Peter Christians Sentenced to Death: The Letters of Ignatius At a Glance: Box 28.5 The Letters of Ignatius Christians before the Tribunal: The Martyrdom of Polycarp At a Glance: Box 28.6 The Martyrdom of Polycarp Christians on the Defensive: The Later Apologetic Literature Take a Stand 29. Christians and Christians: James the Didache, Polycarp, 1 Clement, Jude, and 2 Peter The Epistle of James The Didache Polycarp's Letter to the Philippians Jude 2 Peter Conclusion: Conflicts within the Early Christian Communities At a Glance: Box 29.5 Christian Internal Conflicts Take a Stand 30. Christians and the Cosmos: The Revelation of John, The Shepherd of Hermas, and the Apocalypse of Peter Introduction: The End of the World and the Revelation of John The Content and Structure of the Book of Revelation The Book of Revelation from a Historical Perspective Apocalyptic Worldviews and Apocalypse Genre The Revelation of John in Historical Context At a Glance: Box 30.5 The Book of Revelation The Shepherd of Hermas The Apocalypse of Peter Take a Stand Glossary of Terms Index BOXES 1. Another Glimpse into the Past:Box 1.1 The Canon of Scripture Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 1.2 The Hebrew Bible and the Christian Old Testament Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 1.3 The Common Era and Before the Common Era Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 1.4 The Layout of the New Testament At a Glance: Box 1.5 The New Testament Canon 2. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 2.1 30,000 Variant Readings?! Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 2.2 The Abrupt Ending of the Gospel of Mark Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 2.3 Citing Chapter and Verse Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 2.4 Jesus and the Woman Taken in Adultery Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 2.5 Is the Doctrine of the Trinity Explicitly Taught in the New Testament? At a Glance: Box 2.6 The Text of the New Testament 3. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 3.1 Pagan and Gentile Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 3.2 The Greco-Roman World Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 3.3 The Roman Empire What Do You Think?: Box 3.4 Divine Rulers as Savior Gods What Do You Think?: Box 3.5 Christianity as a Mystery Cult At a Glance: Box 3.6 The World of Early Christianity 4. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 4.1 The Septuagint: The Hebrew Bible in Greek Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 4.2 Flavius Josephus Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 4.3 Divine Revelation in the Dead Sea Scrolls Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 4.4 Women in the Synagogues Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 4.5 Other Jewish Miracle-Working Sons of God At a Glance: Box 4.6 The Jewish World of Early Christianity 5. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 5.1 Orality and Literacy in the Ancient World What Do You Think?: Box 5.2 Mark and John on the Time of Jesus' Death At A Glance: Box 5.3 The Traditions of Jesus 6. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 6.1 Plutarch on Biography At A Glance: Box 6.2 The Christian Gospels 7. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 7.1 The Jewish Messiah Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 7.2 Jewish Scribes, Herodians, and Chief Priests What Do You Think?: Box 7.3 Jesus' Opponents in Mark What Do You Think?: Box 7.4 Jesus the Angry Healer What Do You Think?: Box 7.5 The Messianic Secret in Mark Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 7.6 Son of God and Son of Man What Do You Think?: Box 7.7 The Charge of Blasphemy according to Mark At A Glance: Box 7.8 The Gospel of Mark 8. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 8.1 Ironing Out the Problems: One Potential Difficulty in Mark's Account Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 8.2 The Contents of Q At a Glance: Box 8.3 The Synoptic Problem 9. What Do You Think?: Box 9.1 Matthew's Scheme of Fourteen What Do You Think?: Box 9.2 The Women in Matthew's Genealogy Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 9.3 The Golden Rule What Do You Think?: Box 9.4 Gentiles in Matthew's Community What Do You Think?: Box 9.5 Was Matthew a Jew? At A Glance: Box 9.6 Matthew 10. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 10.1 Apologetic Literature in Early Christianity What Do You Think?: Box 10.2 Historical Problems with Luke's Birth Narrative What Do You Think?: Box 10.3 The Virginal Conception in Matthew and Luke What Do You Think?: Box 10.4 Jesus' Bloody Sweat in Luke Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 10.5 Jesus as a Righteous Martyr What Do You Think?: Box 10.6 The Institution of the Lord's Supper in Luke At A Glance: Box 10.7 Luke 11. What Do You Think: Box 11.1 The Book of Acts: An Ancient Novel? What Do You Think? Box 11.2 Luke's Mysterious Two Men Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 11.3 Luke's Artistry as a Storyteller 1 Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 11.4 Luke's Artistry as a Storyteller 2 What Do You Think? Box 11.5 The Death of Judas Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 11.6 Christianity before Paul At A Glance: Box 11.7 The Book of Acts 12. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 12.1 Jesus' Signs in the Fourth Gospel Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 12.2 "The Jews" in the Fourth Gospel Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 12.3 Jesus and the "I Am" Sayings in John What Do You Think?: Box 12.4 The Death of the Beloved Disciple in the Johannine Community What Do You Think?: Box 12.5 John's De-Apocalypticized Gospel Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 12.6 Did the Early Christians Think That Jesus was God? At A Glance: Box 12.7 The Gospel of John 13. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.1 A Letter from Greco-Roman Egypt Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.2 The Gospel and Epistles of John: Some Thematic Similarities At a Glance: Box 13.3 Methods for Studying the New Testament Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.4 House Churches in Early Christianity At a Glance: Box 13.5 The Johannine Epistles Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.6 How Do You Know a Gnostic When You See One? Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 13.7 Gnostics and the Jewish Scriptures At a Glance: Box 13.8 Gnosticism 14. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 14.1 The Gospel of the Ebionites and Early Gospel Harmonies What Do You Think?: Box 14.2 Judas Thomas as Jesus' Twin Brother Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 14.3 The Older Sayings of the Gospel of Thomas Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 14.4 The Laughing Jesus At a Glance: Box 14.5 The Other Gospels 15. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 15.1 Christianity as a Superstition in the Roman World Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 15.2 The Testimony of Flavius Josephus What Do You Think?: Box 15.3 Aramaisms as a Criterion of Authenticity Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 15.4 Judas and the Roasting Chicken At A Glance: Box 15.5 The Sources for the Historical Jesus 16. At a Glance: Box 16.1 The Problem of Miracles 17. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 17.1 Prophecy and Apocalypticism At A Glance: Box 17.2 First-Century Palestinian Judaism Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 17.3 O Little Town of Nazareth Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 17.4 Jesus of Sepphoris? At a Glance: Box 17.5 Jesus as an Apocalyptic Prophet 18. What Do You Think?: Box 18.1 Explaining Away the Apocalyptic Traditions: Seeking the Lost What Do You Think?: Box 18.2 Explaining Away the Apocalyptic Traditions: Getting a Date What Do You Think?: Box 18.3 Was Jesus a Cynic Philosopher? What Do You Think?: Box 18.4 The Temple Incident as an Enacted Parable Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 18.5 Another Apocalyptic Jesus What Do You Think?: Box 18.6 Was Jesus Married with Children? Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 18.7 The Cosmic Deliverer of Israel What Do You Think?: Box 18.8 Jesus and "Family Values" What Do You Think?: Box 18.9 Jesus and Judas, the Betrayer At a Glance: Box 18.10 Jesus the Apocalyptic Prophet 19. What Do You Think?: Box 19.1 The Women and the Empty Tomb What Do You Think?: Box 19.2 Jesus, the Messiah, and the Resurrection What Do You Think?: Box 19.3 Vicarious Suffering in Jewish Martyrologies and Other Greco-Roman Literature At A Glance: Box 19.4 From Jesus to the Gospels 20. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 20.1 The Pauline Corpus Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 20.2 Other Sources for the Life of Paul Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 20.3 What Did Paul Look Like? What Do You Think?: Box 20.4 Paul on the Road to Damascus At a Glance: Box 20.5 Paul and His Mission 21. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 21.1 Rules for a Private Association What Do You Think?: Box 21.2 Christians Maligned as Perverts and Criminals What Do You Think?: Box 21.3 The Thessalonians' Perplexity At a Glance: Box 21.4 1 Thessalonians 22. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 22.1 Possibilities of Existence in the Afterlife At A Glance: Box 22.2 1 Corinthians What Do You Think?: Box 22.3 The Partitioning of 2 Corinthians At A Glance: Box 22.4 2 Corinthians What Do You Think?: Box 22.5 The Logic of the Opponents' Position in Galatia What Do You Think?: Box 22.6 Why Does Paul Appeal to the Law to Deny the Importance of the Law? Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 22.7 Just Say No: Paul's Gospel of Sexual Abstinence At A Glance: Box 22.8 Galatians Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 22.9 The Christ Hymn of Philippians What Do You Think?: Box 21.10 Was Paul Contemplating Suicide? At A Glance: Box 22.11 Philippians At a Glance: Box 22.12 Philemon 23. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 23.1 The Beginnings of the Roman Church What Do You Think?: Box 23.2 Paul's Gospel to the Romans What Do You Think?: Box 23.3 Two Different Ways of Salvation in Paul? Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 23.4 Judicial and Participationist Models of Salvation in Paul Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 23.5 Other Models of Salvation in Paul At A Glance: Box 23.6 Romans 24. What Do You Think?: Box 24.1 Jesus and Paul: Some of the Similarities What Do You Think?: Box 24.2 Jesus and Paul: Some of the Differences At A Glance: Box 24.3 Paul in Relation to What Came Before and After 25. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 25.1 Paul's Third Letter to the Corinthians What Do You Think?: Box 25.2 The Resurrection of Believers in Paul and Colossians Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 25.3 The "Household Rules" in Colossians and Ephesians What Do You Think?: Box 25.4 The Vocabulary of Salvation in Paul and Ephesians At a Glance: Box 25.5 The Deutero-Pauline Epistles Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 25.6 Church Hierarchy in Ignatius At a Glance: Box 25.7 The Pastoral Epistles 26. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 26.1 Mary Magdalene What Do You Think?: Box 26.2 Similarities between 1 Tim 2:11-15 and 1 Cor 14:34-35 What Do You Think?: Box 26.3 Women in the Manuscript Tradition of the New Testament At A Glance: Box 26.4 Women in Early Christianity 27. What Do You Think?: Box 27.1 Early and Diverging Views of Christians and Jews What Do You Think?: Box 27.2 Divergent Views of Christ in Hebrews At a Glance: Box 27.3 Hebrews What Do You Think?: Box 27.4 Six Thousand Years and Counting Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 27.5 Gematria in Early Christianity At a Glance: Box 27.6 The Epistle of Barnabas Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 27.7 Melito's Passover Sermon 28. What Do You Think?: Box 28.1 The Christian Disruption of the Family: The Case of Perpetua Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 28.2 The Spread of Christianity At a Glance: Box 28.3 1 Peter What Do You Think?: Box 28.4 An Alternative View of Christian Martyrdom At a Glance: Box 28.5 The Letters of Ignatius At a Glance: Box 28.6 The Martyrdom of Polycarp 29. Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 29.1 The Development of the Lord's Prayer What Do You Think?: Box 29.2 Polycarp and the Early Christian Tradition What Do You Think?: Box 29.3 Birds Raised from the Dead and Other Problems in the Corinthian Church Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 29.4 Peter, the Smoked Tuna, and the Flying Heretic At a Glance: Box 29.5 Christian Internal Conflicts 30. What Do You Think?: Box 30.1 The Book of Revelation as Underground Literature Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 30.2 The Author of Revelation in the Early Church Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 30.3 An Ancient Copyright Curse What Do You Think?: Box 30.4 Futuristic Interpretations of the Book of Revelation At a Glance: Box 30.5 The Book of Revelation Another Glimpse into the Past: Box 30.6 The Shepherd of Hermas and the Muratorian Canon