Christianity, like Judaism, is an historical religion, by which I mean it is founded and grounded on historical events. This being the case, history is of paramount importance to understanding both the context and the content of the NT. In this post I am commending to you two very different sorts of resources for your libraries. The first of these deals with the issue of daily life and the social context of the Bible. I am on record as saying that social history is far more important to study than ancient histories of wars (e.g Caesar’s Gallic Wars, or Thucydides on the Peloponnesian Wars) if one would understand the Bible. It is also more important than applying modern sociological theories to the Bible to explain its content. Social history deals with ordinary everyday life, culture, customs. There is no finer dictionary out there on daily life in Biblical times than the Dictionary of Daily Life in Biblical and Post-Biblical Antiquity, edited by Ed Yamauchi and Marvin Wilson (the latter was my teacher in the 1970s for the Hebrew of Isaiah). These volumes emerged from Hendrickson in 2014-16, and the majority of the articles seem to have been written by the two editors, but many others also contributed articles. To illustrate the worth of these volumes, read the articles on dreams and on human sacrifice in the second volume of the series. The whole water front is covered– the ANE, the Jewish world, the Greco-Roman world, the early Christian world, with good bibliography at the end of each article. This was a labor of love of the two editors, and frankly it is more valuable and informative than many of the other dictionaries out there. You’ll find it here at Amazon—-
It is available in a one volume hardback edition, in four paperback volumes, and even on Kindle. In short, sell the parakeet and buy these books!