Most Important Background Features to Study the NT

Most Important Background Features to Study the NT July 29, 2013

I am in the throes of lecture prep for the fall term. I am currently working on my lecture on the Jewish and Greco-Roman background and context of the New Testament.
There is obviously a lot that could be said, and textbooks often cover quite a lot of ground. However, if you have only one hour to introduce uninitiated students to the salient events, ideas, and issues that “set” the New Testament period, what would they be?
If you had to choose five issues or subjects to talk about in one hour (regarding the background of the NT), what would they be?

(Full disclosure: I have in mind a few things, I have done lectures like these before, and I taught a course on Early Judaism last year, but I am trying to start fresh and make sure I separate the wheat from the chaff in this lecture)
BTW – I am currently reading (and enjoying) Warren Carter’s Seven Events That Shaped the NT World (Baker, 2013). I am enjoying it, but it has not been as satisfying as I had hoped. I will have a proper review of it coming soon!
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