This list comprises a set of books which provide background to and a deepening of what will be discussed in class, and which are available in the College Year in Athens library. It is a suggested bibliography on the subjects we will touch upon during our discussion and is not meant to be either required or exhaustive.
- Walter Burkert, Greek Religion. Cambridge: Harvard, 1995.
This is the classic and erudite survey of Greek religion in antiquity.
- Hans-Josef Klauck, Magic and Paganism in early Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.
An excellent study of the cultural contrasts engendered by the emergence of Christianity in the Greco-Roman-World
- The Religious Context of early Christianity. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2003.
This is a general introduction to religion life of the pre-Christian Greco-Roman world; basically an excellent reference work, a compliment to Burkert.
- Helmut Koester, Paul and His World Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2007
A collection of articles on the historical and archeological context of Paul’s writing from one of the premiere scholars of archeology and the New Testament.
- Wayne Meeks, The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul. Yale, 2nd ed. 2003.
This is the classic social-scientific study of urban Pauline Christianity.
- Jerome Murphy-O’Connor, Paul a Critical Life. Oxford University Press, 1996.
A major monograph on the life of Paul.
- Paul: His Story. Oxford University Press, 2006.
This is a short highly speculative but learned and entertaining account of Paul’s travels.
- St. Paul’s Corinth: Texts and Archeology. 3rd ed. Liturgical Press, 2002.
St. Paul’s Ephesus: Texts and Archeology. Liturgical Press, 2008.
These last two books by Murphy-O’Connor present the reader with excerpts from relevant primary texts regarding what we can know about the ancient cities themselves at the time of Paul’s activity. He provides an introduction to the various texts along with their translations. He also provides learned introductions to the sites themselves along with archeological descriptions.
- Calvin Roetzel, The Letters of Paul: Conversations in Context
This is a clear and erudite introduction to Paul’s writings, highlighting the importance of reading these texts as letters which relate to specific cultural contexts.
- E. P. Sanders, Paul: A Very Short Introduction Oxford, 2001
The title says it all, a good short introduction to Paul, especially his theology.
- Paul Trebilco, The Early Christians in Ephesus from Paul to Ignatius. Grand Rapids: Eerdmanns, 2004.
This is an exhaustive work on the history of Christianity in Ephesus for the first 100 hundred years or so summing up much modern scholarly consensus on the Pauline letters, and incidentally other NT documents associated with Ephesus. This really a resource for further research in particular issues which may concern Christianity and the city.
- N. T. Wright, Paul: In Fresh Perspective Fortress Press, 2009
A good introduction to Paul’s theology.