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An indispensable introduction to Roman society, culture, law, politics, religion, and daily life as they relate to the study of the New Testament. The Roman Empire formed the central context in which the New Testament was written. Anyone who wishes to understand the New Testament texts must become familiar with the political, economic, societal, cultural, and religious aspects of Roman rule. Much of the New Testament deals with enabling its readers to negotiate, in an array of different manners, this pervasive imperial context. This book will help the reader see how social structures and daily practices in the Roman world illumine so much of the content of the New Testament message. For example, to grasp what Paul was saying about food offered to idols one must understand that temples in the Roman world were not "churches," and that they functioned as political, economic, and gastronomic centers, whose religious dealings were embedded within these other functions.Brief in presentation yet broad in scope, The Roman Empire and the New Testament: An Essential Guide will introduce students to the information and ideas essential to coming to grips with the world in which early Christianity was born.