Tag Archives: thoughts

Background reading for NT Studies.

I came across this article at Dunelm on important Greco-Roman and Jewish primary sources to read as background for New Testament studies.  I was intrigued by his choice of Greco-Roman sources:


  1. Cicero: De Natura Deorum, De Finibis (both read like a 3 views on theology and ethics, respectively)
  2. Plato: Timaeus, Phaedo, Symposium (longer works like The Republic will also repay attention given)*
  3. Epictetus* and/or Seneca*
  4. Histories: Herodotus, Suetonius*, Tacitus
  5. Homer** (which was the “Bible” of Hellenism)
  6. Rhetorical handbooks by Quintillian or Aristotle

He links to Michael Bird, who advises budding scholars to “Read or eat Loeb Classical Library volumes for breakfast.”

While I can’t vouch for the nutritional value of Loeb volumes, I am pleased by how many of these authors I’ve come into contact with in the course of my classics degree: Plato, Seneca, Epictetus, Homer, and Suetonius.  (I’m curious as to why he omits classical tragedy, though.)  Even though I haven’t done much formal study in early Christianity or New Testament, I have a good background for doing so, much better than if I had been only a religious studies major.