Flavius Josephus (A.D. 37–c.100) is the author of what has become for Christianity perhaps the most significant extra-biblical writings of the first century. His works are the principal source for the history of the Jews from the reign of Antiochus Epiphanes B.C. 175–163) to the fall of Masada in A.D. 73, and therefore, are of incomparable value for determining the setting of late intertestamental and New Testament times.
The world is generally aware of only two people from ancient times with the name of Barnabas. First, there was the friend and traveling companion of Paul in the first century and a cousin of Mark the Gospel writer. The other was an unknown Alexandrian Jew in the times of Trajan and Hadrian of the second-century C.E. who wrote a twenty-one chapter epistle.
First Century AD Christianity found itself at odds with the culture, which dominated the Roman Empire at the time. Just as the Jewish Maccabees rejected the Greek culture two centuries before, so did the early Christians, who would not pay homage to other gods or to the Roman Emperor.
One of the well-known stories regarding the life of Jesus is his meeting with the Jewish religious leader Nicodemus, recorded in the third chapter of John’s Gospel.
Oral Tradition is both sharply distinguished from written tradition and yet closely connected with it. Many literary traditions are based on oral traditions, making it necessary to investigate how transitions were made from one to the other.
The Mishnah is an authoritative collection of exegetical material embodying the oral tradition of Jewish law and forming the first part of the Talmud.
The Sanhedrin was the supreme judicial council of Judaism with 71 members, located in Jerusalem. It figures prominently in the passion narrative of the Gospels during Jesus’ trial and appears again in Acts as the judicial court which investigates and persecutes the growing Christian church.
Christianity transforms the whole moral life of individuals, and of nations; breathes into morality its true life, love to God; and ceases not till all sin is banished from the earth, and holiness, which is essential to the idea of the church, is fully realized in the life of redeemed humanity.
The object of this General Introduction is, to obtain a clear view of the nature and purpose of Church History, and thus to gain the proper position for the contemplation of its details.