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.
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.
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.
“Salvation is of the Jews.”1 This wonderful people, whose fit symbol is the burning bush, was chosen by sovereign grace to stand amidst the surrounding idolatry as the bearer of the knowledge of the only true God, his holy law, and cheering promise, and thus to become the cradle of the Messiah.
Judaism was a Jewish religious system the was not really based on the Hebrew Scriptures. One of the most prominent divisions of Judaism, that of the Sadducees; Then, there were the Pharisees, another important branch of Judaism. There were other minor branches as well. These two main groups followed oral traditions and unscriptural traditions, which made it hard for many common Jews or Jewish religious leaders to accept Christ. The traditions of men helped to enslave the Jewish people to their unscriptural traditions and their religious leaders.
To see clearly the relation of the Christian religion to the preceding history of mankind, and to appreciate its vast influence upon all future ages, we must first glance at the preparation which existed in the political, moral, and religious condition of the world for the coming of our Savior.
But for those who do not adopt the extreme agnostic position, there is no other logical position except that of accepting the general scheme of ancient history, in which Christianity is the crowning factor that gives unity and rational plan to the whole.
When the disciples realized that they had seen the risen Christ for the last time and that it had now become their duty to spread His message, they gathered themselves together and restored the number of "witnesses" to the appointed Twelve. Immediately afterward the outpouring of the Holy Spirit gave them the signal to begin work.