Religious Context of Early Christianity

There is a lot of talk about parallels between the New Testament and Graeco-Roman literature, some even claiming that the New Testament is almost completely dependent on pagan myths.  Therefore, it is important for anyone interested on this issue, on either side, to read Hans-Josef Klauck’s The Religious Context of Early Christianity: A Guide to Graeco-Roman Religions.  This is the most balanced book that I have ever read on this subject.  Klauck is not afraid to point out parallels but he also calls into question claims of overall dependence.  Klauck’s aim is not to be a Christian apologist but to allow the Graeco-Roman religions speak for themselves and not to be forced into some radical theory.  Klauck deals with quite a few forms of religion including mystery religions, state religions, philosophy and even gnosticism.  If you are interested in any of these areas, this is the book to pick up.  Considering that this book was translated from German, it is quite readable and you do not have to be a scholar to get something from it.  This is a highly recommended resource for anyone interested in the New Testament’s relationship with other contemporary religions.

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