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Ancient philosophies and religious movements had a significant influence on peoples' beliefs and behavior in the first century. The influence of Rome and Greece was evident throughout the world. Religious groups like the Pharisees and Sadducees, and teachings of contemporary Judaism about the Messiah affected Jesus' teaching and ministry.
II. Religious Backgrounds
A. The Most Pervasive Philosophies
B. Non-Christian Religious Options in the First Century
1. Mysteries and Magic
4. Imperial Cults
C. A Gnostic Creation Myth
D. Languages and Bibles in Israel and Beyond
1. Persian Period - Aramaic lingua franca
2. Hellenistic Period - Koine Greek Lingua franca
3. Roman Period
E. Non-Christian Religious Options in the First Century
1. Jewish World
2. Greco-Roman World
F. Solutions to the Problem of "Exile"
1. Pharisees: Obey God's Law better and help others to do so as well ("fence around Torah")
2. Sadducees: Accommodate to Rome
3. Essenes: Even stricter obedience than that of Pharisees needed. Thus:
4. Zealots: Revolt! Remember the Maccabees!
5. Am-ha-Aretz: Too busy staying alive to join in
6. Jesus: The exile is over!
G. Trends in Judaism in Jesus' Day
1. Three "Badges of National Righteousness"
a. Dietary laws
2. Three Symbols of National Identify
3. The Theological Framework: Covenantal Nomism
4. The Common Narrative and the Problem
H. Sadducees, Pharisees, etc.
1. Sadducees in world and of world
2. Pharisees in world but not of world
3. Zealots not in world but of world
4. Essenes not in world not of world
I. Jesus vs. Judaism
1. God involving Jesus and Spirit
2. God's people = Jesus' followers
3. Salvation more spiritual than political
4. Messiah must die
5. Two stages to Messianic era