Contemporary Western readers of the New Testament may find it surprising that honor and shame, patronage and reciprocity, kinship and family, and purity and pollution offer us keys to understanding the methods and message of the New Testament. But as recent scholarship has discovered and David deSilva demonstrates, paying attention to these cultural themes opens our eyes and ears to new facets and overtones within the New Testament documents.
Honor, Patronage, Kinship & Purity is a book that will reward readers with a deeper appreciation of the New Testament and the gospel and instruct us in how we can live more faithfully in Christian community today.
"David deSilva has presented us with a helpful primer on first-century cultural values, which, unlike some treatments of the subject, does not neglect either the Jewish or Greco-Roman evidence of relevance for illuminating the New Testament. This study is marked by clarity of expression and a careful ordering of the material, coupled with helpful exegesis of some of the key biblical texts. Highly recommended." Ben Witherington III, professor of New Testament Interpretation, Asbury Theological Seminary "David deSilva invites his readers to read the New Testament according to the sociocultural categories of honor and shame, patronage and reciprocity, kinship, and purity and pollution that prevailed in the Greco-Roman world (including Judaism) of the first century. The clear explanations give fresh meaning to New Testament language about the church, grace, the household of God and holiness. This readable, accessible and contemporary text succeeds in placing New Testament teachings in their cultural context." Everett Ferguson, professor emeritus, Abilene Christian University
"David deSilva is a first-rate scholar with an excellent command of the primary sources of Greco-Roman antiquity. He invites the reader's attention to some prominent aspects of the New Testament (such as honor and kinship language) that most of us in Western culture miss and brings to bear a wider array of primary sources than most scholars who address these subjects. Unlike many other academic studies, this one also provides practical implications for how we relate to God and one another." Craig S. Keener, professor of New Testament, Eastern Seminary
"This book is a model of balanced approach to cultural-contextual study of New Testament writings. While shedding further light on many passages, David deSilva warns scholars against simplistic characterizations of ancient cultures. He cautions against ideological reading of certain texts and exposes moralistic trivializing of New Testament encounter with surrounding culture. Written with sustained clarity and ample account of modern discussions, at appropriate intervals this work takes academia into the public square. It invites Christians of all belief systems to critical examination of their own cultural contexts. Seminarians and ministers therefore dare not ignore the insights offered in this probing study." Frederick W. Danker, professor emeritus, Lutheran School of Theology at Chicago