RELIGION IN THE IMAGINED NEW TESTAMENT WORLD: MORE SOCIAL SCIENCE LENSES

Bruce J Malina

Abstract


The task of New Testament interpretation entails reading sources with the use of comparative scenarios culled from the first century Mediterranean world and the interpreter’s contemporary world (Malina 1991).  A basic set of scenarios for New Testament interpretation requires some sort of explicit consideration of the comparative ways in which people understood themselves and their living together with others.  Living with others inevitably entailed a perception of how a person’s life was controlled by others and how to approach those others who controlled one’s life.  Obviously this perception of being controlled and of connection to the one(s) who controlled is fundamental to the social institution of politics (or government) as well as religion.  For religion is always rooted in analogies drawn from the social experience of being controlled and of connection to those who control, whether in a kinship or a political framework.  The purpose of this essay is to obviate anachronistic assessments of religion in New Testament times by situating the institution of religion within the framework provided by the stages of social bonding.


Keywords


New Testament interpretation; New Testament world; Social Control; Political Social Interaction

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7833/51-0-1595

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ISSN 2305-445X (online); ISSN 0254-1807 (print)

Attribution CC BY-NC-ND 4.0


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