A Hebrew word that refers to those who are materially or spiritually poor
and seeking God. These persons were often considered the outcasts of society
A literary genre in which an author reports symbolic dreams
or visions, given or interpreted through an angelic mediator, which reveal
the heavenly mysteries that can make sense of earthly realities. Comes from
the Greek term meaning "to unveil."
A reasoned explanation and justification of one's beliefs and/or
practices, from a Greek word meaning "defense."
Refers to an irresolvable internal contradiction in a text. Also known
as a "literary seam"
The act of losing one's faith or leaving the faith for another
Generally, one who is commissioned to perform a task, form the
Greek word meaning "sent"; in Early Christianity, the term was used to
designate special emissaries of the faith who were understood to be
representatives of Christ.
Refers to technical term derived from the Latin word for "blessings."
Are found in both the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
From a Greek word meaning "ruler" or "straight edge." The term
can designate any recognized collection of texts; the canon of the New
Testament is thus the collection of books that Christians accept as
Greek word for "anointed one"
Dead Sea Scrolls
Ancient Jewish writings discovered in several caves near
the northwest edge of the Dead Sea, widely thought to have been produced
by a group of apocalyptically minded Essenes who lived in a monastic like
community from Maccabean times through the Jewish War of 66-70 C.E.
Greek for "dispersion," a term that refers to the dispersion of Jews away from Palestine into other pars of the Mediterranean, beginning with the Babylonian conquests in the sixth century BCE
A follower, one who is "taught."
Another designation for a private letter
An apocalyptic and ascetic Jewish sect started during the
Maccabean period, members of which are generally thought to have
produced the Dead Sea Scrolls.
A kind of literature with specific literary features
A Jewish designation of a non-Jew
A group of ancient religions, some of them closely related to
Christianity, that maintained that elements of the divine had become
entrapped in this evil world of matter and could be released only when they
acquired the secret gnosis (Greek word for knowledge) of who they were
and of how the cold escape.
When this word is capitalized, it refers to a literary genre: a written
account of the "good news" brought by Jesus Christ.
When this word is NOT capitalized, it refers NOT to a book but to
the proclamation of the "good news" of Christ's salvation.
The lands (and culture) around the Mediterranean
from the time of Alexander the Great to the Emperor Constantine, roughly
300 B.C.E. to 300 C.E.
The spread of Greek language and culture (Hellenism)
throughout the Mediterranean, starting with the conquests of Alexander the
Any worldview or set of beliefs deemed by those in power to be
deviant, from a Greek word meaning "choice" (because "heretics" have
"chosen" to deviate from the "truth").
Community from which member(s) produced the Book of Revelation
A group of Jewish Christians who believed that in order to be a Christian,
one had to first become Jewish
Kingdom of God
In the teachings of Jesus, the Kingdom of God appears
to refer to utopian society where truth, peace, and justice are the norm. This
kingdom would be ruled by God's anointed one (i.e., the Messiah). In the
Gospel of Matthew, the author uses the expression "Kingdom of Heaven"
rather than Kingdom of God.
From a Hebrew word that literally means "anointed one,"
translated into Greek as Christos, from which derives our English word
Christ. In the first century C.E., there was a wide range of expectations
about whom this anointed on might be. Some Jews anticipated a future
warrior king like David. Some expected a cosmic redeemer from heaven.
Some expected an authoritative priest. Some expected a powerful prophetic
spokesperson from God like Moses.
Refers to a literary technique in which Jesus refuses to reveal
his true identity
All of the letters of the New Testament that claim to be
written by Paul, even those in which Paul's actual authorship is
questionable. Galatians, 1 Corinthians, 1 Thessalonians, and Romans are all
examples of Pauline Epistles
The practice of using quotations from a document out of context in order to establish a proposition.
Hypothetical document scholars believe was a common source for the Gospels of Matthew and Luke.
Place near the northwest shore of the Dead Sea, where the Dead
Sea Scrolls were discovered in 1946. This was evidently the home to a
group of Essenes who had used the Scrolls as part of their library.
All the lands conquered by Rome and ruled, ultimately, by
the Roman emperor, starting with Caesar Augustus in 27 B.C.E.
A Jewish party associated with the Temple cult and the Jewish
priests who ran it, comprising principally the Jewish aristocracy in Judea.
The party leader, the High Priest, served as the highest ranking local official
and chief liaison with the Roman governor. Sadducees ONLY accepted the
five books of the Torah to be authoritative. They also rejected the idea of
the resurrection of the body.
A council of Jewish leaders headed by the High Priest, which
played an advisory role in matters of religious and civil policy.
Jewish place of worship and prayer, from a Greek word that
literally means "being brought together." Synagogues allowed for Jews who
did not have access to the Temple in Jerusalem a place where they could
come and worship (though not offer animal sacrifice) and discuss the
The Gospels of Mathew, Mark, and Luke so labeled because of their
A Hebrew word that means "guidance" or "direction," but is usually
translated "law." As a technical tern it designates either the Law of God
given to Moses or the first five books of the Jewish Bible—Genesis, Exodus,
Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy.
Method used to study a literary text by asking how its genre text functioned in its historical context by exploring how it would have been understood to its earliest readers in light of its literary characteristics.
Method used to study a literary text by noting its similarities to and differences from other related texts, whether or not any of these other texts was used as a source for the text in question.
Method used to study a literary text by isolating its leading ideas, or themes, and exploring them, seeing how they are developed in the text, so as to understand the author's overarching emphases.
The study of how authors modified or edited (redacted) their sources in view of their own vested interests and concerns.
A Jewish sect, which may have originated during the Maccabean
period, that emphasized strict adherence to the purity laws set forth in the
Torah. In order to do this, they interpreted the best way to live out Torah in
their day to day life. This gave rise to a collection of oral traditions on how
one ought to live. In general, Pharisees believed in the resurrection of the