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The New Testament in Its World: An Introduction to the History, Literature, and Theology of the First Christians Hardcover – Illustrated, November 19, 2019

4.8 out of 5 stars 697 ratings

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From the Publisher

N.T. Wright's Lifetime of Scholarship in One Volume
New Testament in Its World Interior

Discover the New Testament like Never Before

The New Testament in Its World brings together decades of ground-breaking research, writing, and teaching into one volume that will open readers' eyes to the larger world of the New Testament. It presents the New Testament books as historical, literary, and social phenomena located in the world of Second Temple Judaism, amidst Greco-Roman politics and culture, and within early Christianity.

Historical context, textual criticism, sidebars, diagrams, and visually rich artwork make this survey of the New Testament a highly-readable tool for students or personal use.

textbook workbook dvd audio lectures part 1 audio lectures part 2 The New Testament in Its World eBook
Hardcover Book Workbook Video Lectures Audio Lectures, Part 1 Audio Lectures, Part 2 eBook
Length 992 Pages 176 Pages 13 Hours 5.5 Hours 7.5 Hours 987 Pages
Features Beautiful and durable hardcover jacketed textbook Assessment questions, exercises, and activities designed to support the students' learning experience College-level lectures filmed around the world; your passageway to the era of Jesus and the first Christians Audio recording of the video lectures Audio recording of the video lectures Convenient, digital version of the textbook
God and the Pandemic Collected Essays of N.T. Wright Interpreting Jesus Interpreting Paul Interpreting Scripture
God and the Pandemic Collected Essays of N.T. Wright Interpreting Jesus Interpreting Paul Interpreting Scripture
Topic: The Coronavirus and Its Aftermath Jesus, Scripture, and Paul The Gospels The Apostle and his Letters The Bible and Hermeneutics
Length: 96 Pages 768 Pages 368 Pages 224 Pages 400 pages
eBook Available:

Editorial Reviews


Two of today's most prolific evangelical New Testament scholars have now combined their expertise to produce an amazing volume: part introduction and survey, part 'cliff notes' on Wright's four volumes to date in his Christian Origins and the Question of God series, part a sneak preview of what he might say in his remaining two volumes, and part showcase for Bird's always sensible judgments, often nicely alliterated prose, and now and then particularly funny humor. Special features include the book's lavish illustrations, sidebars quoting choice ancient primary sources and hilarious 'emails from the edge' from a confused student to his patient professor who always replies wisely. Overall, the genre, like the quality, is one of a kind. -- CRAIG L. BLOMBERG, distinguished professor of New Testament, Denver Seminary

For all who have been anticipating a comprehensive and coherent reading of the entire New Testament from N. T. Wright, the wait is over. Wright and Bird offer their vision for the New Testament, with a lovely interplay of interpretative insights from the world behind the text, the world of the text, and the world in front of the text. Both look and content are energizing and engaging. This magisterial work provides an ideal textbook for courses on the New Testament. -- JEANNINE K. BROWN, professor of New Testament, Bethel Seminary, St Paul, Minnesota, USA

Masterful job by Wright and Bird, written with characteristic jauntiness and scholarly rigor. The numerous sidebars add spice to the substantial meal presented in the text. The book's power lies in its thorough historical study combined with its missional voice to the church today. -- LYNN H. COHICK, provost/dean, Denver Seminary, Denver, Colorado, USA

This is a distillation of Wright's quarter-century, multi-volume project exploring Christian Origins and the Question of God. Choice nuggets of Wright's most important discussions have been selected and blended with new material by both authors, enhanced with visuals, teaching aids, and online resources. If you want to introduce time-starved seminary students to the New Testament through the eyes of N. T. Wright but can't assign thousands of pages of reading, this is the book you need. -- DR J. P. DAVIES, tutor of New Testament and MA course leader, Trinity College, Bristol, England

Those beginning to study the New Testament for the first time can easily become overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what they need to know before they begin. This splendidly clear but wide-ranging introduction is a brilliant way in to serious study of the New Testament and will, deservedly, become the go-to textbook for a large number of readers. -- PAULA R. GOODER, Canon Chancellor, St Paul’s Cathedral, London

Professors Wright and Bird have essentially given students and scholars alike two books in one: a detailed introduction to the major historical and theological topics of New Testament study, and a primer on each of the New Testament's writings. Their world-class scholarship (wonderfully peppered with images, excerpts from ancient and modern writings, and more) rightly recognizes that the New Testament's aim was--and is--to promote worship, discipleship, and mission. -- MICHAEL J. GORMAN, Raymond E. Brown Chair in Biblical Studies and Theology, St Mary’s Seminary & University, Baltimore, Maryland, USA

Wright has proven himself a discipline-shaping scholar, Bird a master textbook writer. When you put their minds and skills together, you get an excellent introduction to the New Testament: witty, accurate, accessible, eye-catching. This is a must-have resource for students. -- NIJAY K. GUPTA, associate professor of New Testament, Portland Seminary, Portland, Oregon, USA

This is the New Testament introduction of all New Testament introductions! Not only is this a superb New Testament introduction from the keyboards of two of today's most prolific and balanced New Testament scholars, but more advanced students will find here an accessible and mature synthesis of and primer for N. T. Wright's voluminous work. -- CRAIG S. KEENER, F. M. and Ada Thompson Professor of Biblical Studies, Asbury Theological Seminary, Wilmore, Kentucky, USA

Wright and Bird have done a great service to the church and the academy with this volume. They introduce readers to the major historical, literary, and theological themes of the New Testament in a way that is highly readable, yet they do not shy away from the difficult questions. They manage to avoid the twin dangers of excessive skepticism and uncritical pietism. It is the epitome of faith seeking understanding, and it will find a welcome home in many colleges and seminary classrooms as well pastors' libraries. -- ESAU MCCAULLEY, assistant professor of New Testament, Wheaton College, Wheaton, Illinois, USA

N.T. (Tom) Wright can't write anything that is not interesting and suggestive and even at times provocative. His shelf or two of books is now condensed, reworked, and put in digestible form for even more readers. This is a lifetime of scholarship and a landmark publication by one of the world's leading New Testament scholars. I'm grateful too for the creative contribution Mike Bird makes in pulling all of this into one final heap of fun. -- SCOT MCKNIGHT, Julius R. Mantey Chair of New Testament, Northern Seminary, Lisle, Illinois, USA

The big, bold theological interpretation of the New Testament that N. T. Wright has been building, piece by piece, in monographs and commentaries over the years now appears here in an accessible, single-volume New Testament introduction. -- DR MATTHEW V. NOVENSON, senior lecturer in New Testament and Christian Origins, University of Edinburgh, Scotland

Tom Wright and Mike Bird give us the opportunity to appreciate the breadth and detail of Wright's vision of the New Testament--one of the most far-reaching of recent times. The format of a New Testament introduction means that we also get to fill in the gaps on New Testament books that have not featured extensively in Wright's major books. We also get to find the answers to many 'So, what would he say about . . . ?' questions. This book will be highly valued by students, scholars, and churches. -- PROFESSOR PETER OAKES, Greenwood Senior Lecturer in Theology, School of Arts, Languages and Cultures, University of Manchester, England

With inimitable verve and piquancy, two of this generation's scholarly juggernauts give us a New Testament introduction that unapologetically sets up shop at the all-too- untraveled crossroads of history and theology. -- NICHOLAS PERRIN, president, Trinity International University, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School, Deerfield, Illinois, USA

From beginning to end, Tom Wright and Mike Bird relentlessly orient the study of the New Testament to questions of faith, transformation, worship, and mission. Not only does the book assemble Tom's massive scholarship in one volume, but also integrates it with the concern of his ministry as Bishop of Durham, to serve the church. If you are invested in the development of theological students, pastors, and congregations, you should get this book. In fact, no matter what your view, you will find much to benefit you, from discussions of primary texts to practical examples. -- ELIZABETH E. SHIVELY, University of St Andrews, Scotland

Interpreting the New Testament is a complex task and Wright and Bird work at it with customary passion and a commitment to clarity and coherence. These qualities make it an ideal starting-point for anyone who wants to understand early Christianity and its canonical texts. -- DR SEAN WINTER, Pilgrim Theological College, University of Divinity, Melbourne, Australia

About the Author

N. T. Wright is the Chair of New Testament and Early Christianity at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland. He is the award-winning author of many books, including After You Believe, Surprised by Hope, Simply Christian, The Challenge of Jesus, and The Meaning of Jesus (coauthored with Marcus Borg), as well as the series Christian Origins and the Question of God.


Michael F. Bird is Academic Dean and lecturer in theology at Ridley College in Melbourne, Australia. He is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission, The Saving Righteousness of God, Evangelical Theology, Romans (Story of God Bible Commentary Series), The Gospel of the Lord: How the Early Church Wrote the Story of Jesus, and editor of The Apostle Paul: Four Views. He also runs a popular theological studies blog called “Euangelion” and can be followed on twitter @mbird12. 

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Product details

  • Publisher ‏ : ‎ Zondervan Academic; Illustrated edition (November 19, 2019)
  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
  • Hardcover ‏ : ‎ 992 pages
  • ISBN-10 ‏ : ‎ 0310499305
  • ISBN-13 ‏ : ‎ 978-0310499305
  • Item Weight ‏ : ‎ 4.41 pounds
  • Dimensions ‏ : ‎ 6.4 x 2.5 x 9.5 inches
  • Customer Reviews:
    4.8 out of 5 stars 697 ratings

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Customer reviews

4.8 out of 5 stars
4.8 out of 5
697 global ratings

Top reviews from the United States

Reviewed in the United States on November 20, 2019
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3.0 out of 5 stars Awkward Format. Student Textbook version of NT Wright's Main Series.
By BoldlyAsserted on November 20, 2019
The physical format is awkward. Paper is a fairly heavy coated stock so the nearly 1,000-page book is about 2.5" thick. The thick pages and small format (brick-like) make it hard to read (takes constant force to keep it open). I suspect few will make it through this weighty volume because of those physical barriers. Also, the pages feel cramped because the margins are very small (feels like they cheaped out here). Hardcover has a nice cover material. Overall, I would have preferred thinner, less glossy pages (they are matte not glossy) with a larger pages size to facilitate reading rather than selling and wrapped in a glossy print hardcover with no dust jacket. I was actually hoping for something better at this price point >$40 - but I guess online shopping has irreversibly impaired the physical quality of books.

A quick review of the book - it is clearly a student edition (like the other reviews are saying). It's NT Wright for Dummies mashed with a NT Introduction in a near cubic hardcover. It looks targetted at a first-year NT course. I'm sure they'll sell a million of these as textbooks. Not a book with real lasting value.

If you have NT Wrights series already (NT & People, Jesus & Victory, Res of Son, Paul &), you don't need this. It is the coles notes version (with some add-ons for the parts of the NT yet covered in his scholarly series). And the Fortress softcovers are great for reading.

The release is a bookselling event not a scholarly event.

If you haven't ready NT Wrights' major series, this is probably a superb place to start.
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Top reviews from other countries

5.0 out of 5 stars Holistically greatest NT survey/introduction.
Reviewed in Canada on April 15, 2021
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Cailey Clarke
5.0 out of 5 stars Great Book for Understanding NT Context
Reviewed in Canada on December 29, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ripped Front Cover
Reviewed in Canada on March 20, 2020
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1.0 out of 5 stars Ripped Front Cover
Reviewed in Canada on March 21, 2020
It's a $60 book and it arrived ripped. Not happy. This is an important addition to my library that I need for my master's work and don't have time to return it. Now what? Disappointed that people would ship this knowing it ruined.l
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Marijke Seven
1.0 out of 5 stars The New Testament in it’s world has an unsightly tear in the upper spine of 1.5 inches
Reviewed in Canada on March 25, 2020
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5.0 out of 5 stars Greatly recommended
Reviewed in Canada on February 2, 2021
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