This course studies the results of archaeology, inscriptions, and other documents of the first century of the common era in order to provide the student with the necessary context for understanding the New Testament. The society of the first century CE, its social, economic, cultural, political, and religious realities influenced Jesus and the men and women behind the New Testament books. Without understanding the society of those days, we cannot really understand the message of the New Testament. However, we, the readers of the New Testament, are also influenced by the same realities in our society. We can only understand the New Testament if we read it as well within the context of our own society. The purpose of the course can be stated as follows: to provide the context ? that of first century society and that of 21st century society ? for a more adequate understanding of the New Testament books. Input from the professor, student research, classroom discussions leading to a major paper make up the course methodology. Throughout the course, students will be introduced to primary sources in translation.