Exam 1: Introduction to the New Testament

Exam 1: Introduction to the New Testament

  1. The New Testament is made up of four sections. What are these four sections and which books belong to these sections? The New Testament has four sections namely: Gospels, Acts, Epistles, and Apocalypse. Correspondingly, Gospels has four books, which include Mathew, Mark, Luke, and John. Acts has one book called the Acts of the Apostles. The Epistles has 21 books: Romans, 1 and 2 Corinthians, Galatians, Ephesians, Philippians, Colossians, 1 and 2 Thessalonians, 1 and 2 Timothy, Titus, and Philemon. The Apocalypse has only one book called The Revelation.

2.What was the Maccabean Revolt? Who led to it and what was the purpose? What happened in the end?The Maccabean Revolt was a war against Antiochus IV, who ruled the Seleucid Empire. The war was fought to preserve the Jewish way of life. Correspondingly, Antiochus had issued decrees prohibiting Jewish religion from being practiced, in preference of Greek gods. Moreover, stole money from Jewish temples and wanted them to sacrifice pigs, which in Jewish customs made them unclean and unworthy to worship in the temple. The war was led by Priest Mattathias, who was assumed to be the Messiah, the Jewish savior. As an esteemed leader, he refused to offer sacrifices to the pagan gods in exchange for being included in the king’s circle of friends.By fleeing to the Mountains, Mattathias, his sons Judah, Jonathan, and Simon, and friends began the uprising. The revolt ended in a brief victory for the Maccabees. The Jews celebrated their first Festival of Light in which they purified the temples of all cultic influences. However, the Roman Empire finished the Maccabean family and put the Maccabees under their control. The Jews, under the Roman rule, desired a Messiah, who would fight for them as Mattathias’ family had.

  1. What were the three main Jewish sects or groups that formed in response to the political crisis of the Maccabean revolt, and what were the characteristics of each? The three groups that emerged include the Sadducees, the Pharisees, and the Essenes. The Sadducees, aristocratic and priestly, derived their power from the Jewish Temple. The Sadducees were also the majority seat holders of the Sanhedrin, which was the Jewish council. The group believed in the afterlife, contrary to the Pharisees, and only followed the Pentateuch. Conversely, the Pharisees were devoted Jews who adhered to the law and all its entirety. The populous also debated on what was and what was not accepted in keeping the laws of Moses, which they deemed vague. The vagueness created Oral Law, which the Sadducees objected.The Essenes were an independent group that thought the Pharisees were lax in observing the law while the Sadducees defiled the temple and were corrupt.
  2. Discuss and describe eight characteristics of “pagan” religion in the ancient world. Then compare these characteristics to the Jewish Religion of Israel.Paganism entailed polytheism, which is the worship of many gods. Additionally, there was a hierarchy for the divinities. At the top was the One God, followed by the Great Gods, then Daimonia and local gods, who were above divine beings, heroes, and demigods, and finally human beings. Additionally, each god had a role to play like bringing rain or famine.The gods were also worshipped through cultic acts and hosting periodic festivals in their honor and to secure favor. The gods also communicated to people through dreams and oracles. The religion was also keen on one’s present existence and paid little regards to the afterlife although it was considered important as well. The religion did not care about doctrines and ethics in their daily lives. Lastly, no religion made any claims of being the only true religion.

Jewish religion differed from Paganism. The Jews were monotheists, meaning they believed and worshipped one god. Forthwith, they did not believe in a hierarchy of gods. Torah also guided the Jews, the Laws of Moses, that spelled out their obligations towards each other and God. Jews also constructed temples in which they worshipped and performed cultic sacrifices. Except for the Temple in Jerusalem which was exclusively for the Almighty God, all other temples had an idol representing a deity that they worshipped.


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