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University of Portland Clark Library

THE 205: Biblical Texts in Global Contexts (Lester): World Behind the Text

What is the World Behind the Text?

The World Behind the Text helps you to understand the historical and social context in which the Biblical text was written.

It includes:

  • date the biblical text was written
  • authorship of the biblical text (person or sources)
  • historical, social, and cultural context

Bible Dictionaries

Use Bible dictionaries to learn about people, places, and events during the time the Bible was written.  For example, look for information about: role of women, marriage, warfare, the relationship between Canaan and Egypt, etc.

Class Activity: Historical Context

  1. Go to the online The Jerome Biblical Commentary for the Twenty-First Century

  2. Search for Genesis written by Mark S. Smith.

  3. Enter 1 piece of information you found about the historical context of the book of Genesis (for example: Date, Settings, Composition History) into the OneDrive document.

Biblical Commentaries

Look at the introduction section to the chapter about your book of the Bible in commentaries such as: 

Biblical History

Tip for using biblical history sources:

Find the time period when your book of the Bible was written (in a bible dictionary or the introduction section of a commentary).  Then use the biblical history source to learn about events happening at that time period. | 503.943.7111 or 800.841.8261 | 5000 N. Willamette Blvd., Portland, OR 97203-5798
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