The books of the New Testament represent the diverse views of ancient authors writing in the first two centuries of our era, yet for two millennia they have empowered the thoughts and actions of individuals and communities far removed from their original historical settings. Was Jesus a liberal socialist revolutionary or a conservative tax-protestor? Was Paul Jewish or anti-Jewish? Did early Christianity empower women or marginalize them? Does the Book of Revelation vilify the Roman Empire, Nazi Germany, or contemporary globalization? These types of questions and their answers influence contemporary religion and politics, but often rest on shaky historical foundations. In this course, students analyze the books of the New Testament and other ancient Christian writings in their original social, religious, and political contexts in the eastern regions of the Roman Empire.