Ben Witherington is beginning a multi-part review of Gary Hoag’s Wealth in Ancient Ephesus and the First Letter to Timothy: Fresh Insights from Ephesiaca by Xenophon of Ephesus. Along the way, he makes an impassioned case for Neutestamentlers to dig deeper into the classics:
Here I want to talk about the value of reading NT documents in light of both Greco-Roman and Jewish sources, not just one or the other. The problem of course is that most NT scholars were not, and are not students of the classics first, which makes me a rarity. I did Latin and Greek classics in junior high, high school, and college, and this helped me immensely to be prepared to be a good student of the NT, which after all, is all in Greek, and more often than not addresses people who do not live in Palestine but for whom the Greco-Roman world is their reality. So, when someone finds a Greek document that nobody previously had compared to the NT, and does the hard work of comparing it to a relevant relatively contemporary NT book— this is a good thing.
I look forward to what Ben has to say about what Gary has to say about what Xenophon might tell us about 1 Timothy.