This course provides an introduction to the collection of early Christian writings that make up the New Testament. It begins with an examination of the first-century context in which these writings took shape-one overshadowed by the Roman empire, influenced by Hellenistic culture, and based, above all, on varieties of Judaism. From there, the course takes up a few guiding questions. How, in this ancient context, did the first Christians understand and portray the figure at the center of their communities, Jesus of Nazareth? What do the New Testament writings reveal about the beliefs and aspirations of these communities as they advanced a movement that would, in time, become among the most consequential in world history? By the end of the course, students will have gained knowledge of the historical context of New Testament writings and an understanding of why the New Testament has been such an important and influential collection of writings.