Preachers and liturgy planners will find The Cultural World of the Apostles a complementary companion to Pilch & Acirc's previous series The Cultural World of Jesus. Each essay offers brief historical and literary information on the New Testament reading assigned for the Sundays in the three-year Lectionary cycle. Suggestions for cross-cultural comparisons with Western culture and links with the gospel for each Sunday encourage readers to explore pastoral applications to modern life.
The principle that guided the architects of the Lectionary in selecting the second readings in the Sunday Lectionary was that the readings should be short and easily understood. The second readings were intended to be an independent, semi-continuous reading of the letters attributed to Paul and James, with selections from Peter and Revelation. Pilch explains that, because the readings were shortened, their brevity has deprived readers of sufficient context to interpret the text-segment in a responsible way. To help people make sense of such high-context documents, Pilch provides in The Cultural World of the Apostles a broader literary context for each reading.
John J. Pilch, a highly-regarded biblical scholar and author, taught at Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore, Maryland and passed away in 2016. Among his numerous publications are The Cultural World of Jesus, and The Cultural World of the Prophets series, and Cultural Tools for Interpreting the Good News, published by Liturgical Press.