As part of the Christian Bible, the New Testament is at once widely influential and (especially among the young and the educated) increasingly unknown. Those who want to know the basics can find in this introduction the sort of information that locates these ancient writings in their historical and literary context. Those who want to learn why these compositions have had such impact can find here an appreciation for the religious experiences of the first Christians that forced them to reinterpret their Jewish and Greek heritage and reshape their symbolic world. In addition to providing the broad conceptual and factual framework for the New Testament -- including the process by which distinct compositions became a sacred book -- this introduction provides as well a more detailed examination of specific compositions that have had particularly strong influence, including Paul's letters to the Corinthians and Romans, the four Gospels, and the Book of Revelation. ABOUT THE SERIES: The Very Short Introductions series from Oxford University Press contains hundreds of titles in almost every subject area. These pocket-sized books are the perfect way to get ahead in a new subject quickly. Our expert authors combine facts, analysis, perspective, new ideas, and enthusiasm to make interesting and challenging topics highly readable.