Who Were The First Christians

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Who Were the First Christians?

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Editor: Oxford University Press
ISBN: 0190620560
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Who Were the First Christians? by Summary

It has been widely assumed that there were 6 million Christians (or 10% of the population of the Roman Empire) by around the year 300. The largely-unexamined consensus view is also that Christianity was an urban movement until the conversion of Emperor Constantine. On close examination, it appears that these two popular views would nearly saturate every urban area of the entire Roman Empire with Christians, leaving no room for Jews or pagans. In Who Were the First Christians?, Thomas Robinson shows that scenario simply does not work. But where does the solution lie? Were there many fewer Christians in the Roman world than we have thought? Was the Roman world much more urbanized? Or, is the urban thesis defective, so that the neglected countryside must now be considered in any reconstruction of early Christian growth? Further, what was the makeup of the typical Christian congregation? Was it a lower-class movement? Or was it a movement of the upwardly mobile middle-class? Arguing that more attention needs to be given to the countryside and to the considerable contingent of the marginal and the rustic within urban populations, this revisionist work argues persuasively that the urban thesis should be dismantled or profoundly revised and the growth and the complexion of the early Christian movement seen in a substantially different light.

From Jesus to Christ

From Jesus to Christ Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Paula Fredriksen
Editor: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300164106
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From Jesus to Christ by Paula Fredriksen Summary

"Magisterial. . . . A learned, brilliant and enjoyable study."—Géza Vermès, Times Literary Supplement In this exciting book, Paula Fredriksen explains the variety of New Testament images of Jesus by exploring the ways that the new Christian communities interpreted his mission and message in light of the delay of the Kingdom he had preached. This edition includes an introduction reviews the most recent scholarship on Jesus and its implications for both history and theology. "Brilliant and lucidly written, full of original and fascinating insights."—Reginald H. Fuller, Journal of the American Academy of Religion "This is a first-rate work of a first-rate historian."—James D. Tabor, Journal of Religion "Fredriksen confronts her documents—principally the writings of the New Testament—as an archaeologist would an especially rich complex site. With great care she distinguishes the literary images from historical fact. As she does so, she explains the images of Jesus in terms of the strategies and purposes of the writers Paul, Matthew, Mark, Luke, and John."—Thomas D’Evelyn, Christian Science Monitor

The Darkening Age

The Darkening Age Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Catherine Nixey
Editor: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
ISBN: 0544800931
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The Darkening Age by Catherine Nixey Summary

A New York Times Notable Book of 2018 “Searingly passionate…Nixey writes up a storm. Each sentence is rich, textured, evocative, felt…[A] ballista-bolt of a book.” —New York Times Book Review In Harran, the locals refused to convert. They were dismembered, their limbs hung along the town’s main street. In Alexandria, zealots pulled the elderly philosopher-mathematician Hypatia from her chariot and flayed her to death with shards of broken pottery. Not long before, their fellow Christians had invaded the city’s greatest temple and razed it—smashing its world-famous statues and destroying all that was left of Alexandria’s Great Library. Today, we refer to Christianity’s conquest of the West as a “triumph.” But this victory entailed an orgy of destruction in which Jesus’s followers attacked and suppressed classical culture, helping to pitch Western civilization into a thousand-year-long decline. Just one percent of Latin literature would survive the purge; countless antiquities, artworks, and ancient traditions were lost forever. As Catherine Nixey reveals, evidence of early Christians’ campaign of terror has been hiding in plain sight: in the palimpsests and shattered statues proudly displayed in churches and museums the world over. In The Darkening Age, Nixey resurrects this lost history, offering a wrenching account of the rise of Christianity and its terrible cost.

Before Religion

Before Religion Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Brent Nongbri
Editor: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300154178
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Before Religion by Brent Nongbri Summary

Examining a wide array of ancient writings, Brent Nongbri dispels the commonly held idea that there is such a thing as ancient religion. Nongbri shows how misleading it is to speak as though religion was a concept native to pre-modern cultures.

The Acts of the Apostles

The Acts of the Apostles Pdf/ePub eBook Author: P.D. James
Editor: Canongate Books
ISBN: 0857861077
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The Acts of the Apostles by P.D. James Summary

Acts is the sequel to Luke's gospel and tells the story of Jesus's followers during the 30 years after his death. It describes how the 12 apostles, formerly Jesus's disciples, spread the message of Christianity throughout the Mediterranean against a background of persecution. With an introduction by P.D. James

When Christians Were Jews

When Christians Were Jews Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Paula Fredriksen
Editor: Yale University Press
ISBN: 0300240740
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When Christians Were Jews by Paula Fredriksen Summary

A compelling account of Christianity’s Jewish beginnings, from one of the world’s leading scholars of ancient religion How did a group of charismatic, apocalyptic Jewish missionaries, working to prepare their world for the impending realization of God's promises to Israel, end up inaugurating a movement that would grow into the gentile church? Committed to Jesus’s prophecy—“The Kingdom of God is at hand!”—they were, in their own eyes, history's last generation. But in history's eyes, they became the first Christians. In this electrifying social and intellectual history, Paula Fredriksen answers this question by reconstructing the life of the earliest Jerusalem community. As her account arcs from this group’s hopeful celebration of Passover with Jesus, through their bitter controversies that fragmented the movement’s midcentury missions, to the city’s fiery end in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, she brings this vibrant apostolic community to life. Fredriksen offers a vivid portrait both of this temple-centered messianic movement and of the bedrock convictions that animated and sustained it.

Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls?

Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Norman Golb
Editor: eBookIt.com
ISBN: 1456608428
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Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? by Norman Golb Summary

Dr. Norman Golb's classic study on the origin of the Dead Sea Scrolls is now available online. Since their earliest discovery in 1947, the Scrolls have been the object of fascination and extreme controversy. Challenging traditional dogma, Golb has been the leading proponent of the view that the Scrolls cannot be the work of a small, desert-dwelling fringe sect, as various earlier scholars had claimed, but are in all likelihood the remains of libraries of various Jewish groups, smuggled out of Jerusalem and hidden in desert caves during the Roman siege of 70 A. D. Contributing to the enduring debate sparked by the book's original publication in 1995, this digital edition contains additional material reporting on new developments that have led a series of major Israeli and European archaeologists to support Golb's basic conclusions. In its second half, the book offers a detailed analysis of the workings of the scholarly monopoly that controlled the Scrolls for many years, and discusses Golb's role in the struggle to make the texts available to the public. Pleading for an end to academic politics and a commitment to the search for truth in scrolls scholarship, Who Wrote the Dead Sea Scrolls? sets a new standard for studies in intertestamental history "This book is 'must reading'.... It demonstrates how a particular interpretation of an ancient site and particular readings of ancient documents became a straitjacket for subsequent discussion of what is arguably the most widely publicized set of discoveries in the history of biblical archaeology...." Dr. Gregory T. Armstrong, 'Church History' Golb "gives us much more than just a fresh and convincing interpretation of the origin and significance of the Qumran Scrolls. His book is also... a fascinating case-study of how an idee fixe, for which there is no real historical justification, has for over 40 years dominated an elite coterie of scholars controlling the Scrolls...." Daniel O'Hara, 'New Humanist'

The Kingdom

The Kingdom Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Emmanuel Carrère
Editor: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
ISBN: 0374714037
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The Kingdom by Emmanuel Carrère Summary

A sweeping fictional account of the early Christians, whose unlikely beliefs conquered the world Gripped by the tale of a Messiah whose blood we drink and body we eat, the genre-defying author Emmanuel Carrère revisits the story of the early Church in his latest work. With an idiosyncratic and at times iconoclastic take on the charms and foibles of the Church fathers, Carrère ferries readers through his “doors” into the biblical narrative. Once inside, he follows the ragtag group of early Christians through the tumultuous days of the faith’s founding. Shouldering biblical scholarship like a camcorder, Carrère re-creates the climate of the New Testament with the acumen of a seasoned storyteller, intertwining his own account of reckoning with the central tenets of the faith with the lives of the first Christians. Carrère puts himself in the shoes of Saint Paul and above all Saint Luke, charting Luke’s encounter with the marginal Jewish sect that eventually became Christianity, and retracing his investigation of its founder, an obscure religious freak who died under notorious circumstances. Boldly blending scholarship with speculation, memoir with journalistic muckraking, Carrère sets out on a headlong chase through the latter part of the Bible, drawing out protagonists who believed they were caught up in the most important events of their time. An expansive and clever meditation on belief, The Kingdom chronicles the advent of a religion, and the ongoing quest to find a place within it.

Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity

Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Gary B. Ferngren
Editor: JHU Press
ISBN: 0801895227
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Medicine and Health Care in Early Christianity by Gary B. Ferngren Summary

Their long experience in medical charity led to the creation of the first hospitals, a singular Christian contribution to health care.

The World of the First Christians

The World of the First Christians Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Marc Olson
Editor: Beaming Books
ISBN: 1506471110
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The World of the First Christians by Marc Olson Summary

The life and teachings of Jesus changed the world forever--but what happened after the events of the Gospels? How did Christianity grow from a small group of followers to one of the largest religious movements in human history? How did the first Christians survive in an oppressive Roman Empire? What did the early church believe, and how did they worship? The World of the First Christians: A Curious Kid's Guide to the Early Church answers these questions and more, with colorful illustrations, charts, graphs, maps, and other infographics that will keep kids' attention for hours and give them new insight and understanding into the early growth of the Christian faith. Curious Kids' Guides present cool and surprising information about Christian history and beliefs in an entertaining, visually engaging way for kids.

The Myth of Persecution

The Myth of Persecution Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Candida Moss
Editor: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062104543
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The Myth of Persecution by Candida Moss Summary

In The Myth of Persecution, Candida Moss, a leading expert on early Christianity, reveals how the early church exaggerated, invented, and forged stories of Christian martyrs and how the dangerous legacy of a martyrdom complex is employed today to silence dissent and galvanize a new generation of culture warriors. According to cherished church tradition and popular belief, before the Emperor Constantine made Christianity legal in the fourth century, early Christians were systematically persecuted by a brutal Roman Empire intent on their destruction. As the story goes, vast numbers of believers were thrown to the lions, tortured, or burned alive because they refused to renounce Christ. These saints, Christianity's inspirational heroes, are still venerated today. Moss, however, exposes that the "Age of Martyrs" is a fiction—there was no sustained 300-year-long effort by the Romans to persecute Christians. Instead, these stories were pious exaggerations; highly stylized rewritings of Jewish, Greek, and Roman noble death traditions; and even forgeries designed to marginalize heretics, inspire the faithful, and fund churches. The traditional story of persecution is still taught in Sunday school classes, celebrated in sermons, and employed by church leaders, politicians, and media pundits who insist that Christians were—and always will be—persecuted by a hostile, secular world. While violence against Christians does occur in select parts of the world today, the rhetoric of persecution is both misleading and rooted in an inaccurate history of the early church. Moss urges modern Christians to abandon the conspiratorial assumption that the world is out to get Christians and, rather, embrace the consolation, moral instruction, and spiritual guidance that these martyrdom stories provide.

A History of Christianity in Africa

A History of Christianity in Africa Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Elizabeth Isichei
Editor: Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing
ISBN: 0802808433
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A History of Christianity in Africa by Elizabeth Isichei Summary

Isichei's thorough study surveys the full breadth of Christianity in Africa, from the early story of Egyptian Christianity to the churches of the Middle Years (1500-1800) to the prolific success of missions throughout the 1900s. This important book fills a conspicuous void of scholarly works on Africa's Christian history. Includes 26 maps.

Coming Out Christian in the Roman World

Coming Out Christian in the Roman World Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Douglas Ryan Boin
Editor: Bloomsbury Publishing USA
ISBN: 1620403188
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Coming Out Christian in the Roman World by Douglas Ryan Boin Summary

The supposed collapse of Roman civilization is still lamented more than 1,500 years later-and intertwined with this idea is the notion that a fledgling religion, Christianity, went from a persecuted fringe movement to an irresistible force that toppled the empire. The “intolerant zeal” of Christians, wrote Edward Gibbon, swept Rome's old gods away, and with them the structures that sustained Roman society. Not so, argues Douglas Boin. Such tales are simply untrue to history, and ignore the most important fact of all: life in Rome never came to a dramatic stop. Instead, as Boin shows, a small minority movement rose to transform society-politically, religiously, and culturally-but it was a gradual process, one that happened in fits and starts over centuries. Drawing upon a decade of recent studies in history and archaeology, and on his own research, Boin opens up a wholly new window onto a period we thought we knew. His work is the first to describe how Christians navigated the complex world of social identity in terms of “passing” and “coming out.” Many Christians lived in a dynamic middle ground. Their quiet success, as much as the clamor of martyrdom, was a powerful agent for change. With this insightful approach to the story of Christians in the Roman world, Douglas Boin rewrites, and rediscovers, the fascinating early history of a world faith.

A History of the Bible

A History of the Bible Pdf/ePub eBook Author: John Barton
Editor: Penguin
ISBN: 0698191587
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A History of the Bible by John Barton Summary

A literary history of our most influential book of all time, by an Oxford scholar and Anglican priest In our culture, the Bible is monolithic: It is a collection of books that has been unchanged and unchallenged since the earliest days of the Christian church. The idea of the Bible as "Holy Scripture," a non-negotiable authority straight from God, has prevailed in Western society for some time. And while it provides a firm foundation for centuries of Christian teaching, it denies the depth, variety, and richness of this fascinating text. In A History of the Bible, John Barton argues that the Bible is not a prescription to a complete, fixed religious system, but rather a product of a long and intriguing process, which has inspired Judaism and Christianity, but still does not describe the whole of either religion. Barton shows how the Bible is indeed an important source of religious insight for Jews and Christians alike, yet argues that it must be read in its historical context--from its beginnings in myth and folklore to its many interpretations throughout the centuries. It is a book full of narratives, laws, proverbs, prophecies, poems, and letters, each with their own character and origin stories. Barton explains how and by whom these disparate pieces were written, how they were canonized (and which ones weren't), and how they were assembled, disseminated, and interpreted around the world--and, importantly, to what effect. Ultimately, A History of the Bible argues that a thorough understanding of the history and context of its writing encourages religious communities to move away from the Bible's literal wording--which is impossible to determine--and focus instead on the broader meanings of scripture.

The First Urban Churches 6

The First Urban Churches 6 Pdf/ePub eBook Author: James R. Harrison,L. L. Welborn
Editor: SBL Press
ISBN: 0884145069
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The First Urban Churches 6 by James R. Harrison,L. L. Welborn Summary

An examination of early Roman Christianity by New Testament and classical scholars Building on the methodologies introduced in the first volume of The First Urban Churches and supplementing the in-depth studies of Corinth, Ephesus, Philippi, Colossae, Hierapolis, and Laodicea (vols. 2–5), essays in this volume challenge readers to reexamine what we know about the early church within Rome and the port city of Ostia. In the introductory section of the book, James R. Harrison discusses the material and documentary evidence of both cities, which sets the stage for the essays that follow. In the second section, Mary Jane Cuyler, James R. Harrison, Richard Last, Annelies Moeser, Thomas A. Robinson, Michael P. Theophilos, and L. L. Welborn examine a range of topics, including the Ostian Synagogue, Romans 1:2–4 against the backdrop of Julio-Claudian adoption and apotheosis traditions, and the epistle of 1 Clement. In the final section of this volume, Jutta Dresken-Welland and Mark Reasoner engage Peter Lampe’s magnum opus From Paul to Valentinus; Lampe wraps up the section and the volume with a response. Throughout, readers are provided with a rich demonstration of how the material evidence of the city of Rome illuminates the emergence of Roman Christianity, especially in the first century CE.

Jesus and the Lost Goddess

Jesus and the Lost Goddess Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Timothy Freke,Peter Gandy
Editor: Harmony
ISBN: 0307565866
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Jesus and the Lost Goddess by Timothy Freke,Peter Gandy Summary

Why Were the Teachings of the Original Christians Brutally Suppressed by the Roman Church? • Because they portray Jesus and Mary Magdalene as mythic figures based on the Pagan Godman and Goddess • Because they show that the gospel story is a spiritual allegory encapsulating a profound philosophy that leads to mythical enlightenment • Because they have the power to turn the world inside out and transform life into an exploration of consciousness Drawing on modern scholarship, the authors of the international bestseller The Jesus Mysteries decode the secret teachings of the original Christians for the first time in almost two millennia and theorize about who the original Christians really were and what they actually taught. In addition, the book explores the many myths of Jesus and the Goddess and unlocks the lost secret teachings of Christian mysticism, which promise happiness and immortality to those who attain the state of Gnosis, or enlightenment. This daring and controversial book recovers the ancient wisdom of the original Christians and demonstrates its relevance to us today.

A Big Gospel in Small Places

A Big Gospel in Small Places Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Stephen Witmer
Editor: InterVarsity Press
ISBN: 0830855491
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A Big Gospel in Small Places by Stephen Witmer Summary

Christian ministries increasingly prioritize urban areas—big cities and suburbs are considered more strategic, more influential, and more desirable places to live and work. As a ministry strategy, focusing on big places makes sense. But the gospel of Jesus is often unstrategic. Filled with helpful stories and practical advice, pastor Stephen Witmer lays out an integrated theological vision for small-place ministry today.

Early Christian Encounters with Town and Countryside

Early Christian Encounters with Town and Countryside Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Markus Tiwald,Jürgen Zangenberg
Editor: Vandenhoeck & Ruprecht
ISBN: 364756494X
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Early Christian Encounters with Town and Countryside by Markus Tiwald,Jürgen Zangenberg Summary

Ever since Jesus walked the hills of Galilee and Paul travelled the roads of Asia Minor and Greece, Christianity has shown a remarkable ability to adapt itself to various social and cultural environments. Recent research has demonstrated that these environments can only be very insufficiently termed as "rural" or "urban". Neither was Jesus' Galilee only rural, nor Paul's Asia only "urban". On the background of ongoing research on the diversity of social environments in the Early Empire, this volume will focus on various early Christian "worlds" as witnessed in canonical and non-canonical texts. How did Early Christians experience and react to "rural" and "urban" life? What were the mechanisms behind this adaptability? Papers will analyze the relation between urban Christian beginnings and the role of the rural Jesus-tradition. In what sense did the image of Jesus, the "Galilean village Jew", change when his message was carried into the cities of the Mediterranean world from Jerusalem to Athens or Rome? Papers will not only deal with various personalities or literary works whose various attitudes towards urban life became formative for future Christianity. They will also explore the different local milieus that demonstrate the wide range of Christian cultural perspectives.

Did Jesus Exist?

Did Jesus Exist? Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Bart D. Ehrman
Editor: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062089943
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Did Jesus Exist? by Bart D. Ehrman Summary

In Did Jesus Exist? historian and Bible expert Bart Ehrman confronts the question, "Did Jesus exist at all?" Ehrman vigorously defends the historical Jesus, identifies the most historically reliable sources for best understanding Jesus’ mission and message, and offers a compelling portrait of the person at the heart of the Christian tradition. Known as a master explainer with deep knowledge of the field, Bart Ehrman methodically demolishes both the scholarly and popular “mythicist” arguments against the existence of Jesus. Marshaling evidence from within the Bible and the wider historical record of the ancient world, Ehrman tackles the key issues that surround the mythologies associated with Jesus and the early Christian movement. In Did Jesus Exist?: The Historical Argument for Jesus of Nazareth, Ehrman establishes the criterion for any genuine historical investigation and provides a robust defense of the methods required to discover the Jesus of history.

How Jesus Became God

How Jesus Became God Pdf/ePub eBook Author: Bart D. Ehrman
Editor: Harper Collins
ISBN: 0062252194
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How Jesus Became God by Bart D. Ehrman Summary

New York Times bestselling author and Bible expert Bart Ehrman reveals how Jesus’s divinity became dogma in the first few centuries of the early church. The claim at the heart of the Christian faith is that Jesus of Nazareth was, and is, God. But this is not what the original disciples believed during Jesus’s lifetime—and it is not what Jesus claimed about himself. How Jesus Became God tells the story of an idea that shaped Christianity, and of the evolution of a belief that looked very different in the fourth century than it did in the first. A master explainer of Christian history, texts, and traditions, Ehrman reveals how an apocalyptic prophet from the backwaters of rural Galilee crucified for crimes against the state came to be thought of as equal with the one God Almighty, Creator of all things. But how did he move from being a Jewish prophet to being God? In a book that took eight years to research and write, Ehrman sketches Jesus’s transformation from a human prophet to the Son of God exalted to divine status at his resurrection. Only when some of Jesus’s followers had visions of him after his death—alive again—did anyone come to think that he, the prophet from Galilee, had become God. And what they meant by that was not at all what people mean today. Written for secular historians of religion and believers alike, How Jesus Became God will engage anyone interested in the historical developments that led to the affirmation at the heart of Christianity: Jesus was, and is, God.