Examining sources and case studies, this book explores early Christianity, how it was studied, how it is studied now, and how Judaeo-Christian values came to form the ideological bedrock of modern western culture.
Looking at the diverse source materials available, from the earliest New Testament texts and the complex treaties of third century authors such as Lactantius, to archaeology, epigraphy and papyrology, the book examines what is needed to study the subject, what materials are available, how useful they are, and how the study of the subject may be approached.
Case study chapters focus on important problems in the study of early Christianity including:
- the book of Acts as a text revelatory of the social dynamics of cities and as a text about the inherent tensions in Hellenistic Judaism
- orthodoxy and organization in early Christianity
- early Christianity and the Roman empire.
Also including a comprehensive guide for students that lists major collections of literary and non-literary sources, major journals and series, and major text books, it is an excellent aid to the study of Christianity in history.
Introduction: How to Use this Book 1. What is Early Christianity and Why Does it Deserve Study? 2. Tradition and Revelation: The Historical Quest for Early Christianity 3. The Search for Early Christianity: Sources and their Interpretation 4. Messiahs and Missions: Contexts for the Origins and Spread of Christianity 5. Doctrine and Power: Orthodoxy and Organization in Early Christianity 6. Confronting Babylon: Early Christianity and the Roman Empire 7. Discovering Early Christianity
'[An] ideal text for undergraduate students' – Bryn Mawr Classical Review