Charting the first six hundred years of the Christian movement, THE EARLY CHRISTIAN CENTURIES carries the reader from the world of second-temple Judaism to the Byzantine age, the rise of Islam, and the beginnings of medieval European polities.With a combination of rare tact and acuity, Philip Rousseau takes the measure of a generation of scholarship on early Christianity and the late Roman world. He stresses the importance of shifting historical consciousness, the continuity and development of ideas, and the urge for social respectability. Paying the greatest attention to the 'inner' components of Christian life, the resulting story captures fully the major figures: Paul, the gospel writers, the early 'apologists', and the great figures of the 'patristic' age, including the Cappadocian Fathers, Augustine and Gregory the Great.
1. Giving a shape to early Christian history 2. Paul and the Jewish past: an apostle and his world 3. Jesus of Nazareth: portrait of a saviour 4. Individual virtu ate and its social setting 5. Churches as learning communities 6. Heroes and survivors: Christians engage with the world 7. The Christian empire, a contested experiment: Constantine and his successors 8. A crisis of authority 9. An ancient legacy and its post - Roman future Epilogue: The price of success Further bibliography notes and acknowledgements Index