The Early Christian World (Paperback) book cover

The Early Christian World

By Philip F. Esler

© 2004 – Routledge

1,334 pages

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About the Book

Early Christian World presents an exhaustive, erudite and lavishly illustrated treatment of how the small movement which formed around Jesus in Galilee became the pre-eminent religion of the ancient world.

The work begins by firmly situating early Christianity within its Mediterranean social, political and religious contexts, before charting the history of the first Christian centuries. The creation and perpetuation of Christian communities through various means, including mission and monasticism, is explored, as is the everyday experience of early Christians, through discussion of gender and sexuality, religious practice, communication and social structures. The intellectual (particularly theological) and artistic heritage of the period is fully considered, and a vivid picture painted of the internal and external challenges faced by early Christianity. The book concludes with profiles of the most notable figures of the age.

Comprehensive and accessible, Early Christian World provides up-to-date coverage of the most important topics in the study of early Christianity, together with an invaluable collection of visual material. It will be an indispensable resource for anyone studying this period


"Esler's book is a major accomplishment. It will surely become a standard reference. Beautifully produced and sumptuously illustrated." - Theological Studies

"With 230 figures, including maps, and five indexes of biblical, classical, Jewish, patristic and subject references, this is the consummate succinct reference set. The fifty authors are experts in their subject matter, and they span a wide range of institutional sites and religious perspectives. A required purchase for any library that deals with early Christianity, and an outstanding aid for students." - Religious Studies Review

"Esler, his collaborators and Routledge deserve enormous credit and praise for their achievement." - Journal of Religion

Table of Contents

List of Illustrations. List of Contributors. Preface. List of Abbreviations Volume 1. Part 1: The Context Part 2: Christian Origins and Development Part 3: Community Formation and Maintenance Part 4: Everyday Christian Experience Part 5: The Intellectual Heritage Volume 2. Part 6: The Artistic Heritage Part 7: Extrenal Challenges Part 8: Internal Challenges Part 9: Profiles. Index of Biblical References. Index of Classical References. Index of Jewish References. Index of Patristic References. Subject Index

About the Author

Philip F. Esler is Professor of Biblical Criticism at the University of St Andrews, Scotland. He has written extensively on social-scientific approaches to biblical interpretation.

About the Series

Routledge Worlds

The Routledge Worlds are magisterial surveys of key historical epochs, edited and written by world-renowned experts. Giving unprecedented breadth and depth of coverage, they are the works against which all future books on their subjects will be judged and are essential reading for anyone with a serious interest in the subject.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / Ancient / General
RELIGION / History