Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times

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9780830815883: Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times
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The pathway to understanding the New Testament leads through the vibrant landscape of the first-century Greco-Roman world. The New Testament is rooted in the concrete historical events of that world. In Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity Paul Barnett not only places the New Testament within that world of caesars and Herods, proconsuls and Pharisees, Sadducees and revolutionaries, but argues that the mainspring and driving force of early Christian history is the historical Jesus. We cannot understand the rise of Christianity apart from this Jesus, the messiah of Israel and the spiritual and intellectual impact he had on his immediate followers and those who succeeded them. From his intimate acquaintance with the sources, the evidence and the problems of New Testament history, Barnett offers fresh insights. His telling of the story skillfully avoids the encumbrance of extraneous details and side journeys. From the brith of Jesus to the founding of the messianic community, from the rise of Paul's mission to the Gentiles to the writing of the Gospels, Barnett offers a comprehensive account of the movement that would change the face of world history. Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity is a comprehensive survey of New Testament history that will meet the needs of students and teachers of the New Testament. In its engagment with contemporary scholarship and its emphasis on the propelling role of the historical and risen Jesus in the rise of Christianity, it provides a timely rejoinder to current revisionist exploration of Christian origins.

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About the Author:

Barnett (Ph.D., London University), was until his retirement Anglican bishop of North Sydney, Australia. He remains a visiting fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) and research professor at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia). He has written several books.

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Barnett, Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Australia, seeks to put Jesus back into the story of the early Church's development, in contrast to recent titles that discuss primitive Christianity with only a sociopolitical approach to its founder. Or, rather, it is Barnett's aim to put Christ back into the story: he maintains that it was the Christ of faith, not the mere historical Jesus, who provided the dynamic impetus for the formation of the Church. This providential approach to the early Church, based on Barnett's conviction that "God lay behind this history," unfortunately does not engage other New Testament scholarship or Jesus Studies materials. Rather, he concentrates his efforts solely on biblical text. If the tome were intended as an overall New Testament commentary, it would succeed in its intimate, detailed study of Scripture (especially regarding the Gospels and Acts), but since Barnett here is trying his hand at meta-history, his neglect of the voluminous secondary literature is a glaring omission. Students, particularly those with a similar faith perspective, will find Barnett's account easy to digest, with a user-friendly organization and straightforward writing style that is all too rare in biblical studies. However, scholars and non-Christians will likely be frustrated by Barnett's refusal to even debate social and political interpretations of the Church's origins. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.

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ISBN 10:  0830826998 ISBN 13:  9780830826995
Publisher: IVP Academic, 2002
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