The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century

The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century

The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century

The Jesus Movement: A Social History of Its First Century


Only in exceptional cases will readers want to attempt to read from start to finish such a comprehensive work as the following overview of the social history of early Christianity. Therefore we offer here some suggestions for reading, in the hope of making the book more accessible in parts.

The book is so arranged that each of the main sections can be read by itself. Thus those who are initially interested only in “The Land of Israel, the Social History of Judaism, and the Followers of Jesus” can begin immediately with Part Two. Cross-references are made to important presuppositions that in this case are presented in detail in Part One—say, on the economics of antiquity as a whole or on our model of the social stratification of Mediterranean societies. Indeed, it is possible in principle to turn intentionally to an individual chapter, whether it is—to name two examples—Chapter 13 on “Women among the Followers of Jesus in the Land of Israel” or Chapter 11 on “External Conflicts of Believers in Christ with Gentiles and Jews in the Diaspora.”

We also intentionally decided to place the notes at the end of the book in order not to encumber the reading of the text. Since the overwhelming majority of the notes simply involve references to biblical or other ancient sources or to secondary literature, they are not necessary for a direct understanding of the text itself.

In individual cases we also mention Greek, Latin, and Hebrew or Aramaic terms, which are always presented in transliterated form. Greek words are written with ē for eta and ō for omega as needed.

Because of the highly detailed table of contents, we have omitted a subject index. At the end of the book, however, there is an Index of Ancient Sources.

We have dedicated this book to the memory of our parents. Along with many others, they taught us to see the reality of human beings concretely in their particular social context.

Ekkehard W. Stegemann Wolfgang Stegemann Basel and Neuendettelsau March 1995

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