Beginning from Jerusalem

Beginning from Jerusalem

Beginning from Jerusalem

Beginning from Jerusalem

Synopsis

Beginning from Jerusalem covers the early formation of the Christian faith from 30 to 70 C.E. After outlining the quest for the historical church (parallel to the quest for the historical Jesus) and reviewing the sources, James Dunn follows the course of the movement stemming from Jesus "beginning from Jerusalem." / He opens with a close analysis of what can be said of the earliest Jerusalem community, the Hellenists, the mission of Peter, and the emergence of Paul. Then Dunn focuses solely on Paul -- the chronology of his life and mission, his understanding of his call as apostle, and the character of the churches that he founded. The third part traces the final days and literary legacies of the three principal figures of first-generation Christianity: Paul, Peter, and James the brother of Jesus. Each section includes detailed interaction with the vast wealth of secondary literature on the many subjects covered.

Excerpt

This is the second volume in a projected trilogy Christianity in the Making, in which I attempt to trace and examine the history of Christianity’s beginnings well into the second century. the first volume, Jesus Remembered, focused exclusively on the person to whom the origins of Christianity can undoubtedly be traced. It included an exposition of the critical historical method on which the whole enterprise is undertaken, including recognition of the fact of faith as part of the historical data and of the function of faith as integral to the critical historical dialogue. These methodological considerations continue to guide the historical studies of the present volume. Some of the first volume’s critique of the sources available to us for the period is also relevant here.

Volume 2, Beginning from Jerusalem, covers from 30 to 70 ce, a much longer period than the (probably) three years of Jesus’ mission. These two periods and subjects — Jesus’ mission and the first generation of the movement which began from Jesus — are probably the most thoroughly investigated periods and subjects of all history. the amount of secondary literature, particularly over the last thirty years, has grown exponentially and is impossible to cover thoroughly, even in monographs devoted to particular aspects of the much more extensive subject matter. in what follows, of course, I have given primary attention to the source documents and historical data from the period available to us. in addition, I have attempted to draw on or to consider as much as I could of what I deemed to be the most relevant of the secondary literature to illuminate the source material. For the most part I have focused on the more recent secondary literature, principally to ensure that I engage as fully as possible with the current discussion on the numerous individual issues discussed, but also bearing in mind that many of the recent monographs and essays on particular subjects carefully review earlier debates and take up or engage with the most salient points from these earlier debates.

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