The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament

The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament

The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament

The Origins of Christianity: A Historical Introduction to the New Testament


The life and death of Jesus of Nazareth and the beginnings of the movement which venerated him are of profound religious significance to Christian believers today. These events are also part of our common history and have had enormous influence on the development of Western civilization. Thisis a thorough historical introduction to the New Testament, considering many aspects of the formation of Christianity and how it has influenced subsequent secular and religious history. A revised edition of a classic text, The Origins of Christianity addresses the historical problems involved in thestudy of the New Testament, suggesting modern techniques for solving them. For the this revised edition, the author has not only corrected and updated the text, but also expanded and clarified some points with new material and further references.


There are many commentaries on individual books of the Bible, but the reader who wishes to take a broader view has less choice. This series is intended to meet this need. Its structure is thematic, with each volume embracing a number of biblical books. It is designed for use with any of the familiar translations of the Bible; quotations are normally from RSV, but the authors of the individual volumes also use other translations or make their own where this helps to bring out the particular meaning of a passage.

To provide general orientation, there are two volumes of a more introductory character: one will consider the Old Testament in its cultural and historical context, the other the New Testament, discussing the origins of Christianity. Four volumes deal with different kinds of material in the Old Testament: narrative, prophecy, poetry/psalmody, wisdom and law. Three volumes handle different aspects of the New Testament: the Gospels, Paul and Pauline Christianity, the varieties of New Testament thought. One volume looks at the nature of biblical interpretation, covering both Testaments.

The authors of the individual volumes write for a general readership. Technical terms and Hebrew or Greek words are explained; the latter are used only when essential to the understanding of the text. The general introductory volumes are designed to stand on their own, providing a framework, but also to serve to raise some of the questions which the remaining volumes examine in closer detail. All the volumes other than the two general ones include discussion of selected biblical passages in greater depth, thus providing examples of the ways in which the interpretation of the text makes possible deeper understanding of the wider issues, both historical and theological, with which the Bible is concerned. Select bibliographies in each volume point the way to further discussion of the many issues which remain open to fuller exploration.



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