The Evolution of Early Christianity: A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to Its Religious Environment

The Evolution of Early Christianity: A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to Its Religious Environment

Read FREE!

The Evolution of Early Christianity: A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to Its Religious Environment

The Evolution of Early Christianity: A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to Its Religious Environment

Read FREE!

Excerpt

This book does not aim to furnish a detailed account of the territorial, doctrinal, ecclesiastical, and literary developments of early Christianity. It seeks rather to analyze and interpret the environmental forces which stimulated, nourished, or directed the growth of the new religion. Consequently interest centers mainly in the lives of actual persons whose activities were related to a specific setting within which they worked out their various problems.

This study, accordingly, deals primarily with the origins of the Christian movement and only secondarily with the writings which the movement produced, sporadically and sometimes quite incidentally, in the process of expansion. Later generations have become so accustomed to think of the New Testament as the source of their religion that they with difficulty appreciate the situation of the early Christians during that spontaneous and formative period when the champions of the new faith were performing their work without the aid of any distinctively Christian Scriptures. When the New Testament books were ultimately assembled they preserved records of Christian activity and thinking from different localities and various periods, and so these writings constitute an important source of information for the study of Christian origins; but they render this service truly only when they are interpreted as the product of the movement of whose history they are a valuable though fragmentary record. Hence the student . . .

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