Academic journal article Theological Studies

From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation

Academic journal article Theological Studies

From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation

Article excerpt

From Jesus to the Church: The First Christian Generation. By Craig A. Evans. Louisville: Westminster John Knox, 2014. Pp. xv + 188. $30.

Evans's book derives from his 2010 Deichmann Lectures at Beersheba, investigating the causes of the split between Judaism and Christianity in the first century. Chapters 1-2 argue that Jesus intended to found a qahal (ekklesia) within reformed Israel, not a church outside of Judaism, but the ways in which he proclaimed the kingdom of God and called disciples provided the foundations for that church.

Chapters 3-4 discuss the controversy over faith and works that dominated Paul's mission and teaching, the "council" at Jerusalem, and the difference between Paul and James over "works." Chapter 5 shows the hostility between Annas's high priesthood family and the apostles, Stephen, Peter, and the two Jameses, for their attack on the Temple leadership. Chapter 6 traces the widening gap between Christians and Jews from Matthew, to John, to the letters in Revelation, and finally to Ignatius of Antioch, where the church had emerged as separate. An appendix finds the root cause of Jewish rejection of Christianity in the crucifixion of the Messiah and the failure of the kingdom to materialize. …

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