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Cover

Early Christianity

A Brief History

Joseph H. Lynch

Publication Date - February 2009

ISBN: 9780195138030

288 pages
Paperback
6-1/8 x 9-1/4 inches

In Stock

Retail Price to Students: $39.95

Accessible to beginning students with no background in the subject, this concise and captivating introduction examines the development of Christianity from its origins up through the year 620.

Description

This concise and engaging introduction to the history of early Christianity examines the development of Christianity from its origins up through the year 620. Accessible to beginning students with no background in the subject, Early Christianity: A Brief History is also captivating reading for more advanced students. The book is organized chronologically into four parts: The Contexts of Early Christianity, Christianity in the Second and Third Centuries, The Creation of a Christian Empire, and Life in the Christian Empire. Each part begins with a timeline in order to guide students in the chronology of events. Opening with a look at the historical Jesus--which considers what we know and how we know it--the book continues on with coverage of the Jewish and Roman worlds in which Christianity arose. It then charts the extraordinary progress of Christianity, ranging from its status as a fringe sect in Judaism, to that of a dominant religion, up through the reign of Pope Gregory I. Chapters on society and culture and an epilogue on Muhammad and the rise of Islam are also included.
Focusing on important themes and developments throughout, author Joseph H. Lynch does not overwhelm students with an encyclopedic amount of detail. In addition, he acknowledges the often neglected diversity of early Christian views without losing sight of the major lines along which the religion developed. Lynch integrates excerpts and quotations from a wide variety of ancient sources--including the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, and the writings of Dio Chrysostom, Fronto, and Tactitus--in order to engage students and show them how historians learn about the ancient world. Each chapter ends with carefully selected suggestions for further reading that are drawn from both ancient and modern sources. The book also features custom-drawn maps and photos to help students understand the visual and geographical developments of ancient Christianity.

Reviews

"A fine introduction to early Christianity...This is a valuable and ably executed introductory textbook."--Religious Studies Review

Table of Contents

    Each chapter ends with Further Reading (both Ancient Sources and Modern Works).
    Preface
    Abbreviations and Signs
    Chapter 1: Jesus
    Non-Christian Sources about Jesus
    Christian Sources about Jesus
    Word-of-Mouth Good News
    Written Good News
    The Synoptic Problem
    Mark and Matthew on Christology
    Mark and Matthew on the Disciples
    Jesus
    PART I: THE CONTEXTS OF EARLY CHRISTIANITY
    Timeline for First-Century Christianity
    Chapter 2: The Jewish Context of the Jesus Movement
    The Jews and Hellenization
    The Temple
    Synagogues
    Ordinary Judaism in Palestine
    Sects and Parties
    Diaspora ("Dispersion')
    Proselytes and God-Fearers
    Roman Rule and the Jews
    The Jewish War of 66-73
    The Jewish War of 132-135
    Chapter 3: The Greek and Roman Context of Early Christianity
    Official Cults
    Voluntary Cults
    Rebirth at Eleusis
    The Cult of Mithras
    The Cult of Isis
    The Cult of the Great Mother
    Astrology, Oracles, Magicians
    Philosophies
    Chapter 4: The Jesus Movement in the First Century
    Jewish Christianity
    Jewish Christians and Gentile Converts
    Jewish Christians and the Jewish Rebellions
    Later Jewish Christianities
    Gentile Christianities
    Paul and Gentile Christians
    Paul the Missionary
    Paul the Theologian
    PART II: CHRISTIANITY IN THE SECOND AND THIRD CENTURIES
    Timeline for the Second and Third Centuries
    A Note on Naming Christian Groups
    Chapter 5: Christian Diversity in the Second and Third Centuries
    Gnostic Christianities
    Marcionite Christianity
    Chapter 6: The Emergence of a Proto-Orthodox Christian Consensus: Bishop, Creed, and Canon of Scripture
    One Bishop, Elders, and Deacons/Deaconesses
    Creeds and Rules of Faith
    The Canon of Scripture
    A Case Study: The New Prophecy
    Chapter 7: Roman Society and the Christians
    Roman Law and the Christians
    The "Crowd" and the Christians
    The First Phase of Persecution (about 29-about 250)
    Nero and the Christians
    Pliny and the Christians
    Persecution at Lyons and Vienne
    The Second Phase of Persecution (250-260)
    The Emperor Decius (249-251)
    The Emperor Valerian (253-260)
    Chapter 8: Christian Intellectuals
    Justin Martyr (about 100-about 165)
    Origen (about 185-251)
    Origen and the Scriptures
    Origen the Theologian
    Chapter 9: Proto-Orthodox Christian Communities in the Third Century
    The Baptized Faithful
    The Catechumens ("Those under Instruction")
    Penitents, Apostates, Excommunicates
    Christian Buildings before Constantine
    Christian Art before Constantine
    Worship before Constantine
    Baptism
    Eucharist
    Ordination
    Christian Customs
    PART III: THE CREATION OF A CHRISTIAN EMPIRE
    Timeline of Later Christianity
    Chapter 10: Diocletian, the Great Persecution, and the Conversion of Constantine
    The Emperor Diocletian (Ruled 284-305)
    Constantine (Ruled 306-337)
    Chapter 11: The Christian Empire and the Imperial Church
    Julian the "Apostate" (361-363)
    The Dynasty of Theodosius I (379-455)
    Pagans in the Christian Empire
    Christian Heretics in the Christian Empire
    Jews in the Christian Empire
    Chapter 12: The Government of the Church
    The Local Bishop
    The Bishops in Council
    The Apostolic Bishoprics
    The Bishop of Rome
    The Emperor
    The Eastern Empire: Continuity
    The Western Empire: Discontinuity
    Chapter 13: The Trinitarian Controversy
    Schisms
    The Origins of the Trinitarian Controversy
    The Holy Spirit
    The Survival of Arianism
    Chapter 14: Jesus, the God/Man
    Nestorianism
    Monophysitism
    The Council of Chalcedon (451)
    PART IV: LIFE IN THE CHRISTIAN EMPIRE
    Timeline for Later Christianity
    Chapter 15: Worship and Piety in the Christian Empire
    Liturgy
    Church Buildings
    Christian Time: The Liturgical Calendar
    The Holy Dead
    Pilgrimage
    Chapter 16: The Ascetic Movement
    Anthony (about 251-356)
    Pachomius (290-345)
    Basil of Caesarea (about 339-379)
    Monasticism in the West
    Benedict of Nursia (about 480-about 545)
    Criticism of Ascetics
    The Impact of Asceticism Within Christianity
    A Case Study: Clergy, Laity and Sexual Activity
    Marriage of the Clergy before The Fourth Century
    Marriage of the Clergy after The Fourth Century
    Chapter 17: Fourth- and Fifth-Century Christian Thinkers
    Ambrose (339-397)
    Jerome (about 347-419)
    Gregory of Nyssa (between 331 and 340-about 395)
    Augustine of Hippo (354-430)
    Manichaeans
    Donatists
    Pelagius (about 350-about 425)
    Pagans
    Chapter 18: Conversion and Christianization
    Conversion before the Fourth Century
    Conversion after Constantine
    Christianization after Constantine
    Conversion in Hard Times
    The Eastern Empire
    The Western Empire
    The Conversion of the Franks
    Conversion outside the Empire's Borders
    Armenia
    Axum/Ethiopia
    Ireland
    Summary
    Chapter 19: The Eastern and Western Churches Go Their Separate Ways
    Bishop Gregory of Tours (573-593/594)
    Pope Gregory I the Great (590-604)
    John the Almsgiver, Patriarch of Alexandria (610-about 619)
    Chapter 20: Epilogue: Muhammad and Islam
    Credits
    Index