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Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times
From The Publisher:
Shows direct continuity between Jesus & the early church. The pathway to understanding the New Testament leads through the vibrant landscape of the first-century Greco-Roman world. The New Testament is rooted in the concrete historical events of that world.
In Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity, Paul Barnett not only places the New Testament within that world of caesars and Herods, proconsuls and Pharisees, Sadducees and revolutionaries, but argues that the mainspring and driving force of early Christian history is the historical Jesus. We cannot understand the rise of Christianity apart from this Jesus, the Messiah of Israel, and the spiritual and intellectual impact he had on his immediate followers and those who succeeded them.
From his intimate acquaintance with the sources, the evidence and the problems of New Testament history, Barnett offers fresh insights. His telling of the story skillfully avoids the encumbrance of extraneous details and side journeys. From the birth of Jesus to the founding of the messianic community, from the rise of Paul's mission to the Gentiles to the writing of the Gospels, Barnett offers a comprehensive account of the movement that would change the face of world history.
Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity is a comprehensive survey of New Testament history that will meet the needs of students and teachers of the New Testament. In its engagement with contemporary scholarship and its emphasis on the propelling role of the historical and risen Jesus in the rise of Christianity, it provides a timely rejoinder to current revisionism in the exploration of Christian origins.
"This is a wonderful book, long needed and well executed. Although in some respects it is akin to a standard New Testament introduction and in other respects a thoughtful critique of the so-called Third Quest, in reality it is far more. While managing to interact with a substantial amount of secondary literature, Paul Barnett focuses on the coherence of the New Testament documents from the inside, with Jesus himself serving as the focal point and the engine that shapes the rise and growth of the earliest churches, and not least their convictions and behavior. While many others pull the New Testament documents apart, in this book Paul Barnett puts them back together—and connects them with the Old Testament as well. This volume deserves the widest circulation."
—Donald A. Carson, Trinity Evangelical Divinity School
"Dr. Barnett's new book . . . fills a needed spot. It is written clearly and incisively, with a target audience of beginning students and their teachers in college and seminary. Pastors needing a refresher course will also find it profitable, and lay persons anxious to know how Christianity is a historical faith will be reassured and helped. In all, it is a notable achievement and a valuable adjunct to New Testament study. Highly commended as up-to-date and authoritative."
—Ralph P. Martin, Fuller Theological Seminary
"At long last we have a worthy sequel to F. F. Bruce's efforts to write a history of the New Testament period. Barnett, rightly in my judgment, focuses on the heart of the matter, which has to do with history and Christology and the intertwining of these two factors. He shows that positing a wide gulf between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith simply does not make good historical sense. He makes plain that Christology was at the heart of the agendas not only of the earliest Christian missionaries but also of their mentor and Lord, Jesus. He also shows that without the resurrection of Jesus in the flesh there would never have been either the worship of Jesus as Lord or the existence of the church. This book is a must read for those who care about the roots of the Christian faith."
—Ben Witherington III, Asbury Theological Seminary
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About the Author
Paul Barnett is Anglican bishop of North Sydney, Australia, visiting fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University, Sydney, Australia, and research professor at Regent College, Vancouver, British Columbia. He is the author of several books, including Behind the Scenes of the New Testament, Jesus and the Logic of History and a commentary on 2 Corinthians in the NICNT series.
Table of Contents
Maps and Tables
1. The New Testament as History
--Excursus 1A: New Testament Chronology
--Excursus 1B: History and Myth
2. The Impact of Christ
3. The Hellenistic Background to Jesus
4. Herod, Idumaean, King of the Jews
5. Jesus' Birth & Boyhood
6. Jesus' Context: Galilee & Peraea
7. Jesus' Context: Judea
--Excursus 7A: The Search for the historical Pontius Pilate
8. Jesus of Nazareth (c. 29-33)
--Excursus 8A: Working Assumptions
--Excursus 8B: The Criterion of Dissimilarity
--Excursus 8C: Did Jesus Make Claims to Deity?
9. Resurrection, Exaltation & the Spirit
10. The Community of the Messiah in Jerusalem
--Excursus 10A: The Use of Acts 1-5 for Historical Reconstruction
11. The Scattering of the Community & the Conversion of Saul (c. 34/35)
12. Peter in Palestine (33-47)
13. The Apostolate of Saul in the "Unknown Years" (c. 34-47)
--Excursus 13A: Paul's Mission Strategy According to Rainer Riesner
--Excursus 13B: Jews, Proselytes and God-fearers
14. The Inclusion of the Gentiles (47-49)
--Excursus 14A: An Early Dating for Galations
--Excursus 14B: The Missionary Agreement and the Jerusalem Council
15. James, Cephas & John
16. Paul's Later Ministry (c. 50-65)
17. Churches & Evangelists (33-100)
18. The Four Gospels
19. The Kindgom of Christ
--Excursus 20A:The Birth of Christianity According to J. Dominic Crossan
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