John Dominic Crossan explores the lost years of earliest Christianity, the years immediately following Jesus' execution.
He establishes the contextual setting through a combination of literary, anthropological, historical and archaeological approaches. He challenges the assumptions about the role of Paul and the meaning of resurrection, and forges a new understanding of the birth of the Christian church.
Here is a vivid account of early Christianity's interaction with the world around it, and of the new traditions and communities established as Jesus' companions continued their movement after his death.
"It is above all the journey that impresses. In this enterprise, methodology is all. Farewell to woolly generalisations. Apply cross-cultural anthropology, history, archaeology and literary criticism, in interactive and ordered fashion, to each crucial question. Begin not with text but with context; move to the establishment of the earliest possible layer of tradition; expose their point of conjunction. It is all carried through with rare precision.Throughout, the style is informal, conversational, relentless, questioning, pervasively expansive. This monumental enquiry remains an impressive example of how such work should be done and relentlessly probes questions that must continue to be engaged with comparable persistence. It is a mine of information, a model of clarity and a delight to read." The Expository Times "Those who have been enthused by Crossan's earlier writings, especially their culmination in his The Historical Jesus, will come to this closely related and equally magisterial volume with high expectations and not a little anticipation. They will not be disappointed for, once again, we have vintage Crossan, hugely confident, invariably engaging, massively learned and carried along by a sustained brilliance which allows a complicated argument to be unfoleded clearly as it is driven forward inexorably by a combination of daring imagination and total conviction. Convinced by Crossan or not, he forces us to re-examine our beginnings and to recognise the subjectivity inherent in every response. This book compels us to look again to see how far our own myth does justice to what gave it birth. It forces us back to see the nature of the God in whom we believe and to acknowledge that a Christianity which does not put at its centre a God of justice is not worthy of its name." Modern Believing "Crossan's work is dynamic and frequently persuasive. He writes compellingly, if luxuriantly, with a surprising degree of personal autobiography." Church Times ." . . full of