By applying perspectives from sociology and anthropology to a wide range of biblical data, The First Christians in Their Social Worlds examines how the New Testament documents were influenced by the social realities of the early Christian communities for whom they were written, with the result that the texts reveal an intimate connection between society and Gospel. Overlaying this theoretical foundation, Philip Esler's book studies specific socio-political ideas in various texts of the New Testament, for example, charismatic phenomena, the admission of Gentiles into early Christian communities, sectarianism and millennarianism and its relationship to political oppression.
"Elser applies his socialscientific model sesitively and flexibly; his illuminating results amply warrant his method.."
-"Religious Studies Review, January 1997
..."Esler applies his social-scientific model sensitively and flexibly; his illuminating results amply warrant his method. ...an accessible introduction to social science-based descriptions of aspects of Jewish and Christian formations in their Mediterranean cultural locales.."
-" Religious Studies Review, Vol. 23, January 1997