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The First Christian Centuries: Perspectives on the Early Church
Paul McKechnie

0830826777 Retail Price: $18.00
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Format: Paperback, 272pp.
ISBN: 0830826777
Publisher: Intervarsity Press
Pub. Date: March 2002

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Description

From The Publisher:

The first three centuries of the early church were a period of struggle, transition and growth. Recent attempts by historians and social scientists to understand this era have produced various and conflicting accounts. Indeed, some have sought to overturn the former consensus regarding which texts provide reliable evidence and how they should be interpreted.

In The First Christian Centuries, Paul McKechnie, a classical scholar, examines some key issues in the current debate.

- Which ancient sources are reliable?
- What was the social makeup of the early Christian movement?
- What can we determine about the growth rate and persecution of first-century Christians?
- What do we know about the second generation of Christians?
- How should we assess the reliability of our various sources from the second and third centuries?
- What were the nature and extent of persecutions in the second and third centuries?
- What were the long-term consequences of Paul's making converts within the household of Caesar?
- Can we gain historical perspective on the diversity that traveled under the name Christian in the early centuries?
- How were women regarded and what roles did they play?
- And how was it that a Roman emperor, Constantine, was converted--and what were the implications for the Christian movement?

The value of McKechnie's study lies not in providing a comprehensive narrative of the origins and growth of the early church. Rather, it lies in critically examining key historical issues in sustained conversation with contemporary scholarship and the ancient sources. McKechnie will be valued by both students and scholars of early Christianity as an intelligent and informed companion who offers repeated and valuable insights into this critical era of Christian beginnings.


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About the Author

Paul McKechnie teaches in the department of classics & ancient history at the University of Auckland in New Zealand.

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Table of Contents

Preface9
Introduction: Christians from a Distant Perspective11
1.First-Century Christians: The Source Debate21
2.First-Generation Christianity39
3.Initial Growth, Incipient Persecution55
4.The Second Christian Generation67
5.Second- and Third-Century Christianity: Another Source Debate93
6.Persecution and Anti-Christian Polemic109
7.An Enclave: Caesar's Palace137
8.Gnosticism and Christian Diversity151
9.Women and Christianity191
10.The Great Persecution and Constantine217
Primary-Source Finding List241
Bibliography249
Index263


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