The Childhood of Christianity

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Here is a brief and highly readable history of early Christianity. Etienne Trocme spares us references to the jungle of secondary literature and with a lifetime's experience of New Testament studies cuts short long discussions of might-have-beeps. With a sure eye to lines of development, he paints a fascinating picture of the world of the first Christians. Simply basing himself on the New Testament, he nevertheless shows how much experimentation and conflict there was to begin with. He emphasizes the initial close relations between Christians and Jews and the shock to Christianity when Jerusalem fell at the end of the Jewish war and the Jewish revival firmly went its own way. He demonstrates how controversial a figure Paul was and how he suffered apparent failure before many of his views triumphed at the end of the first century. Even those who feel that more than enough has been written about the early church will warm to this book, and those to whom the story is unfamiliar will find it difficult to put down.

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