Early Christian Mission (2 volume set)
Jesus And The Twelve - Paul And The Early Church
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Publisher: Inter-Varsity Press
Number of Pages: 1974
Ground-breaking, encyclopaedic study of the first-century Christian missionary expansion, in two volumes. In 1902 Adolf von Harnack published his famous work, The Mission and Expansion of Christianity in the First Three Centuries. A century later, Eckhard Schnabel has returned to examine the first century of missionary expansion in his Early Christian Mission. Patient in its sifting of evidence, careful in its judgments and far-reaching in its scope, it is both a ground-breaking and encyclopaedic work. Here is a vast and detailed panorama of the missionary impulse, activity and strategy of the early church. How is it that a first-generation Jewish messianic movement undertook a mission to the pagan world and rapidly achieved a momentum that would have a lasting and significant impact on world history? This momentous question has surprisingly eluded the concentrated focus of historians and New Testament scholars. Perhaps it is because the story of early Christian mission encompasses so much of the history of early Christianity. And to tell that history is to traverse a broad spectrum of issues in contemporary New Testament studies, all of which have been investigated in specialized depth, though frequently unconnected to a unified picture. On the other hand, as Schnabel comments, those who have attempted to paint 'the portrait of early Christian missions' have 'often painted with brush strokes too broad'. As a result, an 'undifferentiated picture of early Christian mission' is widely held. In this monumental study, Eckhard Schnabel gives us both a unified and detailed picture of the rise and growth of early Christian mission. He begins with a search for a missionary impulse in the Old Testament and Second Temple Judaism. He then weighs the evidence for a mission of Jesus to Gentiles. But the centre of focus is the apostolic missionary activity as it is related in Acts, Paul's letters and the rest of the New Testament. Here is a study that seeks to describe all the evidence relevant to the missionary strategy and tactics of the early church, to explain the theological dimensions of the early Christian mission, and to integrate the numerous studies published in the last decades into a synthetic overall picture. Schnabel's detailed and immensely informed analysis will reward careful reading and reflection, and form a solid basis for a new understanding of the rise of Christianity and the nature of Christian mission - both then and now.