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How Did Christianity Begin?: A Believer and Non-Believer Examine the Evidence

Overview

• Provides an introduction to Christian origins from two very different points of view
• There is increasing interest in Christian origins at the scholarly and also popular level
• Includes contributions from internationally known scholars Scot McKnight and Maurice Casey

The objective of How Did Christianity Begin? is to present two contrasting perspectives on the history of early Christianity. The contrast is evidently sharp as one co-author comes from a conservative Christian background (Michael Bird), while ...

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Softcover New The objective of How Did Christianity Begin? is to present two contrasting perspectives on the history of early Christianity. The contrast is evidently sharp as ... one co-author comes from a conservative Christian background (Michael Bird), while the other co-author (James Crossley) approaches the matter from a secular standpoint. The volume works sequentially through Christian origins and addresses various topics including the historical Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, the Gospels, and the early church. Each author in turn examines these subjects and lays out his historical arguments concerning their origin and meaning. The volume also includes short responses from two other scholars (Maurice Casey and Scot McKnight) to the arguments of Bird and Crossley so as to give an even handed and broad evaluation of the arguments and debates that unfold. Read more Show Less

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Overview

• Provides an introduction to Christian origins from two very different points of view
• There is increasing interest in Christian origins at the scholarly and also popular level
• Includes contributions from internationally known scholars Scot McKnight and Maurice Casey

The objective of How Did Christianity Begin? is to present two contrasting perspectives on the history of early Christianity. The contrast is evidently sharp as one co-author comes from a conservative Christian background (Michael Bird), while the other co-author (James Crossley) approaches the matter from a secular standpoint. The volume works sequentially through Christian origins and addresses various topics including the historical Jesus, the resurrection of Jesus, the Apostle Paul, the Gospels, and the early church. Each author in turn examines these subjects and lays out his historical arguments concerning their origin and meaning.

The volume also includes short responses from two other scholars (Maurice Casey and Scot McKnight) to the arguments of Bird and Crossley so as to give an even handed and broad evaluation of the arguments and debates that unfold.

Read More Show Less

Editorial Reviews

Library Journal

Polemics and diatribes-especially concerning the spiritual and secular-are abundant these days, with fair-minded conversations few and far between. This book is a welcome exception. In brief, it's a respectful dialog between an evangelical Christian and a secularist about the origins of Christianity. Bird (lecturer in New Testament, Highland Theological Coll., Scotland) is the Christian apologist here; his sparring partner is "secularist" Crossley (lecturer in New Testament, Univ. of Sheffield), who approaches Christianity more from a sociohistorical perspective and thinks like skeptical philosopher David Hume. Translation: miracles don't occur. Bird and Crossley interact on a wide array of crucial subjects, covering the divinity of Jesus, the resurrection of Christ, the Apostle Paul, the authenticity of the Gospels, and the rise as well as spread of Christianity. Interestingly, the idea for this book stemmed from the authors commenting on each other's respective blogs online. Especially helpful are the responses from two other Jesus scholars representing both sides of the debate. In the end, readers can make up their own minds after considering the arguments. Exemplifying scholarly integrity and balance, this book is recommended for both public and academic libraries; religiously affiliated colleges, universities, and seminaries will definitely want to add this to their religious studies and apologetics collections.
—C. Brian Smith

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780801045653
  • Publisher: Baker Publishing Group
  • Publication date: 12/1/2008
  • Pages: 224
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.10 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Michael F. Bird is lecturer in theology at Crossway College and honorary research associate at the University of Queensland. He has published several articles on the linguistic background to the gospels and the Gospel of Mark and is the author of Jesus and the Origins of the Gentile Mission.

James G. Crossley is lecturer in New Testament at the University of Sheffield. He is the author of The Date of Mark's Gospel: Insight from the Law in Earliest Christianity and Why Christianity Happened: A Sociohistorical Account of Christian Origins 26-50 CE.

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