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Long before Christianity, of course, cultures had articulated the idea that human wrongdoing violated ...
Long before Christianity, of course, cultures had articulated the idea that human wrongdoing violated relations with the divine. But Sin tells how, in the fevered atmosphere of the four centuries between Jesus and Augustine, singular new Christian ideas about sin emerged in rapid and vigorous variety, including the momentous shift from the belief that sin is something one does to something that one is born into. As the original defining circumstances of their movement quickly collapsed, early Christians were left to debate the causes, manifestations, and remedies of sin. This is a powerful and original account of the early history of an idea that has centrally shaped Christianity and left a deep impression on the secular world as well.
"Though this book is short . . . and directed towards an audience of general, well-educated readers, it re-reads a topic that many had previously assumed to be a monolith. As a result, Fredriksen's work offers an invaluable addition to the scholarly discourse about sin during the early centuries of Christianity, not only because she underscores the Jewish roots of this concept, but also, and more significantly, because she emphasizes the diversity present in early Christian circles in relation to the idea of sin."—Deborah Forger, Reviews of the Enoch Seminar
"Fredriksen covers a huge amount of ground in a compact book which provides swift initial orientation for the newcomer and is also sufficiently provocative to stimulate those who know the subject well."—Timothy Carter, Journal for the Study of the New Testament
Chapter 1: God, Blood, and the Temple: Jesus and Paul on Sin 6
Chapter 2: Flesh and the Devil: Sin in the Second Century 50
Chapter 3: A Rivalry of Genius: Sin and Its Consequences in Origen and Augustine 93
Works Cited 185
Index Locorum 193
General Index 201