The extraordinary success of The Da Vinci Code has dramatically intensified interest in the mysterious origins of Christianity. But in fact there has always been huge curiosity about a wide range of contentious issues concerning Jesus and early Church history. Who was the 'real' Jesus? How much do we really know about his disciples? What is written in the 'secret' early Christian writings, such as the Gnostic Gospels? How did the Church Fathers decide which beliefs were heretical and which weren't? Who were the first Popes and how did they take control of the early Church? Decoding Early Christianity addresses all such questions, separating truth from legend, and showing how the early Church Fathers and Popes interpreted competing views and traditions to produce, over time, an approved and codified view of Jesus and his followers, and developed an accepted liturgy with which to worship him. Expertly written by a team of highly distinguished authors, it is a clear and engaging exploration of fact and fiction for anyone who wants to be reliably informed on the subject.
The authors show how speculative fancies arise from a mixture of tenuous evidence and wishful thinking, and bring the issues back to the solid - but no less extraordinary - evidence in the main canon of the Gospels and the Acts. After Leslie Houlden's Introduction, which briefly explores the nature and context of the different issues, nine chapters, each written by an expert, tackle the evidence: 'What Did Jesus Do and Teach?' (Leslie Houlden), 'Who Were the Disciples?' (Stephen Need), 'Who Were the First Popes?' (Graham Gould), 'What is the Apocryphal New Testament?' (Stuart Hall), 'What was Gnosticism?' (Stuart Hall), 'What Was the Qumran Sect and Did Jesus Share their Beliefs?' (Stephen Need), 'How Did the Early Christians Worship?' (Graham Gould), 'Who Were the Heretics and What Did they Believe?' (Lionel Wickham) and 'What Did Constantine Do for Christianity?' (Graham Gould).
Buy Decoding Early Christianity book by Rev. Prof. Leslie Houlden from Australia's Online Independent Bookstore, Boomerang Books.
(229mm x 192mm x 20mm)
Greenwood World Publishing
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Author Biography - Rev. Prof. Leslie Houlden
Leslie Houlden has taught at Oxford and King's College, London and is the author of many books, chiefly on the New Testament, the use of the Bible and the best ways for us now to see the relation between Scripture and Christian faith. He is an Anglican priest and a retired professor of the University of London. Graham Gould was formerly a lecturer in theology at King's College, London. He is now a freelance lecturer and writer and co-editor of the Journal of Theological Studies. As well as the early church his theological interests include liturgy and the critical appropriation of the Bible in preaching. He lives in Leyton in east London. Stuart George Hall was born in London in 1928, and educated at University College School, New College, Oxford and Ripon Hall. He has been an Anglican priest since 1955, and has taught and published in universities, chiefly on the early Church. From 1978 to 1990 he was Professor of Ecclesiastical History at Kings College, London, and is now associated with St Andrews University. Stephen W. Need has taught New Testament Studies and Early Christianity in Chichester, Southampton and Jerusalem. He has traveled widely in the Middle East and is currently Dean of St. George's College, Jerusalem. Lionel Wickham (born 1932) has divided his working life between parish priesthood, mostly in Yorkshire, and university teaching. His last academic post was as University Lecturer in the Faculty of Divinity at Cambridge where he taught under the heading of the History and Interpretation of Christian doctrine in the Patristic period.