Monday, August 18, 2008

How Did Christianity Begin?

The Bird vs. Crossley smack down is just about here. To be released in mid-September in the US and UK. At the Hendrickson website you can read: 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.

Let me say that Scot McKnight's rejoinder to Crossley is worth the price of the book alone! There are some good exchanges, more agreements than we first imagined, and some humorous ancedotes as well! Hopefully Crossley and I will be invited on the Colbert Report which I can use to make fun of Crossley's gothic fashion sense and his religious devotion to ManUism.


Ben Myers said...

Looks great!

matthew said...

wow... a right proper nottinghamfest... I'm sold!

Geoff Hudson said...

I thought 'Christianity' began with the prophets - I mean those around shortly before and during the first century who were largely written out of the history books. Queen Salome was supposed to have been a Pharisee, but we know Pharisees didn't exist at the time of Salome. So who was she really following? And isn't it strange that no other monarchs are described as following the Pharisees. But what about Agrippa I and his son Agrippa II? Who did they follow? Was it the prophets, I wonder? And who did Agrippa I's mate Josephus follow? I mean he didn't exactly practice as a priest, did he?

Was the first century Jewish civil conflict really one between priests and prophets?

Were the cult of Jesus and rabbinnic Judaism contrived under Flavian influence after what must have been the careful removal of the wealth of the prophet's sanctuary by the Roman garrison under Titus? Of course the Roman garrison (that had been in Jerusalem for almost three years previously during a time of peace in Judea) 'reluctantly' burned the sanctuary after looting it. This was pure opportunistic robbery to fund the Flavian rise to power.