The Emergence of the Christian Religion

Essays on Early Christianity

By Birger A. Pearson

The Emergence of the Christian Religion

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  • ISBN: 9781620326374
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication Date: 11/8/2012
  • Retail Price: $31.00
Web Price: $24.80
Web Price: $24.80

The Emergence of the Christian Religion

Essays on Early Christianity

By Birger A. Pearson

paperback-logo

PAPERBACK

  • ISBN: 9781620326374
  • Pages: 256
  • Publication Date: 11/8/2012
  • Retail Price: $31.00
Web Price: $24.80

About-

In this book, Birger Pearson argues for the study of Christianity as "one of the religions of the world." He proposes that the study of the New Testament and the other early Christian literature be moved out of the realm of theology and into the area of comparative research of religion.

The book therefore addresses the problematic of Christian origins, that is, the historical process by which a new religion, Christianity, emerges out of an older one, Second Temple Judaism. Included are studies ranging from the prehistory of Christianity (Jesus, together with an illuminating, lengthy, and detailed critical analysis of the work of the Jesus Seminar and the trends in current North American gospel research it reflects) into the New Testament and up to the fourth century.

A concluding chapter presents the author's reflections on scholarly methods used in the study of the Christian religion.

Endorsements & Reviews-

"Pearson writes about the New Testament in its historical context and Gnosticism (on which he is a leading authority) . . . The articles on Gnosticism set forth a rich feast . . . The introduction details the origins of each essay, while the epilogue, 'Some Personal Observations on Scholarly Method,' is a sober reflection back on the essays . . . Pearson calls for historical research that integrates social analysis, recognizes diversity in the sources, and does not use personal faith as an historian's methodological filter."
--Edgar Krentz, Currents in Theology and Mission


"Birger Pearson's latest book is not a history of Christian origins, but provides, as he says, 'windows' into the historical process by which the Christian religion developed from being a minority group within Judaism to become in the fourth century the dominant religion of the Roman Empire. A couple of New Testament hapax legomena in 2 Peter suggest reminiscence of classical myth, another chapter deals with gnostic reinterpretation of the Old Testament, a third with philanthropy in the Greco-Roman world and in early Christianity, and there is more . . . The twelve-page index of ancient sources and the literature cited in the footnotes bear witness to Pearson's mastery of his subject."
--Robert McL. Wilson, Journal of Theological Studies

Contributors-

Birger A. Pearson

Bio(s)-

Birger A. Pearson is Professor of Religious Studies Emeritus at the University of Santa Barbara and Professor and Interim Director of the Religious Studies Program at the University of California, Berkeley.

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