More happened in the period between Jesus and Paul, Professor Hengel argues, than in the whole of the next seven centuries, up to the time when the doctrine of the early church was completed. Certainly these decades are crucial to our understanding of the development of earliest Christianity. However, they are very much a "tunnel" period, and there is little to shed light on it.
This volume does something to pierce the darkness. Among other issues, it considers the origins of the Christian mission, the role of the Hellenists, the reliability of Luke as a geographer when he is dealing with events in Palestine in the Acts of the Apostles, and the development of christological belief, particularly in Christian worship. Those familiar with Professor Hengel's work will know that they will find here a wealth of valuable insight based on painstaking examination of all available sources.