The First Christian Centuries: Perspectives on the Early Church
Table of Contents

Introduction: Christians from a Distant Perspective
Theology and History
Who Was, or Was Not, Christian?
Ways of Understanding Differences between Christians
A Story of Both Centre and Periphery

1. First-Century Christianity: The Source Debate
A Portfolio of Sources
The New Testament
Fragmented Discussion
The Intracanonists' Dispute Resolved
The Extracanonists' Case Delineated
The Extracanonists' Case Disproved
New Testament Insights on the Christian Movement

2. First-Generation Christianity
Jesus' Church: A Sect
Christians, the Synagogues and the Temple
Jerusalem Christianity in the First Decade
Simon Magus and His Sect
The Jerusalem Church, 41--62
Paul and the Antioch Church
The Pauline Churches, 46--62

3. Initial Growth, Incipient Persecution
Persecution and Illegality
A Threshold

4. The Second Christian Generation
Second-Generation Church Order: the Didache
Second-Generation Discipline: Clement of Rome
Second-Generation Prophecy: Hermas
Second-Generation Growth: Alexandria and Egypt
The Second Generation in Jerusalem and the Jewish Churches
Separation between Christianity and Judaism

5. Second- and Third-Century Christianity: Another Source Debate
Memories and Apologia
Apolgetic and Mission
Apocryphal Stories
Gnostic Writing

6. Persecution and Anti-Christian Polemic
Pliny and Trajan
Hadrian: Deterring Informers
Peregrinus: When Politics Dictated Tolerance
Polycarp: The Crowd Demands a Victim
Intellectual Attacks
Where Persuasion Fails: Anti-Christian Violence
The Decian Persecution

7. An Enclave: Caesar's Palace
Government Officials
The Second Generation
An Unusual Arrest
Christians: A Persistent Presence in the Palace
Third-Century Purges
The Shape of Things to Come

8. Gnosticism and Christian Diversity
"False Teachers" in the New Testament
Key Concepts in Gnosticism
Divergent and Convergent Forces
Ignatius of Antioch
Who Was a Gnostic?
Cosmopolitan Theologizing
Sectarianism in the Development of Christianity
The Great Church and Doctrinal Development
A Case Where "No Sock Fell Off": Origen

9. Women and Christianity
Feminist Readings of the Early Church
Stark's The Rise of Christianity: A Bullish View?
Feminists Adapt the New Consensus
Leadership Given by Women
The Pull of Gravity

10. The Great Persecution and Constantine
The Calm before the Storm
The Churches and Roman Society
The Crisis of Empire and Anti-Christian Propaganda
The Great Persecution
Constantine's Rise to Power
Constantine's Conversion
Christianity Becomes the Official Religion

Primary-Source Finding List
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