What was it like ot be an ordinary Christian in the beginning decades of the Roman Empire? In this absorbing and authoritative book, Meeks analyzes the earliest extant documents of Christianity--the letters of Paul--to describe the tensions and the texture of life of the first urban Christians. Feel like stepping out of our era into the social world of the apostle Paul? Meeks is the authority to do it with! With a fresh angle, he analyzes the earliest extant documents of Christianity, the letters of Paul, to unravel information of an era and a people we can realistically relate to. Unafraid to tread on heavily debated grounds---his absorbing study relays lucid information on both accepted and controversial early Christian social and religious practices. Meeks vividly evokes the thrilling reality of the textures, tensions and heart of first-century social life, enabling you to indirectly meet those citizens and discover what it was like to be an early Christian!
In this classic work, Wayne A. Meeks analyzes the earliest extant documents of Christianitythe letters of Paulto describe the tensions and the texture of life of the first urban Christians. In a new introduction, he describes the evolution of the field of New Testament scholarship over the past twenty years, including new developments in fields such as archaeology and social history.
Praise for the earlier edition:
Many readers are likely to join me in feeling that they have never been so close to their mixed and mixed-up spiritual ancestors as Meeks helps them to be. For those who are open to the possibility that they can find fresh angles on the familiar, this book is not only recommended; it is urged.”Martin E. Marty, Christian Century
A much-needed authoritative study.”J. L. Houlden, Times Literary Supplement
"Those with any historical bent will be intrigued by the way a story usually overlaid with thick layers of theological speculation is unraveled. . . . And those who simply have an interest in how groups form in any era . . . will be fascinated by this case study of one particular community that has ramifications for understanding all other communities."Robert McAfee Brown, New York Times Book Review
"Should fascinate any reader with an interest in the history of human thought."--Phoebe-Lou Adams, Atlantic Monthly
Wayne A. Meeks is the Woolsey Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Department of Religious Studies at Yale University. He is also the author of The Origins of Christian Morality and In Search of the Early Christians, both published by Yale University Press.