The First Urban Christians

The Social World of the Apostle Paul, Second Edition

Wayne A. Meeks; With a new introduction by the author

View Inside Price: $28.00


February 8, 2003
320 pages, 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780300098617
Paper

In this classic work, Wayne A. 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. 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.

"[An] interesting, important, and excellent book. . . . It is rich in insights, both those that are over-arching and those that deal with details. . . . [A] solid piece of work."—O.C. Edwards, Jr., Anglican Theological Review

"Meeks' book has much to recommend  it and it certainly is a step towards a deeper appreciation of the early urban christians."—W.R. Domeris, University of Cape Town, Journal of Theology for Southern Africa

"Highly informed and very readable."—E. Earle Ellis, Reformed Review

"What makes The First Urban Christians particularly valuable is its comprehensiveness; Meeks has brought together a wealth of data that the reader will not find conveniently assembled elsewhere, and this alone is a great contribution. . . . Clearly this book deserves a wide audience. It would serve well as a textbook or point of departure for various seminary courses on Paul, and could provide the basis for some advanced undergraduate study as well. Meeks' style is very readable, and Yale has done an excellent job of presenting this material in a pleasing and error-free format. . . . This reader has found The First Urban Christians the most profitable book of its kind, and looks forward to further works from this learned scholar."—Ben Witherington, Review of Books and Religion

"A thorough social and cultural analysis."—G. H. Mueller, Sociological Analysis

"Informative and provocative. Despite the fact that Meeks employs the technical terminology and theories of the social sciences with which most students of the New Testament will be unfamiliar, the discussion remains readable and understandable. The nearly one hundred pages of notes, bibliography, and biblical references reflect the thoroughness of this research. . . . Meeks proves that New Testament interpretation can benefit from the use of non-theological disciplines.  His efforts should appeal to the serious student of the New Testament."—Sharon Hodgin Gritz, Southwestern Journal of Theology

"An important advance in Pauline studies. . . . Meeks’ social history of Pauline Christianity deserves close attention from pastors and teachers who seek to understand Paul's letters better."—James L. Bailey, Trinity Seminary Review

"Meeks has mined a rich spectrum of archaeological, social-historical, theological and sociological resources in writing this book. . . . The book is clear and readable. . . . Meeks' landmark study can . . . enrich one's understanding of what is was like to be a Christian in the ancient cities of the Roman Empire."—Rudy Mitchell, Urban Mission

"Meeks’ contribution is helpful and illuminating. . . . It can and will fruitfully stimulate our efforts to determine how Christian faith and social experience meaningfully intersect. . . . The book merits the attention of pastors and intellectually ambitious lay leaders. I can provide some spice for sermons."—Willard M. Swartley, The Mennonite

"Welcome the second edition of Wayne Meeks’ The First Urban Christians, a cutting-edge study of Paul’s letters back in 1983. Meeks locates Paul in the social milieu of the first century. This paperback, updated with a new, brief four-page introduction and a supplementary bibliography is a must read if you missed the original edition. Almost every page will give you a new insight into the earliest Christians and Paul’s thought. I make it required reading for Paul students."—Edgar Krentz, Currents in Theology & Mission

"Should fascinate any reader with an interest in the history of human thought."—Phoebe-Lou Adams, Atlantic Monthly

"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 an 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

Co-winner of the 1986 Annual Award for Excellence given by the American Academy of Religion

Co-winner of the 1984 Best Book on the New Testament given by the Biblical Archaeology Review Publication Award
In Search of the Early Christians
Selected Essays

Wayne A. Meeks; Edited by Allen R. Hilton and H.

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The Origins of Christian Morality
The First Two Centuries

Wayne A. Meeks

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