When Christians Were Jews

The First Generation

Paula Fredriksen

View Inside Price: $27.50


October 23, 2018
272 pages, 5 1/2 x 8 1/4
2 b/w illus.
ISBN: 9780300190519
Hardcover

A compelling account of Christianity’s Jewish beginnings, from one of the world’s leading scholars of ancient religion

How did a group of charismatic, apocalyptic Jewish missionaries, working to prepare their world for the impending realization of God’s promises to Israel, end up inaugurating a movement that would grow into the gentile church? Committed to Jesus’s prophecy—“The Kingdom of God is at hand!”—they were, in their own eyes, history’s last generation. But in history’s eyes, they became the first Christians.
 
In this electrifying social and intellectual history, Paula Fredriksen answers this question by reconstructing the life of the earliest Jerusalem community. As her account arcs from this group’s hopeful celebration of Passover with Jesus, through their bitter controversies that fragmented the movement’s midcentury missions, to the city’s fiery end in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, she brings this vibrant apostolic community to life. Fredriksen offers a vivid portrait both of this temple-centered messianic movement and of the bedrock convictions that animated and sustained it.

Paula Fredriksen, Aurelio Professor of Scripture emerita at Boston University, is currently the Distinguished Visiting Professor of Comparative Religion at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. She is one of the world’s leading scholars of ancient Judaism and early Christianity.

"A scintillating, original, and brilliantly concise synthesis—Fredriksen's own and that of a gifted generaton of revisionist historians, both Jewish and Christian."—Jack Miles, author of God: A Biography

“A characteristically lucid, focused and beautifully-written argument. Fredriksen sits the early Christian movement firmly within Judaism, revealing it as radically eschatological, variegated, evolving - and far less critical of ancestral customs and norms than is traditionally imagined.”—Joan E. Taylor, author of What Did Jesus Look Like?  
 

“Engaging, provocative, and admirably lucid, this account of the Jewish origins of earliest Christianity will force readers at all levels to reconsider their assumptions and rethink their views.”—Bart D. Ehrman, author of Jesus: Apocalyptic Prophet of the New Millennium

“Eloquent, informed, and provocative, this book offers a necessary corrective to a number of prevailing views of Jesus, Paul, and the Gospel writers. Paula Fredriksen advances the studies of both Judaism and Christianity.”—Amy-Jill Levine, author of Short Stories by Jesus: The Enigmatic Parables of a Controversial Rabbi
 

“Paula Fredriksen tells with brio the gripping story of the early Jewish followers of Jesus and their expectations of the end. She traces with empathy and scholarly precision their changing perspectives as events unfolded in ways unanticipated.”—Martin Goodman, author of A History of Judaism

“Prof Fredriksen offers a vivid portrait both of this temple-centred messianic movement and of the bedrock convictions that animated it and sustained it.” —John Singleton, Methodist Recorder

“A fascinating book about a crucial moment in Jewish history”—Jonathan Kirsch, Jewish Journal
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See the eastern Mediterranean world Paula Fredriksen brings vividly to life in When Christians Were Jews mapped out below

(click to enlarge)

Paul
The Pagans' Apostle

Paula Fredriksen

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