Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times

Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times The Pathway To Understanding The New Testament Leads Through The Vibrant Landscape Of The First Century Greco Roman World The New Testament Is Rooted In The Concrete Historical Events Of That World InJesus The Rise Of Early Christianity Paul Barnett Not Only Places The New Testament Within That World Of Caesars And Herods, Proconsuls And Pharisees, Sadducees And Revolutionaries, But Argues That The Mainspring And Driving Force Of Early Christian History Is The Historical Jesus We Cannot Understand The Rise Of Christianity Apart From This Jesus, The Messiah Of Israel And The Spiritual And Intellectual Impact He Had On His Immediate Followers And Those Who Succeeded Them From His Intimate Acquaintance With The Sources, The Evidence And The Problems Of New Testament History, Barnett Offers Fresh Insights His Telling Of The Story Skillfully Avoids The Encumbrance Of Extraneous Details And Side Journeys From The Brith Of Jesus To The Founding Of The Messianic Community, From The Rise Of Paul S Mission To The Gentiles To The Writing Of The Gospels, Barnett Offers A Comprehensive Account Of The Movement That Would Change The Face Of World History Jesus The Rise Of Early Christianity Is A Comprehensive Survey Of New Testament History That Will Meet The Needs Of Students And Teachers Of The New Testament In Its Engagment With Contemporary Scholarship And Its Emphasis On The Propelling Role Of The Historical And Risen Jesus In The Rise Of Christianity, It Provides A Timely Rejoinder To Current Revisionist Exploration Of Christian Origins

Paul Barnett, former Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Australia, is a Visiting Fellow in Ancient History at Macquarie University and Teaching Fellow at Regent College, Vancouver and Moore College, Sydney He is a frequent traveler to Israel, where Christianity began, and to Turkey and Greece, to which it rapidly spread.

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  • Paperback
  • 448 pages
  • Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times
  • Paul Barnett
  • English
  • 08 September 2018
  • 9780830826995

10 thoughts on “Jesus & the Rise of Early Christianity: A History of New Testament Times

  1. says:

    I really thought this book was helpful in my understanding of the history and cultural of the first century.To Gentiles, however, the title the Christ was incomprehensible it meant only the smeared one To accommodate the cultural problems of the Gentiles, the title the Christ quickly became a surname, as in Jesus Christ p.27 In the case of Vespasian a connection between the emperor s fear of the house of David and his apprehension of the Messiah Christ of the Jews has to be inferred though it is a reasonable inference With Domitian, however, the connection is explicit The emperor asked them whether they were of the house of David and for information about Christ and his kingdom The grandsons of Jude, in agreeing that they were of the family of David, added that they were related to Christ himself This might have led to their immediate execution However, when Domitian discovered that these royal descendants were humble farmers with small holdings and hard, worn hands and that Christ s kingdom was a heavenly, end time kingdom, the emperor dismissed them and called off the persecution Upon their return to Galilee the grandsons of Jude were appointed leaders of the church because of their faithful witness and their relationship to the Christ p.32 33 By the time of the great fire in Rome in 64 Christians were seen as a superstition, an aloof sect, and a threat to the social order p.34 Through his references to the statements of Peter and Paul in his two volume work, Luke carefully establishes for his readers that Jesus is of the line of David Matthew, too, makes much of Jesus Davidic roots p.35 Three passages provide the source of the messianic hope of the Old Testament Gen 49 10, Num 24 17, 2 Sam 7 12 16 These images ruler, throne, seed, sceptre represented the core belief and hope of the covenant people in the time of Jesus The long awaited messianic king was a son of David p.37 Many scholars, however, question whether the hope of a Davidic Messiah was central to the beliefs of Judaism at the time of Jesus and the rise of early Christianity Two related lines of argument are used First, it is claimed that the re wree a multiplicity of eschatologies and messianic figures current in Second Temple Judaism For example, the two messiahs of Qumran hope, one a pries the line of Aaron and the other a layman the messiah of Israel , has created difficulties for the view that there was a central and dominant Davidic hope Second, the various messianic pretenders of the epoch of Jesus of Nazareth did not claim to be of Davidic descent p.38 Further, the immediate historical context of Athronges and Simon whom some claim to be Messiah figures was one in which various unlikely persons, namely, Judas Maccabeus son of a poor priest and Herod son of an Idumean married to a Nabatean , had acquired the throne of Israel The throne was there for the taking, but that did not mean the pretender claimed to be messianic or Davidic If the claimant was of humble origin, as Athronges and Simon bar Gioras were, it will come as no surprise that he was a charismatic leader and that he appealed to the peasantry, promising justice for the poor How else can a nobody achieve power unless he is charismatic By what other means can he find a following among his own unless he promises a better future than the past had been Athronges and Simon were formidable fighters, but so too was Herod This hardly made Athronges or Simon or Herod a messiah To be sure, a messiah was a king, but not every king was a Messiah Raymond E Brown is entirely justified in saying that there is no evidence that any Jew claimed or was said to be the Messiah before Jesus of Nazareth or until a century after his death and that to assert otherwise is to subscribe to a fiction p.39 CHAPTER 3 The Hellenistic Background to Jesus In A.D 6 the Romans made Judea a province, with Caesarea Maritima the new capital p.48 The Ptolemies gave special attention to Israel as a temple state They were concerned that the high priest not become, de facto, a king Alongside the high priest they appointed a high ranking official postates tou hierou, head of the temple , answerable to them, as a counterbalance to the high priest They also established a senate gerousia, council of elders as a further check on the high priest The Sanhedrin of New Testament times did not develop out of the covenantal history of Israel it evolved from the Ptolemaic gerousia This was a critical expression of Hellenism at the heart of Judaism The Macedonian newcomers were quickly influenced by the divinely sanctioned king centered culture of Egypt Following the practice of the pharaohs, the Ptolemaic rulers claimed ownership of most of the land, which was worked by free tenants under strict supervision In Israel, this represented a radical break from earlier covenantal practices, which allowed ordinary Israelites to own land and pass it on to their heirs Hellenism changed the patterns of land ownership, farming and trade, effecting nothing less than an agricultural revolution in Israel during the Ptolemaic era By the time of Jesus the agricultural world of Galilee owed to the Ptolemaic era than to covenantal history p.49 By contrast with those caught up in the heady world of Hellenism, the poorer Jews strongly resisted the subtle and pervasive outside influences p.50 In the period 168 167 B.C Antiochus moved to demolish the walls of the city He established a Greek style acropolis where the newly defined citizens met, the so called Antiochenes of jerusalem Worse, Antiochus launched a concerted attack on the fundamentals of the covenant faith of Israel This he did through his new puppet high priest, Menelaus, a convinced Hellenizer, who had by then out bribed Jason for the office Menelaus, the first high priest in history who was not descended from Zadok the priest, discontinued temple services in the temple, destroyed copies of the Scriptures, forbade circumcision and abolished the covenantal food laws In climax an altar dedicated to Zeus was erected upon the altar in the temple of Yahweh Unclean animals pigs were sacrificed upon it Altars in honor of Greco Syrian deities were now set up throughout Israel, and local people were required to offer sacrifice Henceforth it would be a capital offense to circumcise a son, possess as scroll of Scripture or refuse to eat swine sacrificed to idols p.52 Judas rededication of the Temple is remembered annually by the Jews in the feast of Hannukah, Dedication The arrival of the Romans general Pompey in 63 B.C created a climate of anxiety Jews once faced Gentile occupation, ore overtly onerouse that that of the Greeks three centuries earlier The people could not look to the Hasmoneans After Judas s initial success, that dynasty had quickly lost the support of the devout people The hearts of the people longed for the arrival of the long awaited deliverer, the kingly descendant of David, the Lord s Anointed, the Messiah p.61 The expectations of the Jews in the time of Jessu a century later appear to have been influenced by the Psalms of Solomon Devout folk were looking for the consolation of Israel the redemption of Jerusalem Lk 2 25, 38 and the kingdom of God Mk 15 43 It was, however, to be based on the violent exclusion of the Gentiles p.62 CONCLUSION The impact of Hellenism on Israel was considerable Wealthy jews to generalize succumbed to Hellensissm, gladly embracing its allure By contrast, poorer Jews reacted bitterly against Hellenism For some, like the early Hasmonaeans, the reaction was violent, a matter of zeal For others, like the Hasidaeans, the reaction was pious and passive Among these the Pharisees continued as part of the temple based wider community, expressing their separation by strict adherence to the laws of the covenant,as they would teach the people in the synagogues to do Others the Essenes withdrew physically from the temple and teh community at large, settling at the edges of towns and cities One group, known by senationaly archaeological discoveries, separated itself absolutely, establishing its monastery on the desert shores of the Dead Sea, where in a series of caves its life and beliefs lay hidden for two millenia p.63 Chapter 4 Herod, Idumaean, King of the Jews Thus the Jews were destined to have not a righteous king of the line of David as hoped for in the Psalms of Solomon, but an Idumaean, a descendant of Israel s hated enemy, the Edomites, a people descended from Esau, the apostate brother of Jacob The Jews were to suffer grievous oppression under Herod s rule for almost four decades p.70 Like his father, Herod flattered those above him while crushing the opposition beneath him Herod was a prodigious warrior and hunter, as well as a resourceful and determined military leader Once in powerthe removal of dynastic rivals by the new king was customary Nonetheless, the ruthlessness and thoroughness of Herod s purges attract notice in the historical sources p.71 Hellenization continued and indeed was accelerated through Israel s most powerful king since Solomon, Herod the Great p.74 The ever suspicious Herod surrounded himself with military units that were drawn not from Jewish but from non Jewish sources Germany, Thracia and Gaul Early in his reign he appointed Boethus, an Alexandrian, as high priest in order to gain permission to marry Boethus s beautiful daughter Mariamne, thus also gaining control of the office of high priest p.75 Herod financed his massive building program and the maintenance of an expensive court by repressive taxation of the people at large and particularly py pillaging the property of the wealthy aristocrats who stood outside the circle of his supporters The nine fortresses he established served as counterbalances for possible Jewish opposition and also provided dungouns for any who dared to express a criticism that might be overheard by Herod s extensive network of spies p.83 CHAPTER 5 Jesus Birth and Boyhood They took their name from Nazareth, the village so named as an enclave of Davidic descendants James s people were followers of a netzer, a Branch of David, that had its origin in Nazareth WE may surmise that the long uninhabited village, which found no mention in the Old Testament, came to take its name from the Davidides who settles there during the Maccabean era The similarity between netzer and Nazareth is apparent It was quite common for places to take their names from the tribe or clan who settled there, for example, Danites from Dan to the north of the Sea of Galilee An association between Nazareth, the home of a natzoraios, a descendant of David, may be discerned in the owrds of Bartimaues, the blind beggar from Jericho When he heard that Jesus the Natzoraios was passing by, he cried out, Jesus, Son of David, have mercy on me Mk 10 47, Lk 18 37 38 According to custom Mary s father had betrother her for marriage, which probably was to occur in her middle or late teens.

  2. says:

    Review Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity A History of New Testament Times by Paul BarnettPaul Barnett Ph.D., London University is recognized by many in the field of New Testament studies as one of the most respected historical scholars on the origins of Christianity As well as being an Emeritus Faculty member of Moore Theological College, Barnett is currently a fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia and a teaching fellow at Regent College, Vancouver, Canada Barnett has authored numerous books, including a number of commentaries and monographs related to the various aspects of New Testament studies Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity A History of New Testament Times has been long acknowledged as a quintessential classic at the top of Barnett s lengthy literary corpus Barnett guides the reader through the complexities of the Hellenistic backdrop that characterized much of the culture during the ministry of Jesus from the incarnation to the resurrection and the development of the New Testament Church The approach is both comprehensive and readable, and Barnett firmly roots his research in primary source material This affords the reader a better grasp of the New Testament from within its historical context, and thus, allows for a better recognition of the significance of the early Jesus movement within the first century world The scope of this volume is quite impressive Not only is the reader exposed to the historical landscape of the New Testament, but Barnett has likewise interwoven detailed interaction with contemporary critical scholarship concerning the Historical Jesus and other related issues It is here that Barnett does well in demonstrating the historical shortcomings of the critical attempt to construct a chasm between the Jesus of history and the Christ of faith Moreover, the reader will certainly appreciate the emphasis Barnett places on the Christological motivation that underlined the missionary effort of the early Christian community, as well as the imperative nature of a bodily resurrection in early Christian worship This is by any measure a breath of fresh air brought to a table that is far too often plagued with canonical discontinuity and confusion, and for this readers everywhere should rejoice Jesus and the Rise of Early Christianity A History of New Testament Times by Paul Barnett is an invaluable resource that should be read and re read by anyone interested in the origins of early Christianity Barnett is judicious and clear as usual, and his treatment therein is nothing short of comprehensive Barnett leaves the eager reader with nearly no stones left to turn This is a volume that should be consulted by many and done so often, both in the church and in the academy It comes highly recommended I received a review copy of this book in exchange for an honest review I was not required to write a positive review The opinions I have expressed are my own I am disclosing this in accordance with the Federal Trade Commission s 16 CFR, Part 255 Guides Concerning the Use of Endorsements and Testimonials in Advertising.

  3. says:

    This is a very well written and detailed history of New Testament times It s written by a Christian an Anglican bishop it takes seriously the NT documents as history and I found its reconstruction of NT history from the gospels, Acts, and Paul s letters very convincing What a refreshing approach in contrast with the so called Jesus Seminar The book excels at setting the context of what was happening during the NT period, and I found it fascinating to follow the movements of the major NT figures Jesus, Paul, Peter, James, and John Zebedee While it s intended for an academic audience perhaps taking a seminary class , it s an excellent read for anyone who s looking to go deep in their studies of the Scriptures.

  4. says:

    A fantastic treatise on the foundations of Christianity The work was filled with useful material and did not attempt to ignore the tough issues I believe it will prove itself to be valued resource for my personal library.

  5. says:

    A long book packed full of information It will probably be beneficial to go back and read without a deadline.

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