Resetting the Origins of Christianity
A New Theory of Sources and Beginnings
- ISBN: 9781009290487
- Published By: Cambridge University Press
- Published: March 2023
How do we know what we know about the origins of the Christian religion? Neither its founder, nor the Apostles, nor Paul left any written accounts of their movement. The witnesses' testimonies were transmitted via successive generations of copyists and historians, with the oldest surviving fragments dating to the second and third centuries - that is, to well after Jesus' death. In this innovative and important book, Markus Vinzent interrogates standard interpretations of Christian origins handed down over the centuries. He scrutinizes - in reverse order - the earliest recorded sources from the sixth to the second century, showing how the works of Greek and Latin writers reveal a good deal more about their own times and preoccupations than they do about early Christianity. In so doing, the author boldly challenges understandings of one of the most momentous social and religious movements in history, as well as its reception over time and place.