I am fascinated by the question: why did a small number of Jewish monotheists worship the man Jesus Christ and how did that worship form the most populous religion in world history?
Outside of select circles, few ask this question Yet without answering it, how can one understand Christianity? By answering this question, Christianity is identified. The answer to this question is just as much historical as it is theological.
Theologically, a Christian can affirm that the answer to this question sets Christianity apart from Judaism and Islam—it is apologetically necessary to answer. The answer (for Christians) also names the centre, means, and purpose of Christianity since Christ sits at the centre of the cosmos, acts as the means by which humans return to God, and his life—eternal life—names the blessed end to which we strive in the present and will forever enjoy in the future.
Historically, the question of how a small group of Jewish persons began to worship the man Jesus Christ and persuade multitudes to do so includes theological concerns but also requires considerable historical study. This is why works like The First One Hundred years of Christianity need to exist. In this work, Udo Schnelle has written an introduction to Christianity’s history, literature, and development that cites original sources and significant scholarship. [Read more…] about The First One Hundred Years of Christianity by Udo Schnelle