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Jesus and After
The First Eighty Years
E. Bruce Brooks

Studies in Early Christianity

Warring States Project
2018 • 192 pp. 6 1/8 x 9 1/4”
Jesus, the Gospels & Acts / Christian Theology - History

$19.95 Paperback, 978-1-936166-67-1
$35.00 Hardcover, 978-1-936166-27-5

$18.95 Ebook, 978-1-936166-87-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

A historical study of Jesus and the beginnings and later history of the movement he left behind

This book is an overview of the history of Early Christianity. Each chapter is based on one selection from Jewish texts or from those produced by the Jesus sect of Judaism. It gives a sense of how things happened, from the words of certain ancient prophets, to Jesus' effort to bring about those prophecies, to the efforts of his followers to reshape their expectations after his death. It follows the movement as it came to regard Jesus himself as divine, a process which eventually led to the separation of the sect from the parent religion. It ends with a glimpse of a surviving early Christian church on the shores of the Black Sea, and how it appeared to the Roman administrator who was in charge of executing those who, like the Early Christians, refused Emperor worship. From the evidence of two deaconesses whom he tortured, which Pliny reported to Emperor Trajan, we too learn what were the regular practices of that church.

For other titles in this series, see the Warring States Project main page.

Reviews / Endorsements

“The author has accomplished something rare in this outstanding book: he has mingled careful textual study with a sense of theological urgency. The Jesus who emerges from Brooks’ expert philological excavation is, quite remarkably, a Jesus many of us who have wandered from the fold might want to revisit. Freed from the secondary accretions of what Brooks calls Beta Christianity, which includes such “stumbling blocks” as blood atonement and resurrection, the original Christian teaching shines forth with a kind of simplicity and directness that is both moving and relevant. And Brooks delivers all of this in language of admirable brevity and clarity. A must read for all of us interested in what Christianity once was.—Stephen C Durrant, University of Oregon

“This book is a treasure for anyone interested in the actual history of early Christianity, the life of Jesus in his own time, his earliest followers, and how the movement evolved after the death of Jesus. I have read several
books on this topic, but this one makes fuller use of the primary sources, and identifies and dates the layers in those sources. It lets the authors speak directly to the reader, and then provides fuller understanding by giving the historical context and motivations of the authors. It brings the early Jesus movement alive in all its human drama and complexity. It shows the many
possibilities available to the movement, and how some of them continue to inspire Christians down to the present day. The result is a Christianity for modern grown-ups, who don’t have to believe that God created the laws of
physics only to capriciously suspend them; who don’t need to depend on ancient superstitions about sacrificing goats or people to “save” or protect themselves. The book has an immediacy that I find convincing and exciting. It’s accessible to someone like me, who grew up immersed in Christianity, but who has not followed Biblical scholarship in depth for many years.”—Paul Ropp, Clark University

E. BRUCE BROOKS lives in Northampton, Massachusetts, and is a Research Professor at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. He is the author of many articles, reviews, and book chapters, and of two
books, one on the Analects of Confucius (1998), in which the supposed sayings of Confucius are separated into early and late; and The Emergence of China, a general introduction to the many schools of thought in the Chinese classical period, and their evolution and interaction. Jesus and After does both these things for Christianity. It distinguishes early from late in individual Christian texts, and shows the development of the religion over time.

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 14:04:24 -0500