Let’s say you want to know what the earliest churches and Christians were like. Is there a book that puts it all together? that sorts out all the scholarship? one that is up-to-date? When I was a student, we turned first to F.F. Bruce and to F.V. Filson, and then sketch in the background by opening up E. Schurer’s famous set. But we have learned so much, and so many ideas have shifted, and so much new evidence has turned up that we are in need of something that sorts it all out.
That is why I commend to you my own doctoral supervisor’s magnum opus, volume 2 of his set on Christianity in the Making. The first book by James D.G. Dunn, one of the deans of New Testament scholarship today, was on Jesus (Jesus Remembered (Christianity in the Making, Vol. 1)
), and this second one is called Beginning from Jerusalem
This is a big book (1300+ pages), and we need a big book to get all this stuff into focus. Here are just some of the topics, and Jimmy (that’s what we call our teacher) has a knack at sorting out the evidence, the scholarship, and carrying us to the next station: Pentecost, leadership, the seven, Stephen, Philip, Paul, Peter, and Paul’s whole mission … well, it’s all here. This is the place to begin from now on.
Personal word: I got to read nearly all of this in ms form a while back and I am excited this book is now available. I suspect individual chapters will be assigned for college and seminary classes in all sorts of ways.