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Overlooked in the Library: L. Michael White

[reviews of books in our meetinghouse library]

Listed Under: Bible

Author: L. Michael White

Title : From Jesus to Christianity

This is a fascinating, very scholarly history of the development of the Christian Church, as revealed in a study and analysis of the New Testament. It uses serious Biblical scholarship to illustrate the gradual development of a Christian identity among the members of what the scholars refer to as “the Jesus movement.” Not to give away the ending, but it takes many years before any of Jesus’ early followers refer to themselves as “Christians”: The phrase “go to church” has no meaning for many, many years.

Side-by-side analysis of parallel verses in different gospels and in different “Pauline letters” is used to show how the focus and attitude of the Jesus Movement writers changes over time, and varies with regard to their adherents in different localities. They are seen as reacting differently to different political and religious ( Jewish traditions, etc. ) The thrust of the book is revealed in the subtitle : “How four generations of Visionaries and Storytellers Created the New Testament and Christian Faith.”

This book is very dense, very deep ( If you’re not David Carpenter, you may wish to keep a dictionary close at hand), but well worth the effort, if you’re at all interested in the subject.

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