The Hong Kong Lectures: What Made Early Christianity Different?
I arrived back from my Hong Kong lectures, the 2014 Josephine So Lectures given in China Graduate School of Theology, last Friday. As these lectures form some of the material that I aim to develop into a book across 2015, I’m not publishing the full texts of the lectures now. But, given the curiosity of some readers about their contents, I provide the brief summaries distributed to those who attended: What Made Early Christianity Different–Lecture titles & summaries.
Granted, these summaries provide just enough to provoke further curiosity, or questions, but I ask readers to wait for the book to make a full judgement about the matters mentioned. Indicative of my concern for an adequate historical grasp of early Christianity in its Roman-era setting, I quote a statement by my friend, the respected ancient historian, Edwin Judge:
“History walks a tightrope between the unique and the typical. If we explain everything by analogy, we deny to our forebears the individuality we take as a basic feature of our own humanity.”
 Social Distinctives of the Christians in the First Century: Pivotal Essays by E. A. Judge, ed. David M. Scholer (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 2008), 134. I take “history” in Judge’s statement to refer to the efforts of historians to attempt reconstructions of the past.