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Kruger: “Christianity at the Crossroads”

July 27, 2017

Christianity at the Crossroads:  How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church is the new book by Michael J. Kruger (SPCK, 2017; the publisher’s online catalogue entry here).  I’ve endorsed the book heartily.  Indeed, I think it’s now the best single-volume introduction to Christianity in the second century.

Kruger’s chapters address the “sociological makeup” of Christianity in that time, outsiders’ attitudes toward Christianity, ecclesiological structure, diversity, unity, Christian literature, and the canonizing process.  The book makes a particularly good choice for courses that address the period.  (And I’m on record advocating that “NT Studies” must include at least the second century, and that “Early Church” courses must take seriously the second century too.)

In a previous posting I referred to the “Cinderella Century” (here), and pointed to the excellent study of early Christian theological formation by Eric Osborn, The Emergence of Christian Theology (Cambridge Univ. Press, 1993).  In my own recent book, Destroyer of the gods:  Early Christian Distinctiveness in the Roman World (Baylor University Press, 2016), I survey features of early Christianity that made it odd in the Roman setting, but that subsequently have become unexamined assumptions for us.

I think that Kruger’s book will serve further to promote the study of this fascinating period, a time when, in the words of Osborn, Christian thinkers “had to argue for their lives.”

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  1. Greetings Larry and Michael: All that is “fine” but we here in the USA face the obstacle of getting this great-work [I take it to be so because you & Mike say-so] but we have to go-through SPCK at 19.9 Pounds to get it in our USA hands. Even Mike recently lamented that he didn’t understand why his USA publisher wouldn’t present it here until Spring 2018. I have your “Destroyer” and Mike’s “Canon Revisited” and “BTI of the NT”, but why must I fuss-with Pounds and overseas complexity just to get “Crossroads” ? Understood, I hope.
    Jim Ritchie in Los Alamos, NM at “Bryce Avenue Presbyterian [PCA] Thursday, July 27, 2017.

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