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Toward a History of Early Christianity

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Chapter Summary

The 'history of religions' school proposed a progression from 'Palestinian' to 'Hellenistic' Christianity that followed Baur in placing the book of Acts and the Prison, Pastoral and General Epistles in the post-apostolic period. The Baur tradition has received its most recent adherents, in varying degrees, from those who honor tradition, Conservative Evangelicals and Roman Catholics. The indicated authorships, supported by second-century witnesses, date the Gospels approximately to the latter half of the first century. To date them and other New Testament documents more precisely, one must turn (1) to external events in the Roman world and (2) to the witness of the second-century church. The content, authorship attributions and titles of the New Testament books, together with the second-century evidence, make it probable that our New Testament is the product of four apostolic missions: Jacobean, Johannine, Pauline, and Petrine.

Keywords: Baur Tradition; Early Christianity; Gospel; New Testament; Roman world



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