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After Jesus, Before Christianity  By  cover art

After Jesus, Before Christianity

By: Erin Vearncombe,Brandon Scott,Hal Taussig,The Westar Institute
Narrated by: Cindy Kay
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Publisher's Summary

From the creative minds of the scholarly group behind the groundbreaking Jesus Seminar comes this provocative and eye-opening look at the roots of Christianity that offers a thoughtful reconsideration of the first two centuries of the Jesus movement, transforming our understanding of the religion and its early dissemination.

Christianity has endured for more than two millennia and is practiced by billions worldwide today. Yet that longevity has created difficulties for scholars tracing the religion’s roots, distorting much of the historical investigation into the first two centuries of the Jesus movement. But what if Christianity died in the fourth or fifth centuries after it began? How would that change how historians see and understand its first two hundred years?

Considering these questions, three Bible scholars from the Westar Institute summarize the work of the Christianity Seminar and its efforts to offer a new way of thinking about Christianity and its roots. Synthesizing the institute’s most recent scholarship - bringing together the many archaeological and textual discoveries over the last 20 years - they have found: 

  • There were multiple Jesus movements, not a singular one, before the fourth century
  • There was nothing called Christianity until the third century
  • There was much more flexibility and diversity within Jesus’s movement before it became centralized in Rome, not only regarding the Bible and religious doctrine, but also understandings of gender, sexuality and morality.

Exciting and revolutionary, After Jesus, Before Christianity provides fresh insights into the real history behind how the Jesus movement became Christianity. 

Supplemental enhancement PDF accompanies the audiobook.

©2021 Erin Vearncombe, Brandon Scott, Hal Taussig, The Westar Institute (P)2021 HarperCollins Publishers
  • Unabridged Audiobook
  • Categories: History

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Awful. This book is a 10 hour fart. Mis-titled.

1. Grossly mistitled, which may be why I hold so low an opinion about this book. We're it written under a title that more accurately reflected the content, like "intense focus on the distortion of gender roles in the 1st two centuries after jesus' death, with nearly zero new revelations on what Christianity looked like in those same centuries, beyond pointing out what was already well known: it was spead by word of mouth by families in and with small communities", it would have been a more honest title. I wouldn't have bought it, but by allowing for an informed opt out, the writers could have helped me feel less like a victim of a bait and switch. This is pure woke agenda propaganda dressed up as new "startling" and scholarly revelations, which are just by lucky honest unbiased chance, about how gender roles were actually completely different than what they (the writters) believed them to be up until they "woke up". There is no new information regarding what the title suggests,, that isn't already in other books.. It takes the very few known facts on the topic of that era, takes advantage of the vagueries of the history and biblical texts, then adds a plethora of reading between lines, speculation, assumption, truth twisting, etc... downplays, trivializes or denounces any social norms that were known to have actually existed (paternal or masculine mindset in communal leadership roles); then applies intense focus on and exaggeration of the precived values (both historical and modern) of feminine or marginalized roles in that society and blather about gender issues as they relate to the history that the authors just "re-imagined", "imagined" being the key word here.
Then spend a couple chapters patting themselves on the back about how scholarly they are, and insist that they aren't pandering to the "woke" movement (guilty conscious right there), really they just started with a blank slate and all they could see was how important gender roles were in early Christianity. Gee! They weren't looking for any of that, REALLY, but how lucky for us to have found exactly nothing but what we hoped to find while not looking for anything at all! I think the word "gender" was used more than the words "Christian" or "jesus"!!!
(exaggeration there but if they can, so can I)
Bull$h/%!! you know your in trouble when you start to hear things like "re-imagined" or "new interpretations" over and over. it means someone is extrapolating what they hope to find in what they are studying, and in this book the do exactly that, while denying that that's what they are doing in the first and last chapters. (a pretty pre-defensive literary maneuver).
Do your self a favor: Unless your deeply into "Woke" movement propaganda, go find what the title suggests is in this book, in ANY other book.

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Excellent and informative

Every scholar or theologian looking to learn more about early Christianity and early Jesus movements needs to read this book. It is incredibly informative and delves deeper into familiar topics and thoroughly explores ones I had never heard. The way each topic is presented was very beneficial for someone looking at these topics from an academic perspective as the sources are clearly given for further reading, which I found very helpful. I greatly appreciate the honesty with which the hypothesis is stated, as well as how the authors are forthcoming with certain misunderstandings and gaps in knowledge that have caused divisions in the past. The performance was wonderful and engaging and I think I may listen to it again now that I'm done!

2 people found this helpful

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thought provoking

glad to have listened. scholarship always is a place of many life giving discoveries and land mines! but loving Jesus and the way(s) he leads us to live serving each other is light!

2 people found this helpful

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A new essential resource

An excellent resource for anyone studying the history of early Christianities. I highly recommend it.

2 people found this helpful

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Informative & Important!

A book for our times. Unlike the negative reviewer, one doesn’t have to be woke to benefit from this scholarship. I recommend it highly.

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Ancient texts speak for themselves

Encyclopedic in scope, rigorous referencing, careful scholarship. Listened three times; now I'm reading the book.