Questioning Christian Origins by J. K. Elliott
This book surveys, as openly and objectively as possible, the central questions associated with the life and work of Jesus and the rise of the early church. There are chapters on John the Baptist, the birth and background of Jesus, the ministry of Jesus, his trials and death, the Easter narratives, the formation of the early church, and the role of Peter and Paul in its development. In each case, the author presents what the New Testament says and discusses any ambiguities or inconsistencies in the sources. He then attempts to reconstruct as far as possible without resorting to sheer imaginative speculation the likeliest historical events which lay behind the biblical story. Often though all these topics may have been discussed, there has not been a single book dealing with Christian origins which collects together and analyses the evidence in this way. In particular, it is aimed at senior school students or first-year undergraduates embarking on courses of the History of Christian Theology or Religious Studies. The fact that some of the material arose out of articles published in History Today points to the concern of the book to appeal to the widest possible audience, not only within committed Christian circles but also outside them.