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Christianity at the Crossroads

Author Michael Kruger
Publisher SPCK £19.99
Format pbk
ISBN 9780281071319

Kruger’s absorbing study shows how the future of the worldwide Christian Church was shaped during the turbulent second century, when all those who had met Jesus were dead. Christians faced enormous challenges. Having emerged from the legal umbrella of Judaism, the early Church learned resilience in the face of frequent, severe persecution from the Roman authorities, and gradually developed leadership structures involving local bishops and presbyters. Kruger shows how the intellectual strength of Christianity was invigorated through significant new writings, and the polemical arguments – culminating in the works of Irenaeus – that were needed to combat the heresies that sprang up throughout the Mediterranean regions. He demonstrates that the New Testament scriptural canon, apart from some brief letters, was essentially in place by mid-century, and suggests that modern Christianity can learn from the prophetic voice of these times. This is a worthy and accessible academic history, with an excellent bibliography.

PETER CLOUGH

History, Patristics