Reviews - What do customers think about Between Jesus and Paul: Studies in the Earliest History of Christianity?
Very enlightening Dec 15, 2009
I have been studying early Christianity for a couple of years, hoping to find what the very earliest believers in Jesus thought and said and did. Hengel's book provides a lot of very convincing information about the earliest believers, those of the first 30 years after the crucifixion. His arguments and evidence are convincing. One of the more interesting facts that he discusses is that Christianity experienced an "enormously rapid development" that was the result of the enthusiasm for the faith of the early Christians, and that these early believers suffered alienation from their communities of Jewish bretheren and persection from the Roman authorities....they paid a price for their commitment to Christ, and they were joyous to do so.
Having read the book I now find that I refer to it frequently....it is that sort of book, one worth reading and then re-reading and reflecting on.
Excellent biblical study May 19, 2009
Martin Hengel is one of the best German authors about the origins of christianity. He does not writes from a priori presuppositions but from the texts. I can recommend it to any one interested in these matters.
So...what did happen between Jesus and Paul? Feb 8, 2009
This is an essay collection by Martin Hengel, Professor of New Testament and Early Judaism at Tubingen, now retired but considered one of the finest biblical scholars in the world.
The two decades between the crucifixion of Jesus and the first epistle by Paul are the most crucial in Christianity, yet we have no evidence about what happened then. Or do we?
"We cannot detect any development in the basic christological views in Paul's letters...furthermore he presupposes that the christological titles, formulae and conceptions which he uses are known in the communities" (p 31) he wrote to. Therefore, Hengel concludes "all the essential features of Paul's christology were already fully developed" (p 31) long before the first epistle was written.
Hengel finds it striking that Paul only disagrees with the other apostles in Jerusalem over problems of the law, not the high christology evident in Paul's epistles. And this is amazing because calling a human "Lord" and applying divine titles to him is without precedent in Jewish circles, and it would have been considered blasphemous by many. Even between Paul and the gospels, there appears no differences in high christology, nothing close to, for example, the Ebionite view.
"Only the fact that Jesus had already spoken of the coming Son of Man and his connection with himm....makes it possible to understand how the disciples could take up this particular christological title (p 44).
One essay discusses the Hellenists and Stephen. Another the earliest evidence from hymns to Christ. He also investigates Luke as an historian. Luke clearly lacks geographical details that would have been known to someone very familiar with Palestine; but as an historian, Hengel finds him otherwise as trustworthy as any.
This is only the briefest of overviews. Essays this rich require careful study.