Item description for The Churches The Apostles Left Behind by Raymond Edward Brown...
Overview This book is a study of seven very different churches in the New Testament period after the death of the apostles. These churches had quite diverse emphases in their community life, as detectable from the biblical writings addressed to them. Three of the churches are in the heritage of Paul, one in the heritage of Peter, two in the heritage of the Beloved Disciple (Johannine writings), and the last is the church addressed by the First Gospel (Matthew).
Publishers Description A distinguished scholar looks at seven different New Testament churches after the death of the apostles.
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More About Raymond Edward Brown
Raymond E. Brown, S.S., was a Sulpician priest and Auburn Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Biblical Studies, Union Theological Seminary in New York City, at the time of his death in August 1998. He was twice appointed a member of the Pontifical Biblical Commission, by Pope Paul VI in 1972 and by Pope John Paul II in 1996. A prolific author, he wrote several commentaries on the Johannine literature, including The Gospel and Epistles of John: A Concise Commentary (Liturgical Press) and The Gospel According to John (Anchor Bible Commentary, Doubleday). He wrote Reading the Gospels With the Church: From Christmas Through Easter (St. Anthony Messenger Press).
Raymond Edward Brown lived in the state of New York. Raymond Edward Brown was born in 1928 and died in 1998.
Reviews - What do customers think about The Churches The Apostles Left Behind?
Learning from the First Century Churches Jun 5, 2008
This book primarily asks the question, "How did the first century churches survive once the most prominent apostles (i.e. Paul, Peter, James) died?" In answering this question, Brown dispels the myth that early Christianity was homogeneous and forwards the view that each church community nuanced their theology and praxis to accommodate their context. Specifically, Brown attempts to identify the single element which enabled each church to survive. Brown's book has much that is praiseworthy. First, it adds significantly towards understanding the various contexts the churches found themselves in during the first century. Second, Brown's strengths and weaknesses of each survival motif are helpful in reminding us that no single church model is perfect. Third, Brown's applications for the modern church may aid ecumenical conversations. My main criticism of Brown's book is the rigidity with which he confines each church community to one survival theme. At times, this forces Brown to over-generalize in connecting certain New Testament documents. For instance, in addressing Colossians/Ephesians, Brown sees the survival motif to be the church as the body of Christ to be dearly loved yet love is much more prominent in Ephesians than in Colossians. At other times, Brown betrays his own methodology as he identifies two survival motifs for the church community associated with John (although he creates two separate chapters - one for the Gospel of John, one for the Epistles of John - to avoid the appearance of such a reality). This weakness notwithstanding, Brown ably reminds the church today that biblical study should always be attempted with the original context in mind and that theological ideas, taken from the Bible in isolation from other biblical insights, can lead to church failure and compromise.
Not just about the churches the Apostles left behind Apr 30, 2007
Let me first clarify I am a practicing Catholic. Let me also confess I love Raymond Brown. I am always awed by his wisdom, erudition, and authority in everything he wrote. So don't expect this review to be objective.
Yet this book is not so much a detailed scholarly study of the early Christian communities. What Fr. Brown does here is identify the specific Christian communities discernible strictly from the NT, and clarify the issues which troubled every one of these communities. He then expounds the lessons and pitfalls pertinent to each community which can be gleaned from specific NT documents, and applies them to the modern Catholic Church. The reader can develop here a greater appreciation of why each of those documents was added to the NT canon and of why the NT must be taken as a whole: each individual Epistle or Gospel by itself cannot be the foundation of a church.
Moreover, the book is an affirmation of II Vatican Council as bringing the Catholic Church closer to the spirit expressed in those Epistles and Gospels. Implicitly and overtly, this book also expresses that it's the Catholic Church which best preserves the balance between all these lessons contained in the NT.
And all of this is fine with me.
Raymond Brown a great Biblical resource Jan 9, 2007
Thank you, Raymond Brown, for your scholarly treatment of Early Church history. A scholar of some considerable repute, Brown dives into the often complicated Apostolic, sub-Apostolic beginnings of Christianity in an effort to recreate a tumultuous period that resulted in the rapid spread of the new faith. Sometimes a bit heavy-going, it is nevertheless an important work valuable to any student of this period and a wonderful companion volume to the study of Acts.
A faith with many faces. Oct 6, 2006
The title in itself is already a message. It tells us that from the very beginning, the disciples of Jesus gathered in various communities or churches, with distinctive understandings of his message and of his personality. There was no monolithic orthodoxy. The book is a very useful and savory medicine against the temptation of searching for absolute truth through an unqualified literal reading of the material in the New Testament. The way the author puts into perspective some of the texts is quite convincing of the fact that their meaning for us, can only be perceived through a preliminary and careful study of the times and circumstances in which they came about. Raymond Brown does this work here for us, concerning a variety of texts. For each one he shows what the emphasis is, and tries to explain why, by describing the context. When the text is written in the framework of a given polemic, it may become a stumbling block for future generations who are not aware of the presuppositions. Therefore, each time Raymond Brown points out the strengths of the particular point of view stressed by the author. He also signals the inherent weaknesses of that particular vision, namely when you tend to center your attention on it and therefore neglect or even forget the rest, resulting in a loss of heritage. He concludes by saying that there are many ways of being faithful, and invites us to read the Bible, not in order to make our point, but in order to discover what we have not yet been listening to.
A Solid Biblical Start to a Study of Ecclesiology Dec 14, 2005
Raymond Brown's investigation into the Apostolic communities of the early Church provides a solid biblical foundation for studies of the Church. It offers a mature view of the scripture which attests to these communities. While remaining orthodox, Brown does not appeal to less-informed views of the Bible. Instead, he views the testimony of the New Testament writers within their realistic historical contexts. It is from his view of these contexts that his work derives most of its strength.
Brown looks at each book (or set of books) that he investigates as an example which addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the community which caused the writing to come into effect. He realizes that the work of the New Testament is one which is an organic whole, no one work being a microcosm of the message of the New Covenant. By starting from this perspective, Brown is able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of each community and how each is addressed in the works associated with them. This gives a mature view of how scripture informs us, as a whole, not as isolated parts.
In the study of ecclesiology, it can become very tempting to approach the views of the Church from a solely historical perspective, without taking reflection to scripture. Brown's book gives a good starting background to investigating ecclesiology as a whole, scriptural and traditional.