Now that you may be lingering a little longer at church, stop by the Scheyer Library! Did you know the library has subscriptions or donations of several magazines, including Yes!, Sojourners, Biblical Archaeology, and Christian Century? In addition, you may find a recent New Yorker to borrow!
The library has several new volumes, including After Jesus, Before Christianity, which Royce Morrison donated and has reviewed for us below.
What happened to early followers of Christ, the Anointed, in the over two hundred years between Jesus’ death and the emergence of what could be called a coherent “Christianity” of creed, canon and enforcing hierarchy? From the Westar Christianity Seminar, After Jesus – Before Christianity does not lead toward any scripture-based orthodoxy. Instead, it opens to critical examination both old biblical canon and rich volumes of Jesus-related texts discovered since the mid-twentieth century. It asks questions and proposes some answers.
Revealed are disparate communities of the Anointed – surviving, scattered remnant communities in an overwhelmingly violent empire. Some steeped in and others only somewhat aware of biblical Judaism, they heard new gospel stories, leaned on each other and sought to understand the Way, to claim meaningful identity, to reject the gods of the dominant societies.
What interests were served by writing the conventional histories we have inherited? What limits of community roles were dictated by class or gender? Who was Paul, and what did they know of him? Why did the Greek word for “choice” become “heresy,” deserving death? When was it conveniently useful to invent Gnosticism? And for us, what will those early faith communities teach about any community’s search to live in the heart of Christ’s Way?