On a bit of a whim I’m hoping to delve into the history of early Christianity this summer. In recent years I’ve become increasingly interested in learning about my faith beyond the fundamentalist roots in which I grew up. In the old days, learning about social contexts, historical developments, and critical scholarship on the Bible would have been scary. In more recent times it’s not only fascinating to me, it’s devotional. God is unlikely to be particularly impressed by my knowledge, nor shaken by my doubts. So it’s fun to learn more.
The following list reflects what happened to be on Temple’s shelves on the last day before Paley Library’s permanent closing. So this is not a recommended way to build a reading list. But I’m going to start with this:
It’s pitched as an accessible book for students and laypeople, which is probably exactly what I need to orient myself to the historical context and the field.
This one looks like a fun follow-up:
I’m also kind of excited about this comparative collection surveying the rise of Christianity and Buddhism, respectively:
I imagine these two books will speak to each other:
And then there’s kind of a grab bag of random stuff:
If all goes well, I’ll know a lot more about Christianity by the end of the summer! And I figure previewing my study marginally raises the chances that I’ll actually follow through.