We continue our look at the Apostolic Fathers with a brief look at Ignatius of Antioch. Although we don’t have much information about the early life of Ignatius, what we do have is inspiring. The reading from the Letter to Polycarp in this episode comes from The Apostolic Fathers, edited and translated by Michael Holmes.
The recommended audiobook for this episode is:
The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1: The Early Church to the Dawn of the Reformation by Justo L. González
In The Story of Christianity, Vol. 1, Justo L. González, author of the highly praised three-volume History of Christian Thought, presents a narrative history of Christianity from the early church to the dawn of the Protestant reformation. From Jesus’ faithful apostles to the early reformist John Wycliffe, González skillfully traces core theological issues and developments within the various traditions of the church, including major events outside of Europe, such as the Spanish and Portuguese conquest of the New World.
This updated and expanded edition incorporates recent archaeological discoveries about the life of early Christian communities as well as important contemporary research revealing the significant role of women throughout the history of the church. With lively storytelling, The Story of Christianity provides a fascinating and panoramic history of the dramatic events, colorful characters, and revolutionary ideas that shaped the first 15 centuries of the church.
You can download this audiobook for free and support this podcast at Audible.
Once we get out of the New Testament era, we move into the period of the Apostolic Fathers. These are some early church fathers who had connections to the apostles. In this episode, we look at Clement of Rome. Clement wrote 1 Clement, a letter that actually had a chance to make it into the New Testament.
My recommended audiobook is:
After the New Testament: The Writings of the Apostolic Fathers by Bart Ehrman
The writings that make up the New Testament stand at the very foundation of Christianity. But while Matthew, Mark, Luke, John, and the other books of the New Testament are known to almost everyone, the writings that Christians produced in the decades that followed these earliest compositions remain shrouded in virtual anonymity. Who were the Apostolic Fathers? Why were they given that name? And what windows into the shaping of Christianity’s canon, church hierarchy, and creed are opened for us with an understanding of works that include the letters of 1 Clement or Ignatius, the Didache of the Apostles, or the Letter to Diognetus?
You can get free with a free trial of Audible here.
One of the most important events in the first century for both Jews and Christians was the Jewish War (66-73 AD). This war included the destruction of Jerusalem and its temple. Nothing would ever be the same. This episode gives a summary of the events of this first Jewish War.
If you want more details about this event, read Josephus’s Jewish War.
Here is a picture of the Arch of Titus commemorating the Roman victory over Jews.
The recommended audiobook is Jerusalem’s Traitor: Josephus, Masada, and the Fall of Judea. Get this audiobook for free with a free trial of Audible at www.audibletrial.com/hopesreason.
The book of Acts describes a church in which the members held all things in common. But how seriously should we take those passages? How common was that practice? And how do we interpret those passages in light of modern experiences of communism?
In this episode, I talk to Roman Montero, author of All Things in Common: The Economic Practices of the Early Christians. Roman has researched this topic extensively and places the passages in Acts in both the Greek and Jewish context.
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As important as the Jewish background is to the rise of Christianity, so is the Roman background. All of the events of the New Testament take place within the borders of the Roman Empire and there are frequent interactions with various aspects of Roman authority.
This episode includes a short summary of the Roman emperors of the first century and their importance for understanding the history of Christianity. There are also some comments about other ways that Rome influenced the spread of Christianity.
In the episode, I mention these resources:
Christianity emerged out of Judaism. We have already looked at the Jewish background of Christianity. While there are many ways for us to learn about Judaism, one important way is to look at Jewish texts. Certain texts of Jewish origin were very influential on either Judaism or Christianity. In this episode we look at Tanak, Septuagint, Apocrypha, Pseudepigrapha, Dead Sea Scrolls, Philo and Josephus. The Letter of Aristeas was mentioned in the context of both the Septuagint and the Pseudepigrapha. You can read it online here.
This is the final episode of the series on the Synoptic Gospels based on my lectures from Tyndale University College. Although there were more lectures given for the course, this is the last one that will be posted here.
In the episode we ask the question, Did Jesus exist? Those who hold to the Jesus Myth Theory believe that Jesus never existed and that the Jesus of the Gospels is based on pagan myths. In this episode we look at the evidence for Jesus and examine the supposed similarities to pagan gods.
The first book that I wrote was a response to the Jesus Myth. You can get i through the links below.
We take a short break from our regular scheduled episodes to bring you a special announcement. I have decided to start a new podcast on World War Two. It is called the Second World Podcast and you can find it here.
If you are interested in military history or just history in general, I hope you will join me on this. The Second World War Podcast won’t be replacing the History of Christianity Podcast but will be in addition to it.
I hope you will join me on this journey.
We take a break from our series on the Synoptic Gospels for a short Christmas episode. In this episode we look at how Dec. 25 came to be the date of Christmas. One of the things that I discovered in this episode was that the fixing of the date actually took place during the life time St. Nicholas!
While you are in the Christmas mood, you might want to check out my blog post 5 Reasons Why Christians Should Reject Santa Claus.
May you and your family have a blessed Christmas!
In this lecture from the course Jesus and the Synoptic Gospels taught at Tyndale University College, we look at the Gospel of Luke. We look at some of the specific interests of Luke, including women, Samaritans, the poor and the marginalized in general. We also look at some of the popular parables unique to Luke, such as the Prodigal Son and the Good Samaritan.