A book that has sat on my shelf for some time is From Jesus to Christianity by L. Michael White. Since I am interested in both the New Testament and the early church, it was right up my alley.
In truth I found the book disappointing. White is a knowledgable scholar and a good writer. But the picture he presents of the early church is not the only perspective.
As someone who has studied this stuff for years, there are many scholars who have different interpretations.
White presents both the New Testament and other writings in their context. But instead of presenting the New Testament first and then the others, he dates some of the New Testament books later than the others.
He actually dates a number of books into the second century. I don’t demand super early dates for the books, but I see no reason for the second century. This is not just my opinion, many scholars keep the New Testament into the first century.
White makes it sound like his interpretation is the standard view, while it is definitely not. I’m not just talking about conservative evangelicals.
I would hate for someone to read this book and think it the only interpretation of the evidence. It is not without value but it is far from the best account of Christian origins I have read.