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The Origins of Christianity

The Origins of Christianity by Thomas Whittaker
By: (1856-1935)

The Origins of Christianity by Thomas Whittaker provides a thorough examination of the early development of Christianity, starting from its roots in Judaism to its emergence as a distinct religious movement in the Roman Empire. Whittaker presents a well-researched and detailed analysis of the historical, cultural, and political factors that influenced the growth of Christianity, shedding light on the complex interactions between different religious and philosophical traditions of the time.

One of the strengths of this book is Whittaker's ability to navigate through a wide range of sources, including ancient texts, archaeological evidence, and scholarly debates, to construct a coherent narrative of Christianity's origins. He presents a nuanced portrayal of key figures such as Jesus, Paul, and the early Christian communities, highlighting the diverse viewpoints and practices that shaped the religion in its formative years.

While the book is scholarly in its approach, Whittaker's writing is accessible and engaging, making it a valuable resource for students and general readers interested in the history of Christianity. Overall, The Origins of Christianity is a comprehensive and insightful exploration of a pivotal period in the development of one of the world's major religions.

Book Description:
The full title of this book is The Origins of Christianity with an Outline of Van Manen’s Analysis of The Pauline Literature. Willem Christiaan van Manen (1842-1905) was a Dutch theologian. The vast majority of van Manen’s radical criticism of the New Testament and Christian origins has never been translated into English.

In this book, Thomas Whittaker outlines the arguments of van Manen for an English-speaking audience. Van Manen’s work is not now generally known, but his views obtained notoriety by the articles and books that he wrote, in which he maintained that none of the Epistles that bear the Apostle Paul’s name were in fact written by him. From van Manen’s conclusions, Whittaker goes further and relegates the whole body of the New Testament to the second century, and even places the beginning of the Christian movement until after the destruction of Jerusalem in the year 70. Of Paul himself very little is certain, though Whittaker maintains that there may have been an itinerant preacher of that name. Whittaker comes to the conclusion that Jesus of Nazareth is entirely a mythical personage, but holds that what afterwards became Christianity or Paulinism had its origin in a Jewish-Messianic movement.

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