From Publishers Weekly
Barnett, Anglican Bishop of North Sydney, Australia, seeks to put Jesus back into the story of the early Church's development, in contrast to recent titles that discuss primitive Christianity with only a sociopolitical approach to its founder. Or, rather, it is Barnett's aim to put Christ back into the story: he maintains that it was the Christ of faith, not the mere historical Jesus, who provided the dynamic impetus for the formation of the Church. This providential approach to the early Church, based on Barnett's conviction that "God lay behind this history," unfortunately does not engage other New Testament scholarship or Jesus Studies materials. Rather, he concentrates his efforts solely on biblical text. If the tome were intended as an overall New Testament commentary, it would succeed in its intimate, detailed study of Scripture (especially regarding the Gospels and Acts), but since Barnett here is trying his hand at meta-history, his neglect of the voluminous secondary literature is a glaring omission. Students, particularly those with a similar faith perspective, will find Barnett's account easy to digest, with a user-friendly organization and straightforward writing style that is all too rare in biblical studies. However, scholars and non-Christians will likely be frustrated by Barnett's refusal to even debate social and political interpretations of the Church's origins. (Nov.)
Copyright 1999 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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About the Author
Barnett (Ph.D., London University), was until his retirement Anglican bishop of North Sydney, Australia. He remains a visiting fellow in ancient history at Macquarie University (Sydney, Australia) and research professor at Regent College (Vancouver, British Columbia). He has written several books.