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The Oxford Handbook of Early Christian Studies (Oxford Handbooks) Paperback – December 9, 2010

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Product Details

  • Series: Oxford Handbooks
  • Paperback: 1020 pages
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press (December 9, 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199596522
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199596522
  • Product Dimensions: 9.6 x 6.7 x 2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #589,604 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


"Without doubt, this will become a major reference tool and a number of the chapters will find their way onto reading lists for classes studying early Christianity." --Paul Foster, Expository Times 12/01/2010

"...this book is a treasure trove. The editors have assembled an impressive bench of contributors and they tackle a staggering array of subjects...This hefty and wonderful volume reminds us just how preposterous an unnecessarily adamantine view of Christianity is and ever war." --Jonathan Wright, Catholic Herald 23/02/2009

About the Author

Susan Ashbrook Harvey is Willard Prescott and Annie McClelland Smith Professor of Religious Studies at Brown University, Providence, RI. David G. Hunter is Cottrill-Rolfes Professor of Catholic Studies at the University of Kentucky, Lexington, KY.

More About the Author

I grew up in the New Orleans suburb of Metairie and attended Jesuit High School in New Orleans, where I developed my early love of Classics. After attending the Catholic University of America, I pursued graduate studies in Theoogy at St. Michael's College in Toronto and the University of Notre Dame, where I received my Ph.D. in 1986. After teaching for 15 years at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, MN and 8 years at Iowa State University in Ames, IA, I undertook a new post at the University of Kentucky in Lexington, where I serve as the Cottrill-Rolfes Chair of Catholic Studies.

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12 of 14 people found the following review helpful By bibliophile on November 1, 2011
Format: Paperback
This handbook is phenomenal! The text addresses standard subjects while updating these topics with the latest scholarship in the field of early Christian studies. In both breadth and depth the articles in this volume provide a wide variety of points of view and employ a plethora of methodologies that are currently used in religious studies scholarship, as well as other fields in the humanities and the social sciences. All of the article authors are top scholars in their fields of study, so the quality of content and writing is superb. As a Ph.D. student who works in the field of early Christian studies, I can vouch for the indispensability of this handbook.
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25 of 41 people found the following review helpful By Hawkeye on January 22, 2011
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
"Early Christian Studies" is not simply a description of the contents of this handbook; it is a new discipline, which attempts to supplant the older "patristics." As Duke Professor Elizabeth Clark explains in her contribution, "From Patristics to Early Christian Studies," in the late twentieth century "the term `patristics' fell increasingly into disuse, taken as a sign of ecclesiasticism, maleness, and `orthodoxy,' from which some scholars wished to dissociate themselves" (14). The new discipline is practiced by feminists, deconstructionists, postmodernists, critical theorists, and other varieties of the politically correct post-Marxist left.

There is, of course, nothing inherently leftwing in the study of how Christian "sausage" is made. So, for example, sociologist Peter Berger (not a contributor to this work) has written a good deal about the worldly functions of supernatural religion, most notably THE SACRED CANOPY. Yet, precisely because empirical studies of religion are not held back by concerns for orthodoxy and reverence, they can keep religion honest. In Berger's view, Christianity does not require or benefit from deception (including self-deception). On the contrary, as he remarked in one of his earliest works, sociology is the "profane auxiliary of the Christian faith." Berger thinks that there is such a thing as Christianity and that it is true (though not, of course, empirically verifiable). So does C. S. Lewis (MERE CHRISTIANITY).

But Harvard Professor of Divinity Karen King in her contribution, "Which Early Christianity?
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