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The Churches The Apostles Left Behind Paperback – April 1, 1984
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During his lifetime, Raymond Brown was a Sulpician priest involved in the training of people for ministry. This book reflects his pastoral concern. Actually, many of the chapters were presented as lectures for people involved in ministry.
The CHURCHES THE APOSTLES LEFT BEHIND is probably the best place to start. The contents of the book were given as lectures in 1980 and are easier to read. He deals with seven movements: the Pastoral Epistles, Colossians/Ephesians, Luke/Acts, I Peter, Fourth Gospel, the Epistles of John, and Matthew.
Regardless of one's views of the authorship and dates of the books of the New Testament, there is no doubt that the writers were dealing with different situations and, at least in some respects, had different theologies. While one may try to harmonize the various strands, certain tensions remain. For example, the Johannine literature mentions the church only a few times, and only then in reference to the local church. Colossians/Ephesians make reference to the universal church. The Pastorals concern the teaching church. And, as Brown notes, one wonders if Paul could have met the requirements for a presbyter-bishop as set forth in the Pastorals given his fiery temper.
These books share the strengths and weaknesses of Brown's approach. They are well written and informative, but too dismissive of those he disagrees with.
Brown looks at each book (or set of books) that he investigates as an example which addresses the strengths and weaknesses of the community which caused the writing to come into effect. He realizes that the work of the New Testament is one which is an organic whole, no one work being a microcosm of the message of the New Covenant. By starting from this perspective, Brown is able to explain the strengths and weaknesses of each community and how each is addressed in the works associated with them. This gives a mature view of how scripture informs us, as a whole, not as isolated parts.
In the study of ecclesiology, it can become very tempting to approach the views of the Church from a solely historical perspective, without taking reflection to scripture. Brown's book gives a good starting background to investigating ecclesiology as a whole, scriptural and traditional.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
An excellent resource to focus a bible study on a fascinating historical topic of interest to Christians! Read morePublished 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
I think the author sort of wondered. I picked up the book due to the title. I thought it would go into detail about Church history, where it was and what it did. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Thomas M. Magee
Brown is always worth a read, and this is a wonderful look at the development of early Christianity from a fascinating perspective.Published 13 months ago by The Rev. Jim Liggett
I have been a fan of Ray Brown's books and found this early one pertinent and insightful regarding the early Christian Communities from the New Testament writings of the Gospel... Read morePublished 14 months ago by ght
I was a learned Atheist along with my friends like Richard Dawkin.
if not for Fr. Raymond Brown it would have been very difficult for me to understand the Bible
This book... Read more
I had read Raymond Brown's book on the Community of the Beloved Disciple and liked it very much. I found it to be historical, very informative and easy reading. Read morePublished on March 20, 2013 by Mark Joshu
His scholarship leaves us with other authentic ways our Christians Churches should go about the business of Jesus with us now. Read morePublished on July 8, 2012 by Glee