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More on Numbers of Converts

In case you didn’t read the post of yesterday, I include the final two paragraphs here.  Skip them if you remember what I said.  The issue I’m dealing with is how much and how fast did the Christian church grow over the first four centuries.   I would very much like your feedback, and if you’re a numbers person, I would love it if you would check my calculations to see if I’m making any egregious errors.   All of this is ...

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Follow up on Knocking Opportunity….

Two points I neglected to mention in my grand (so to say: one grand) opportunity:

  • All donations are completely tax deductible; we are a non-profit organization, recognized as such by the IRS
  •  If you want to partake of the opportunity, send me an email at behrman@email.unc.edu

May many thousands of you take me up on it!

 

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Opportunity Comes Knocking!!

Here’s a unique opportunity.

Well, it’s not unique because it’s one you’ve had before.  But you get it now again!

As most of you probably know, the book I am working on, tentatively titled, The Triumph of Christianity, is about the Christianization of the Roman Empire.  How did the Christian movement grow from about 20 people soon after Jesus’ death to some 30 million people in less than four hundred years?  That’s a lot of converts!  And it’s not an easy question ...

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Paul’s Converted Vision of Himself

To make sense of how Paul’s conversion affected his actual life, not just his theology, it is important to recall what I said about how it did affect his theology.  I repeat the key paragraph from yesterday’s post before drawing the further even more far-reaching conclusion.

To be members of God’s covenantal people, it is not necessary for gentiles to become Jews.  They do not need to be circumcised, observe the Sabbath, keep kosher, or any of the rest.  They need ...

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What Paul’s Conversion Meant

In my previous posts I talked about Paul’s life up to his conversion and the conversion experience itself.  Now, for two posts, I want to talk about what the conversion actually *meant* to Paul, particularly in terms of how it affected both his thinking and his life (which, for Paul, were very closely related to one another).  His thinking involved his theology and his subsequent life involved missionary work as the newly minted apostle of Jesus with a distinctive message.

It ...

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Reading Suggestions for the New Testament: A Blast from the Past

Four years ago (June 17, 2012) I was asked about what I would suggest for serious lay folk interested in doing more in-depth reading/study of the New Testament.  Here is what I responded.  It’s a response I would stick to still today!!

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QUESTION:

I’ve enjoyed reading “Jesus Interrupted” and “Misquoting Jesus”. I am also listening to two of The Teaching Company courses you recorded – “The New Testament” and “Lost Christianities”. Here is my question: Can you suggest additional books ...

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The Conversion of Paul

My book on the “Triumph of Christianity” will deal with how and why people converted to the Christian faith.   (As I think I’ve said, unlike some scholars I have no problem calling the earliest followers of Jesus who came to believe in his resurrection “Christian.”)   The best known and most important conversion was Paul.   Seeing how/why he converted is a key for understanding his own subsequent mission to convert gentiles to the faith.  Here is my current thinking on the ...

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How Paul Persecuted the Christians

I pointed out in the previous post that prior to his conversion Paul was a persecutor of the church, almost certainly because he objected to what their basic and fundamental message was, that Jesus was the messiah (despite the fact – or rather because of the fact – that he had been crucified).   But how exactly did Paul engage in his persecution.   He himself says that it was a violent persecution.  What could that mean?

We don’t know exactly how he ...

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Why Paul Persecuted the Christians

I have been side-tracked by other things, but now can get back to the thread I started to spin, or rather the tapestry I started to weave.  The ultimate question I’m puzzling over is how Christianity became the dominant religion in the empire, and my point at this stage is that before Christianity began to thrive, it was persecuted.  The persecutions go all the way back.  Our first Christian author is Paul, who must have converted to be a follower ...

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Jesus’ Death and Resurrection for Salvation; Paul’s Collection; and My Sunday Mornings: Readers’ Mailbag June 11, 2016

Did all the early Christian groups agree that Jesus’ death and resurrection brought salvation?   Why was Paul gathering money for the Christians in Jerusalem?  And, well, what do I myself now do on Sunday mornings since I don’t go to church?   This is this Weekly Readers’ Mailbag, with the normal range of unrelated but interesting questions!  If you have a question you would like me to address, ask away!

 

QUESTION:

To which of the other early variants of Christianity does this creed ...

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