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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Superb
This is another great book by Charles Freemen and a perfect compliment to his fantastic book 'The Closing of the Western Mind'. It explores the development of christianity as a political and social force through the roman period, and onwards, which played such a key role in shaping the medieval world of Europe and parts of Africa and subsequently a large part of the the...
Published on 14 Feb 2012 by C. Miller

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2 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Good in parts
Freeman's work is useful for understanding the development path of orthodox Christianity. The Christianity of the gospels is seen as focused on a Kingdom of God that was expected to be manifest within the lifetimes of many of Christ's listeners. Sometime after the gospels were written, it became apparent that the Kingdom of God could not be expected within any particular...
Published 18 months ago by S. G. Raggett


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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars No such thing as an objective account of history, 8 Jun 2014
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This review is from: A New History of Early Christianity (Kindle Edition)
This book is well written, and the author comes across as a thoroughly decent person. It's not a rant from an angry atheist, but takes a respectful tone toward people of faith. For that it deserves three stars.

Freeman's "new history" of Christianity is perfectly consistent with a worldview that makes no provision for the supernatural. But this neither renders it objective, nor necessarily accurate. The give-away is his account of the resurrection of Christ. He acknowledges that something happened on Easter Sunday, and that the disciples themselves believed that Jesus had been raised. So far so good. But he then speculates about the Jewish high priest, Caiaphas, having the body removed and men in white (who the disciples presumably thought were angels) stationed at the tomb in order to tell them to go on to Galilee, thereby removing them from his jurisdiction. In other words, Jesus couldn't possibly have been raised from the dead so we have to come up with an alternative explanation no matter how strained. Because of his presuppositions, the author also overlooks the significance of Pentecost with the coming of the Spirit, and how that impacted the disciples. As is often the case, he seeks to find all sorts of conflict and tension between the early Christians that are by no means necessarily there. His suggestion, for example, that the Antioch Christians appear to have rejected Paul after his confrontation with Peter over table-fellowship with Gentiles is simply not there for anyone familiar with the text.

Freeman is right about one thing though. He notes the inability of Jesus scholars to recreate a historical Jesus with any confidence. This is readily acknowledged by all. Allow me to interject my own (reasonable) presuppositions here. Surely God has allowed this to be so in His wisdom, that we might have no choice but to fall back on the Gospel accounts themselves. In the preface, Freeman acknowledges that his own wife would certainly not agree with everything written in the book. I've no idea whether she's a believer or not, but sometimes intuitive faith trumps the wisdom and learning of objective historians.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Clarification of the New Testament and Subsequent Events, 20 Mar 2014
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This review is from: A New History of Early Christianity (Kindle Edition)
The author dives straight into the Gospels, the Acts and the Epistles. The confusing world of the First Century AD is discussed, with the differences and quarrels between the various sects and Regional Foundations of the Early Church explained with clarity and cogency. The travels of Paul and his contemporaries are covered and how strictly Jewish Christianity lost ground with more and more Gentiles embraced. The original expectation of the immediacy of the Second Coming is gradually modified, and Paul's vision of the Crucifixion and resurrection being central to the nature of Christ comes to dominate.
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23 of 42 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A huge disappointment, 20 Feb 2010
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H. A. Weedon "Mouser" (North Somercotes, Lincolnshire, UK) - See all my reviews
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Charles Freeman has a good writing style and the book is very readable. Apart from that it's very disappointing. It's little more than a skimpy rehash of unproven generalities and even erroneus assumptions in places. For instance, on page 20, the author accepts an interpolated reference to Jesus in the writings of Josephus as if it were historic fact. One can have little faith in an author who stoops to such a catastrophic inaccuracy.

The Acts of the Apostles is mentioned just three times and neither its accuracy nor its authorship are discussed. No reference is made to several early writings including the Gospel of Mary Magdalene and the role of women in the early Church is badly neglected. The lack of extraneous evidence for the existence of Jesus is not discussed and the Arian heresy skated over. We are dished up with the tired old cliche concerning Nero's 'fiddling' persecution of the Christians when there's no independent evidence that he was in any significant way bothered about them.

This book is no help at all for those seeking new and accurate research into the truth concerning the development of early Christianity. The author assumes too much and questions too little. Although this book may be new, it's contents certainly are not. Those seeking to establish the real truth about the development of early Christianity should look elsewhere than in the pages of this bland and uninspiring concoction of ineffectuality.
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars David son of Saul? (p.9 hardback), 18 Jun 2011
This book is readable and interesting. For the general reader it covers a lot of history in a short time and gives a good guide at the end for further reading.

Dr Freeman is not a Christian and it is useful, as a Christian, to have to challenge one's thinking and explore further if necessary. The ideas about the Virgin Birth do not accord with Roman Catholic teaching but have been discussed for many years and were/are accepted by many non Roman Catholic Christians - eg William Barclay.

It did surprise me to read on page 9 (hardback version) that Saul was the father of David. According to 1 Samuel Chapter 16 v.1 3 David was the youngest son of Jesse the Bethlehemite.
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1 of 7 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars A New History of Early Christianity, 9 Jan 2014
This review is from: A New History of Early Christianity (Kindle Edition)
Very disappointing. Freeman chose an interesting subject and used it to attack Christianity. He has a clear agenda. He was very selective in the sources he chose to deny Christ.
If you are a Christian, don't bother reading it. If you're not a Christian, there's no point in reading it.
I wish I could get a refund.
A New History of Early Christianity
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