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Review: The Dawn of Christianity

The Dawn of Christianity (Thomas Nelson, 2017) by Robert J. Hutchinson. Weaving Scripture, tradition, and archaeology together, Hutchinson creates a tapestry that shows how a ragtag group of fishermen, soldiers, and prostitutes—led by a rabbi—changed the world. There are four parts to this book: The Road to Jerusalem, starting with Jesus' call to the disciples and ending with his burial, Alive, the beginning of the Church, The Beginning of Persecution, tracing historical events in Acts, and The Expansion of the Jesus Movement, ending with the Jerusalem Council.

The book, written in narrative style, chronicles the beginning of the church from the life of Christ to the end of the New Testament. The cultural context provided in vivid detail by Hutchinson allows us to step into the shoes of the early disciples and gain a fuller picture of what the Christ meant to them. Furthermore, the book features maps and pictures of archaeological finds to enter into the story. An appendix with a timeline and "who's who" and an index make for a very well-researched and reputable book.

Overall, this book is an excellent introduction to early church history as viewed through new lenses. It is a refreshing, readable change-of-pace to traditional historical approaches to reading the New Testament, and I highly recommend it for laypeople and scholars.

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