From the Cross to the Church:
The Emergence of the Church from the chaos of the crucifixtion
By Anthony C. Grazianio
This is a historical book about early Christianity. We tend to forget how rocky and difficult the first hundred years were in Christianity. This book will take the reader through that sad and yet wonderful journey.
Anthony Graziano brings many years of experience with the scripture to bear on the first few centuries following the life of Jesus. Graziano is not a theologian per say despite the fact that he attended six years of seminary. However, he is very knowledgeable and his book is a scholarly examination of this tumultuous time in Christian History.
Graziano provides the reader with an all-important foundation for biblical understanding, especially the Jewish influence on Jesus, Paul and Peter. Next, he provides a sophisticated overview of the many religions existing at the time, such as polytheism, mystery religions, Gnosticism, Judaism and the many early Christian congregations, each of which seemed to believe in one gospel more than the others.
The age in which the gospels were written was a very different time and world from ours. In the olden days, the documents were copied by hand, and copies of copies sometimes meant that errors were inevitable in places. Further, news primarily travelled by word of mouth. Because of this, what one person taught in one region was not necessarily what someone else taught in another region. So, there were inconsistencies.
What is even seemed more surprising is there was no organized church in the first century either. The apostles called by Jesus gathered in different areas and then left. This also made a huge difference for believers.
Yet, in another important sense, the world hasn’t changed much. We still are plagued by violence and we spend a lot of time projecting our own views on different bible passages so that they fit our perspectives—which is biased and takes the message out of context and gives it a wrong spin many times.
This book is a must read for all serious Christians and historians alike. Also theologians and philosophers will enjoy it as well.
Book Look Bloggers has provided me with a complimentary copy of this book in exchange for my review.
Rating: 5 stars
Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth