Writing the History of Early Christianity

BOOK REVIEW Writing the History of Early Christianity: From Reception to Retrospection
by Markus Vinzent 2019

About the Author
Markus Vinzent holds the Chair for the History of Theology at King’s College London. A Fellow of the European Academy of Science in Vienna and Max Weber Institute for Advanced Studies at Erfurt University, he is the author of Marcion and the Dating of the Synoptic Gospels and co-editor of Against Marcelllus and On Ecclesiastical Theology.

About the Book
Despite novel approaches to the study of Early Christianity – New Historicity, New Philology, Gender and Queer Studies; many turns – Material, Linguistic, Cultural; and developments in Reception History, Cultural Transfer, and Entangled History, much scholarship on this topic differs little from that written a century ago. In this study, Markus Vinzent challenges the interpretation of the sources that have been used in the study of the Early Christian era. He brings a new approach to the topic by reading history backwards. Applying this methodology to four case studies, and using a range of media, he poses radically new questions on the famous ‘Abercius’ inscription, on the first extant apologist Aristides of Athens, on the prolific Hippolytus of Rome, and on Ignatius and the first non-canonical collection of letters. Vinzent’s novel methodology of a retrospective writing thus challenges many fundamental and anachronistic assumptions about Early Christian history.

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‘… learned and original … this is a book that no student of second-century Christianity can afford to leave unread.’ Mark Edwards, Church Times –This text refers to the hardcover edition.