Apuleius. The Golden Ass or Metamorphoses. Translated by Robert Graves. New York: Farrer, Strauss and Giroux, 1951.
Banks, R. Paul's Idea of Community: The Early House Churches in Their Historical Setting. Grand Rapids: Eerdmans, 1994. A nontechnical and accessible treatment of Paul as a builder of communities, with a great deal of useful information.
Barclay, J. M. G. Jews in the Mediterranean Diaspora from Alexander to Trajan (323 B.C.E.-117 C.E.). Edinburgh: T & T Clark, 1996. A well-informed and clearly written survey of Diaspora life, with attention given to different locations and a variety of cultural aspects.
Boring, M. E., Berger, K., Colpe, C., eds. Hellenistic Commentary to the New Testament. Nashville: Abingdon Press, 1995. A wide variety of materials from Greco-Roman religion are brought to bear on specific New Testament passages.
Bradshaw, P. F. The Search for the Origins of Christian Worship: Sources and Methods for the Study of Early Liturgy. New York: Oxford University Press, 1992. A good review of the available sources and of the methodological problems involved in deciphering them.
Brown, P. The Cult of the Saints: Its Rise and Function in Latin Christianity. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1981. In contrast to the approach taken by the lecture, Brown focuses especially on the perception of power associated with the saints after their death.
Cartlidge, D., and Dungan, D. Documents for the Study of the Gospels. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1980. A useful collection of texts in translation that illustrate certain Gospel stories. I draw the example of Chanina ben Dosa from this volume.
Cohen, S. J. D. From the Maccabees to the Mishnah. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1987. A straightforward and informed survey of Jewish history in Palestine during the time when Christianity was born. Cotter, W. Miracles in Greco-Roman Antiquity. New York: Routledge, 1998. A useful collection of stories about wonder-working of various kinds. Of special interest are the ones concerning healing.
Cullmann, O. Early Christian Worship. Trans. A. S. Todd and J. B. Torrance. Philadelphia: Westminster Press, 1978. A good survey of the rituals present in the first generation of the Christian movement, with special attention to the Lord's Supper.
-. Prayer in the New Testament. Trans. J. Bowden. Overtures to Biblical Theology; Minneapolis: Fortress
Press, 1991. The author traces the various forms of prayer found in the writings of the New Testament, including those of Jesus, the Gospels, and the letters.
Davies, W. D., and Finkelstein, L. The Cambridge History of Judaism. Vol. 1: The Persian Period; Vol. 2: The Hellenistic Period. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1984 and 1989. The volumes in this normally authoritative series consist of essays by experts in the various subjects treated. The first volume is superior to the second, which is spotty in several places.
Feeney, D. Literature and Religion at Rome: Cultures, Contexts, and Beliefs. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998. A fine treatment of the religious dimensions of Roman life with an appreciation for the interplay between cultural context and religious behavior and profession.
Fredriksen, P. Jesus of Nazareth, King of the Jews: A Jewish Life and the Emergence of Christianity. New York: Knopf [Random House], 1999. Among the spate of historical Jesus books, this is a well-argued account that emphasizes Jesus's roots within the worship life of his people.
Galinsky, K. Augustan Culture: An Interpretive Introduction. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996. With a sharp focus on the early Roman Empire, this treatment places religious phenomena in a rich cultural matrix. Gamble, H. Y. The New Testament Canon: Its Making and Meaning. Guides to Biblical Study; Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1985. A straightforward account of the process of canonization with a judicious use of primary source material.
Goodenough, E. R. By Light, Light: The Mystic Gospel of Hellenistic Judaism. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1935. A provocative analysis of Hellenistic Jewish texts that perhaps goes overboard in its thesis but opens up much that otherwise would not be seen.
-. Jewish Symbols in the Greco-Roman World. 13 vols. New York: Pantheon Books, 1953-1968. A
groundbreaking collection of archaeological materials in support of Goodenough's overall thesis concerning the mystical character of Hellenistic Judaism.
Goodspeed, E. J. A History of Early Christian Literature. Revised and enlarged by R. M. Grant. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966. A useful review of extant Christian writings, providing dates, circumstances, and contents.
Jungmann, J. A. The Early Liturgy to the Time of Gregory the Great. Notre Dame, IN: Notre Dame University Press, 1959. An authoritative collection of essays on various aspects of the development of the Christian liturgy, with particular attention to the Eucharist.
Kee, H. C. Medicine, Miracle, and Magic in New Testament Times. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. This short study places the miracle stories of the Gospel in the context of contemporary practices and discussions concerning sickness and its healing in the Mediterranean world.
Kelly, J. N. D. Early Christian Creeds. 2nd ed. London: Longmans, 1960. This is a standard and highly respected treatment of the development of creedal language in Christianity, beginning from the New Testament and extending through the elaborate conciliar creeds of the fourth and fifth centuries.
Kelsey, M. T. Speaking with Tongues: An Experiment in Religious Experience. London: Epworth, 1964. A study that is noteworthy for its attention to contemporary examples of glossolalia by a participant-observer.
-. God, Dreams, and Revelation: A Christian Interpretation of Dreams. Minneapolis: Augsburg Publishing
House, 1974. A psychological-spiritual appreciation of the function of dreams in revelation, with attention to cross-cultural manifestations, as well as biblical examples.
Livingston, J. C. Anatomy of the Sacred: An Introduction to Religion. 4th ed. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall, 2001. An accessible and readable introductory college text that provides in its opening chapter a set of definitions of religion and a description of methods that distinguish religious studies as a discrete field. Lorenzen, T. The Resurrection and Discipleship: Interpretive Models, Biblical Reflections, Theological Consequences. Maryknoll, NY: Orbis Books, 1995. A useful survey of the dominant modes of interpreting the Resurrection of Jesus in Christianity, and the implications for different views of Christian life.
Luck, G. Arcana Mundi: Magic and the Occult in the Greek and Roman Worlds. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 1985. A fine collection of hard-to-find primary texts dealing with everything from dream interpretation to spells, in English translation and with introductions.
Luedemann, G. Heretics: The Other Side of Early Christianity. Trans. J. Bowden. Louisville: Westminster/John Knox Press, 1996. A more than usually sympathetic portrayal of heterodoxy as the story of "history's losers"; valuable mainly for the information provided on a wide range of teachers.
McDannell, C. Material Christianity: Religion and Popular Culture in America. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1995. A wonderful display of all the expressions of popular religiosity that ordinarily escape the scan of scholars. Meeks, W. A. The First Urban Christians: The Social World of the Apostle Paul. New Haven: Yale University Press, 1983. The classic study in the social world of early Christianity, with particular attention to the community ethos and practices of Pauline churches.
Meier, J. P. A Marginal Jew: Rethinking the Historical Jesus. 2 vols. New York: Doubleday, 1991 and 1994. Still uncompleted, this promises to be the largest of all "historical Jesus" projects; the first volume is particularly helpful for its discussion of method.
Meyer, M. W. The Ancient Mysteries: A Sourcebook. San Francisco: Harper and Row, 1987. As full a display as possible of the slender evidence concerning the mysteries, in English translation, with helpful introductions and notes.
Nicklesburg, G. W. Jewish Literature between the Bible and the Mishnah. Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1981. A standard and helpful review of the extant writings, providing dates, circumstances, and a sense of the contents and perspectives.
Nock, A. D. Conversion: The Old and New in Religion from Alexander the Great to Augustine of Hippo. Baltimore:
Johns Hopkins University Press, 1998 . One of the truly great classic studies of ancient religion, tracing the experience of conversion; the chapter on the conversion of Lucius to Isis is especially enlightening
Ogilvie, R. M. The Romans and Their Gods in the Age of Augustus. New York: W.W. Norton, 1969. An accessible study that throws light especially on the religious perceptions and practices of the ordinary people.
Orsi, R. Thank You Saint Jude: Women's Devotion to the Patron Saint of Hopeless Causes. New Haven: Yale
University Press, 1996. A study of contemporary religious practice, centered in prayer and healing, that connects both to early Christianity and to cross-cultural phenomena.
Pilch, J. Healing in the New Testament: Insights from Medical and Mediterranean Anthropology. Minneapolis: Fortress Press, 2000. A study primarily of the Gospel healing accounts that makes use of cross-cultural anthropological analysis.
Sanders, E. P. Judaism: Practice and Belief 63 B.C.E.-66 C.E. Philadelphia: Trinity International Press, 1992. A survey of first-century Judaism in Palestine that is especially good at showing common elements, as well as the differences among the various sects.
Sandmel, S. Philo of Alexandria: An Introduction. New York: Oxford University Press, 1979. A clear and useful guide to the life and writings of the main representative of Hellenistic Judaism that stresses his continuity with other forms of Judaism rather than his idiosyncratic character.
Smart, N. The Religious Experience of Mankind. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1984. Among many introductions to religions of the world, this one stresses religious experience in a way congenial to this course. Smith, J. Z. Drudgery Divine: On the Comparison of Early Christianities and the Religions of Late Antiquity. Chicago Studies in the History of Judaism; Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1990. A formidable example of a reductionistic approach to early Christianity, representing a posture exactly the opposite of the one taken in this course.
Tarn, W. W. Hellenistic Civilization. 2nd rev. ed., with G. T. Griffith. New York: World Books, 1952. A compact analysis of the goals of Alexander and the complex ways in which they were realized in the new synthesis called Hellenism.
Tcherikover, V. Hellenistic Civilization and the Jews. Trans. S. Appelbaum. New York: Athenaeum, 1970. An early but still classic study of Diaspora Judaism in the Greek context, with particular attention to the tensions experienced by Jews in that setting.
Turcan, R. The Cults of the Roman Empire. Trans. A. Nevill. Cambridge, MA: Blackwell, 1996. A good companion to Meyer's sourcebook, providing substantial discussions on the major cults in the Roman period. Twiss, S. B., and Conser, W. H., eds. Experience of the Sacred: Readings in the Phenomenology of Religion. Hanover, NH: Brown University Press, 1992. A wide-ranging collection of essays showing different approaches to the subject of religious experience. The introduction by the editors is very helpful.
Van der Leeuw, G. Religion in Essence and Manifestation. Trans. J. E. Turner. 2 vols. New York: Harper and Row, 1963. The preeminent example of a phenomenology of religion that places its focus on power as the key element in religious behavior.
Wach, J. The Comparative Study of Religions. New York: Columbia University Press, 1958. A much neglected masterpiece of analysis by a great sociologist of religion, this book provides much of the theoretical framework for the approach in this course.
Waddell, H. The Desert Fathers. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press, 1957. A collection of primary source material in English translation pertinent to the study of the early monks, especially in Egypt. Weaver, M. J. Introduction to Christianity. 3rd ed., with D. Bakke and J. Bivins. Belmont, CA: Wadsworth Press, 1998. A highly successful college text that manages to be at once comprehensive and intelligible, while drawing readers through 2,000 years of Christian history. Contains many useful appendices.
Early Christianity: The Experience of the Divine
Professor Luke Timothy Johnson
The Teaching Company ®
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