Yale University Press, 2018
Agent: Sandra Dijkstra
How did a group of charismatic, apocalyptic Jewish missionaries, working to prepare their world for the impending realization of God's promises to Israel, end up inaugurating a movement that would grow into the gentile church? Committed to Jesus’s prophecy—“The Kingdom of God is at hand!”—they were, in their own eyes, history's last generation. But in history's eyes, they became the first Christians.
In this electrifying social and intellectual history, Paula Fredriksen answers this question by reconstructing the life of the earliest Jerusalem community. As her account arcs from this group’s hopeful celebration of Passover with Jesus, through their bitter controversies that fragmented the movement’s midcentury missions, to the city’s fiery end in the Roman destruction of Jerusalem, she brings this vibrant apostolic community to life. Fredriksen offers a vivid portrait both of this temple-centered messianic movement, and of the bedrock convictions that animated and sustained it.
"...Complex and fascinating discussions... When Christians Were Jews is easy for non-scholars to read, although some knowledge of the Christian scripture is helpful... Anyone interested in Judaism in the first century C.E., or in the early history of Christianity, will find this book a welcome addition to their book shelves.
—Jewish Federation of Greater Binghamton’s The Reporter