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An expert on the historical context in which Christianity arose, Riley illuminates the Greco-Roman world of the early Christians, a world steeped in heroic ideals. Jesus was embraced as a new and compelling hero that one could follow into a whole new life of caring community and transcendant hope. Riley boldly asserts that it was only as Christianity became the religion of the empire that the myth of the Apostles' Creed was created, thereby promulgating the illusion that the Apostles had gathered together and agreed upon a core set of doctrines essential to the Christian faith. But the reality is that doctrinal orthodoxy was not an issue for the early Christians. Rather, they focused, in quite varied ways, on following Jesus as a model for living.
This book not only provides a whole new understanding of the nature of earliest Christianity, but it also conveys a vital message for today about what Christian faith is really about. Riley reveals the authentic character of Christianity as inherently pluralistic and tolerant of diverse ideas while passionately centered in Jesus.
Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Jesus Christ History of doctrines Early church, ca, 30-600, Church history Primitive and early church, ca, 30-600, Hero worship Rome History, Christianity Origin