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Divine Concepts Compete
Dr. Orville Boyd Jenkins
A review of the book by Robert M. Grant,
Gods and the One God (Philadelphia:  Westminster Press, 1986)

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Grant is a renowned historian of religion.  This volume is one in a series called The Library of Early Christianity, Wayne A. Meeks, ed.  Here Grant reports and analyzes the interaction of the Judeo-Christian concept of God with various pagan concepts of divinity.

He begins with a detailed analysis of the encounters of the early Christians in the Roman Empire, primarily recorded in the New Testament book of Acts.  He then proceeds to various religious spheres of the world at that time through the fourth century.  He specifically discusses primary concepts of God in Christian theology and popular religion.

Grant provides excellent critical detail, analysis, and reflection, as I have encountered previously in Grant's historical works on religion.  He provides a coherent and useful description of the variety of thought in early Christian circles, as discussion developed on the triadic concepts of the New Testament revelation.

Grant clarifies the geographic and philosophical aspects of the various ideas.  He analyzes the various Christian concepts of God, of the Son-Jesus-Logos-Wisdom, and of the "Spirit," the hardest, apparently, for the theologians to deal with systematically.

He shows how the variety of expressions arise initially from a defense of Christian thought and practice, then various more practical reflection and finally more systematic attempts in the fourth century, that led finally to what we now know as the "Trinity."  He does an excellent job of portraying the interaction and mutual influences of pagan and Christian theologians.

For further excdellent background on the early Christian era, a reader suggests:
"In support of Grant, one might wish to reference Richard N. Longeneckers, The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity," which deals with much first century CE material that is germane."

For More on the Topic:
[TXT] The Christology of Early Jewish Christianity by Richard N Longenecker

See related reviews and articles on this site:
[TXT] The Early Gospels
[TXT] The Exclusively Inclusive Gospel
[Review] Fantasies and Fictions:  Mary Magdalene as the Gaulic Christian Goddess
[Review] A Gnostic View of Jesus
[review] The Gospel of Judas Is this Really Good News?
[TXT] More Fantasies and Fictions:  Mary Magdalene and an Epic of Scholarly Sleight-of-Hand
[TXT] Names of God and Words for God:  Thoughts on Beliefs and Usages
[TXT] Semi-Gnostic, Semi-Christian, Semi-Islamic Gospel

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First written and posted on Amazon.com 9 March 2006
Posted on Thoughts and Resources 9 September 2006
Last edited 2 March 2009

Copyright © 2006 Orville Boyd Jenkins
Permission granted for free download and transmission for personal or educational use.  Other rights reserved.

Email: orville@jenkins.nu
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