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Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire
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Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire


Eerdmans 2017

Runs on Windows, Mac and mobile.


When Jesus of Nazareth began proclaiming the kingdom of God early in the first century, he likely had no intention of starting a new religion, especially one that included former pagans. Yet a new religion did eventually develop—one that not only included non-Jews but was soon dominated by them. How did this happen?

Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire by Paul Duff offers an accessible and informed account of Christian origins, beginning with the teaching of Jesus and moving to the end of the first century. Duff's narrative shows how the rural Jewish movement led by Jesus developed into a largely non-Jewish phenomenon permeating urban centers of the Roman Empire.

Paying special attention to social, cultural, and religious contexts—as well as to early Christian ideas about idolatry, marriage, family, slavery, and ethnicity—Jesus Followers in the Roman Empire will help readers cultivate a deeper understanding of the identity, beliefs, and practices of early Christ-believers.

In the Logos edition, this volume is enhanced by amazing functionality. Important terms link to dictionaries, encyclopedias, and a wealth of other resources in your digital library. Perform powerful searches to find exactly what you’re looking for. Take the discussion with you using tablet and mobile apps. With Logos Bible Software, the most efficient and comprehensive research tools are in one place, so you get the most out of your study.

Key Features

  • Contextualizes the beginning of Christianity in historical context
  • Provides an readable and accessible account of the beginnings of Christianity
  • Examines how this small Jewish movement turned into a phenomenon that covered the known world


  • Setting the Stage
    • Hellenistic Culture, Jewish Religion, and Roman Power
    • The Early Years of the Jesus Movement
    • From Idols to a Living and True God
  • Inside the Movement
    • No Longer Jew or Greek
    • No Longer Male and Female
    • No Longer Slave or Free
  • Accommodation and Resistance
    • One in Christ Jesus
    • Unstained by the World

Praise for the Print Edition

Paul Duff draws on a rich variety of outstanding contemporary scholarship as he presents the beliefs and practices of the early Jesus followers in an engaging and reader-friendly way. His discussions of why some pagans were attracted to the rather Jewish message of ‘religious experts’ like Paul, and decided to live as ‘sojourners,’ are especially fascinating and persuasive. I can’t wait to use this book with students!

—Mark D. Given, Missouri State University

This sensible and coherent account of how Christianity emerged neither loads readers with too much detail nor retreats into the pious myopia that simply rehashes the Bible. Hearing the story in its historical and social context brings it to life and makes it real. Duff has done a sterling job in mediating the best of scholarship for a wider readership in clear and readable prose.

—William Loader, Murdoch University

Product Details

About Paul B. Duff

Paul B. Duff is professor of religion at the George Washington University in Washington, DC. He is also the author of Who Rides the Beast? Prophetic Rivalry and the Rhetoric of Crisis in the Churches of the Apocalypse and Paul in Corinth: The Apologetic Context of 2 Corinthians 3.

Sample Pages from the Print Edition

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