In this volume, John Behr treats the first three centuries of the Christian era. Part I examines the establishment of Christianity in the first century based on the tradition of the Gospel, and briefly sketches the scriptural Christ as inscribed in the New Testament. Part II analyzes selected figures from the second century—Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus of Lyons—considering how they understood Christ to be the Word of God. Part III turns to the third century, treating Hippolytus and the debates in Rome, Origen and his legacy in Alexandria, and Paul of Samosata and the Council of Antioch. These debates form the background for the controversies and councils of the following centuries.