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The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles (5 vols.)
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The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles (5 vols.)

by 4 authors

Macmillan and Co. 1920–1933

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Overview

Kirsopp Lake was a monumental scholar in both New Testament and church history. He brought his expertise in both of these areas together in a 20 year long collaborative effort with F.J. Foakes-Jackson, Henry J. Cadbury, and many others to examine Acts and its relation to the earliest history of the church. The result was the present five volume work: The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles. William Baird called it “the most extensive investigation of a NT book by English-speaking scholarship.” Included are two volumes of background study ranging from the background of Jewish history to the rise of Gentile Christianity. Volume three provides an extensive survey of the textual evidence for Acts by James Hardy Ropes. The last two volumes give in-depth commentary on the text of Acts.

Although Kirsopp Lake produced many definitive works, he is best known for The Beginnings of Christianity. This massive five-volume work provides near encyclopedic knowledge regarding the historical, exegetical, textual, and theological issues surrounding Acts. Enrich your library with this compendium of scholarship on Acts.

In the Logos editions, these volumes are 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.

For more study of Acts check out the Mobile Ed Studies in Acts Bundle Mobile Ed: Studies in Acts Bundle.

Key Features

  • Contains essays and monographs from highly influential New Testament scholars
  • Provides detailed exegetical and historical commentary on Acts
  • Presents a text-critical study of Acts

Praise for the Print Edition

In sum, The Beginnings of Christianity is a monumental work—the most extensive investigation of a NT book by English-speaking scholarship.

William Baird, History of New Testament Research

Product Details

Individual Titles

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles; Volume I: Prolegomena I: The Jewish, Gentile and Christian Backgrounds

  • Editors: F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1920
  • Pages: 492

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Historians F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake understood Acts to be the indispensable witness to the earliest history of the church. In this first volume of The Beginnings of Christianity, Foakes-Jackson and Lake examine the historical character of Christianity at its outset—a task which they argue is a necessary prerequisite to studying the text of Acts. In the words of Foakes-Jackson and Lake, “The background of Acts i.-xv. is Jewish, that of the last chapters mainly Gentile. The Christian background is common to both, but its characteristics are rapidly changing. The first volume, therefore, deals with these three points—contemporary Jewish history and religion, the organisation and general mental attitude of the world of the Roman Empire, the evolution of the early Christian preaching and ideas.”

The first section of the book includes an examination of the background of Jewish history, varieties of thought and practice in Judaism, and the dispersion. Section two contains an article from Clifford H. Moore on life in the Roman empire at the beginning of the Christian era. In the third section, the editors focus upon the teaching of Jesus, the selection and roles of the disciples, and the development of early Christian thought. This volume offers historical insights from some of the most prominent church historians of the early twentieth century and is sure to be a valuable addition to any theological library.

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles; Volume II: Prolegomena II: Criticism

  • Editors: F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1922
  • Pages: 554

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

Broaden your study of Acts with insights and discussions from some of the leading international scholars of the early nineteenth century. In this volume, F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake examine the difficult questions surrounding the composition and authorship of Acts, including a detailed history of how critical scholars have addressed these issues. Their analysis of the composition and purpose of Acts includes chapters on the Greek and Jewish traditions of writing history, the use of the Greek language and of the Septuagint in Acts, as well as a chapter on the internal evidence of Acts. The case for traditional authorship is delineated with an explanation of the evidence both for and against offered respectively by scholars C.W. Emmet and H. Windisch. The section outlining the history of criticism of Acts includes a chapter on German scholarship by A.C. McGiffert and a chapter on British scholarship by J.W. Hunkin.

Contents and Contributors

  • “The Greek and Jewish Traditions of Writing History” by Henry J. Cadbury and the Editors
  • “The Use of the Greek Language in Acts” by J. deZwaan
  • “The Use of the Septuagint in Acts” by W.K.L. Clarke
  • “The Use of Mark in the Gospel According to Luke” by F.C. Burkitt
  • “The Internal Evidence of Acts” by the Editors
  • “The Tradition” by Henry J. Cadbury
  • “The Case for the Tradition” by C.W. Emmet
  • “The Case against the Tradition” by H. Windisch
  • “Subsidiary Points” by Henry J. Cadbury and the Editors
  • “The Historical Criticism of Acts in Germany” by A.C. McGiffert
  • “British Work on the Acts” by J.W. Hunkin

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles; Volume III: The Text of Acts

  • Author: James Hardy Ropes
  • Editors: F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1926
  • Pages: 834

Sample Pages: 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6 | 7

All serious exegesis must eventually deal with text critical issues. In this volume, Harvard scholar J.H. Ropes examines the textual evidence for Acts. After cataloging the extant evidence, Ropes details a history of the text and its criticism concluding that the Alexandrian text is the most accurate preservation of the original author’s work. An original translation of The Commentary of Ephrem on Acts is also included. Examine and study the text of Acts with the book that was awarded the British Academy’s medal for biblical studies.

Ropes appears to have considered everything afresh with encyclopaedic coverage and massive learning . . . 

J. Neville Birdsall, emeritus professor of New Testament studies at Birmingham University

J.H. Ropes (1866-1933), joined the Harvard faculty as an instructor in 1895. He served as the Hollis Professor of Divinity from 1910 until his death. Ropes served as the editor of the Harvard Theological Review. His scholarship focused on New Testament criticism and interpretation; this volume, The Text of Acts, was awarded the British Academy’s medal for Biblical studies. Ropes was also the author of A Critical and Exegetical Commentary on the Epistle of St. James, in the International Critical Commentary Series.

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles; Volume IV: English Translation and Commentary

  • Author: Kirsopp Lake and Henry J. Cadbury
  • Editors: F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1933
  • Pages: 436

The commentary in this fourth volume of The Beginnings of Christianity is the culmination of the previous investigations in volumes one through three. Written in tandem by Kirsopp Lake and Henry J. Cadbury, the commentary brings together insights from Cadbury’s interests in linguistic and literary studies and Lake’s specialization in doctrinal and historical issues. Although originally published in 1933, its frequent citation in recent commentaries attests to its ongoing value to the study of Acts. Noted Luke-Acts scholar Craig S. Keener cited it as one of the most helpful commentaries in preparing his background study of Acts.

Henry J. Cadbury (1883-1974), biblical scholar, social activist, Quaker historian and teacher, he was Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard for two decades. He is the author of The Style and Literary Method of Luke.

The Beginnings of Christianity: The Acts of the Apostles; Volume V: Additional Notes to the Commentary

  • Author: Kirsopp Lake and Henry J. Cadbury
  • Editors: F.J. Foakes-Jackson and Kirsopp Lake
  • Publisher: Macmillan and Co.
  • Publication Date: 1933
  • Pages: 560

So exhaustive was the study of Kirsopp Lake and Henry J. Cadbury that their comments could not be contained in a single commentary. This final volume of The Beginnings of Christianity contains additional commentary on Acts on subjects which in the words of Lake “were too long and complicated for the Commentary proper.” Dive deeper into the historical, theological, and exegetical issues of Acts with this fifth volume.

Henry J. Cadbury (1883-1974), biblical scholar, social activist, Quaker historian and teacher, he was Hollis Professor of Divinity at Harvard for two decades. He is the author of The Style and Literary Method of Luke.

About the Editors

F.J. Foakes-Jackson (1855-1941), English theologian and church historian. A fellow of Jesus College, Cambridge, from 1886, he was lecturer there from 1882 and dean from 1895 to 1916. From 1916 to 1934 Foakes-Jackson was Briggs professor of Christian institutions at Union Theological Seminary, New York City. His many books include Introduction to the History of Christianity, AD 590-1314, Biblical History of the Hebrews to the Christian Era, History of the Christian Church from the Earliest Times to AD 461, St. Paul, the Man and the Apostle, The Acts of the Apostles, Peter, Prince of Apostles, and A History of Church History.

Kirsopp Lake (1872-1946), noted English biblical scholar. He was curate of St. Mary the Virgin (Oxford) until 1904, when he became a professor at the Univ. of Leiden. After 1914 he was at Harvard, first as professor of early Christian literature, from 1919 to 1932 as professor of ecclesiastical history, and from 1932 to 1937 as professor of history. Lake was also interested in archaeology and participated in many expeditions. He periodically visited Mt. Sinai, Mt. Athos, and other centers of ancient culture, and in Greece he did valuable research work on old manuscripts. Among his many publications are The Earlier Epistles of St. Paul, Early Days of Monasticism on Mt. Athos, and Immortality and the Modern Mind. Some of his works are collected in the Kirsopp Lake New Testament Backgrounds Collection.