Crucible of Faith

Crucible of Faith coverCrucible of Faith: The Ancient Revolution That Made Our Modern Religious World
Philip Jenkins
Basic Books (September 19, 2017), 296 pages
Kindle edition $19.99, Amazon hardcover $19.45

This is a fascinating book by the author of The Lost History of Christianity, which I very much enjoyed.

In the present volume author Philip Jenkins discusses the period between the final books of the Old Testament and the first books of the New Testament. He describes how ideas like our modern conceptions of Satan and the end times developed after the Old Testament was closed out and before the New Testament began to be written. In fact, Jenkins does write both about books of the Old Testament and books of the New Testament. His main focus, however, is the period of these “crucible years,” as he calls them. He defines this as the period between 250 and 50 BCE.

Jenkins takes the perspective that the Qumran sect (responsible for the Dead Sea Scrolls) arose in protest against the Hasmonean priest-kings (the Hasmoneans arising from the Maccabees who took back the temple from the Seleucids). He sees the Qumran sect as being different from the Essenes, though many scholars believe the Qumran group was the Essene sect. In addition to Satan and the end times Jenkins points out that angels appear much more frequently in the writing of the crucible years than in Old Testament writings.

There is a lot more material as well, so if this is a topic that interests you I highly recommend Crucible of Faith.



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