This book is introductory, but it is not an introduction to biblical content or to the history of early Christianity in the typical sense. Each of the chapters addresses a different aspect of the material and provides its own perspective on the origin of the church and early Christianity. The chapters begin with questions that in turn focus the discussions. The chapters can be read as independent, freestanding arguments and can be mixed and matched, enabling readers to investigate the respective topics independently. However, the chapters also follow a logical narrative line. In addition, images and diagrams are used to assist in making critical points and to enrich the visual sense of the material. The image of the window serves to give readers lines of sight into the material where historical intersections and patterns begin to emerge. ""James Aageson's helpful book offers a critical approach to the study of early Christianity in the context of today's pluralism. Carefully chosen leading questions in each chapter open windows for deeper understanding of Christianity's functional uniqueness as well as its commonalities with Judaism and Islam. Aageson provides a discussion companion for educational groups seeking a more reflective Christian faith along with ways to live constructively and peacefully with other faiths."" --Douglas E. Oakman, Pacific Lutheran University ""With clarity and precision, Aageson offers important critical insights into the development of early Christianity. The book's arrangement into fifteen essential questions or topics enables the text to break the mold of the historically linear 'introduction' while providing thorough analysis. As with his earlier In the Beginning (2000), Aageson's eminently readable scholarship presents a vibrant and compelling approach to the academic study of religion."" --Gail P. Streete, Professor Emerita, Rhodes College ""Aageson surveys basic questions in the study of Abrahamic religions, major trajectories in early Christianity that are reflected in all of the New Testament and in apocryphal gospels, and key issues in the identity and practices of early Christianity. This book will be accessible and useful to undergraduates in history of Christianity and religious studies courses."" --Mark Reasoner, Associate Professor of Theology, Marian University; author of Romans in Full Circle and Roman Imperial Texts: A Sourcebook ""James Aageson's book introducing readers to the New Testament and early Christianity is the fruit of years of teaching students as they encounter this rich past with their modern interests. The result is an innovative approach that meets contemporary readers on their own terms to help them understand the past and its meaning for the present. Readers in college classrooms and parish bible studies will be equally enriched by their encounter with Aageson's inviting volume."" -- Rob Kugler, Paul S. Wright Professor, Religious Studies/Classical Studies, Lewis & Clark College James W. Aageson is Professor Emeritus of New Testament and Early Christianity at Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota. His academic interests focus on the history and thought of early Judaism, Pauline studies, and early post-New Testament Christianity. His books include Written Also for Our Sake (1993), In the Beginning (2000), and Paul, the Pastoral Epistles and the Early Church (2008).