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The Early Christians, In Their Own Words
by Eberhard Arnold And Bruderhof Foundation
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From Publishers Weekly
Not merely a volume of collected writings of Christians living in early church communities, this anthology is a reflection of a faith and a way of life aflame with uninhibited zeal and unwavering devotion. Arnold, the founder of the Bruderhof Community, whose members strive to imitate what they understand to be the purity and devotion of the early Christian church, compiled these writings some 75 years ago as a kind of guidebook for his community. In the first chapter, Arnold gives a synopsis of early Christian life. Each chapter contains material ranging from apologetic writing and confessions of faith to aphorisms, parables and poetry. Represented here are writers like the third-century theologian Tertullian, the first-century epistle writer Clement of Alexandria and, of course, Paul of Tarsus, one of the earliest interpreters of Jesus' life and ministry. Historical and contextual notes offer background for each writing. A clear and vibrant faith lives in these writings.
Copyright 1998 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Roland H. Bainton, Yale University
If you hold, like Arnold does, that Christianity is no longer Christianity if it departs too radically from its beginnings, then you must read this book.
Spiritual Book News
A Clear and vibrant faith lives in these writings. Now, almost two thousand years later, they remind us of the stark simplicity and revolutionary fervor that is at the heart of our faith.
Ford Lewis Battles, Pittsburgh Theological Seminary
Arnold's selection of texts suggests the richness and diversity of early Christian faith, and stands as a yardstick with which to measure the poverty of our own spiritual life. Arnold finds his norm for the Christian life in the transitional century ending in A.D. 180. A Christianity as yet unspoiled by ecclesiastical or philosophical structures, marked by longing for the end, pledged to love and sharing of worldly good, unencumbered as yet by high-placed or highly educated members, free of prohibital crafts, trades or professions-this is the golden age from which Arnold takes inspiration.
Larry D. Fourman, Ministers Book Club
As an anthology of early Christian writings, this book will become invaluable for those who use it as a resource for preaching, worship, teaching, and their own devotional life. Those geared primarily toward social action should read it to see how prayer and the movement of the Holy Spirit were the motivating forces driving the early church in its social work. Those geared toward evangelism need to read it to see how for the first Christians, telling the good news was never separate from being the good news.
Text: English (translation)
Original Language: German
About the Author
Eberhard Arnold (1883-1935) studied theology, philosophy, and education at Breslau, Halle, and Erlangen, where he received his doctorate in 1909. In 1920, out of a desire to put into practice the demands of the Sermon on the Mount, Eberhard and his wife Emmy turned their backs on middle class Berlin - and a promising career as a writer and public speaker - and moved with their children to the small German village of Sannerz. There, with a handful of other like-minded seekers, who drew their inspiration from the Early Christians, they founded the communal movement now known as the Bruderhof.
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