Penguin Book

Christian Beginnings

Geza Vermes

'The greatest Jesus scholar of his generation' - Sunday Telegraph

The creation of the Christian Church is one of the most important stories in the development of the world's history, but it is also one of the most poorly understood.

With a forensic, brilliant reading of all the key surviving texts, Geza Vermes recreates the true narrative of how Jesus, who himself never made any divine claims, was converted first into a superhuman figure and then into a sort of god in the wake of his shocking death. As his message spread across the eastern Mediterranean the religion based on his teaching changed from a predominantly Jewish one to a Gentile faith. As this faith was organized and its principles hammered into place, it moved ever further from its humble origins. The book ends with the Emperor Constantine's adoption of Christianity as the official religion of the Roman Empire and the stamping out of all variant forms in favour of a single, centralized, state-backed litany.

This fascinating book is Vermes' masterpiece.

Geza Vermes was born in Hungary in 1924. He studied in Budapest and Louvain, and was the first Professor of Jewish Studies at Oxford. He is one of the world's greatest experts on early Christianity and the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Publication date
  • History
  • Philosophy and Religion
Format TPS
234 x 153mm
Yale University Press (PUK Rights / DK IPL) (NOT FOR USE BY DK)
Geza Vermes
Geza Vermes
Geza Vermes
Audio (Unabridged)
Geza Vermes
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