The third and final installment of James Dunn's magisterial history of Christian origins through 190 C.E.
, Neither Jew nor Greek: A Contested Identity
covers the period after the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 C.E.
through the second century, when the still-new Jesus movement firmed up its distinctive identity markers and the structures on which it would establish its growing appeal in the following decades and centuries.
Dunn examines in depth the major factors that shaped first-generation Christianity and beyond, exploring the parting of the ways between Christianity and Judaism, the Hellenization of Christianity, and responses to Gnosticism. He mines all the first- and second-century sources, including the New Testament Gospels, New Testament apocrypha, and such church fathers as Ignatius, Justin Martyr, and Irenaeus, showing how the Jesus tradition and the figures of James, Paul, Peter, and John were still esteemed influences but were also the subject of intense controversy as the early church wrestled with its evolving identity.
Comprehensively covering an important, complex era in Christianity that is often overlooked, this volume is a landmark contribution to the field.
Anglican Theological Review
"This study should be greeted with admiration for the immense learning evident within its pages and should be thoroughly engaged by anyone interested in the development of Christianity during the first two centuries."
Craig S. Keener
— Asbury Theological Seminary
"Here we have on full display the distilled fruits of decades of research and engagement by a mature scholar of the first rank. James Dunn engages a vast range of secondary and primary literature in a way that only a senior scholar can do, synthesizing the best insights, critically and meticulously evaluating all sources and hypotheses, and producing a masterpiece of erudition that will be foundational for future work on the subject. While respectfully interacting with a range of scholarship, this work also forges its own noteworthy conclusions, in the process sometimes challenging conventional assumptions from across the spectrum of scholarly opinion."
— Baylor University
"Calling this substantial book his 'farewell to the large undertakings of my writing career,' James Dunn compellingly engages developments in Christian identity from the destruction of Jerusalem in 70 CE into the late second century. Neither Jew nor Greek is awe-inspiring in scope and majestic in execution. Like a peerless master taking his craft to new heights, Dunn accomplishes his task with the clarity of thought and expression that has been a hallmark of his long-standing career. This is both sweet vintage and astute valediction."
J. R. Daniel Kirk
— Fuller Theological Seminary
"In concluding his magnum opus, James Dunn offers a powerful account of how the earliest Jesus tradition and its various renderings by Jesus' first Jewish followers came to shape and be shaped by the movement that developed from 70 to 200 CE. Students and scholars alike will find much to appreciate, argue with, and learn from."