DAVID ARNOLD’s In the Context of Eternity: A short history of the Christian Church began life as a series of talks for church members before becoming a series of formal lectures and now a book. Each section covers three to four hundred years and is divided into three chapters. Major developments in Eastern and Western Churches are addressed (Grosvenor House Publishing, £10; 978-1-78148-448-7).
In The Men Who Were Honest to Jesus and What They Did, N. Micklem tries to piece together the beliefs and actions of Jesus’s disciples between his death and resurrection and the conversion of Saul. One of his targets is St Mark’s Gospel, which he accuses of misrepresenting them (Matador, £7.99 (£7.20); 978-1-78462-244-2).
How did the earliest Christians cope with the cult of the Roman emperor, the background to the world in which they lived? Bruce Winter begins his assessment Divine Honours for the Caesars: The first Christians’ responses with a look at the imperial cult, using primary sources, before using the New Testament to show how different communities conformed to and confronted it (William B. Eerdmans, £29.99 (£26.99); 978-0-8028-7257-9).
Christopher Stephens argues that the split between the Eastern and Western Churches after Constantine was less to do with creeds than about the nature and status of bishops. He sets out his case in Canon Law and Episcopal Authority: The Canons of Antioch and Serdica (Oxford University Press, £65 (£58.50); 978-0-19-873222-8).
Early Christianity: Theology shaped by saints, by Paul Haffner, a professor of theology at the Pontifical Gregorian University, is a study of Early Christianity from a distinctly Roman perspective. The material is set out systematically, after the manner of a textbook, with chapters for each of the early popes, a section on “The Role of Women”, and discussion of the various martyrs, councils, heresies, the fixing of the biblical canon, and so on (Gracewing, £20 (£18); 978-0-85244-895-3).