From Christ to Christianity: How the Jesus Movement became the Church in less than a century by James R. Edwards (Baker, £20.99 (£18.99); 978-1-5409-6140-2).
“How did the movement founded by Jesus transform more in the first 75 years after his death than it has in the two thousand years since? This book tells the story of how the Christian movement, which began as relatively informal, rural, Hebrew and Aramaic speaking, and closely anchored to the Jewish synagogue, became primarily urban, Greek speaking, and gentile by the early second century, spreading through the Greco-Roman world with a mission agenda and church organisation distinct from its roots in Jewish Galilee. It also shows how the early church's witness can encourage the church today.”
Richard Hooker: The architecture of participation by Paul Anthony Dominiak (T & T Clark, £28.99 (£26.09); 978-0-567-69892-6).
“Richard Hooker’s Of the Laws of Ecclesiastical Polity has long been acknowledged as an influential philosophical, theological, and literary text. While scholars have commonly noted the presence of participatory language in selected passages of Hooker's Laws, Paul Anthony Dominiak is the first to trace how participation lends a sense of system and coherency across the whole work. Dominiak analyses how Hooker uses an architectural framework of ‘participation in God’ to build a cohesive vision of the Elizabethan Church as the most fitting way to reconcile and lead English believers to the shared participation of God. First exploring Hooker’s metaphysical architecture of participation in his accounts of law and the sacraments, Dominiak then traces how this architecture structures cognitive participation in God, as well as Hooker's political vision of the Church and Commonwealth. The volume culminates with a summary of how Hooker provides a salutary resource for modern ecumenical dialogue and contemporary political retrievals of participation.”
From Daughters to Disciples: Women’s stories from the New Testament by Lynn Japinga (WJK, £17 (£15.30); 978-0-664-26570-0).
“In this second of two volumes, Lynn Japinga acquaints readers with the women of the New Testament. From faithful forerunners like Anna and Elizabeth to female disciples like the sisters Mary, Martha, and Mary Magdalene to first-generation followers like Lydia and Dorcas, readers will encounter a wealth of foremothers in the faith in all their messy, yet redeemable, humanity. This Bible study introduces and retells every female character who contributes to one or more New Testament stories, diving deeply into what each woman’s story means for us today with questions for reflection and discussion.”
Selected by Aude Pasquier, of the Church House Bookshop, which operates the Church Times Bookshop.