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The first three centuries of the Christian faith were a period of missionary zeal, deep thought, and tribulation. In The Early Church (33–313): St. Peter, the Apostles, and Martyrs, Catholic historian and biblical expert James Papandrea dispels what he calls common “mythconceptions” about the early years of Christianity. Tracking the challenges of heresy and persecution throughout the period, Papandrea shines a spotlight on the earliest saints and explores the growth and development of the new Church.
The first Apostles spread the message of Jesus Christ and were willing to suffer and die for their faith. The next generations of believers followed their example, producing inspiring martyrs including Polycarp, Justin, Perpetua, and Sebastian, and great thinkers such as Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Eusebius. In The Early Church (33–313), author and historian James Papandrea presents a clear account of the Church’s first three centuries and provides evidence to refute fourteen commonly held beliefs about the Catholic Church. You will learn:
* No money or power was attached to being a bishop or priest in the early Church;
* Christian holidays were not adaptations of pagan celebrations;
* Christians have never believed in an eternal life for souls without bodies;
* The doctrine of the Trinity was not forced upon the Church by Constantine, but rather was a belief from the beginning of Christianity.
With clear explanation and inspiring stories, Papandrea sorts through what we do and don’t know about the early Church and enables Catholics and fellow Christians to make sense of the Church’s beginnings.
A Note From the Publisher
“Memory is the faculty that tells us who we are. Memory is what gives us our Catholic identity. Yet so much of our memory has been distorted by the falsehoods that pass for history today. This series is much needed. Every book is crystal clear, engaging, entertaining, and myth-busting. Be prepared to be surprised—and to be grateful for the wonders the Lord has done.”
Founder of the St. Paul Center for Biblical Theology
“One of the most important eras in Church history is the apostolic age to the conversion of the Roman Empire. The historical record of this pivotal era illustrates that the early Christian Church was the Catholic Church despite false narratives and myths that argue otherwise. In The Early Church (AD 33-313), James Papandrea gives today’s Catholics the authentic story of the early Church. Papandrea combats myths with scholarly precision in a readable and accessible manner. This book satisfies a vital need in reclaiming our Catholic history by telling the stories of the first Christians who spread the Gospel of Christ by their words, deeds, and lives.”
Author of Timeless: A History of the Catholic Church
“Making Church history accessible to the average reader has always been a great challenge. Author James Papandrea and editor Mike Aquilina have done a masterful job in this attempt. They have also made it engaging and entertaining. As they say, most histories are written by the winners. But much of Church history is written by the ‘ losers’ and the witnesses to the martyrs from whose blood the Church grew and eventually prospered.”
John Michael Talbot
Catholic singer-songwriter, speaker, and bestselling author
“James Papandrea has done more than anyone to cast light on the obscure early centuries of Christianity. He has taken the extra step of making his findings accessible to non-academic readers. I make it a priority to read whatever he writes.”
Author of A History of the Church in 100 Objects
Editor of the Reclaiming Catholic History series
“This is our story. Papandrea’s tremendous gift is the immediacy of his writing. This is my story.”
Jon M. Sweeney
Author of The Pope Who Quit
"I am confident that this delightful work belongs on the bookshelf of every theology teacher and student alike. A splendid and remarkable text that comprises a fast read in the midst of its advantageous depth. This volume will please the armchair Church historian, the aficionado of adventure, and every soul in between."
Theology teacher at Bishop McNamara High School Forestville, Maryland