In this, the first of three volumes of collected essays, Jan N. Bremmer, who views himself first of all as an ancient historian, brings together his essays focusing on Christianity in the first two centuries. His goal is to situate Christianity in time and place and thereby deepen understanding.

After 18 pages of prolegomena, including the table of contents, the main body of the volume is divided into four sections: (1) “Aspects of Early Christianity” (93 pages), (2) “Studies in the Apocryphal Acts of the Apostles and Pseudo-Clementines” (171 pages), (3) “Apocalypses and Tours of Hell” (79 pages), and (4) “The Passion of Perpetua and Felicitas” (121 pages). This is followed by 32 pages of acknowledgements and indexes. Because these are collected essays, there is no bibliography.

How does one summarize, much less evaluate, a volume of this sort? Fortunately, Bremmer assists the reviewer with clear and descriptive chapter titles....

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