Early North African Christianity

Turning Points in the Development of the Church

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An internationally recognized scholar highlights the important role the North African church played in the development of Christian thought. This accessible introduction brings Africa back to the center of the study of Christian history by focusing on key figures and events that influenced the history and trajectory of Christianity as a whole. Written and designed for the classroom, the book zeroes in on five turning points to show how North African believers significantly shaped Christian theology, identity, and practice in ways that directly impact the church today.

Contents

1. A (Re)Introduction to Africa
Part 1: Perpetua and Felicity
2. The Life and Times of the Early Martyrs
3. Perpetua and Felicity: Models of Christian Devotion
4. Perpetua: Leadership and Controversy
Part 2: Tertullian
5. The Life and Times of Tertullian
6. Tertullian Defending the Faith: Apologetics and Heretics
7. Tertullian Defining the Faith: The Fullness of the Trinity
Part 3: Cyprian of Carthage
8. The Life and Times of Cyprian
9. Cyprian: On Forgiveness and Unity
10. Cyprian: The Rebaptism Controversy
Part 4: The Donatist Controversy
11. The Life and Times of the Later Martyrs
12. Caecilianists versus Donatists: Rival Churches
13. Donatists versus Caecilianists: Rival Martyrs
Part 5: Augustine of Hippo
14. The Life and Times of Augustine
15. Augustine: Theologian of the West
16. Augustine: Debate with Pelagius on Grace and the Will
Conclusion
Select Resources for Further Reading
Index


Endorsements

"This book skillfully weaves history and reflection into a highly accessible account of North African Christianity. Eastman's selection of important historical figures helpfully frames essential historical and theological issues relevant for Christian discourse today. The book addresses thoughtful questions that make it a valuable resource for a wide array of readers in disciplines beyond church history. This title is indispensable for any reader, whether beginner or seasoned scholar, who wants to understand North Africa's early contributions to fundamental issues of the Christian faith."

Kyama Mugambi, Pan Africa Christian University; senior researcher, Centre for World Christianity, Africa International University

"Eastman's deep knowledge and love of his subject are evident on every page of this both learned and accessible book. Above all, this work offers a compelling and insightful introduction to the faith, context, and practices of early African Christianity that will enrich readers' grasp of its decisive influence on the legacy of the Western church."

Robin Jensen, Patrick O'Brien Professor of Theology, University of Notre Dame

"Eastman, a renowned scholar of early Christianity in general, has focused his attention on the early African Christian voices in particular. In so doing, he has given his readers a gift: an introduction to this underappreciated school of ancient wisdom through its key representatives, such as Perpetua, Tertullian, Cyprian, and Augustine. What is more, he is able to present these invaluable voices in a way that speaks to contemporary readers' interests and concerns. Any student of Christianity's past who feels ill-informed about what role ancient North Africans played in the faith's earliest developments will want to add this book to their reading list."

David Wilhite, professor of theology, Truett Theological Seminary, Baylor University

"David Eastman is an eminently trustworthy historian as well as a man of deep faith. He is, in fact, one of a very small number of scholars most qualified to write on the subject of North African Christianity. Eastman makes the rich history of early African Christianity accessible to those who have not studied this treasure, and yet, even scholars and the well-read will learn things from this book. Anyone interested in the story of the origins of Christianity will love this book."

James L. Papandrea, professor of church history and historical theology, Garrett-Evangelical Theological Seminary


The Author

  1. David L. Eastman

    David L. Eastman

    David L. Eastman (PhD, Yale University) is an internationally recognized scholar of the New Testament and early Christianity. He is the Joseph Glenn Sherrill Chair of Bible at the McCallie School, an adjunct fellow at the University of Regensburg (Germany),...

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