Walter Wagner Reviews Christianity at the Crossroads

Michael J. Kruger

Posted on

October 22, 2019

Over the last year or so, I’ve been encouraged by the many different reviews of (and interactions with) my book, Christianity at the Crossroads: How the Second Century Shaped the Future of the Church.  For a list of some of those reviews, see prior post here.

One of the reasons I wrote this book is because of the enormous gap in scholarship on the study of second-century Christianity. There just hasn’t been much done on this “Cinderella Century” (to use the phrase of Larry Hurtado).

But, of course, there are exceptions to that pattern of neglect. One is the fine book by Walter Wagner, After the Apostles: Christianity in the Second Century (Fortress Press, 1994). Wagner covers a lot of the same ground as my volume, but I also cover additional topics such as the development of the canon and transmission of the NT text.

Given that Wagner has written on this subject before, I was pleased to see that he reviewed my book recently in the journal Interpretation (vol. 73, p.316). Since my volume covers a number of controversial issues, I was thankful to see he thought I was even-handed in my treatment of them.  His opening paragraph:

Michael Kruger provides a first-rate addition to works on a crucial period in Christian history. The second century is aptly characterized as messy, pivotal, and transitional for Christianity’s future. The book serves as an introductory text for college and graduate students as well as for clergy and general readers. Kruger deals respectfully with complex and controversial issues and includes positions contrary to his own fair treatment.

His closing paragraph:

Kruger provides a fine resource for readers so that the crossroads of the past can be seen in their historical settings and their relevance discerned for directions today’s Christians may take.

I’m grateful to Dr. Wagner for his kind review!

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