A concise, accessible introduction to the history of early Christianity, this text covers the development of the Christian church from its origin through the year 600. Equally suited to beginning and more advanced students alike, the text opens with a discussion of the historical Jesus-what we know and how do we know it?-before moving on the discuss the Jewish and Roman world in which Christianity arose. The book moves on chronologically into four Parts, charting the progress of Christianity from fringe sect to dominant religion, down through the reign of Pope Gregory I. Interspersed are chapters on society and culture and the book closes with an epilogue on Muhammad and the rise of Islam. Excerpts and quotations from a wide variety of ancient sources-including the New Testament, the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, and the writing of Dio Chrysostom, Fronto, and Tactitus, among others-engage students and help to show them how historians learn about the ancient world. Each chapter ends with carefully selected suggestions for further readings, including both ancient and modern texts. Timelines accompany each Part and the book features eight custom-drawn maps.