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The River of God: A New History of Christian Origins
Where did Christianity come from?Acclaimed author Gregory Riley embarks on a remarkable journey in this readable and persuasive account of the origins of Christianity. Riley demonstrates that early Christians held widely differing beliefs about God, Jesus, the Devil, and the human soul, and follows these beliefs back to their sources in Greek science and philosophy and the ...more
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 4th 2003 by HarperOne
(first published 2001)
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Riley's "river of god" is a metaphor suggesting that Christianity has had many tributaries or sources which flowed into the beliefs that we now recognize as "Christian." He points out that studies of early Christianity have obviously concentrated on its Jewish heritage, particularly as revealed in the Old Testament, and the Roman context in which so much of the New Testament is embedded. He emphasizes, though, that there were other tributaries as well , from Persia, Plato, Mesopotamia, as well a ...more
While not a full and complete expose about all the influences upon Christianity, and not necessarily providing new ideas, Riley offers a decent starting point for an exploration of how the ancient faith traditions in the Near East influenced one another, including parts of the Old and New Testaments. I found parts of the work frustrating, as he would venture down a path and not really develop an idea fully.
I wish I had read this book before I wrote my book THE GOSPEL OF THOMAS (THE YOUNGER). It offers thrilling insights into the origins of Christianity and the "rivers" of thought and religious practice that fed it. Riley has given us a reasoned and well-written book of great spiritual vision. Destined to be read and re-read as long as Christianity exists on this planet.
Read for MUM book club JAN. 2010.tHIS IS A HISTORY OF HOW gOD WAS VIEWED AND HENCE RELIGION FROM THE ANCIENT TIMES WAY BEFORE JESUS AND HOW THE DIFFERENT CULTURES AND TIMES SAW GOD AND WORSHIPPED. aLSO THE RIVER KEEPS FLOWING NOW WITH CHANGES STILL HAPPENING. tHIS BOOK HELPS ;ME SEE MYSELF AND WHAT I BELIEVE AND PERHAPS WHERE WE ALL ARE HEADING. I'M LOOKING FORWARD TO THE DISCUSSION.
This is a fantastic book. Very detailed and well written, it helps the reader understand where a lot of thoughts and ideas came from concerning modern christianity. It is a trip to the past where no rock is left unturned and no question is left unanswered (if Riley can help it). A must read for those interested in history of religion!
Interesting book that synthesizes a huge amount of material. However, you sometimes get the feeling that the author is playing fast and loose with the facts and oversimplifying to make some of his overarching explanations work. Still worth the read.