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Orthodoxy and Heresy in Earliest Christianity
by Walter Bauer
List Price: Paperback $24.00

Sigler Price: Paperback $19.20 

Paperback - 326 pp
ISBN 099623642-7-4
Sigler Press

Editorial Review

Walter Bauer's Orthodoxy and Heresy has established itself as a classic refutation of the "myth" that "in the beginning" orthodoxy was there first and heresy was a deviation from the norm.  Whatever one thinks of the thesis, one cannot bypass Bauer on early heresy any more that one can bypass Bultmann on Form Criticism or Harnack on the development of dogma.  Today, it remains a good introduction to Christianity at the end of the first century and the beginning of the second century.

Gerald Christianson
Professor of Church History
Gettysburg Lutheran Seminary

This brilliant and pioneering monograph inaugurated a new era of scholarship in the study of the New Testament and Christian origins, especially in America.  It argued that early Christianity did not begin with a unified orthodox belief, from which heresies broke off at a later time.  Rather, Bauer demonstrated that diversity stood at the beginning, while an orthodox church emerged only after long controversies during the early centuries.  During recent decades, the investigation of newly discovered texts, such as the Gnostic Library of Nag Hammadi in Egypt, have fully confirmed Bauer's insights.

There may be numerous details, which scholars today would see differently than Walter Bauer, whose word was first published in Germany sixty years ago.  Nevertheless, Bauer's book has remained the foundation for all modern scholarship in this field, and it is must-reading for all who want to explore early Christian Communities.  It is still challenging, fresh, fascinating, and thought-provoking -- without any question of the truly great masterpieces of New Testament scholarship.

Helmut Koester
Professor of New Testament Studies
and Ancient Church History at
Harvard Divinity School

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