Tusculum’s Williams publishes book on persecution in the early Christian world

Posted on 23 August 2012 by srichey@tusculum.edu

Tusculum College’s Dr. Travis B. Williams, visiting professor of religious studies, will release his first book, “Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering” in November.

The book is to be published as a part of the “Novum Testamentum Supplement” series published by the academic press, Brill. The book, an adaptation of Williams’ dissertation from the University of Exeter in the United Kingdom, is an academic analysis of persecution early Christians suffered. In the book, Williams argues that after the persecution by Nero (ca. 64 CE) Christianity was effectively illegal, although not officially illegal.

“It really is an ambitious undertaking because the book challenges several currently accepted academic views on the early Christian world,” said Williams.

The book also takes into account several individual experiences of the time, using examples of early Christian social groups such as women, slaves and business owners, Williams uses these views to differentiate accounts of the early Christian experience.

Williams is also contracted to have a second book that is expected to be published in 2014. Its focus is on the concept of good works in 1 Peter and acts as a complimentary volume to “Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering.”

Dr. Travis Williams

In this second book, Williams challenges long-held academic beliefs that good works are defined by community standards, meaning that they were approved of or favorably recognized by the wider society. Instead he argues that rather than conforming to the standards of their “pagan” neighbors, good works were acts associated with the exercise and promulgation of the Christian religion, which were regulated solely by the will of God.

“This book offers a whole new view on 1 Peter and due to the time frame of 1 Peter’s writing, it changes academic views on the nature of early persecution as represented in the New Testament.”

“Persecution in 1 Peter: Differentiating and Contextualizing Early Christian Suffering” is available for pre-order on the Brill publications website, www.brill.com.



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