Looking beyond theological narratives and offering a sociological, economic, and historical examination of the spread of earliest Christianity, James Crossley presents a thoroughly secular and causal explanation for why the once law-observant movement within Judaism became the beginnings of a new religion. First analyzing the historiography of the New Testament and stressing the problematic omission of a social scientific account, Crossley applies a socioeconomic lens to the rise of the Jesus movement and the centrality of sinners to his mission. Using macrosociological approaches, he explains how Jesus' Jewish teachings sparked the shift toward a gentile religion and an international monotheistic trend. Finally, using approaches from conversion studies, he provides a sociohistorical explanation for the rise of the Pauline mission.
James G. Crossley lectures in the Department of Biblical Studies at the University of Sheffield. His recent publications include The Date of Mark's Gospel.