This comprehensive examination of the sacred literature of early Christianity introduces the literature and world of the early followers of Jesus. It explores fundamental issues such as the relationship between history and faith, the place of critical methodology, the transmission of the New Testament writings, the historical context of early Christianity, and the formation of the canon. It looks at writings, personalities, and issues outside the New Testament. Sixty color pictures by noted photographer Richard Cleave enhance the fifty black and white images, maps, and charts. Porter and McDonald have presented us with what is perhaps the best current introduction to early Christianity and its literature. Well-informed at every turn and supplemented with helpful charts, bibliography, pictures and time-lines, this work presents the phenomenon of early Christianity in a thoroughgoing historical manner while still being respectful of the faith dimensions of the sources. The hard questions about the relationship of faith and history (e.g., about the resurrection of Jesus) are taken on without apologies and without polemics. Recent trends in New Testament scholarship (e.g., rhetorical criticism) are helpfully summarized and analyzed. This work should serve for a long time as a standard textbook for seminary students and others, whether or not one agrees with all the authors conclusions. Highly recommended. " Dr. Ben Witherington, III, professor of New Testament, Asbury Theological Seminary, U.S.A., and St. Andrews University, U.K.