In Among the Gentiles: Greco-Roman Religion and Christianity Luke Timothy Johnson, undertakes a fresh inquiry into early Christianity and Greco-Roman paganism. He begins with a broad definition of religion as a way of life organized around convictions and experiences concerning ultimate power. In the tradition of William James' Varieties of Religous Experience, he identifies four distinct ways of being religious: 1)Religion as participation in benefits, 2) as moral transformation, 3) as transcending the world, 4) and as stabilizing the world. Using these criteria as the basis for his exploration of Christianity and paganism, Johnson finds multiple points of similarity in religious sensibility. Christianity's failure to adequately come to grips with its first pagan neighbors, Johnson asserts, inhibits any effort to engage positively with adherents of various world religions. This thoughtful and passionate study should help break down the walls between Christianity and other religions.Luke Timothy Johnson is one of the premier biblical and historical scholars in the world today. His writing, while theologically loaded, and while reflecting strong scholarly acumen, also betrays an uncanning spiritual sensitivity to the life of the church. This, along with all his works, are highly recommended.
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