For studying early Christianity in its historical context, standard editions of the New Testament fail to provide the best resources. In the Early Christian Reader you will find texts arranged in a meaniful order with the books of the New Testament presented in the NRSV, the most widely accepted version in university classrooms today. Also included are translations of the Gospel of Thomas, the Didache, the Letter of Barnabas, 1 Clement, and the letters of Ignatius. Each work's introduction discusses the date and place of composition, authorship, audience, basic themes, literary features, the Jewish and Hellenistic contexts, and suggestions for further readings in the secondary literature. Generous notes illuminate specific historical, lexical, and interpretive issues and broader issues affecting the treatment of these texts are introduced in seven lead articles. Each section opens with discussions of pseudonomous authorship, church tradition, synoptic sources, epistles as documents, conflicting doctrines, and originating events. This approach allows for an objective, informed entryinto the complex world of the earliest Christian literature. Informative appendixes, maps, and charts make this an ideal text for the university or college classroom.