Darrell Bock turns his literary guns on the new textual criticism cropping up surrounding early Christianity and it's contemporary ideological competitors. Big-name revisionist historians such as Elaine Pagels, Bart Ehrman and Marcus Borg sell thousands of copies of their books by pulling the subtle strings of doubt many uninformed Christians still have attached to their faith. Bock cuts those strings to set the reader free from theological baggage, pop Christianity and secular reporting of stories that are supposed to shake Christianity to its core.
By contrasting scripture and writings from the early church fathers with gnostic writings, the author delineates what early Christianity looked like, what Gnosticism is, and theories of where it came from. Many Gnostic texts are illuminated by short in-text vignettes describing their content, impact and provenance, along with longer articles bringing out the true content of these often heretical writings. A thorough refutation of Walter Bauer and the 'new school of early church interpretation' answers many questions raised by these deconstructionists, and Bock does this all with the skill necessary to make the text accessible to those without familiarity of the Gnostic teachings he often refers to.