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(1916). The Evolution of Early Christianity. A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to its Religious Environment. By Shirley Jackson Case, University of Chicago. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill.. Psychoanal. Rev., 3(3):354-356.

(1916). Psychoanalytic Review, 3(3):354-356

The Evolution of Early Christianity. A Genetic Study of First-Century Christianity in Relation to its Religious Environment. By Shirley Jackson Case, University of Chicago. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago, Ill.

The long-established and generally accepted theory that Christianity in its essence at least is a static quantity divinely given and preserved leaves room for only a secondary and superficial influence exerted by environment upon its origin or subsequent history. Advancing thought however recognizes it as the evolutionary product of the reaction of its adherents to their environment in accordance with their religious needs and natures. Starting with this idea Case here reviews for us the world in which Christianity arose, surveying the forces preceding and surrounding its early history from which it draws, utilizing them and in turn impressing itself upon them. This evolutionary character of the faith even to the present day is determined by the very fact that Christianity resides in individuals who must vary and react differently in changing environments. It has been overlooked that even the books of the New Testament are the products of a considerable period of time during which Christianity had been unfolding and growing in contact with the many determining influences of the Graeco-Roman world.

Thus the hostility of the Jews depicted so emphatically in these books was probably a later development and moreover exaggerated by the writers. At first Christianity was closely related to Judaism. Briefly reviewing the nature and extent of this relationship, expounded more fully by other writers, Mr. Case shows how Christianity had much in common with the later Judaism and naturally grew out of it. They shared a common heritage in the Old Testament scriptures in the idea of the prophet teacher realized in Jesus and the hope of a national Messiah. Christianity also doubtless partook of the effects of the contact of the Jews with the gentile world through their past history or in the broader contact of the later time.

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