Welcome to Apostolic Times
This website investigates the world of the New Testament. It includes the social, political and economic contexts in which the early Church existed, reflections on the oral traditions believers shared before the appearance of the canonical writings and, finally, commentaries on the books of the Christian Scriptures.
I'm Larry Broding. As a committed Roman Catholic, I have spent most of my professional life as a religious educator, in part, translating the work of scholars into terms both children and adults could understand. That included biblical studies. word-sunday.com applied my investigation of the Scriptures to the Sunday readings. Now, I've expand that effort on a greater scale with a simple question: what was the faith of the early Church? Unlike the inquiry, the answer does not unpack so easily.
My earnest love of the Scriptures took off in the mid-1990's with the publication of John P. Meier's first volume of his ongoing study into the historical Jesus, "A Marginal Jew." From that point on, I have focused much of my personal interests on the question of the church's early faith. I also gained great insight from another Catholic biblical scholar, Luke Timothy Johnson. He approached the New Testament from a different perspective than Meier's. Peeking behind the veil of the gospels, the former employed the tools of scholarship to flesh out a plausible answer to the question: who was the real Jesus? The latter scholar denied that possibility; instead, he used a phenomenological approach to answer a different question: what was the lifestyle of early Christians? Father Meier compared and contrasted sources, considered both the continuity and embarrassment found within those texts, in order to pinpoint the probable sayings and actions of the man we know as Jesus of Nazareth. Johnson maintained that such a search was futile; he insisted we must consider the sources at face value and address them on their own terms. While the methods of the two men opposed each other on their face, I have gained much from the fruit of their efforts. And, while I'm recognizing the inspirations of my work, I must include Jesuit scholar Father Felix Just for his wide ranging web site "ENTER." His lucid notes have made my research much easier.
As you peruse this web site, you will notice I site Wikipedia sources freely. I understand the controversial nature of that service. Instead of employing known experts in their fields, it relies on the wisdom of their readership to write and correct articles on subjects contained on the site. Because many question reliability of "crowd sourced" expertise, they reject the use of the service. However, while it might not have the authority of other services and might skew to a particular point of view, Wikipedia provides general information quickly, especially on topics other sites do not cover; it also provides photos that I cite under Creative Commons licensing. So, I link to its many articles to provide you, the reader, with a quick way to investigate a particular topic that might pique your interest.
As you overview apostolic-times, you will notice the site is not complete. It lacks studies on two gospels (Matthew and John) and several letters (Hebrews, James and the Catholic epistles). As I have time, I will complete my thoughts on these texts. However, do consider what is present: studies on Mark, Luke-Acts, the Pauline letters, Revelation, Greco-Roman, Jewish and Christian contexts and the Church's oral tradition ("Q" source and the Passion). These efforts represent almost a decade of study and reflection. I hope you gain some insight into the Christian Scriptures from my thoughts.
God bless you and yours,