Friday, October 24, 2003

Peter Lampe, From Paul to Valentinus

Another Fortress Press release (where are the other publishers?):

““This study is so masterful in its grasp of a vast array of evidence, so solid and innovative in its methodology, and so audacious in conception that it is bound to become a classic. The most important historical and sociological study ever written on Roman Christianity.”
Robert Jewett, Interpretation

Fortress Press To Release Peter Lampe’s From Paul to Valentinus

MINNEAPOLIS (October 22, 2003)—In a path-breaking and widely hailed study, newly available in English, author Peter Lampe integrates history, archaeology, and social analysis to retrace rise and shape of the earliest Christian communities in Rome. “Brilliantly conceived and masterfully executed” (Prof. John H. Elliott), Lampe’s social history of Roman Christianity builds on archaeological, inscriptional, and juridical sources, to complement the reading of the great literary texts from Paul’s Letter to the Romans to the writings of Clement of Rome, Justin Martyr, Montanus, and Valentinus.

Meticulously and thoroughly reworked and updated for this English-language edition by the author from the second German edition of his Die staedtromischen Christen, From Paul to Valentinus is a groundbreaking work, broad in scope and closely detailed. Lampe reconstructs the social status of early Christians, the shape of their communities and leadership, the Christians’ relation to the Judeans living in Rome, and the gradual “fractionating” of the community there.

Among the scholarly plaudits for his work:

“This impressive work puts our study of early Roman Christianity on a new and more certain empirical basis and must now serve as the point of departure for all subsequent research. . . . Lampe has expanded our database and has provided the most extensive social profile of Roman Christianity currently available.”
— John H. Elliot, Catholic Biblical Quarterly

”Lampe shows that there are both archaeological and literary grounds for saying that the early Roman Christian community was at first indistinguishable from the Jewish one, form which it emerged as perhaps a less affluent underclass of God-fearers. Lampe’s book will impress all who read it as a well-informed attempt to synthesize a vast amount of data in a serious, informed, and scholarly way.”
— Alan F. Segal, Journal of Biblical Literature

“Peter Lampe’s extremely thorough study of the Roman Christians ... I would judge it the best work on an early Christian Church I have read in the last decade... Lampe exhibits such balance and care that I would find myself hard-pressed to write the usual review, agreeing with some points and disagreeing with others. His conclusions are likely to be the basis of most on-going discussion ... The interest of these (Lampe’s) theses for church history, as well as for New Testament, should be obvious.“
— Raymond E. Brown, em. Professor of New Testament at Union Theological Seminary, NY, in: The Heythrop Journal, July 1988, 359-60

“This is a learned and enjoyable study of the social history of the Christian community in Rome... It is not one of those social histories that wishes to substitute social factors for ideas and theologies, but a book which derives its strength from its perceptions of the intimate links between doctrine and life. Dr Lampe knows how to use epigraphic and juristic evidence... He equally knows his way round the catacombs and the archaeological evidence...And the freshness of his approach enables him to illuminate familiar texts from the Apostolic Fathers or the Apologists... Among the most interesting parts of a very good book are the pages on Justin Martyr.“
— Henry Chadwick, em. Professor of Divinity, Cambridge University, in: Journal of Theological Studies, April 1990, 228-9

“The author’s interesting and informative work is a notable landmark... The sociological approach to the evidence, successfully exploited by Wayne Meeks in his study of the Pauline churches, has found an able continuator in Lampe’s thorough and scholarly examination of the first two centuries of Roman Christianity.“
— W.H.C. Frend, em. Professor of Ecclesiastical History at the University of Glasgow,
in: Journal of Ecclesiastical History 1990, 278-9

Peter Lampe is Professor of New Testament at the University of Heidelberg, Germany. He is the author of the commentary on Philemon in Das Neue Testament Deutsch series (1998).


Format: jacketed hardcover, 528 pages
Item No: 0800627024
Publisher: Fortress Press
Release Date: November 10, 2003
Price: $42.00

To order From Paul to Valentinus please call Fortress Press at 1-800-328-4648 or visit the web site at To request review copies or exam copies please visit the website at or call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234. For interviews, speaking engagements, and writing assignments please call 1-800-426-0115 ext. 234 or email

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