The First Followers of Jesus

Henry Chadwick

in The Church in Ancient Society

Published in print December 2001 | ISBN: 9780199246953
Published online November 2003 | e-ISBN: 9780191600463 | DOI:

Series: Oxford History of the Christian Church

 The First Followers of Jesus

Show Summary Details


The first disciples of Jesus of Nazareth were following a charismatic leader who sought to reform Judaism in the prophetic tradition and who was sometimes designated by the problematic title of ‘Messiah’. The majority of the first followers are described as Galilean fishermen and tax collectors, unloved by most Jews, though Jesus' teaching also gained respect among some Pharisees. The earliest Christian community showed internal disagreements about whether Jesus' mission was limited to the Jewish people or extended to Gentiles. Throughout the first century, the question of whether or not Jewish and Gentile believers could constitute a single Church, and on what terms, was debated and not entirely settled, despite the diplomatic efforts of Paul of Tarsus.

Keywords: disciples; Jesus; Messiah; Pharisees; St Paul

Chapter.  3513 words. 

Subjects: History of Christianity

Full text: subscription required

How to subscribe Recommend to my Librarian

Buy this work at Oxford University Press »

Users without a subscription are not able to see the full content. Please, subscribe or login to access all content.