Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies

Quest for the Historical Apostles: Tracing Their Lives and Legacies

The stories and contributions of the apostles provide an important entrée into church history. This comprehensive historical and literary introduction uncovers their lives and legacies, underscoring the apostles' impact on the growth of the early church. The author collects and distills the histories, legends, symbols, and iconography of the original twelve and locates figures such as Paul, Peter, and John in the broader context of the history of the apostles. He also explores the continuing story of the gospel mission and the twelve disciples beyond the New Testament.

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About the Book

Editorial Reviews

From the Back Cover

“Shelton combines a historian’s knowledge of the sources, a scholar’s respect for learning, a journalist’s eye for detail, and a believer’s awe before the transcendent. Here is a full accounting of the few brave men Jesus of Nazareth used to rock the world in ways still unfolding. It will inform and inspire all who seek to understand and connect with the early Christian legacy as preserved in historical sources, ancient literature and legends, art and artifacts, and critical reconstruction. This recovery of the apostles’ full humanity in history enhances their testimony to the Savior who sent them forth.”

Robert W. Yarbrough, Covenant Theological Seminary

“Just as there have been quests for the historical Jesus, so now Shelton leads us on a quest for the historical core within the many apostolic legends. More than just a work of scholarship, this book takes readers by the hand and guides us through the minefield of ancient mythmaking to help us meet the actual disciples of Christ, the real men who walked with the Savior and sat at his feet. Never gullible or credulous, yet never unconcerned about the edification of the church, Shelton gives us the bottom line when it comes to the apostles: their actual historical biographies and their enduring significance for today.”
Bryan Litfin, author of Getting to Know the Church Fathers

“This book is a treasure trove for those who wonder what happened to the twelve apostles of Jesus. Shelton provides a sympathetic but critical reading of the evidence for the missionary activity of the apostles by patiently sifting through biblical texts, early church witnesses, and later legends. I am especially grateful that the Quest for the Historical Apostles narrates how each apostle has been received in the life and faith of the church.”
Daniel A. Keating, Sacred Heart Major Seminary

“Many of us know the apostles by name but have only a general sense of who they were and how they impacted the early church. Here, in a single volume, Shelton consolidates centuries of historiography into an accessible introduction to the men Jesus knew best, enabling us to sift through all the facts, stories, legends, and images that have accrued over time. Readers who join Shelton on his quest will come away with deeper knowledge not only of the apostles themselves but also of the New Testament, the early church, and the craft of historiography.”
Rebecca Rine, Grove City College

About the Author W. Brian Shelton

W. Brian Shelton (PhD, Saint Louis University), an expert on early Christianity and patristics, is chief academic officer of Toccoa Falls College in Toccoa Falls, Georgia. He is a member of the Council for Christian Colleges and Universities’ Leadership Development Institute and the Georgia Governor’s Teaching Fellowship Symposium.
W. Brian Shelton (Ph.D., Saint Louis University) is Professor of Theology and Chair of the Christian Studies and Philosophy Department at Asbury University in Kentucky. He has published on early Christianity, martyrdom, and the grace/free will controversy. Brian teaches annually in Rome, Italy, and regularly leads undergraduates on studies abroad to Western Europe. He holds the Ph.D. in historical theology from Saint Louis University, with additional degrees from Covenant Theological Seminary and Asbury University.
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