The Project's Biblical Studies journal Alpha, like its Sinological counterpart, Warring States Papers, makes available in conveniently citable form some of the material developed and discussed in our own study group and in its wider acquaintance circle. The scope of Alpha is the early Christian texts and relevant contemporary materials, along with their Scriptural background. The first annnual volume of Alpha appeared in 2017..

Like its older sister journal, Alpha seeks to apply standard philological methods to major unsolved textual problems: (a) to establish the nature and interrelations of the texts, including the recognition of interpolations and of text growth generally; (b) to date the texts or their constituent layers; and finally (c) to read the history of the period from that newly clarified source material. A distinctive feature of this work is the recovery of a pre-Pauline form of Christian belief and practice, not centered on the death and resurrection of Jesus, but on the ethical and eschatological teachings of Jesus in his lifetime. We have nasmed this Alpha Christianity, in contrast to the Beta or Resurrection Christianity of Paul and later theologians. The Old Testament background will also be explored, both as the scriptures recognized by the first Jesus followers, and for its own sake.

To our surprise, these scholarly results have proved to be of interest, and indeed of comfort, to some Christians who have found themselves confused or repelled by many of the late theological doctrines embedded in modern Christianity. It is not our function to found new religions or reform old ones, but we are glad to think that these results may have a wider use. To encourage that use, and to facilitate the reading of busy professionals, articles in Alpha are brief, and written to be available to any informed reader, and not only to specialists.

New contributions developing this methodologically fresh beginning are welcome; see the Call for Papers, below.

Information. Here is the basic background information for Alpha:

Volumes. Index pages, with further links to contents and some downloadable preprints, are here:

  • Alpha v1 (2017)
  • Alpha v2 (2018)
  • Alpha v3 (2019)
  • Alpha v4 (2020)

After the print run for each volume is exhausted, the full contents of that volume will be available in permanent free-access form at the University's ScholarWorks archive, and on some commercial databases.

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