Eighty years ago, Walter Bauer promulgated a bold and provocative thesis about early Christianity. He argued that many forms of Christianity started the race, but one competitor pushed aside the others, until this powerful ""orthodox"" version won the day. The victors re-wrote history, marginalizing all other perspectives and silencing their voices, even though the alternatives possessed equal right to the title of normative Christianity. Bauer's influence still casts a long shadow on early Christian scholarship. Were heretical movements the original forms of Christianity? Did the heretics outnumber the orthodox? Did orthodox heresiologists accurately portray their opponents? And more fundamentally, how can one make any objective distinction between ""heresy"" and ""orthodoxy""? Is such labeling merely the product of socially situated power? Did numerous, valid forms of Christianity exist without any validating norms of Christianity? This collection of essays, each written by a relevant authority, tackles such questions with scholarly acumen and careful attention to historical, cultural-geographical, and socio-rhetorical detail. Although recognizing the importance of Bauer's critical insights, innovative methodologies, and fruitful suggestions, the contributors expose numerous claims of the Bauer thesis (in both original and recent manifestations) that fall short of the historical evidence. ""Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christian Contexts brings up to date a long-existing debate about those other gospels and early Christianity. Covering issues tied to the Apostolic Fathers, Irenaeus, Gnosticism, and the rule of faith, here is a solid compendium of essays that issues a significant challenge to the thesis of Walter Bauer--that orthodoxy emerged late from a largely sociological battle over the origin of the Jesus movement. It shows how orthodoxy's roots are far older than claims of other options from the second century and beyond. This is simply profitable reading."" --Darrell L. Bock, Senior Research Professor of New Testament Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX ""With worthy contributions from both New Testament and patristic scholars, Orthodoxy and Heresy in Early Christian Contexts offers a timely reappraisal and rebuttal of the 'Bauer thesis.' The authors of this handy volume simultaneously sum up Bauer's evidence and arguments, size up subsequent post-Bauer mutations of the thesis, and serve up a needed corrective from a variety of perspectives--a must-have for students of New Testament and early Christian studies."" --Michael J. Svigel, Associate Professor of Theological Studies, Dallas Theological Seminary, Dallas, TX ""Modern scholars continue to be entranced by Walter Bauer's thesis that earliest Christianity was wildly diverse with no clear orthodoxy or heresy. Indeed, it is Bauer's thesis that has provided the foundation for many of the modern attacks on the integrity of the Bible. Thus, I am thankful for this outstanding collection of essays aimed at refuting Bauer's thesis and setting the record straight about what earliest Christianity was really like. With clarity and thoroughness, these essays sweep away the cloud of doubt raised by Bauer and shine fresh light on how Christianity developed in the earliest centuries."" --Michael J. Kruger, President, Reformed Theological Seminary, Charlotte, NC Paul Anthony Hartog (PhD, Loyola University Chicago) is a Professor of New Testament and Early Christian Studies at Faith Baptist Seminary. He is the author of Polycarp and the New Testament (2002) and Polycarp's Epistle to the Philippians and the Martyrdom of Polycarp (2013), and he is the editor of The Contemporary Church and the Early Church: Case Studies in Ressourcement (Pickwick, 2010).